Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Falling for Mindanao's Falls - Part 2

[This article was originally posted in Buhay Pinoy of the Philippine Online Chronicles entitled Mindanao's Amazing Waterfalls - Part 2 ]

Alalum Falls

Many times, we have traveled down the roads of Bukidnon yet we have not discovered that there’s one waterfall that can be seen just along Sayre highway in Barangay Kisolon, Sumilao, Bukidnon. On rainy days, the 148 feet high Alalum Falls double its width and its rustling sound can be heard loudly from the highway. It wasn’t raining when we dropped by to view it in October 2013 but it still looked beautiful.

Lake Sebu Falls

Lake Sebu, a first class town in South Cotabato located in the Allah Valley near Surallah, is one of the places we never tire of going back to. We were there twice in 2009 and twice in 2012. One of its attractions is its placid lake called Lake Sebu. The town is also known for its seven waterfalls which may all be visible but not all are easily accessible.

”The Seven Waterfalls or simply called the Seven Falls is a series of majestic cascading waterfalls lined-up one after the other. Aside from the three great Lakes, the Seven Falls is the main tourist spot of Lake Sebu. The Seven Falls are given each a native T’boli name. The First Falls is called Hikong Alu which means passage. The Second Falls, the highest among the seven, is called Hikong Bente which means immeasurable. The Third Falls is called Hikong B’lebed which means zigzag. The Fourth Falls is called Hikong Lowig which means booth. The Fifth Falls is Hikong Kefoi which means wild flower. The sixth falls is called Hikong Ukol which means short. And the seventh and last falls is called Hikong Tonok which means soil.” (Source: DENR)

The most accessible of the seven falls is the Hikong Alu. One of the attractions in going to Lake Sebu is its zipline adventure from which one can see a wider view of Hikong Alu as well as the other falls cascading from the mountains. If one is lucky, a rainbow can be seen above one of the falls which can be seen below the zipline. The interesting part about that zipline is it goes one way for 740 meters and 48 seconds and another way for 420 meters and half the time making it the most exhilarating zipline adventure we’ve ever taken.

Virgin Falls

The last but not the least of the waterfalls in this discussion is the Virgin Falls in Kapatagan, Digos City in Davao del Sur which we visited in May 2013. Let me share what I have written after that treacherous adventure we took.

“Virgin Falls is located at the heart of the Kapatagan forest. Normally it takes an agile person to trek for just 20 minutes from Sitio Balatikan but for middle-aged newbies like me, the trek took double that time. We first went past a corn field and a small creek, deciding to push through with the trek despite the shower. Our guide, Jun, did not tell us that after the corn field we will be going down a rocky and treacherous trail with just ferns and tree roots to hold on to. Not only that, there were parts where a deep ravine on one side lay waiting to devour anyone whose foot would slip on the then already muddy path.

The kids easily made the hike while the guide had to hold my hand and literally had to guide me down and up the trail. I kept asking the kids how they were and they told me to worry about myself. My husband brought up the rear, worried sick, and made sure I didn’t slip. Towards the middle of the trek he was about to call the trip off but the kids were far ahead and I told him we were already there we might as well just finish the walk. He was afraid I would have a hard time going up on our way back.

At the end of the trail, we saw the 20-meter cascading water akin to a lady’s long white hair flowing down between two huge moss-covered rocks. The enchanting beauty was a sight to behold! The beauty of the falls and the icy cold water where the kids took a dip more than made up for the agonizing trek. Although I didn’t go down anymore from where I stopped I was in awe from where I was. Ah! It was another of God’s handiwork we were privileged to see.

A trip to Virgin Falls is not for the weak-kneed and faint-hearted much more for the ‘maarte’ ones. I’m glad we made it! So much for a Mother’s Day celebration in the jungle. But it was another of our family’s adventures which will forever be sweet in our memories.”

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