A Visit to Tarangban Falls
Friends of ours had some visitors from California come to town and asked if we wanted to join them on a hiking adventure to a local area waterfalls. Challenge accepted! It’s not like I have anything better to do. Teri was just coming off a sinus malfunction and she wasn’t up to going so, I grabbed up my sidekick niece and nephew and off we went. From Calbayog City, the trip is about 45 minutes by jeepney north to the jump off point at Barangay Tinaplacan, or about 35 kilometers from Calbayog. At that point just adjacent to the highway, the local barangay office has a little outpost where we needed to register ourselves for the trip. From this location, it is about a one hour hike along the road to a point where the road ends at a lower set of rapids on the river. We decided to hire 3 habal habals for the first part of the journey. There were 10 of us in all, and we all fit comfortable on our habals (3, 3 & 4). (Watch the video below.) The cost of one habal habal is P300 for the round trip (or about $6.50USD). The trip by motorbike only took about 13 minutes. At the end of the road, we disembarked from our habals and we had a choice of which way we wanted to go. From this point, you can head directly up river a short distance to the lower “Butong Falls” or take the trail through the jungle about 40 minutes (depending on your fitness level) up the mountain to the larger and more majestic Tarangban Falls. We chose to visit Tarangban Falls. We arrived at the trail head about 9:45am and made arrangements with our habal drivers to return at 1:00pm to pick us up.
We did not waste much time at the lower part of the river and immediately began the trek into the jungle. The hike is long, about 40 minutes, and I would rate it at a medium difficulty level overall. There are a lot of rocks to step over and on, tree roots that trip you up, and with narrow dirt pathways and steep inclines, it can be a tiresome hike. If the trail were wet, then that could add an element of tricky-ness and take the difficulty level up a notch. The trail would be considered more slow-going (and hazardous) when slippery.
Once we had the falls in sight, it seemed we were close but the granduer of the falls can be deceiving from a distance. From afar, they just don’t look that big, but when you are standing at the water’s edge below the falls, they are impressive. My guess is that the water cascades for about 100 meters over a series of rocks before reaching the stream at the bottom. There is a large swimming hole (about 15 meters in diameter) at the base and is very cool and clean. The pool is also deep enough to dive into. Downstream there are several smaller rapids and little whirlpools that were fun to play around in. Traversing some of the rocks around the falls can be slippery and dangerous, especially in flip-flops and I would exercise some caution. Overall, there was not much trash as someone obviously tends to keeping the area picked up, which is a great thing. The road from the highway to the lower river is being paved and the Dept. of Tourism has a good handle on developing this great tourist spot. The road will provide direct access to more sightseers to the lower river, which was a monster hike through the jungle in the past. We learned that once the road is completed, there will officially be a park entrance fee established, and hopefully that money will go towards further park developement, good management practice and keeping the park clean and beautiful.
We spent a couple of hours at the falls, relaxing and swimming, eating our lunch and just staying cool. It was a fun trip and a beautiful place to spend part of a day, and I will definitely do it again but, next time I will be a little better prepared… I’ll wear shoes!
Recommended for this trip: Good shoes for hiking, water shoes for playing in the river (not necessary), food or snacks, plenty of water, camera, common sense, and a trash bag for your basura! (garbage)