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I love to travel just to explore new things in life from breathtaking natural wonders, interesting historical sites, delicious food, friendly people and colorful culture. I treasure every moment in traveling by writing in my journal, taking photos and publish it in my travel blog.
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Saturday, November 3, 2012

Trekking High to Majayjay: The Highland Town in the Banahaw

It was one of the most memorable commuting experiences I ever had. It was such a rollercoaster ride! It was funny yet nervous at the same time. I noticed that the tricycle driver did the sign of the cross as we proceed to the ascending slopes and descending zigzag roads that offer lush vegetation and dangerous gorges. However, I feel the excitement and the tension as I go along with the speed of the tricycle in passing the narrow zigzag road. In the end, I went to a long canopy walk in the thick forests of Banahaw to reach the simple yet beautiful waterfalls in the midst of the mystic mountain. These unforgettable travel moments happened in a rustic town in the Laguna Loop.
The welcome arch of Majayjay. You can pass the roads of the town that offers verdant and
lush vegetation from the trees and rice fields.
Located in the easternmost part of Laguna, Majayjay is one of the ideal venues for nature getaway. It is situated in the foothills of Mount Banahaw and the town stands 1000 feet above sea level. Majayjay was surrounded by the towns of Magdalena in the north, Liliw on the west, Luisiana in the east, and Lucban, Quezon in the south.
The historical marker of the town.
According to the ancient stories, the town has no adequate roads but there are curved slopes which lead you to the gorges. In order to solve the problem, the Spanish conquerors hired laborers and porters to construct sufficient roads in the town. However, because of the mountainous terrain, these people are exhausted and they produced a sound "hay, hay, hay" (sigh) while climbing the slopes of Mount Banahaw. That is why the town was named Majayjay: "ma" meaning many and "hay, hay" from the sound of sighing. It became a town in 1571 and Gaspar Osorio was the first leader of the town. In addition, the Brains of Katipunan, Emilio Jacinto, died in this town on 1899.
Saint Gregory the Great Church
When I visited this town, I went to Saint Gregory the Great Church. It is one of the National Cultural Treasures and one of the tallest churches in Laguna. It was built in 1571 and it was originally made of bamboo. It was constructed in 1616 to 1649 as a church made of stone. The church was rebuilt with high structure with the help of Father Jose de Puertollano which was renovated from 1711 to 1734. The church is also adjacent to the municipal hall where you can read the historical background of the town.
Tulay Pigue
A few walks away from the town hall, you can go to the unfinished product of forced labor. It is called as Tulay Pigue (Buttocks Bridge or Puente de Capricho). It is a narrow bridge which is supposedly used to connect the neighboring barangays and towns in Majayjay. You can go there after you passed the cemetery and dumpsite in the midst of lush vegetation and slippery slopes.
The canopy trail to Taytay Falls.
Taytay Falls
The cool water from the gushing cascades of Taytay Falls.
Majayjay is known for the most visited tourist destination which is the Taytay Falls. I went to a fifteen minute ride passing the zigzag roads of Majayjay until I reached the barangay hall of Taytay. Then I took the canopy trail to the falls while during that time it was raining. I felt the cold breeze and the abundance of vegetation as well with the pleasant view of verdant forests and the stunning mountain of Banahaw. When I reached the falls, the water was cold and clear from the cascading bliss of a two-storey waterfall. In addition, there are many tourists and campers during that time enjoying their time swimming in the fresh water of the falls. However, there are many bottles, wrappers and other form of trash left beside the river. Before, it was a hard task to reach the falls because there were no marked trails during that time. In 2008, the World Bank supported the promotion of tourism in Taytay Falls that is why we have concrete pathways to the falls.
Coconut plantations are very common in the highland town of Majayjay.
Rice fields in the mountainous terrain of Banahaw.
The women making their laundry in the river.
Aside from visiting the waterfall and historical sites, I also noticed the simplicity of life among the residents of Majayjay from using horses as a mode of transportation, the farmers are planting on the rice fields and the women make their laundry in the river. These things amazed me as a city person because of our identity as a Filipino living in a rural was still there in the modern days.

Therefore, my travel experience in Majayjay made me appreciate of the things especially taking care of our nature, remembering the history of our country, and the rural life of the residents. In other words, Majayjay is a town of adventure and simplicity. Let's aim high to Majayjay!

Tips and Reminders: There is a schedule for public transportation vehicles if you are heading to Majayjay. You need to wait for an hour before the jeepneys depart in order to reach the town. In addition, you need to drive carefully and safely because the road  to Taytay Falls is more on ascending slopes. The best time to travel or driving your vehicles in Majayjay is day time.

How to Get There: There are possible options to go to Majayjay. First, you can take a jeepney from Santa Cruz and passing the towns of Pagsanjan, Cavinti and Luisiana that takes you to the town proper. Second, you can take a jeepney from the town proper of Nagcarlan passing the town of Liliw to the town center or from Liliw, you can ride a tricycle to Majayjay. Third, you can ride a jeepney from Lucban going to Majayjay.

You can also read April 2012 post Navigating Laguna Loop: Majayjay in Perspectives in White Scratch Papers

Date of Travel: January 14, 2012

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