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Treasures above the sky: Natural gems of Highland Laguna town of Majayjay

By Chanyel Fritz Tome

Want to take a break from urbanities or while on a trip to Bicol? Laguna has some great falls and eye-catching nature and wonders on the highland town of Majayjay – quite like Tagaytay if it was a quaint little town.

Majayjay is a 4th class municipality forming Laguna's southeastern border with Quezon Province that was established in 1591, it is a town that sits near Mt. Banahaw in Laguna's interior, far away from Laguna de Bay or the cities in the western part of the province. Relatively untouched by Manila's rapid urbanization, it is home to some of the province's most treasured wonders.

Majayjay may ring a bell to some of the Filipino travelers. After all, it is a gateway to Lucban, Quezon where the famed Kamay ni Hesus Shrine is located. However, the town has so much more to offer that one might find it worth looking into.

Before proceeding however, let's address the elephant in the room. Majayjay is pronounced Ma-HAI-hai; it is not pronounced with a hard J sound.

 
St. Gregory the Great Church Parish, Majayjay, Laguna


A National Gem at the Town’s Center


To begin the Majayjay journey, one shall start at the town proper first, where almost every magic of the town happens. Specifically, one must look forward to visiting its church: the St. Gregory the Great Parish Church or San Gregorio Magno Parish.


At first glance, it looks like an old, typical Spanish stone church. However, what makes the church different is that it is one of the oldest churches built in Laguna and the entire country, although it was completed in 1730 and had to be rebuilt many times due to the Philippines' wet climate. But its completion brought awe to the religious, as the Romanesque church was considered one of the biggest churches that was completed in the country.


Today, it is one of Laguna's most cultured treasures. The church has been declared a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum in 2001 and has been constantly preserved. Having served as a bastion of Catholicism during the Spanish era, it still remains the center of religious (Catholic) life in Majayjay while attracting history and travel enthusiasts.



Taytay Falls, Majayjay, Laguna

Natural Wonders of the Outskirts

Travel further out of the town center, and one will meet the trees, grass, and serene aura of Mother Nature. Owing to its location in the highlands of Laguna near Mt. Banahaw, it has a lot to unpack when it comes to its natural wonders.

For starters, there are a lot of waterfalls found in or near Majayjay. However, the most notable of these falls is the Taytay Falls – and for good reason.

Taytay Falls is secluded; it has only been touched by human civilization a little. The exclusivity of the falls meant it had one thing coming for it – the trees, landforms, and greenery around it is so untouched that it almost looks like an entirely new fantasy world. In fact, Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray even had a photoshoot near the waterfall.


Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray poses for a photo in front of Taytay Falls as part of her efforts to #SupportLocalPH | Source: Catriona Gray’s official Facebook page

There is an even better catch to the Taytay Falls – one may enjoy the waterfall with all its glory for as low as P20! For the price of a Cornetto ice cream, one may already bathe in its pristine waters in a day tour. Typical to the falls of the highlands, the water is clean, chilling, and refreshing, which is perfect for a summer getaway or if one just wants to simply dip in calming streams. There are even tents in the area in case one wants to book an overnight stay near the waterfall for P40.

Aside from Taytay Falls, Majayjay also boasts other tourist spots, such as the Bukal and Majayjay Falls. It is also home to the Malinaw Spring Resort, which is home to a river located between Laguna and Quezon – perfect if one wants to know what it is like to swim the border between two provinces.


A sign welcoming tourists to Costales Nature Farms, one of the country’s agri-tourism accredited spots. | Source: Costales Nature Farms official Facebook page

Majayjay Farms: Center of Agri-Tourism

Even the farms of Majayjay have something to offer, too! Enter Costales Nature Farms – a farm that offers "bahay-bukid" experiences to inquisitive tourists or green thumbs. What makes this farm unique is that this is one of the couple accredited agri-tourism destinations by the Department of Tourism in the country – and one of the fewer agri-tourism spots that is still surviving during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Costales Nature Farms offers tour packages catering to what a tourist might want: 


  • The "Green Living" tour package with a guided farm tour and activities, meals, and swimming at the Majayjay Falls for P1,275 per person;
  • "Lakbay Aral" tour package with an inclusive farm tour and unlimited green salad for P275 per person (P695 with lunch);
  • "Green Salad" tour package with a guided farm tour, snacks, as well as experiences in vegetable harvesting and a DIY salad for P445 per person; and
  • "Tara Na! Farmasyal Na!" tour package with guided farm tours, a farm activity of one's choice, and free WiFi access for P700 per person (with special rates in bulk)
Aside from offering snippets of the farm life, Costales Nature Farms also sells green products, organic produce, and other agricultural products to local markets, which it sees as a way to give back to the community for all their support. They even accept orders from as far away as Biñan, Laguna.

If one wants to experience a true, all-green vacation, Costales Nature Farms would be the way to go

If a break from the tiring, urban life or just a breathtaking stop is what a person needs, Majayjay has a lot to offer for such a small town (population-wise). From cultural, historic sites to breathtaking spots, this town has it all. If one wants to take a rest, visitors will be more than welcome to stay in Majayjay.