Shooting the rapids? Here’s the economics of it all

BOATS await passengers who will shoot the rapids

The legendary boatman of Pagsanjan, Laguna, he of ecotourism and film fame, his muscles browned by the sun, gets P700 per as his service fee for guiding passengers along the waterfalls of the Balanac and Bumbungan Rivers.

On the other hand, the passenger pays P1,000 per for the ride, for the thrill of shooting the rapids.


19TH century municipal hall of Pagsanjan

This is broken down into P140 (hotel/resort accommodations, landing area fee/helmet, life vest and seat cushion); P30 (Pagsanjan boat ride fee share); P15 (Lumban boatride fee share); P15 (Cavinti boat ride fee share); P6 provincial government fee share); P48 (accident protection and assistance program for tourists and boatmen), safety rescue and emergency preparedness program); P8 (tourism promotions); P16 (share of the 16 barangays-clean and green); P20/grant-in-aide for the boatmen’s benefit and welfare); and finally P2 for the operations fund of the boatmen’s association.

If you take your ride care of some of the leading hotels in the tourist town, like Pagsanjan Falls Lodge, La Vista and Gasa del Rio, it will cost you P1,250. This includes expenses for the helmet, life jacket, seat cushion, and a Cavinti entrance fee of P250 which entails a bamboo raft ride.


Pagsanjan Falls Lodge, which has a nice swimming pool, charges P2,860 for bed and breakfast for two. Rooms at La Vista cost P1,500 for two; and at Casa del Rio it’s P2,500 for two.

By the way, for foreigners the fee for shooting the rapids is P1,250.

A piece of good news for domestic tourists is that the boat ride can cost only P750 per for a minimum of nine passengers. But the local tourists can only avail of this package during 15 days of a festival (like the recent Bangkero Festival in Pagsanjan), any festival in the three adjoining forest towns of Pagsanjan, Lumban and Cavinti, during the annual Holy Week and the summer vacations.

BOATMAN flexes his muscles.

For January, the most popular resort in Pagsanjan was Korean-owned Tropical Gan Guk, with 5,168 tourist arrivals. Pagsanjan Paradise Resort was second, with 4,233 visitors.

There were 139,002 tourist arrivals in Pagsanjan last year, compared to 136,780 in 2012 and 125,419 in 2011. There were 14,614 visitors in January this year, as against 14,167 for February. Was this because the latter month has less days?

The local government of Pagsanjan earns estimated P4.17 million for all tourism operations revenue,” says Tourism Operations Officer Larry P. de Leon.

“The boat ride is our No. 1 local earner,” says Municipal Treasurer Minerva Boongaling. “We only have that in the Philippines,” boasts De Leon.


So what are you waiting for, dude? Shoot the rapids and help the boatmen and their families, and of course the local economy and the tourist trade in general in Laguna.

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TAGS: Business, Laguna, Pagsanjan, Shooting the rapids, SundayBiz, Tourism, Travel
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