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Waterfalls

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4 Amazing Waterfalls In Biliran That You Should See On Your Visit


Biliran is one of the smallest provinces in The Philippines. It is not a well known travel destination and is most of the time mistaken as part of the province of Leyte. But you might be surprised that despite how insignificant Biliran may seem in the map, the splendid things it offers is pretty limitless. This province seems to have the answer to everything. From unspoiled islands and beaches, towering mountains, acres and acres of lush greens to topping it all of with over 30 stunning waterfalls at its disposal.

Among the more than 30 waterfalls scattered in Biliran, I was able to visit 4 of the most accessible. Don’t be fooled when I say accessible because I didn’t mean easy as well. Allow me to tell you about each one of them.


BAGONGBONG FALLS


 

Bagongbong Falls was the very first falls I visited coming from Kawayan Port where I have unboarded the boat from Sambawan Island. The ride to this falls was no joke. For over twenty minutes, we traced the roads going up in the mountains, passed by some narrow paths along local houses and continued on steep and slippery ride up. Not only was the ride to this falls exhilarating, so is the 30-minute trek going to the falls made much worse by occasional drizzles. From where we parked the motorcycle, I can already hear the gushing water and it continued to play melody in my ears until we reached the entrance to the falls.

Bagongbong Falls is a single tiered waterfall with its cascading water falling from some 30-feet torn in two by a boulder. This falls is rarely on any travelers list and during my visit, it was only me and my giggles as well as the cascade of the water making lovely music in the air. The water flowing from its basin pounding at the rocks were strong. They were relentless and cold. I managed myself to get me a sweet spot where I can marvel at its magnificence and took with me some photos. Bagongbong Falls was quite a great starter that it made more excited to see the others.


RECOLETOS FALLS


As I looked at the cascade of water falling from 40ft to this waterfall’s emerald green natural pool, I can’t help but look back to the journey that I took just to see it up close. I’ve walked through a muddy up and downhill road for 45 minutes, passed by a narrow trail almost falling to my death and scrambled through huge rocks. I had gone through unimaginable hardship trekking to this falls but as I stare at it closely and listen to the sound it makes lulling me deep in thoughts, those hardships seem to vanish.

I might have chosen a bad day to chase waterfalls since coming from Sambawan Island earlier that day, the skies were crying. There were drizzles here and there making the trek harder than it already is. I planned to see as many waterfalls as my time would permit but given that Recoletos Falls is just my 2nd waterfall and it’s almost time for lunch, I realized that I had to keep going. I only have four more hours to explore so after getting myselft enough of the beauty of this falls, off I went to see Ulan-Ulan Falls


ULAN-ULAN FALLS


Ulan-Ulan Falls is situated within the same barangay as Recoletos Falls. Both falls share the same grueling trail only the latter is situated further way up from its closest neighbor Ulan-Ulan Falls. Coming from Recoletos Falls, I’ve traced the same trail I took in going up to go down to Ulan-Ulan Falls. After reaching the junction connecting the trails of both falls, I took a right to a steep and slippery trail to go down to where Ulan-Ulan Falls was.

The descent to Ulan-Ulan Falls was no joke. I was already at the last stretch of my 5-Day Leyte-Biliran Adventure that I was already running low of energy making me less enthusiastic of the difficulty of trekking just to see these waterfalls. As we near to the bottom, I can feel the mist blown over by the wind. I had to wipe my eyes and my camera lens so I could get myself some shots of the falls since I probably won’t be able to take a photo anywhere near it unless I have a waterproof camera.

As I reached the base of the trail, I looked up at the mighty Ulan-Ulan falls letting the mist of the cascading water soak me wet. The mist felt like rain which is no wonder this falls was named such. It stood tall at probably 100ft or more and was one of the tallest waterfalls I’ve ever seen next to Hulugan Falls in Laguna. The cold breeze and the misty world of Ulan-Ulan Falls took me back to the good times when as a child I would always play under the rain along with the other kids in school then get scolded after when I get home. Haha


TINAGO FALLS


This is by far the most accessible and the easiest to get to. It takes 30 minutes of scenic motorcycle ride along a concrete highway passing by local houses and vast rice fields to get to Tinago Falls from the town proper of Naval. A few steps away from the parking area, a concrete stairwell will lead you down to the registration office. Pay the fees and you’re free to explore inside for as long as you like.

There are several day tour cottages there. Tourists would never have a hard time exploring since each areas are connected by a concrete footpath. The only difficult part is going near Tinago Falls since you will need to navigate through huge rocks and fight your way against the strong current of the water flowing out of the main basin.

Tinago Falls is gorgeous. Its cascading water falling from 30-50ft to a spacious basin is relentless and strong. Another thing that made it so stunning are the rock formations surrounding the main pool. This falls was named such because prior to developing it, it was literally tucked safely beneath the lush forest and huge rocks limiting access from the outside world. I guess beauty such as this one are never meant to be hidden forever much like the other Tinago Falls I know from Iligan.


