Pagsanjan Falls

You can also hike to the falls from the town of Cavinti, but know that you’ll have to make your way down some 500 steps and two vertical ladders. The good part is that your trek will take you right to the bottom of the falls. Then you can catch a bamboo raft to Devil’s Cave.

The adventure continues just 30 minutes from Pagsanjan, at Lake Caliraya. Even at 1,200 feet above sea level, it’s a popular spot for water sports and bass fishing. You should also check out Lumban’s tradition of finely embroidered fabric.

Paete, the “carving capital of the Philippines,” is just next door. You’ll find papier-mâché (locally known as taka) and wood carvings of all sorts on J.V. Quesada Street. But the best showcase of Paete craftsmanship is 18th-century St. James the Apostle Church. The church’s religious images, murals and altar were all made by local artists.

Other interesting churches from the Spanish-colonial period are the ones in Pakil, Magdalena and Majayjay.

Hungry? Head for Café Arabela in Liliw, Laguna. It’s a quaint little restaurant some 35 minutes from Pagsanjan. Looking for something more exotic? There’s Exotik Garden Restaurant in Kalayaan. If frogs and wild boar are too tame for you, there’s also bayawak (monitor lizard), snake and crocodile on the menu.