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This blog is an amateur photographer's attempt to show how beautiful the world really is. He is drawn to the colors of nature like a moth to a candle light. What are showcased here are nature's grand display of colors at sunrise and sunset, beautiful beaches and off-the-beaten track locations in his beloved Philippines, waterfalls and some of nature's great sculptures, architectural gems, and other views from around SE Asia that he was fortunate to see at one point.

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July 30, 2009

balagbag falls: rediscovering real's cascading treasure


Balagbag Falls
Balagbag's double cascade

It was a rainy week. A low pressure area (LPA) in the South China sea was threatening Luzon's west coast while a typhoon is zipping by the north eastern side. While most put their weekend travel plans on hold, I was on a 4AM bus with two friends to Real, a small rustic town facing the Pacific Ocean, on a falls hunt. I decided to pack light and return to Manila in the afternoon so I just brought minimal photo gears and a small lunch (3 pieces of boiled sweet potato and 2 pieces of banana).

The fresh mountain air (non air-conditioned bus) and the beautiful sunrise made the 3 hour bus ride enjoyable. Our bus snaked along the Sierra Madre mountain road at full speed. The hair-raising cornering (I had the pleasure of a window seat with a full view of the chasms and cliffs off the side of the road) was enough to keep me awake the whole time.

We arrived at Brgy. Tingnoan in Real just after sunrise. I was getting excited to reach Balagbag and see how it looks in the rainy season. Its been 4 years since I last visited the falls, and the last time I went there I was just carrying a point and shoot camera.

Since "tourist season" is over, we found the falls practically deserted (save for a group of 5 who were about to leave). Nothing much has changed with the place since I last saw it. But the falls are now fuller due to the recent rains.

From Afar
main falls

Balagbag falls is a two level cascade with a deep catch basin on the second cascade. The first falls is huge - more than three stories high. But the water flows softly down to dozens of small cascades like melting candle. There is no catch basin on the first falls as the water flows on to the second drop.

Perspective
a friend shooting the main falls

I moved closer to the falls to appreciate its intricate mini-cascades. This is the first time I got this close to a waterfalls without getting my gears wet. It was as if the water flows along a precisely determined path to minimize splashes.

Balagbag Falls up close
Balagbag details

Aside from the two major falls there, there is a small drop midway between the two big ones. You'll be passing by this small falls as you climb up to the first from the campsite.

Auxiliary
double drop

The catch basin is just big enough to fit a couple of persons. Its like having your own personal cascade and hydro-massage setup. Tempting as it was, the cold water kept all of us from jumping into the small pool.

Balagbag Small Cascade
a closer look at the small drop

By midday it started to darken as storm clouds began to form. In my excitement to get photos I forgot to arrange a pick up with our tricycle. So we just skipped lunch, packed our gears, and started the long walk back to the main road. In hindsight, I'm glad I forgot. It was a great hike along a scenic coast road, and my friends needed the exercise.

I have more photos here.

How to get there

Ride on a bus bound for Infanta or Real Quezon (Real fare: 180 pesos). Get off at the intersection of Real-Mauban coastal road and wait for jeepneys bound for Mauban. Tell the driver to drop you near Balagbag falls. The falls is just a short hike from the road.

If its too early its best to get off at Brgy Tingoan just 2km farther from the intersection. From there you can hire a tricycle to Balagbag Falls. (Fare 150++ pesos, depending on your haggling skills)

(Photo above courtesy of Buboy Eito)
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Lantaw
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30 comments:

lito antoque said...

nice photos!

Lantaw said...

thanks lito!

Abaniko said...

Beautiful captures!

the donG said...

i love the most the first and the fifth photo bai. ingat sa byahe.

Lantaw said...

Abaniko, thanks for the visit!

Dom, thanks bai! sana makasama ka dun sa susunod

Photo Cache said...

Ang ganda ganda naman. You really capture its essence, I thought. Great job.

my entry is here: www.ewok1993.wordpress.com

SandyCarlson said...

These are treasures, indeed.

