You might not hear more about the town of Cavinti, maybe because the place is quite small (with a total land area of 21, 642 hectares) and it is bounded by the Municipalities of Paete in the North, Kalayaan to the North-East, Lumban to the West, Luisiana to the South, Pagsanjan to the Southwest, and the Province of Quezon to the East. Since most of the place is still unexplored, which makes it a very good place for eco-tourism. The place is teeming with location that is still untouched by the marching progress of industrialization. Natural wonders still abound Cavinti like caves, underground river systems, virgin forest, mountain ranges, and lakes. Also, if you are familiar with the world-famous Pagsanjan Falls, the falls are actually located in Cavinti area and is known locally as Cavinti Falls.
There are also man-made wonders in Cavinti. Caliraya Lake is a man-made lake popular for surface water sports and recreational fishing and Lumot lake is another man-made lake connected to Caliraya Lake by an underground penstock, which is also popular for water sports and sport fishing.
It is located 119 kilometers southeast of Manila. It’s just a two minutes drive away. By bus, may I suggest that you ride any bus going to Sta. Cruz, Laguna. When you arrive in Sta. Cruz, you can ride a jeepney going to Cavinti. The experience is a little bit scary, especially on that zig-zag road climbing till it reaches the foothills of the Sierra Madre mountain range. Cavinti is basically an agricultural town. At the población (town), there are only a few commercial establishments. Sources of income of the people of Cavinti are mainly focused on eco-tourism and agriculture, such as play, bamboo, pandan, copra, coconut, vegetables and fruit trees. Piggery and poultry farming are also an additional income.
According to legends, when the Spanish colonizers discovered Cavinti, a strange wedding ceremony was taking place. Maybe because the wedding ceremony is different from that of Catholic Spain, but anyway, the Spaniards saw the groom running after the bride. The bride runs uphill and downhill, through the clear and wooded area, on dry land and swampy path and the groom kept following behind. The pair reached the stream which at that time was swollen due to flood waters. The bride jumped in the waters and her groom followed. Both were snatched by the rushing waters.
The bride’s younger sister cried, “Kaka, kapit sa binti!” pointing to the groom. So the bride obeyed without hesitation. That saved her and the wedding didn’t end in a tragedy. Also, the word stuck and people from Cavinti are being called by nearby towns as "kabintiin"
Another legend tells us about the Puhawan Brothers of Lumban who reached Cavinti in search of food in the early 1600 where they found the image of San Salvador. They will be known to become the first Tagalog settlers in Cavinti. The story goes like this: Some time ago in 1606, the Puhawan brothers, Antonio, Dionisio and Gabriel came to an area of forest clearings in search of food. Now, while clearing a grassy area, they stumbled on a statue underneath a “Binayuyu” tree. Then, there’s a glow of light. The brothers got so frighthened that they kneld and pray and asked who it was. A voice replied that he is “Salvador Del Mundo.” They took the statue back in Lumban and people started to ask them where they found it. They returned to the said place and built a small nipa chapel. They reported it to the Parish Priest of Lumban and on August 6, the held a mass in the newly build chapel. The chapel was then rebuilt into a church in 1621 in honor of the Lord of the Transfiguration, which was lovingly called San Salvador del Mundo by the devotees.
In 1939, Lieutenant Colonel (later Major General) Hugh J. Casey, with the approval of Philippine Commonwealth President Manuel L. Quezon. Now this man-made lake is so big that it encompasses the towns of Cavinti, Kalayaan and Lumban. Then they seeded the lake with imported Largemouth Black Bass. The fish continue to proliferate, to the excitement of anglers who frequent the place on weekends all year-round and even if the place was man-made, it is now teeming with the works of Mother Nature; lush trees, wild flowering shrubs, and occasionally, some cows and horses grazing. Lake Caliraya is also an ideal place for aqua sports such as boating, wind surfing, and water skiing.
There is also the Canvinti Underground River and Caves Complex. You have to bring some flashlights to see the hidden wonders of the underground river and caves and I don’t recommend the place if you are nyctophobic (afraid of the dark). Anyway, the place is awesome, but before entering the caves, first you have to get a permit from the municipal government of Cavinti. Now, you got the permit? Then you have to travel in almost 1 hour on a dirt road till you reach Baranggay Paowin and then a short bamboo raft ride in the clear waters of Lalangawan River. Then the caves. Inside are hidden waterfalls and a beautiful array of stalagmites and stalactites. Surrounding the whole complex is a large forest teaming with wildlife.
A place for adventurers and nature lovers. That’s what Cavinti has to offer.
Here's some pictures of views from Calamba, Laguna...
1. Bus ride from Manila (Cubao or Libertad-Pasay near LRT Gil Puyat Station) to Sta. Cruz, Laguna – Approx. P150.00. Travel time 2 hours.
2. In Sta. Cruz, Laguna, take a jeepney ride to Cavinti (P20.00)
Take the SLEX to Calamba and when you arrived at SM City Calamba, turn right and follow the road to Los Banos, Bay, Calauan, Victoria, Pila and Sta. Cruz. Follow the road to Pagsanjan and Lumban. The next town will be Cavinti.