“Let’s call this one Junakis Falls!” I remember Shugah telling the group as we were trying to recall the name of the first 2 falls we visited in Barangay Dalipuga. Well they don’t really have a name so locals consider it as part of the nearby Pampam Falls. There may be 23 falls in Iligan City but those are documented ones, this one had no name, but the crystal clear basin was calling and the cool cascades inviting. Oh what a start for our “waterfalling” adventure.
I think there’s no such word as “Waterfalling”, which somehow means similar to the waterfall hopping. But I would forgive those Iliganons who thought of it, as they have every right to coin such word in Iligan City having so much waterfalls in the vicinity. This is the 2nd year of the Waterfalling Adventure Tour (or WAT 2.0) that is organised by Iligan Bloggers Society (IBS). A group initiative to help promote Iligan City tourism which coincides with the month-long Dyandi Festival.
Off to Pampam Falls
First day of our Waterfalling Adventure is to visit 3 falls in one day. Quite possible as these three are in neighbouring Baranggays of Dalipuga and Kalubihon. Pampam Falls was on top of our list. It was a perfect day for waterfalling, the sun was high but with occasional clouds rolling by. Our jeep crawled up high the dirt road towards the villages. From that high vantage point we could see the huge quarry trail site where the devastating Typhoon Sendong left a mark almost 2 years ago in this City. A harrowing event that took many lives and still lingers to the minds of many Iliganons. But Iliganons are resilient folks and were able to recover.
The No Name Falls
It was a fairly easy 20 minutes hike from our jump off at a waiting shed near the Kalubihon Elementary School. The trail has gradual up and down slopes and fairly good cover of coconut trees passing by a few local houses and coconut farms. We stopped by this first low, 10-15 feet falls with stagnant basin, but it was a falls still and the group can’t help to have some posterity shots there. It was nice like an umbrella rock as a cascade. The moss under the stagnant pool adds an interesting turquoise color. I wouldn’t swim there though.
We were curious though when a group of local teens took a descending trail downwards from that stagnant falls. A little boy told us that there’s a nice waterfalls down there. Marky got curious so I followed his lead and alas we found a very nice waterfalls with a wide clear basin that the locals really enjoyed swimming and jumping into. The way down is a bit of a challenge as we were on top of the falls but nothing that a careful descent can’t manage. Soon, the group came in and ended up swimming on this unnamed falls. Too bad we had a schedule to keep and proceeded shortly to the said Pampam Falls.
Not so Pampam
Pampam in their local Bisaya language doesn’t really sound pleasant as it means “prostitute or a sex worker”. It was a really short ascending hike before we could reach the basin. The 25-30 feet high rock formation where the water flows looks like a giant skull with a couple of small caves like eye-sockets. The basin though was wonderful, 5-6 feet deep and wide enough for a group of 10-20 or more people to bathe in at the same time. It’s a popular picnic spot for the locals as we found out especially on the weekends. There were already a few of them there even on a weekday.
It was already noon when we got there and our stomachs have other plans – to have lunch first. We had a picnic on a small hill overlooking the falls and where locals kids would dive from to the falls basin. Pampam Falls is nice but I honestly like the “no name” falls below better, pristine and all. Pampam Falls is akin to its name, beautiful but used and abused already (see the vandalism on the rocks?) by too many people. No wonder the locals call this falls that. But still Pampam Falls is worth a visit. Just don’t get caught in the crowd.
To get to Pampam Falls, take a Kalubihon bound jeep from Iligan City proper. Another option is a Dalipuga bound jeep but alight at the Kalubihon junction. Travel time is half an hour. At the crossing, hire a habal-habal to Kalubihon Elementary School. From there ask the locals for a guide to the falls. Hike is about 20 minutes.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.