HOW TO EXPLORE ALL THESE FALLS


There are no direct transportation going to each of the waterfalls since most of them are situated beyond the communities up in the mountains. The most effective way to explore all the falls in Biliran considering your budget and time is riding a motorcycle (habal-habal). Some drivers offer a rate of P400/waterfall which is kind of pricey but you can always haggle. I got mine for P1000 for one entire day chasing waterfalls. Please note that every motorcycle can ride 2-3 passengers. If you need a reliable person to drive you around, please contact Kuya Alfie Leones at 09261269714.

There you have it lovelies. Biliran is one beautiful province that definitely needs more discovering. Begin your discovery with these waterfalls. If you enjoyed this post, don’t forget to share. Until my next adventure folks! Ciao!

AGUINID FALLS And The 8 Levels Of Exhilarating Adventure

Aguinid Falls is one of the best places where you can immerse with the beauty of nature and at the same time experience that tingling rush of adrenaline. Tucked in the beautiful town of Samboan in the South of Cebu, Aguinid Falls offers a different take to your usual adventure. This rarely spoken jewel has 8 levels of cascading waters which you need to pass through in order to get to the top. It’s like hiking a mountain but instead of the usual forested trail, you will encounter gushing water as another obstacle which is essentially a factor to spice things up.

Unlike the more famous canyoning (canyoneering) in Badian and Alegria where you jump to the water until you get to the lowest tier of the waterfalls, the adventure in Aguinid Falls requires overcoming gushing water while making use of the limestone rocks to pull yourself up to the next level until you get to the top most level of the falls. Each level is a challenge and the intensity of each gradually increases as you come nearer to the top. There are also parts of the waterfalls where the water is deep enough allowing you to do some exhilarating cliff jumps.

Aguinid Falls is definitely a must see as it not just let you marvel at the exquisiteness of nature but it is sure to take your adventure a notch higher. If that doesn’t convince you yet then sharing our story (me and my bestie) might help you make up your mind. Here it goes.


LEVEL 0: A Chill Kick Starter


The first part of our adventure was a walk along rugged path going to the falls. It was slippery which was made worse by soft drizzles. This part was probably the easiest of all levels. 2 minutes after we started, we reached level one.


LEVEL 1: The First Challenge


After taking the first level in a breeze, here comes the 2nd level. Here we experienced some uphill trekking and river crossing. We also passed through the gape between two (2) limestone rocks while trying real hard to keep our balance and avoid tripping.


LEVEL 2: The Unanticipated Torture


The first two levels were obviously easy peasy but level 2 completely took us by surprise. This time we had climbed our way through a 90 degree rock that stretches to about 10 meters. What made it extra challenging was the gushing water sprinkling all over us and the fact that our only point of support to pull ourselves up was the rope tied on top and at the bottom of the rock.


LEVEL 3: Unmatched Beauty Unveiled


After overcoming the first set of challenges, we were then taken to one of the beautifully carved pieces of nature. The rock formation was one of the most magnificent I’ve seen and the water.. It was pristine and cold. It was like another heavenly place I wouldn’t trade with anything else.


LEVEL 4: The Sensational Cliff Jumps


This level was one of our favorites. Here we had the chance to do some amateur jumps from a 10-feet cliff plunging to a cold waterfall basin. It was my bestie’s first ever waterfall cliff jump but certainly not her last. The jump actually wasn’t at all that scary but if you are a scaredy cat like me then the mere thought of it might make your bones tremble.


LEVEL 5: The Stunner Of The Day


The adventure should have been over when we reached level 5 but given how it was so stunningly beautiful made us look forward to a more promising reward ever we pursue the advanced levels of 6, 7 and 8. That limestone rock and the sprinkle of water flowing so delicately to its basin was such a beauty that was worth every ounce of difficulty we had encountered.


LEVEL 6: Infinity Pool In The Middle Of The Woods


As we went further to reach the end of our adventure were a more challenging obstacles complimented by an equally fulfilling rewards. Getting to level 6 was the most difficult part of this adventure. It was another 90-degree climb scrambling through slippery limestone rocks which stretched to about 20 feet. There was no rope whatsoever as support and we had to rely on our instincts to decide where to put our hands and feet next as one miss could probably cost us a limb or two.


LEVEL 7: Things Keep Getting Better


Getting to level 7 was another challenge but this time we were not at all surprised. Instead we conquered ourselves and in doing so also conquered the challenge of climbing another yet again 90-degree rock with water gushing towards us.

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LEVEL 8: The Precious Little Happy Place


I thought I already had experienced the most difficult obstacle of that day but none has prepared me for what awaits just to get to level 8. I was still grinning from ear to ear while I marveled at the gorgeous limestone rocks where water flows ever so delicately like curtains in level 7. Never did I imagine that same rock which put me in so much awe would be the same rock that would give the so much pain as in order to get to level 8, we had to climb our way through it which was unimaginably steep but we survived.

