While I was searching for places to go in Tablas, Romblon, I noticed there were plenty of waterfalls for such a small island. I knew I had to allot time to visit a few of these waterfalls during my stay. My travels have fortunately been kind to me most of the time and this one is no exemption as I was able to easily find a motorbike hire to take me around the island. Mang Alex, who I hired from the Tugdin Airport to Aglicay Beach Resort would be my wheel for chasing waterfalls in Tablas, Romblon. Our first on the list is Garing Falls in Odiongan which would be the nearest from where we are. I have to blame Jean of Aglicay Beach Resort for showing me wonderful photos of the falls though warned me it may not look like that at this time. I still decided to go anyway. Jean talked to Mang Alex and made sure we get to where we were supposed to go for the day. Mang Alex may know the main thoroughfares but not all the inner roads of the island. Our engines roared and off we go for a day of searching for waterfalls.
Ride Deep Into Progreso Weste
I was excited to go for a motorbike ride to the other parts of Tablas, Romblon but never thought I’d go deep into one of the towns of the island. Garing Falls is found in the heart of Progreso Weste. Asking directions from the locals in the area, we had to leave the comfort of the paved road to ride the narrow inner roads leading to the falls. Mang Alex was adventurous enough to take his motorbike through dirt roads past fields and even crossing at least five streams. At times, I would get off the bike for treacherous descents. We did get a sigh of relief when we saw a small signage to the falls. About half an hour of riding we were at the entrance to the falls.
Two-layered Garing Falls
A soiled tarp of the falls serves to welcome visitors before the descending stairway leading to the falls. The stairs is not that high but still can break a little sweat. The place has little development but remains lush. An elderly woman who was sweeping the grounds welcomed us and asked us to register and pay the Php 20.00 entrance fee per head. A group of teen boys were already enjoying the moderate cascades of the lower falls. One, dangling happily from a thick vine over the basin. It was wide and a bit stagnant that time since the water flow wasn’t that strong but it didn’t stop them from swimming. It was 15 meters wide and as deep as 18feet below. The boys told me that I could go up the upper basin too but its not as deep now.
It was far from the photo Jean had shown me, nor the photo from the welcome tarp. Water flows but conservatively. I could see the side of the rocks where the water may have flowed if it was stronger and just painted it in my mind. As with waterfalls its beauty is dependent on the season but the tranquility of the place remains. I went down again to the main basin and saw the guy up the rope-vine again.
When we were about to leave, a family just arrived and is ready for their picnic. I’m guessing not too many tourist go as far as this place so most of the visitors are locals. On our ride back, we found a different route which was much easier. The road isn’t as narrow and can fit a tricycle and passes through the main area of the town. We only passed by only two streams this time. Still we enjoyed the initial ride going there. Shortly we were back on the main road off to the next waterfalls.
Going to Garing Falls
Garing Falls is deep inside Baranggay Progreso Weste in Odiongan, Tablas Romblon. It is best to hire a motorbike to bring you directly to the entrance of the falls. For assistance, best to call the Municipal Tourism Office at (042) 567.6300.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.