Pansol is a barangay in Calamba, the most populated city in Laguna. Located at the foot of Mt. Makiling, this quiet district is visited by a lot of tourists yearly because of its hot springs. It has hundreds of resorts, making it the country's hot spring capital. Pansol is popular for excursions, especially for the people living in Metro Manila.
The warm temperatures of the hot springs in Pansol are due to its proximity to Mt. Makiling, a dormant volcano. Since the Spanish Period, these marvelous bodies of water have been attracting people all over the country. Public baths have been set up to cater to the visitors who believe that soaking in the hot waters had medicinal value. Even now, tourists visit the springs because of its therapeutic and healing effects. Some of the locals also claim that Jose Rizal himself, a native of Calamba, loved visiting the hot springs during his youth.
Visitors in Pansol will have a lot of resorts to choose from. One of the most popular is La Vista Pansol Resort, known for its swimming pools and a towering water slide known as the Wet 'n Wild. It has accommodations for both big and small groups. It also has function room and meeting areas, which can be used for company excursions and field trips.
Another great resort in Pansol is Sol Y Viento Mountain Hot Springs Resort. Its facilities include a swimming pool, a jacuzzi, and in-house restaurants. The resort also overlooks Laguna de Bay and Mt. Makiling.
It's easy to get to the town of Pansol since it's only around two hours away from Metro Manila via the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX). Take the Calamba Exit and eventually you'll reach Pansol. Just remember to brace yourself for the traffic if you're going on a weekend. Pansol is one of the favorite spots of urban dwellers for weekend getaways and company team building trips so there'll be lots of them on the road and in the public resorts around the area.
You can also easily reach Pansol via commute. There are many bus lines along Cubao and Buendia near LRT Line 1's Gil Puyat Station that can take you to this townl. Simply board a bus bound to Sta. Cruz, Laguna, then get off at Pansol. Alternatively, you can also ride a Calamba-bound bus and get off at Calamba Terminal. From there, you can ride either a jeep or a tricycle to your chosen resort in Pansol. The more popular bus lines that offer daily trips to this town include HM Bus Liner, Greenstar Express Bus Liner, and DLTB Bus.
How to Get Around
Just like other well-known retreats in the country, Pansol’s main mode of transport for local commuters and tourists is the jeepney. There are jeepneys all around the city of Calamba that can take you to popular spots as well as other towns and cities in the Laguna province. Fares can go as cheap as PHP 7.00, depending on where you are going. So if you are still figuring out which transportation mode will let you save more money, then riding a jeep would be your best bet. SM City Calamba has its own Transport Terminal. It's best to approach the drivers and conductors there and inquire about which jeepney or route to take if you're going to a certain point in Pansol.
By Other Means
Meanwhile, there are also tricycles available in Pansol, but fares are usually more costly. If you are traveling with your friends or family, you can easily cut costs by splitting the fare among yourselves. Riding a tricycle is a better alternative when you're traveling with a small group.
What to See
While Pansol's landmarks are some of its notable resorts like Sol Y Viento Mountain Hot Springs Resort, there are also other landmarks you can visit around Calamba that are just a short drive or ride away. For instance, Calamba's most popular tourist attraction would have to be the Rizal Shrine. It is a replica of the ancestral home of the family of national hero Dr. Jose Rizal. More than the impressive house, it also features a wide courtyard and several exhibits, displays, and a gift shop.
Right across the street from Rizal Shrine is St. John the Baptist Church. A Spanish colonial era church, it is where Jose Rizal was baptized.
People head to Pansol for its natural hot springs. Every year, tourists all over the country visit the town to soak in the hot waters. It is a soothing and relaxing experience, but many people believe it may have healing effects, too. Another natural attraction to visit is Mt. Makiling, which spans across the Batangas and Laguna provinces in Southern Luzon. It is popular for hiking so if you're looking to go on an adventure in Laguna, a trek to Mt. Makiling's summit will surely give you the adrenaline rush you crave. This mountain is also the source of the heat in Pansol's natural hot springs. Aside from hiking this dormant volcano, you can also enjoy some watersports and recreational activities at Laguna de Bay.
The activities that you will get to try and enjoy depend on which resort you'll choose to spend your weekend vacation. For instance, if you choose to stay at and La Vista Pansol Resort, you can enjoy its fun facilities including a giant waterslide called Wet 'n Wild. There are also lots of fun activities at this resort like a zip-line, ATV rides, and zorb balls which are perfect for adrenaline junkies and team building activities. However, if serenity is what you seek for your Pansol escape, then resorts with spas like Rockpoint Resort & Spa are the perfect choice for you. Some resorts also offer event spaces and function rooms to cater to the needs of business travelers and companies holding their team building and planning activities.