Sylvia K said...

You captures are exquisite and those are without a doubt the most beautiful falls I've ever seen! Your photos truly took my breath away! Thank you for sharing such an incredible place!

Have a great week!

Sylvia

marites said...

wah...*jaw dropped* you sure know how to find the most beautiful places from off the beaten paths in the Philippines! love the waterfalls and the stunning captures you did of them. parang ang sarap sumama sa inyo minsan ah. :)

chrome3d said...

Those were some incredible shots you got there. Certainly worth all the travelling!

Jenn said...

Yeah, we were one of those that canceled a dive trip to Verde Island. To cross Puerto Galera from batangas was deemed unsafe last weekend. BUT you obviously had a great one! That's a lovely falls.

Arija said...

Wonderful waterfalls and of course absolutely marvellous photos.

Babooshka said...

Absolutely stunning images. Great timing and exposure.

Lantaw said...

photo cache, thanks! it was a long trip going there but it was worth it.

Sandy, thanks! ^^

Sylvia, glad you like the photos very much! thanks!

Marites, pag nandito ka sa Manila and you have some spare time for a trek, just email me :)

Lantaw said...

chrome3d, yup it was certainly worth it. thanks!

jenn, this was a trip the two weeks ago, kakatapos lng ng typhoon. Last week when Typhoon Jolina was here I was climbing Mt. Romelo :D

Arija, Thanks!

Babooshka, Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Nice Photo's. BUT DO ANY OF YOU UNDERSTAND THE HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF THESE FALLS. During World War II, a Guerrilla Army of Filipinos and Americans hid their base camp on top of Mount Balagbag. These falls were their secret entrance to the camp. Several Machine guns were placed at the entrance at the top of the falls. For more information read the book "Lieutenant Ramsey's War" by Edwin Price Ramsey.Ramsey's War" by Edwin Price Ramsey.

Anonymous said...

Nice Photo's. BUT DO ANY OF YOU UNDERSTAND THE HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF THESE FALLS. During World War II, a Guerrilla Army of Filipinos and Americans hid their base camp on top of Mount Balagbag. These falls were their secret entrance to the camp. Several Machine guns were placed at the entrance at the top of the falls. For more information read the book "Lieutenant Ramsey's War" by Edwin Price Ramsey.

Lantaw said...

@Anonymous - Thanks for that, BUT YOU ARE WRONG! The Mt. Balagbag being referred to in the book is near Licao-licao on the borders of Montalban and Bulacan. I frequent that place for mountain biking on weekends.

lakwatsera de primera said...

Hello Lantaw, ayan dahil din sa ganda ng pictures mo, naispire na naman ako na puntahan din yan and maybe irappel din kung pwede. Thanks for sharing, idol ka talaga! :-)

Lantaw said...

haha thanks Claire!

Anonymous said...

ganda jan

luisa said...

balagbag falls is located at bulacan right??
i really really love your shots...
it really inspire me to pursue my plan this coming indepence day to visit the place..
sir would you mind if i copy some of your shots?
i just what my friends to see how beautiful the place is...thank you so much.
Godbless

Lantaw said...

@luisa, balagbag falls is in Real, Quezon

Anonymous said...

i was born in brgy. tignoan . i remember nung bata pa ako. me and my childhood friend was play in balagbag falls. its a nice place most before, when i came back in tignoan i visit in balagbag falls. laki ng pinagbago. but the beauty are sleel the same. ganda talaga. kaya nga gusto kong laging umuuwi dito.

Anonymous said...

if you visit in balagbag falls also visit nonok falls near in balagbag falls

chaise said...

wow .. nice photos! i'd love to visit that falls!

Anonymous said...

i know that place! I've been there for many times. Real Quezon is my province.

the Best talaga jan sa Balagbag!

Anonymous said...

where po makakasakay ng bus pa real?? san po ang bus station??

Anonymous said...

Amazing photos as always by Allan,,hope to visit balagbag falls someday soon...Rowena

Lantaw said...

Its very accessible and not hard to find :)

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