We starting our trip from Manila – the capital city of the philippines, the bussiest city. We had initially planned to explore the northern region, specifically Sagada. This area is renowned for its elevated terrain and the intriguing Hanging Coffins, a testament to unique ancestral burial practices. However, due to time constraints, we had to modify our travel plans. Instead, we chose a southern route, eager to discover what this less-traveled path had to offer.


We began our trip early, setting out at 6 AM to make the most of the day. After picking up our motorbike rentals, we quickly started our escape from the city. Choosing to start on a early Sunday turned out to be a smart decision, as the traffic was much lighter than usual. This made it easier for us to navigate through the usually congested streets of Manila, allowing us to leave the city behind without the typical delays and hassle. 

As we reached the countryside, the landscape opened up to expansive rice fields stretching far into the distance. The houses here were notably shorter, possibly a structural adaptation to frequent earthquakes in the region. Additionally, many of the rural homes we saw had design features that were influenced by Portuguese styles, showing the Philippines’ long history with different cultures due to past colonial ties. 

We also noticed locals drying coconut flesh along the streets. This drying process is the first step in making copra, which is simply dried coconut meat. Later, this copra is processed to extract coconut oil. This oil is widely used in cooking throughout the Philippines and is also a major agricultural product that the country sells to other parts of the world. 


The process of making copra involves slicing the coconut meat and laying it out under the sun to dry for several days, typically around three to five, depending on the intensity of the sun. This method of drying is crucial as it directly affects the quality and quantity of the coconut oil extracted. In the rural parts of the Philippines, where farming plays a central role in the livelihoods of the communities, copra production is a common sight. It provides a reliable source of income for many families, integrating deeply with the local culture and economy.

Read : Laguna Bay – The largest Lake in the Philippine

The weather in the Philippines can be quite hot during the day, often reaching highs of 37 degrees Celsius but feeling more like 40 degrees due to the humidity. Fortunately, there are 7-Eleven stores conveniently located throughout the country. These stores provide a great respite for travelers like us, allowing us to stop frequently, stretch our legs, and hydrate or grab a quick snack.

After a long day’s journey covering a total of 242 kilometers, we decided to spend the night in Tagkawayan, a quaint town not frequently mentioned in popular travel guides. Tagkawayan offers a more authentic and local experience, with its relaxed atmosphere and fewer tourist distractions. Finding a hotel in Tagkawayan proved to be a challenge, especially as nightfall approached. Unlike in more popular destinations, many of the local accommodations aren’t listed on major online booking platforms. To find a place to stay, we had to rely on Google Maps to locate nearby hotels and then visit them in person to inquire about rates and services. This process was somewhat tedious but necessary as we could not risk driving further in the dark.

Eventually, we settled into a simple pension-style hotel called “Pinagpala Pension House.” We chose this hotel because it had positive reviews on Google Maps. It offered basic amenities, although the air conditioning was noisy and the toilets did not have lids. The hotel operated on a unique billing model common in the Philippines, charging us for a 12-hour stay with an additional cost of 100 pesos per extra hour. We arrived at the hotel around 5 PM, and to save a bit of money, we dined at “Pier Coyo” a local restaurant by the beach until 7 PM. Pier Coyo serving a variety of local Filipino dishes that captured the essence of the region’s cuisine. I decided to try the Pancit Bihon Guisado, priced at 200 pesos, and was pleasantly surprised when they served me an impressively large portion that could easily feed three people. The dish, a staple of Filipino gatherings, featured thin rice noodles stir-fried with vegetables, chicken, and shrimp, all seasoned with soy sauce and a hint of citrus. Alongside the noodle dish, the restaurant also have seafood options. We returned to the hotel to check in and planned for an early start the next day, aiming to check out at 7 AM.

Manila to Tagkawayan – Highlight Stops

Traveling from Manila to Tagkawayan offers several interesting stops where you can explore unique attractions and engage in various activities. Here are a few highlight stops along the way: 

1. Cavinti Falls (Pagsanjan Falls)

Cavinti Falls, also known as Pagsanjan Falls, is one of the most famous waterfalls in the Philippines. Located in Laguna, this magnificent waterfall is nestled in the heart of the lush Pagsanjan Gorge. To reach the falls, you can take a thrilling boat ride through the gorge, passing through towering cliffs and lush greenery. Once you arrive at the falls, you’ll be greeted by the sight of cascading water surrounded by dramatic rock formations.

2. Hulugan Falls

Hulugan Falls is another stunning waterfall located in Laguna. Tucked away in the town of Luisiana, this hidden gem offers a serene and picturesque setting. To reach the falls, you’ll need to embark on a scenic trek through the lush jungle, crossing rivers and navigating rocky terrain. But the journey is well worth it once you arrive at the breathtaking Hulugan Falls. With its towering cascade of water plunging into a crystal-clear pool below, this waterfall is a sight to behold.

3. Taytay Falls

Taytay Falls, also known as Imelda Falls, is a magnificent waterfall located in Majayjay, Laguna. Nestled amidst a dense forest, this stunning waterfall is renowned for its natural beauty and tranquil surroundings. To reach Taytay Falls, you’ll need to trek through the jungle, following a trail that winds its way through the lush vegetation. As you approach the falls, you’ll hear the sound of rushing water growing louder, until finally, you emerge from the trees to behold the breathtaking sight of Taytay Falls cascading down into a serene pool below.