Level 8 was a precious little paradise with a mini pool that was as big as a moderate size jacuzzi. Here we took the time to get to know other tourists and regain our strength as in order to go back to the jump off was another 20 minute hike down a slippery trail.


Did our story make you want to pack your bags and fly? Then here’s how you can get there.


  • From Manila – Fly to Mactan Airport in Cebu. Ride a cab to the South Bus Station. Ride a bus going to Bato via Barili and alight in Samboan town proper. In Samboan, hire a tricyle or a motorcyle (habal-habal) to go to Aguinid Falls and other waterfalls in Samboan and Ginatilan.
  • From Oslob – From Oslob town proper, ride a jeepney going to Samboan. Travel may take about 30-45 minutes. Once in Samboan, hire a tricycle or a motorcycle to get to Aguinid Falls.
  • From Dumaguete – Ride a jeepney going to Sibulan Port then ride a ferryboat going to Liloan Port. From Liloan Port, ride a bus going to Bato or the bus going back to Cebu City and alight in Samboan. Once in Samboan, hire a tricycle or a motorcycle to get to Aguinid Falls.

Anything you should know before the trip?


  • Aguinid Falls adventure levels are categorized into 2. The easy or beginner friendly levels of 1-5 and the advanced levels of 6-8. If you would choose to just go for the easy levels then after reaching level 5, you will just trace your way back to the jump off. However, if you would pursue the advanced levels then after reaching level 8, you will have to pass through a trail leading down to the registration point
  • After registration, you will then be given 2 guides. These 2 guides are mandatory and can cover a group of 5-10. As of July 2016, the local tourism office in Aguinid Falls has not yet set standard rates for their guides so it’s up to the visitors to give their guides the appropriate amount they deem fair enough for the given service.
  • The adventure in Aguinid Falls may consume an hour or two of your time at most. After which, you can explore the nearby Binalayan, Dao and Candayvic Falls but please note that entry to the last 2 falls are prohibited during days with moderate to heavy rainfall.

Summary Of Expenses, Itinerary And Other Essentials


ADVENTURE GUIDE FOR 2 
SAMPLE ITINERARY0300 Assembly South Bus Station Cebu City
0330 ETD Samboan
0700 ETA Samboan Proper. Breakfast
0800 Aguinid Falls
0900 Binalayan Falls
1000 Dau Falls
1100 Candayvic Falls
1200 Lunch
1300 Tumalog Falls Oslob
1400 Whaleshark Watching
1500 Sumilon Island [Read: SUMILON ISLAND: Forget The Whalesharks, Oslob Has Great Beaches Too
1600 Back to Oslob. Wash up.
1700 ETD Cebu City
2000 ETA Cebu City
SUMMARY OF EXPENSES (Coming from Cebu City and for the given itinerary above)Rountrip Bus Cebu-Samboan @ P165 > P330
Motorcycle/Tricycle Service > P400
Guide Fee > P300
Registration Fees > P140
-Aguinid Falls P30
-Candayvic + Dao Falls P30
-Binalayan Falls P30
-Tumalog Falls - P50
Whaleshark Watching > P500
Sumilon Island (Boat+Entrance) > P350
Food > P400

TOTAL <<>> P2420
THINGS TO BRING-Drinking Water
-Waterproof Bag
-Camera
-Extra Clothes
-Trekking Shoes/Sandals
CONTACT PERSONMotorcycle Service (Habal-habal): Kuya Alex - 0933 134 6985
Guide: Kuya Jay - 0923 341 5061

There you have it folks. I think by now you know that South Cebu is more than just the adorable whalesharks. They have other jewels too waiting to be discovered.

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See me on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest to get timely update of my adventures.

Until next time. See ya. 🙂

 

TAPPIYA FALLS: A Hidden Jewel Beyond The Rice Paddies Of Batad

Waterfalls are my first love so when I learned that a beauty as exquisite as Tappiya Falls is lying unperturbed within the extraordinary village of Batad, I wasted no time to see it. We were almost at the end of our 5-Day Baguio-Sagada-Batad Adventure which started off in the City Of Pines and I could tell my energy was already wearing down yet I also knew it would be a miss I surely regret if I let the opportunity of seeing this hidden gem pass. Hence in the morning of our 2nd day in Batad, off we went to hike the precarious trail leading to Tappiya Falls hoping I will survive the challenge with whatever vigor I have left.

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The trek started off early at 6 in the morning through a narrow and steep up and downhill concrete footpath from Mang Ramon’s Homestay where we stayed for the night. Ten minutes after, we passed by a fresh water source where we took a short breather then continued on until we reached the first resting camp. The resting camp was in one of the local houses and it has a souvenir store that sells carved woods, beaded purses and bags made from the same fabric of the Ifugao’s traditional clothing. After taking some time to admire the amazing craftsmanship of the natives, we then headed for the trail leading down to the rice terraces.

