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.
a friend shooting the main falls
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.
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)