220.127.116.11 22:14, 24 January 2012 (EST)Was there two days ago (January 23, 2012).
Many signs along the road warning not to talk to illegal flaggers (touts, runners) and to drive directly to any resort where a standard fee would be charged.
Our hosts ignored this advice and got guided to a place that insisted that the fee was a standard P1000, plus many compulsory extras. Not being prepared to fight our way out of the laneway we paid P1790 each.
Once in the boat we passed huge signs painted on the bridge and on a concrete embankment reminding us that the inclusive fee was P1000 and to report rudeness and extortion ("forced tipping") to the mayor. A name and phone number is given, but who carries a mobile phone to a waterfall?
Once the rapids are reached and the tugboat disconnects the ride does live up to its promise. Except at a place with toilets and drink pedlars, everyone stayed in their boats for the entire ride upstream. At the end we walked a short distance on a paved path to get on the bamboo raft to pass under the falls and return. I regret not jumping off the raft behind the falls because it came back immediately. Anyway it was fun to feel and hear the water pounding down.
The falls are not very high but they are high enough to dwarf the raft so is is quite exciting. The view of the raft in the pool with the falls behind is just as good as on the postcards.
The return trip in the boat was non-stop through the rapids and not long to wait for a tow back to town.
After the tow was disconnected near the resort the boatmen began to demand tips. As we had left everything with our friends ashore we told them to wait a moment. However they followed us and seeing the rest of the party and the nice car asked for more. All together the cost was about P2000 each, not including food, drink or transport to Pagsanjan.
No, I did not phone the mayor: because I did not want to upset our hosts and because he would probably just say we should have followed his warnings. Anyone else visiting should be warned.