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We probably walked a hundred meters from the house before finally going down the pile of huge rocks which led to a concrete footpath at the side of the rice paddies. For the first time I noticed that each level of the terraces were carefully bound by rocks piled intricately together that, from what it seemed was designed to withstand anything even the worst of tremors from the Earth. I marveled in awe at the genius and creativity of the Ifugaos and the amount of work they had put into this magnificent creation. The amphitheater terraces of Batad is one heck of a beautiful and wonderful work which is definitely worth those hundred miles of painstaking journey.

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We continued trekking westward along the concrete footpath, going down the rocks following the trail leading to a couple more resting camps. We took some time to snap us photos of the golden sun which had slowly chased the cold of the morning away. I realized we were in a bit of a hurry since we were after catching the passenger jeep back to Banaue but there’s just this thing about sunrise that compels us to stop and savor the glorious ascent of the sun up in the bluest skies. We then resume trekking and after what must have been 30 minutes, we reached the local house situated atop one of the hills in the middle of Batad. There we rested for another 10 minutes before continuing with the descent to Tappiya Falls.

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Going down from the lone house atop the hill was a concrete ladder. It stretched to about another 200 meters. Although it was an established path, it was still too steep and slippery as some part of it were covered with moss. Passed the concrete ladder is another resting camp which leads to another concrete ladder going down. There we rested for another 10 minutes. In normal days. there would be vendors selling souvenirs, snacks and drinks but at that time it was empty. A warning sign was placed before the concrete ladder going down the trail to the falls. It read “Falling debris. Landslide prone area. No stopping at anytime.” I asked Kuya Tarzan, our guide, what it meant and he said that part of the trail leading to Tappiya Falls had just eroded. He reassured us that it was still passable but as the sign says there is no stopping for selfies and whatnot.

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We continued trekking down the concrete ladder which stretched to about 200 meters or so before it switched to yet another concrete footpath. The concrete footpath was then again a series of up and downhill trek until we reached the part where the earth have eroded causing a massive landslide. Passing by it was another struggle as it was filled with scattered rocks and we were literally at the edge of the cliff and ever the earth gives in, we would surely fall to our death. I followed closely our guide keenly observing as I mimic his every steps. Rhea followed behind me. Both of us letting out a sigh of relief after getting passed the most treacherous part. We continued with the up and downhill trek until we reached another concrete ladder going up which Kuya Tarzan said leads to the viewing deck.

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We might have taken 150 to 200 steps up the ladder before we finally reached the viewing deck. From afar, Tappiya Falls’ mightily pounding at its catch basin was such an alluring sound compelling us to hasten up but as we near the viewing deck, it was easy to tell that this gem of a waterfall is a powerful kind as it sings no lullabies, instead, like a tiger its voice is like a roaring thunder reverberating around the luscious forest.

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I was lost for words upon seeing Tappiya Falls. It was undoubtedly beautiful that the mere sight of it freed me from worries and exhaustion. While staring at the incredible beauty that was in front of us, I told myself just how lucky were we to make it that far. The hike to Tappiya Falls was probably the most exhausting part of our 5-Day Adventure but it was arguably one of the most rewarding. It made me wish we had more time to spare to discover some more hidden gems Batad has to offer.

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We took some time to snap us photos of Tappiya Falls but none of our shots could give justice to the beauty that it was but it didn’t really matter as its allure will forever be marked in my memory. As we traveled back to Banaue, I was thinking how short of a time we had in Batad that it made me look forward to coming back real soon.


THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE HIKING TAPPIYA FALLS


  • The hike to Tappiya Falls is physically demanding so make sure that you are fit enough to do it.
  • Bring water during your hike as you will badly need it.
  • The hike to Tappiya Falls doesn’t require a guide but if you are not too familiar with Batad then you are best to secure one from the Information area which will set you back P600.
  • The catch basin of the falls is deep so if you’re not much of a swimmer I would suggest you stay in the shallow part near the banks where the current is weak.
  • Hiking during rainy days isn’t really advisable as part of the trail leading to the waterfalls is prone to massive landslide.

Have I triggered your curiosity and made you pack your bags and see Tappiya Falls? You might find my Batad Travel Guide post useful or if you are to visit the other gems of The Cordilleras then our 5-Day Baguio-Sagada-Batad Adventure might just be another great read.

