It’s really a challenge to go to places not really on everyone’s radar. Atimonan isn’t really a tourist hot spot. It has a few known sights like the Pinagbanderahan, Quezon Memorial Park and its Zigzag road known as Bitukang Manok. Aside from that, it is mainly a transit town often passed by. I did some further research and found some sites of interest like the Bantakay Falls, since I always like to incorporate nature elements in my trips. Good thing I got a hold the number of Atimonan’s tourism officer, Cecile and were able to ask directions on the phone.
They were going to Atimonan Town for the market and I made sure I go along. Even though I’ve been in Atimonan numerous times, I don’t remember ever visiting the town proper. Barangay Buhangin is just an easy 10-15minutes drive. If coming from the zig-zag or the new diversion road, it’s just left before heading to the main road to Bicol. We got into the narrow roads of the town and headed straight to the market to find a place to park. While the relatives do the shopping, we went to the Parish Church, the center of the town.
I have vague memory of the last time I stayed in this seaside town of Atimonan, Quezon province. There was a time from my grade school to high school days where the family would have an annual holy week vacation in Atimonan then in Bicol since both are my dad and mom’s province respectively. We were always looking forward to this each year since it was a really fun place to be. Our cousin’s simple house of four concrete walls and iron sheet roofs at Baranggay Buhangin was close to the sea. It was an enjoyable simple life just being there as a kid.
It’s not all about the langgonisa! While I love the Lucban langgonisa as much as its northern variant in Vigan, it was not the only reason I went to Quezon this time of the year. Come mid May, an array of colors spread through out the streets and houses of Lucban. What is usually a sleepy town with cooler weather than its neighboring provinces in Quezon, Lucban is very much alive at this time as droves of people join to celebrate the Pahiyas Festival, a tradition spanning more than five centuries.
Kagbuho Falls in Pagbilao is another off-the beaten track destination in southern Luzon region. It was so way off-the-beaten path that we were also so off-beaten lost to find this falls to the point of almost giving up. The fact that we have no guide with us and have to rely on directions from the locals we pass by, it took at least 3 hours to find it inside the forest. We only have the Palsabangon river as our guide and as much as possible never to loose it in our sight if we dare not to get deeper lost. After 2 hours of lots of river crossings we came to where the locals called the “Lihisan“, the second river tributary where we were supposed to go to the right. That’s where we got really lost looking for the right trail. Fortunately after we almost decided to give up the search, a local came by and we managed to convince the guy to point us to the right direction. The local himself haven’t been there yet but he knows where it is. I noticed this on a number of places we have been that a lot of locals haven’t even been to their own Natural Wonders.
Alas after 20 min of hiking upstream, and thanks to our guide’s help in paving our trail with his bolo and managing the rocky streams, we managed to get to the Kagbuho Falls. What a relief! Had our lunch and dipped on its cool pool. There were other smaller falls on the upper ground but we have niether time nor energy to explore. Maybe next time though we could explore more of pagbilao. The locals told us there’s a much higher waterfalls 2 hours from there, and Kagbuho is less than half of it’s size. After taking pictures and enjoying the waters, we headed back through the now familiar paths faster than before. When asking for water from a store in “Sentro” they were amused that we managed to find the falls and thought that it was our thesis or sumtin. It was then we knew that there were some military insurgence around and were lucky not to bump on any of them there. Again it was a relief for us. Another day of adventure weekend has ended.
Entering the Town of Lucban
The pastoral village of Lucban, Quezon, with the Mystical Mt. Banahaw looming over its backdrop, transforms itself into a tourist hotspot every 15th of May. With myriad colored Kipings (rice leaves) plastered on many houses id different decorative patterns, it is indeed a feast of the senses to walk (or better yet squirm) over its crowded streets when the town celebrate it’s “San Isidro Festival” popularly known as the “Pahiyas Festival”