The surf, the easy going vibe and the interesting eats may be the draw for the destination such as La Union. But even when the swell’s down, there’s another activity to get wet while away from the coast. At the highlands of San Gabriel, La Union, the cool climes of this municipality entices with nature hikes and waterfalls like is Tangadan Waterfalls. I was participating in Lakbay Norte, a long-running annual familiarization tour of north Luzon and this was one of the stops in our itinerary I was looking forward to.
Bontoc is such an underrated destination in the Mountain Province region. I must admit that I was guilty of dismissing Bontoc as simply a gateway to other destinations like Sagada, Banaue or Kalinga. Discovering the beauty of Maligcong three years ago changed my notion of Bontoc. I realized, the town is just the tip of the iceberg. My recent visit found me in Talubin, the neighboring village 6km from Bontoc Town proper, known as the Land of Clear Waters in the province. One look into the village, it’s easy to see the abundance of water flowing through the village. Talubin village is settled comfortably at the slopes of the Cordillera Mountain Ranges where streams from the mossy forest continuously flow and a clean river runs through. We were also there to visit one of the main source of water in Bontoc, the Humuyyo Falls, located 3,700 feet above sea level.
Our bleary eyes and drowsy heads from the six-hour red-eye road trip from Manila to San Andres, Quezon was suddenly shook awake. We knew we would take a motorbike to our first destination which is Tigbi Falls, but I guess we were not ready for the tough and rough road (which is an understatement) ahead. Suddenly, I was harkened back to those butt-beating rides to waterfalls like in Asik-asik Falls in Cotabato and Tulgao Palan-ah Falls in Kalinga. While it’s certainly not of the same level of difficulty, it is that close to a tough ride in at least half an hour for me to recall them. But all that was a rewarding transit. Aside from the scenic landscape of Banaba village on the way, Tigbi Falls is where stuff of enchantments and lore are born.
It was mid-afternoon already and I was contemplating whether to visit another falls. One thing is for sure, my motorbike driver Alex is not familiar with all these places we’ve been visiting. For him, it was also an adventure but for me, it takes a bit more time stopping by, asking for directions and at times getting lost. I decided to gamble on the last fall on my way back. Tuburan Falls is already within the municipality of Odiongan so we left the main road again to find this falls on our way back from San Andres.
I asked the locals what their favorite waterfalls is on the island of Tablas, Romblon. Mablaran Falls in San Andres always seem to pop up so it got me curious. The group of teen boys I met at Garing Falls in Odiongan told me it’s much easier to go there from the main road. The way is paved like a highway and people can swim at night because there are now lights. Not that I’ll go there for a night swim, but I’m interested how it looks and why is it a local favorite. From Odiongan town proper, we rode our motorbike 23km to the northern region of the island for San Andres.
While I was searching for places to go in Tablas, Romblon, I noticed there were plenty of waterfalls for such a small island. I knew I had to allot time to visit a few of these waterfalls during my stay. My travels have fortunately been kind to me most of the time and this one is no exemption as I was able to easily find a motorbike hire to take me around the island. Mang Alex, who I hired from the Tugdin Airport to Aglicay Beach Resort would be my wheel for chasing waterfalls in Tablas, Romblon. Our first on the list is Garing Falls in Odiongan which would be the nearest from where we are. I have to blame Jean of Aglicay Beach Resort for showing me wonderful photos of the falls though warned me it may not look like that at this time. I still decided to go anyway. Jean talked to Mang Alex and made sure we get to where we were supposed to go for the day. Mang Alex may know the main thoroughfares but not all the inner roads of the island. Our engines roared and off we go for a day of searching for waterfalls.
“San po tayo papunta? Wala na po tayo sa road sa GPS map ko? Kala ko lake tong nasa kaliwa natin. Dagat na pala! (Where are we going? We’re far off the road from my GPS map. I thought this water on our left side was a lake. It turns out we’re near the sea already!)” I excitedly asked Mam Fe, the tourism officer of Sapang Dalaga in Misamis Occidental. Prior to my trip in this province, I never really did any research on the places to see here and just concerned myself with the lecture I did for the 9th Culinary Congress held in La Salle University in Ozamiz City. Since the event was over, we had a few days free to explore the province. The provincial tourism led by Sir Gain and Mam Pretzel, took us around to discover the attractions of the province. I just kept my mind open to what hidden gems they have and one municipality that clearly made a mark for me in terms of natural wonders is Sapang Dalaga. They got wonderful coastal scenery, breathtaking hills view and a beautiful waterfall that would surely attract nature lovers and adventurers.