Until next time lovelies. Ciao. 🙂

ASIK-ASIK FALLS: Journey To The Unspoiled Curtain Waterfall In North Cotabato

Asik-Asik Falls is as enchanting as any waterfall can be. Her allure will instantly take you into a page of a fairy tale book. Her magic is irresistible. The kind that will keep you entangled in a seemingly endless dream. She bemuses while slowly working her spell on you. Her pristine waters cascading from stone walls covered in lush curtain-like greens is like no other. She will keep you wondering but she will never ever give away her secrets. She is a tease, keeps you coming back no matter how painfully agonizing are the roads leading to her. Her coldness is excruciatingly refreshing. Just before you know it, she has you completely wrapped in her hands and there’s no more escaping her charm.

BUKAL FALLS: A Discovery of a Jewel Hidden At The Foot Of Mt. Banahaw

In my quest to unravel more the secret treasures in the province of Laguna, my journey to the distant town of Majayjay has taken me to this precious jewel hidden beneath the luscious forest at the foot of the marvelous Mt. Banahaw. Both a natural spring and a waterfall, its water is the coldest I’ve ever bathed in and the purest I’ve ever tasted. The scene within its world is completely devoid of any human intervention. It has stayed at its most natural state despite the hundreds of enthusiastic spirits paying her a visit everyday to get a glimpse of her unrivaled beauty. This only proves that human and nature can coexist if we only regard the environment with great discipline and reverence.

HULUGAN FALLS: Exploring The Newly Discovered GEM in Laguna

The Filipino Backpacking community went abuzz when a photo of a newly discovered waterfall in Laguna surfaced the internet late September 2015. The photo was no doubt beautiful that it immediately took my breath away and triggered my inner curiosity. Words about it spread like wildfire. Days passed and more and more people are posting their wonderful experiences in Hulugan Falls on Facebook and Instagram. It made me unable to resist its charm that I decided to pay it a visit before Christmas.

HULUGAN FALLS LUISIANA LAGUNA

My first attempt to witness the beauty of Hulugan Falls was a failure. I and Ian, my boyfie-slash-constantly-complaining travel buddy woke up late and started preparing at 8AM. Traffic in Calamba made the travel twice longer than normal causing us to arrive in Sta. Cruz a little over 1PM. While I already realized that we were a little pressed with time and Brgy. San Salvador (Jumpoff point to Hulugan Falls) is still an hour away, I haven’t thought of calling it a day until one of the locals confirmed that we might as well be wasting time if we would still pursue Hulugan Falls as there might be a great chance of local officials not allowing us entrance that late unless we are in to spend a night there. Staying there overnight on Christmas Eve wasn’t part of the plan. A little upset I decided to head home. Just when I thought the world was conspiring against me, I discovered another hell of a surprise along the national highway on our way back. It was an utterly weird restaurant called Isdaan. And wow! It pretty much compensated the missed Hulugan Falls adventure as the food was good, the staffs were the friendliest I’ve known and the scene.. Absolutely stunning!

My second attempt was a day after Christmas. I made sure not to go on indulging in holiday merriment and drinking too much so I would wake up early the following day. My being a party pooper on Christmas day paid well as I woke up at 5AM and prepped up for that day’s adventure early on. From our home in Biñan, we reached Sta Cruz at 9AM. When during our first attempt what bothered us was the limited time, it was rain on the second. The ever pessimist Ian urged me to quit and try another day but I on the other hand was hard as steel in seeing Hulugan Falls, not tomorrow nor some other time but that very same day. What can a soft drizzle do to us anyway? He was wise not to argue any further as few minutes passed, we were already ridden on the passenger’s seat of a jeepney heading to Brgy. San Salvador in Luisiana.

The journey through the roads going to Luisiana made us discover other beautiful things the province of Laguna has to offer through the tarps displayed along the highway. There’s the magnificent waterfalls in Pagsanjan (Of course I’ve read about it in my geography class!), the irresistible underground cave river in Cavinti and the white water rafting/tubing in Majayjay. It surprised us how this province near the bustling Metro Manila got so much up its sleeves. Perhaps I was just overpowered by the thought that anything near Manila is as exploited and exposed to people and pollution as that busy city itself. I was too caught up with that thought that I didn’t open myself to endless possibilities in this side of the wood. Such a shame to know that I have been missing a lot of amazing things lain in my backyard for a very long time.

The ride got even more exciting as we paved our way through the uphill roads of Laguna. The richness of the greenery along the highway was something I appreciate the most. It made the travel bearable as it completely took my attention away from my aching butt. Normally rides like this would get me shifting positions from time to time like I’m the most uncomfortable human in the planet but the scene got me so hooked that I forgot I was cramped up inside a moving jeepney with Ian sleeping on my shoulder with all his wait on me.

Hulugan Falls Lusiana

The downpour had stopped several minutes before we reached Brgy. San Salvador which took a little longer than I expected. The jump-off point is an inverted T-junction, at the mouth of the street going to Hulugan Falls and spotting it is easy if you pay attention to the road. There’s a huge signage facing those coming from Cavinti and a small waiting shed. A little walk leading inside the street is a spot where you get your guide. After getting ourselves a guide (the meek and kind Kuya Wilbur – #27), we then rode a trike going to the captain’s house where we registered and payed the fees. From the captain’s house, we then walkedpassing through local houses towards the first block turning left to a then still under construction road.

