Coming from a brief stop at the copra workers of Tagbaobo, we continued driving for about 10-minutes before finally reaching Tagbaobo falls entrance. Tagbaobo Falls, found in Barangay Kaputian is less frequented by visitors since its farther southeast of Samal Island unlike Hagimit Falls. There’s a small shed for registration and entrance fee (Php 40/head) for visitors. The falls is also known as Mangongawong Falls by the locals but they prefer the former name since it is easier to pronounce.
Closer to Nature
There are huge balete trees in the area. The place is still heavily forested and undeveloped. A short hike on a descending dirt path leads to the falls. The area is a privately owned. I like that the development just used bamboos as benches, stairs and railings. Everything feels natural. There’s an area with benches that’s ideal for picnics while enjoying the sound of the gushing water of the nearby waterfalls.
At the Island Garden Resort in Pangubatan where I was staying, I befriended three Chinese tourist who were at the same time going around the island. I crossed paths with them at Hagimit Falls and they told me they already went here in Tagbaobo Falls. They didn’t dip or bathe here when they came as they thought the water was not clean.
Upon finally seeing the falls, it’s not as bad as I thought, it’s a lot more charming even in a good secluded way. The falls has a 35-40 feet drop and has a small basin for dipping. The falls continue on further down but it would be hard to reach the lower falls. The locals made bamboo rails and chairs so people can sit down and enjoy the falls and have their feet enjoy the waters. At first I was hesitant to take a dip because the water wasn’t that clear, but I realized it’s because the force of the falls is disturbing the water. It’s not actually dirt but some soil or gains on the water. I enjoyed my first dip, the water was cold and there’s a cold draft of air from above bringing in the mist.
Soon I found myself testing the waters near the falls. It wasn’t that deep as I though. My guide Ginjan told me it was about 5 feet under the main drop so I stayed on the side, climbed the walls and went under the falls. It was refreshing and I enjoyed the natural massage on my back. When I can no longer take it, I just sat on the basin half dipping and enjoyed the natural sound of nature.
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.