Events and Festivals
Colorful parades and stunning street dances dominate the main streets of Pansol every May 30, their feast day. Join the lively locals in their festival activities so you can make the most out of your stay. Each household also prepares delicious meals for their visitors so the guests can help themselves to savory dishes during their visit.
Where to Eat
Fast Food Chains
There are lots of fast food restos near Pansol for those who are craving for a bite to eat. You can find the staples like Jollibee or McDonald's. You can also go to SM City Calamba for more dining places like Mang Inasal and KFC. It also has a food court where you can find more dishes and varied cuisines to suit your taste and budget.
If you don't want somewhere too far for dining, consider staying at a resort which has its own restaurant like 88 Hotspring Resort. It has an in house restaurant that offers Korean and local dishes to satisfy the appetites of vacationers. You can also opt to bring your own cooked dishes on your trip. There are resorts that allow guests to bring food from outside. Not only will you be able to save more money, but you'll also be able to enjoy your meals as you like them.
But if you prefer to venture out of the comforts of your resort to search for a sumptuous meal, Tita Sally's Restaurant is one dining option that comes highly recommended. This restaurant serves sumptuous Filipino meals that will definitely satisfy your cravings.
There are many roadside eateries where you can enjoy budget-friendly meals. One of these is Ihaw-Ihaw ni Aling Tessie. It offers a unique experience for diners since their meals are cooked-to-order. It means that you choose which dish you want and they will cook it for you from scratch. Their food is made from the freshest catch of the day so you know you'll be enjoying quality meals at a fraction of the price.
Where to Shop
Though Pansol does not have its own mall, tourists can just flock to SM City Calamba if they need to do some shopping. This mall carries lots of brands and features varied stores so whatever you need to buy—be it some clothes or toiletries for your overnight stay in a resort—you'll surely find it here.
Calamba City has a public market where you can find some fresh produce for your meals or other things you may need for your trip. Market prices are relatively cheaper than mall prices so going to the market would be a good idea if you want to stick to your budget.
Laguna is famous for its buko pie, and Calamba is home to many stores that sell this delicacy. One of the most famous brands when it comes to buko pie is Colette's, which has stores all over Calamba. Visit them for pasalubong or take home some treats that you can bring for your family or friends. Aside from pies, they also sell pastries and various sweets.
If you're craving for some snacks, there are lots of vendors that sell affordable and quick bites to suit your backpacker budget. These snacks include native rice cakes and even biscuits, along with bottled water and softdrinks to quench your thirst.
What to buy
Famous for its sweet treats, Laguna is a haven for sweet people with an even sweeter tooth. So while you are enjoying your swimming trip in one of the resorts around, make sure to leave some time for shopping for pasalubong. Aside from buko pies, you can also take home scrumptious espasol and other Filipino delicacies.
ATMs and Money Changers
There are several banks and ATM in Pansol so you don’t have to worry about searching for a place to withdraw money. Just make sure to observe the proper steps when withdrawing from an ATM so your cash and ATM card can stay secure. As for money changers, there are some establishments around Calamba that offer currency exchange services. You can also try the foreign exchange counters at SM City Calamba.
Fare: PHP 100 to PHP 200
While bus fares from Metro Manila to Pansol cost less than 100, you should also make sure to have some extra money for jeepney or tricycle rides.
Food: PHP 80 to PHP 300
Dining at eateries and carinderia will save you a lot of bucks. But if you choose to eat at a fast food restaurant, the average amount for a meal is about PHP 150 to PHP 200.
Shopping: PHP 150 to PHP 300
Bringing home a box of sweet treats will surely delight your families and friends back home. Purchasing a box of espasol would cost you around PHP 100, while a box of buko pie is less than PHP 200.
Accommodation: PHP 1,000 to PHP 20,000
For a single night stay in a private room, the cheapest rate is around PHP 1,000. But if you wish to rent a private resort for your whole family, friends, or company, you can do so for at least PHP 8,000.
Activities: PHP 100 to PHP 500
Use of facilities is usually included in the room rate or the resort rental rate. But it's also best to allot extra money in case you need to pay for some activities like zip-lining.
Other Fees and Taxes: PHP 50 to PHP 200
Be sure to include in your budget the parking fees and corkage fees for the food you will bring to the resort.