The walk is just easy. No tiring uphill walk. Just the bearable one but it lasted for about an hour. Halfway through, along the road is a signage on the left with the trail going to the other waterfall called Talay. You can take this route if you want to see the 2-tiered Talay Falls first then trek your way down to Hulugan Falls. We chose to stay  on the road until we reached the end of construction and landed on a dirt road. We walked down the muddy trail for a little over 15 minutes before reaching a resting camp.

We rested for about 10 minutes and head on to face the challenge of the main trail going to Hulugan Falls. The trail was a very steep decent along a ragged path that stretched to about 100 meters. It was like a straight forward downhill natural staircase. The first 30-40 feet was the most difficult since the gaps between each step is longer than what a normal human can actually manage. Bamboo pipes were placed in both sides of the trail to serve as support. Upon reaching the bottom of the first part, you will then have to turn left and walk along rocks with some of them covered with moss. It will stretch to some 30 feet. Upon reaching the end of it, another descending path similar to the first part will have to be taken. It will turn left upon reaching the first 20 feet and will continue all the way down to the foot of the river. If you encounter some showers, don’t fret. It isn’t rain but sprinkles of water coming from the falls blown softly by the wind. In that same spot as well was where we had the first glimpse of the wonder of Hulugan Falls. We also have to be very careful in trekking the final left going down as it was totally muddy and dripping wet.

Standing on a rock at the base of the trail was where I first marveled at the exemplary Hulugan Falls. Her water flowing softly down from a 150 ft. (just an estimate) elevation was oh so flawless. She was so elegant. Seemed so delicate with her mist engulfing everything within her reach. I can hear her singing with every pounce she makes at the basin. She was so enchanting that she had me entangled in her charm making me care less about how crowded was her world that day.

We walked near her towards her catch basin which seemed like a natural swimming pool tracing east to an area resembling a cave. There we left our valuables to Kuya Wilbur’s care to take a swim and indulged in her cold waters. There were not too many people swimming so it was such a perfect opportunity. We settled at the rock near the falling water. We could no longer swim any further since we were advised it wasn’t safe. From the spot where we were seated, we saw several rainbows formed in the water. It was so amazing that spotting a rainbow after the other pretty much took our time. Silly but it was fun.

I still haven’t had enough when Ian told me that we were heading out. I thought it was to explore the other waterfalls in the area but heck no! He was so obsessed with going home! Upset I tried to convince him otherwise but you know men, when they are up to something, there’s no way they’d back down. So I gave up and called it a day. The events may not have turned out as planned but the very fact that Hulugan Falls exceeded far my expectations is more than enough for me to content myself with how things unfolded that day. Maybe getting a new travel buddy would do me the magic next time. Kidding. (Laughs)


MY 5 CENTS OF THOUGHTS

  • I’m saddened how hundreds or thousands of trees were cut down just to pave way to tourism in the area. Locals said construction of the road was spearheaded 6 months ago just about the same time when news about Hulugan Falls surfaced and the influx of tourists poured tremendously in the area. I wish someday we could promote tourism without sacrificing what’s still left of our forest.
  • I was surprised to know how Kuya Wilbur didn’t impose how much to pay him only saying “Whatever we think is good enough compensation for him” when asked how much would he charge us when all over the internet people are stating P650. If I would be asked whether P650 is fair enough, I think it is a little bit overpriced, at least in my opinion.

HOW TO GO THERE

  • Commute – Ride a bus going to Sta. Cruz from Buendia or Cubao Stations. You might also find some buses enroute Sta. Crus in Edsa. Fare is P140. Alight the bus in front of Sunstar Mall. From across the street beside Sunstar mall is a jeepney terminal. Ride one going to Lucena which departs every 30 minutes. Fare is P30. Asked the driver to drop you off in Brgy. San Salvador.
  • Private Car – Drive south in SLEX taking Calamba exit. From the toll gate turn left passing through the bridge then follow the National Hwy going to Sta Cruz, then to Pagsanjan and Cavinti. Upon reaching Brgy. San Salvador turn right at the street with a signage of Hulugan Falls.

THINGS TO BRING
  • Waterproof bag
  • Waterproof camera (If you don’t have one, try putting them in a waterproof case. You’ll badly need it.)
  • 2L Water
  • Packed Lunch
  • Trail food/Snack
  • Trash Bag
  • Waterproof mat (where you can place your valuables while you take a dip in the water)
  • Toiletries (For washing up)
  • Towel
  • Extra clothes

SUMMARY OF EXPENSES
  • RT Fare Sta. Cruz – P280
  • RT Fare Sta. Cruz – Brgy. San Salvador – P70
  • RT Fare Jump-off to Captain’s house – P30
  • Registration Fee – P20
  • Guide Fee (Up to you) – P650 (Hulugan-Talay-Aliw Falls) or P300 (Hulugan Falls)
  • Bath – P20

TOTAL – P570/Pax for a group of 2 ***Bring friends along to at least have the 5 of you share the guide fee cost.


