Out of the seven waterfalls, 5 are accessible, with the first two falls being the most accessible. In fact these have become tourist traps, well at least the area around these two falls ever since the installation of the equally famous Lake Sebu zip line. While the adrenalin junkies would head straight to the zip line, some would head to the first falls for the requisite posterity shots. Fewer still would venture very near the falls to experience its raw beauty. I bet even fewer know its real name which is Hikong Alu. It was called "Dongon Falls" before, much to the disagreement of most locals.
Of the 7, Hikong Alu is the widest and its waters the most silky smooth in terms of flow. If waterfalls have gender, this would be a woman with long flowing hair. And like women, this falls is temperamental as it is beautiful.
Hikong Alu rages on
To shoot it up close was such a delightful challenge involving wits, patience, an umbrella, and lots of lens wipes. The mist is thick and wind so strong it seemed like it was raining. My umbrella had been blown away couple of times. You cannot take it by the horns, so to speak, but instead you have to go with its flow. Between its rages are periods of calm when the wind dies down and the water spray becomes manageable. These "peace times" are the perfect window to shoot: remove lens cover, wipe filter, focus, shoot, and then pray the wind does not pick up or else your shots end up with noticeable water sprays.
persistence is the key
It takes patience, with lots of unusable shots just to get a few. However I was really drawn into it I did not fully realize that I was barefoot already, with my sandals stuck in the mud somewhere.
Hikong Bente and wild flowers
The second of the 7 Falls, Hikong Bente (Immeasurable), is the tallest and equally nasty when it comes to dishing our water sprays. But it was tamer that day and I wonder why.
water now mostly flow on the left side
I did not like what the Provincial Government of South Cotabato (my very own province tsk!) did to the rocks near the catch basin. You cannot make nature look better, it already is at its best.
See some photos of the Hikong Bente before they decided to do landscaping of their own: