Summer’s the only season my family ever goes outdoors. It was within those two months we visited Laguna to dip our feet into its cold waters. This year, we drove to the same province, but in a different destination — Panguil River Eco Park.
Reunion with an Old Buddy
My dad grew up in the mountainous and lake-filled province of Laguna. One of his classmates in high school and his fellow CAT officer now happened to be a police chief stationed in Panguil. During the Holy Week the two ageing buddies arranged a small reunion for themselves. And Dad brought us kids, Manay, and Francis (his office staff) in tow to head for Panguil River Eco Park.
Turns out, it was a perfect place to reintroduce the outdoors to my brothers. You see, they spend a lot of time indoors studying and watching TV. Our summer vacations are more of staycations. Thankfully, not this time! All it took was a table full of food and a good hike to get their blood pumping.
What to Expect at Panguil river Eco Park
Families troop to Panguil River Eco Park for a picnic along the waters during the summer. Cottages with tables are available to serve all the homemade food. You can find kiddie pool for children and a short hiking activity to Ambon-Ambon Falls for the big kids. There are also rooms for rent, a gazebo for big events, and camp sites for the adventurous. No need to be worried about safety, as there is a tourism police station just outside!
Despite the waters being mostly shallow, we wore life vests and hired a guide for added safety during the hike to Ambon-Ambon Falls. The trail begins with paved steps alongside Panguil River. Afterwards, there are minor river crossings and some rogue falling pebbles. But other than that, the 30-minute hike to Ambon-Ambon Falls is a walk in the eco park. Tip: wear non-slip footwear if you can.
The Road to Ambon-Ambon Falls
Ambon-Ambon Falls is the upstream of Panguil River, which then empties itself into Laguna de Bay. An important fact is that water from this river is fresh and clean. It’s even used to supply communities in Panguil, Laguna. Along the trail, we saw pipes leading to the main water supply.
Being a lover of the outdoors, the hike to Ambon-Ambon Falls was easy for me and Manay (who grew up in the mountains of Nueva Ecija). The trail includes the novelty of three balsa, or bamboo raft, rides. You can choose to forego the boats and swim across the river. But the balancing act drew giggles and laughs on our end.
The natural formations within Panguil River Eco Park showed evidence of a previously deep river, carved on the smooth stone cliffs. It reminded me of canyoneering in Cebu! Cold winds circulated along the “tunnel”, and a profusion of algae and plants marked the rocky walls.
By the time we arrived at Ambon-Ambon Falls, the boys were panting. What a good reward to feel the strong runoff behind our backs!
My family may not always explore the outdoors with me. But once a year, in the summer, is enough for me. Hope someday they will embark on their own adventures beyond four walls.
How to commute to Panguil River Eco Park: From Cubao take HM Transport bound for Sta. Cruz, Laguna (PHP 140). Ride to jeepney bound for Siniloan (PHP 30). At Pangil town, ride a tricycle to Piit. Alternatively, you can go to Tanay, Rizal to ride jeepney bound for Siniloan.
Panguil River Eco Park rates:
Day rate (6AM – 6PM) PHP 40
Night rate (6PM – 6AM) PHP 80
Overnight rate (less than 24 hours) PHP 100
Camping Fee PHP 160/pax
Ambon-Ambon Falls hike PHP 60
Cottage PHP 200
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