OTHER INFORMATION
  • Guides are available at the registration point. While others may recommend a specific guide, please understand that there are 130 of them and it would be for everybody’s best interest if we would give them equal chance.
  • The latest that local officials will allow tourists to the see Hulugan Falls is no later than 3PM unless you are to stay overnight.
  • There is a campsite situated by the river above Hulugan Falls. Camping fee is P50 per person.
  • If you still haven’t had enough chasing waterfalls, you can visit Talay and Aliw Falls. Please note that Aliw Falls is situated within a different Barangay than Hulugan and Talay Falls which may require you to get a new guide or pay another fee.
  • Locals sell special bibingka which is perfect as snack after the long trek while marveling at the beauty of the waterfalls.
  • The parking area for those bringing their car is beside the Brgy. captain’s house. Not sure though whether there is a parking fee.
  • To those going home to Cavite, you can get off the terminal of passenger vans routing to Calamba/Sta. Rosa. Dropped off is at Sta. ROSA public market. The terminal for vans routing Cavite is a few walk away from the drop off point . There you can ride another passenger van going home.
  • Isdaan Floating Restaurant is a perfect sidetrip after a long day chasing waterfalls.

SAMPLE ITINERARY
  • Hulugan Falls only

0530: Assembly Buendia/Cubao Station
0600: ETD Sta Cruz
0800: Sta Cruz
0900: San Salvador Registration site
1000: Hulugan Falls
1200: Lunch
1400: Pack and Leave
1500: Wash up
1600: Head Home

  • Hulugan, Talay & Aliw Falls

0530: Assembly Buendia/Cubao Station
0600: ETD Sta Cruz
0800: Sunstal Mall Sta Cruz
0900: San Salvador Registration site
1000: Hulugan Falls
1200: Lunch
1400: Talay Falls
1600: Aliw Falls
1700: Wash Up
1800: Head home


OTHER INTERESTING PLACES TO VISIT IN LAGUNA
  • Isdaan Floating Restaurant
  • Bukal Falls
  • Taytay Falls
  • Mt. Romelo, Buruwisan Falls and the other stunning waterfalls
  • Pagsanjan Falls
  • Buntot Palos Falls
  • Pandin and Yambo Lakes
  • Cavinti Underground River Cave

There you go folks! If there is anything I missed to mention, feel free to leave them on the comments box below. Until next time. See yah. 🙂

CASARORO FALLS & PULANGBATO FALLS: 2 Stunning Waterfalls in Visayas You Might Have Never Heard Of.

Dumaguete is surrounded with exquisite waterfalls all of which are breathtaking and worth every bead of sweat and trouble. In fact they are all equally stunning that you would want to see all of them at once. But when you’re a little pressed with time, would you know which one to choose and see first and which one to leave for later? In  the battle of beauty and convenience, only two waterfalls in Dumaguete stand out among tourists, The Casaroro Falls and Pulangbato Falls, both of which are situated in the sleepy town of Valencia.

Allow me to save you all the thinking as what I have for you as you browse down to the end of this post are firsthand experience and honest opinion of mine telling you what Casaroro falls and Pulangbato Falls are all about.

CASARORO FALLS

I tell you if there is one thing I would warn you about, it’s the fact that Casaroro Falls is a play hard to get kind of waterfall just like most of the other majestic waterfalls in the country. She is a 20-minute motorcycle ride from the town proper of Valencia and another 15 minutes walk down a 357 steps stairway. And just when you think you are free of all the hassle after that, such a shame as you are totally mistaken. From the base of the stairway, you have to endure 20-30 minutes of trek through a muddy and rugged terrain scattered with boulders of every shape and size all the way to where lies Casaroro Falls. This trek isn’t for the fainthearted. This is for those whose got the resolve enough to get through the challenge of occasionally tripping and falling on your back. This is for those whose got lungs that can bag unlimited supply of air as you will badly need it. This is for those whose got no knees that will suddenly turn to jelly at anytime. This is for those who are really up to the challenge and will stop at nothing just to behold this exquisite work of nature.

TRAVEL GUIDES TO CASARORO FALLS & PULANGBATO FALLS
The steep 350 stairway down.

So what exactly awaits you after the trouble you’ve gone through?… It is that sight that will literally soothes you and relieve you of all that exhaustion you endured just to get you to where you are. It is that feeling that will make you forget what you’ve gone through as the sight in front of you is what made it worth of it all. It is that calmness within your soul as you watch yourself get tangled in a dream while the gushing waters of Casaroro Falls sings you a lullaby.

