I have a sister who is based in Dubai and whenever she comes home (here, that is) to visit, she always wants to go places and she ALWAYS prefers a swimming getaway. 😛 🙂
Last June 02, we — my sisters and their friends — went all the way to Pansanjan, Laguna for a whole day’s adventure and our first stop was the promising El Panchito’s.
Upon our arrival at the restaurant, which is actually owned by a good friend, we were served with their Nachos Bravas — a plate of house-fried, multi-colored tortilla chips drizzled with cheese sauce and crema, topped with mozzarella cheese, cheddar cheese, their signature picadillo, and jalapeño and served with house salsa on the side.
We didn’t want to feel heavy or bloated, so we decided to go to the waterfalls before we completely gorge on El Panchito’s dishes. Jymsee, my friend and the owner of the restaurant, took us to his mother-in-law’s resort — Pagsanjan Palm Resort — where we left all our stuff. You see, we learned that you totally can’t take anything with you when you go to the falls… everything — you and what have you — will get wet! Unless, of course, you have one of those good quality, waterproof bags you can put your money and gadgets in. Since none of us had that kind of bag, we had to leave everything at the resort but one of my sister’s friends risked taking a small backpack with her.
Jymsee’s brother-in-law, Kuya Bitoy, was very nice and accompanied us to the resort where we were going to ride the boat going to the Pagsanjan Waterfalls. I was grateful that the receptionist at that resort sold a lot of ‘useful stuff’ like that waterproof bag (which can fit only a mobile phone but that was all I needed, anyway) [100PHP], slippers, board shorts, and those big summer hats [100PHP], which came really handy for me coz it protected my nape and my shoulders from the scorching sun. Thanks, Ate Vendor! 🙂
The trip going to the falls and back is very easy for the passengers but absolutely laborious for the bangkeros. They use oars to paddle through the water but on the rocky parts, they use their bare feet to pull the boat up. Poor manongs! No wonder the maximum number of passengers per boat is only 3… imagine the weight if there were more! You’d understand what I mean when you go there and experience it yourself. For that reason, we agreed to give a nice tip for their efforts. 🙂
After almost an hour of taking pix inside the cave and near the falls, we went back to the Pagsanjan Palm Resort and swam a bit before finally taking a shower. The resort is very clean and at the time, there weren’t other visitors, so we had the resort all to ourselves yay! 😛 🙂 The daily rate of their rooms (good for 2 persons) is 1,500PHP — it has a double bed, a television, its own bathroom, and is air-conditioned; if you need an extra mattress, you can rent one for an additional 300PHP and that’s already good for 4 – 5 persons. You can check in any time of the day and you check out the next day at 10AM. Entrance fees for swimming: daytime (8AM – 5PM) — 50PHP (child) / 70PHP (adult), nighttime (5PM – 11PM) — 70PHP (child) / 100PHP (adult). They also have family rooms, good for 6, which you can rent for 3,500PHP. Picnic tables and cottages are available for rent, as well. If you want to hold a party or an event where your guests can swim afterwards, the resort has packages for those, too.
It was getting late, so at about the hour of 3PM, we started taking a bath. Since Jymsee is a really nice fella, he picked us up at the resort, then took us back to El Panchito’s to try the rest of their specialties.You may think that coz their resto isn’t in the city that their food might not be good, but erase that ugly thought… their menu has delicious viands that are flavorful and very affordable.
Sisig Plato Principal — signature Filipino-style pork sisig with chopped hard-boiled egg on top, served with plain rice.
El Cerdo BBQ — grilled pork liempo in sweet BBQ sauce with coleslaw and corn, served with plain rice.
El Cerdo Fritos — deep-fried pork liempo with pickled cucumber and corn, drizzled with crema and served with Mexican rice.
Mexican Pork Ribs — the specialty of the house, this dish is rubbed in Mexican spices with sweet & smokey BBQ sauce, served with Mexican rice, buttered corn, and pickled cucumber. Those ribs are very tender, you’ll be surprised they have it there! They are like the pork ribs that other restaurants in Manila also serve… honestly!
For sweets lovers, they have Churros Mexican Donut, served with their home-made choco dip. They also have the Brownie Caliente con Helado, which is sizzling brownie topped with ice cream. We didn’t get to taste that, though, coz for some reason, we were already full but I’ll definitely try that the next time we revisit Pagsanjan Falls.
When you go to El Panchito’s, you will notice that it’s an L-shaped eatery and on the square part beside the L-shape is a house. This is because that area where the diner is, is actually a garage turned into a resto but it’s clean and the atmosphere is wholesome and calm — you’ll see guitars, ukuleles, maracas, and Mexican hats displayed in the dining area, plus the Mexican music they play just makes the whole experience a great one. And oh… they’ve got free WIFI! 🙂
The restaurant has this big antique bell that people clang before completely exiting the gate and for the time that we were there, all the customers that came to eat hit that bell really hard! 🙂
Super thanks to my good friend, Jymsee, for hosting us (and being our ‘driver’ for the day); many thanks, too, to the amazing staff. Bravo!
For those who haven’t tried the Pagsanjan Waterfalls tour, it would be great to add that to your bucket list, and when you decide to go, don’t forget to swing by El Panchito’s for good Mexican food with a Pinoy twist. They are located at 661 Mabini St., Pagsanjan, Laguna. You can also visit their Facebook page or their Instagram for more info.
Muchas Gracias, El Panchito’s!