Budget trip: Enjoying Mt. Romelo waterfalls

Gael Hilotin, Contributor
Yahoo! Southeast Asia Newsroom
Laguna for the weekend

Concealed deep in northern Laguna are several waterfalls such as Buruwisan, Lanzones, Batya-batya (Guiling–guiling), Binaytuan (Old Buruwisan), and Sampaloc Falls.

According to the locals, there are still undiscovered waterfalls hidden in the confines of Mt.Romelo. The easiest to reach however is the majestic Buruwisan Falls located in Siniloan, Laguna.  The jump off point is Brgy. Macatad in Famy.
Visitors need to register and pay a minimal fee before heading to the falls.  No need to look for a guide because the locals will approach you upon registration.  Guide fees costs around Php 200-300, it depends on whether you plan to camp overnight (bring your own tent) or just do a day trip. Pack a picnic for a scenic meal at Buruwisan Falls.

The jungle trek going there is as majestic as the falls itself.  Marvel at the rainforest canopy while climbing but be prepared for the mud especially during rainy season.  If you want to avoid the arduous hike, ride on a horse for a minimal fee to take you near the campsite.

Mt.Romelo waterfalls are well-known to amateur mountaineers. I spent roughly Php 500 when I went there alone but if you are joining a group, expect to spend less. Bring food and enough water so you can save.  Travel time from Manila is roughly 4 hours, so I suggest you leave early especially if you don’t intend to stay there overnight.  Aside from trekking, swimming and outdoor photography, rappelling is also a favorite activity here. But be extra careful to avoid untoward incidents.    

To descend to Buruwisan waterfalls you have to hold on to the huge roots of trees and step on the rocks.  You’ll surely gape at the towering falls amidst the dense green jungle.  The waterfall flows to a dazzling emerald basin.

A few minutes trek downstream of Buruwisan Falls is another marvelous waterfall called Lanzones, derived from the fruit-bearing tree of the same name which is abundant near the area.  Batya-batya Falls on the other hand, officially named Guiling-guiling, can be reached by wading through the shoulder-deep water.  To explore the rest of the waterfalls, camping overnight is recommended. 

Trip Expenses:

Bus fare to Brgy. Macatad in Famy (depending on where you are coming from)- Php 93 - Php 100
Guide fee – Php 200

Registration fee - Php20

Shower fee at Green Valley River Side (near the jump-off point) - Php 15

How to commute to Mt. Romelo Waterfalls:

Ride a bus going to Infanta, Quezon. Ask the driver to drop you at Brgy. Macatad.  Alternatively, you may take a bus en route to Sta. Cruz, Laguna. From there, ride a Siniloan bound-jeep and tell the driver you’ll get off  in Brgy. Macatad.

Register with the barangay for a minimal fee. There are locals that will approach you for Php 200-300 guide fee depending if it's a day tour or an overnight camp.