TRAVEL GUIDES TO CASARORO FALLS & PULANGBATO FALLS
The real challenge of the trek

Casaroro Falls exudes unearthly elegance. She is like a deity. An angel from heaven. Her presence is serenity. Sanity even. Her beauty is something you’ll never get tired of. She will make you feel oblivious of the world and every nuisance of this mundane life. She will charm you in a way that no one can as if trapping you in a spell no power in this world can ever break. Yes. She is exemplary as that.

TRAVEL GUIDES TO CASARORO FALLS & PULANGBATO FALLS
So near yet to far

How To Go There: Go to Dumaguete City. From there, ride a PUJ (Public Utility Jeep) from the marketplace going to the town of Valencia. Get off the terminal. From there, you can ride motorcyles locally known as habal-habal to Casaroro Falls. Alternatively, you can rent motorcycles from Dumaguete and follow the route going to Valencia to Taft Street where Casaroro Falls is located.

TRAVEL GUIDES TO CASARORO FALLS & PULANGBATO FALLS
Getting lost in her mystique

Safe Budget:
* DIY Commute – P234 Includes: Fare to Valencia P24, Motorcycle with guide P200 (You can add another P100 to include Pulangbato Falls in the tour) and Entrance Fee P10.
* DIY Motorcycle: – P450 Includes: Motorycle rental and gas and Entrance Fee of P10.
* Organized Tour (Hotels): P300 for a minimum of 4 people.


PULANGBATO FALLS

Don’t ever think to end a day without seeing Pulangbato Falls while you are in Valencia. While the alluring Casaroro Falls may seem to be good enough reason to cap off the day, not seeing Pulangbato falls is a miss you might regret until your dying days. She may be the exact opposite of the more famous, more photographed Casaroro as she doesn’t play hard to get but don’t ever think her being easy isn’t worth a million snaps of your camera.

TRAVEL GUIDES TO CASARORO FALLS & PULANGBATO FALLS
How do you like to wake up next to this sight in the morning every single day?

Pulangbato Falls is located within a place locals call Red River Valley. It is 30-45 minutes of motorcycle ride from the town proper of Valencia and if you aren’t into trekking for a few good minutes then fret not as you don’t need to just to see this beguiling waterfall. From the registration point, you can already hear her waters calling you out singing to you like soulful sirens. After registration, all you have to do is walk for a good 15 steps and there she lies, a priceless luxury you can indulge in.

Pulangbato falls speaks true to its name. She will enchant you in her crimson world. Her color may be resembling that of blood but she is as enticing as a red velvet. Her cool pristine waters running over red limestone rocks is one of the few things in this world one can call perfect. She is a tempest. Seductive. Irresistible. She will remind you of strong women. Hard as a warrior but gentle as silk. You can try to resist a dip in her enchanting world but mind you, it is futile as she already have you wrapped in her arms from the very first minute your eyes set sight of her charm.

TRAVEL GUIDES TO CASARORO FALLS & PULANGBATO FALLS
Speechless moments in the presence of the RED QUEEN

How to go there: From Dumaguete, ride a PUJ to Valencia and from the drop off point hire a motorcyle (habal-habal) going to Pulangbato Falls. For those renting scooters or motorbikes, just follow the route going to Valencia. From there ask the locals for directions to Red River Valley or Barangay Malabo. You need not worry as the journey towards the waterfall is as smooth as the roads leading you there.

Safe Budget:
* DIY Commute – P244 Includes: Fare to Valencia P24, Motorcycle with guide P200 (You can add another P100 to include Casaroro Falls in the tour) and Entrance Fee P20.
* DIY Motorcycle: – P450 Includes: Motorycle rental and gas and Entrance Fee of P20.
* Organized Tour (Hotels): I’m not sure with this one. Better to ask your hotel staff for more info.

CONCLUSION: These two waterfalls are equally stunning. Seeing them would be worth every minute of your time. I would never say that one is better than the other as they each have distinct features and different ways to charm their ways to your heart. I would encourage you to see both of them.

There you go lovely people. If you have questions for me, feel free to leave your comments or e-mail me at keza_m@awanderfulsole.com. Also check my BUDGET TRAVEL GUIDE TO DUMAGUETE for helpful ideas on your trip on this side of the archipelago. Thanks for sticking around. Please don’t forget to share this awesome post. 🙂



Chasing Waterfalls: 5 Stunning Waterfalls in Iligan City

Waterfalls are undeniably breathtaking. They are heavenly. Their presence is calming and serene despite the mighty roaring of their waters. The beautiful music of their gushing waters endlessly falling down is like a song I and you wouldn’t get tired to play in repeat. They are lovely sirens. Fascinating and alluring but a tease, a danger in some way. How fun is it to chase waterfalls? Super! So lets now pack our bags and head to “City of Majestic Waterfalls” that is Iligan in the province of Lanao del Norte.

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