“San ka galing? (Where did you come from?)”
“Sa malayo! Sa merloquet! (Somewhere far! At Merloquet)”
For Zamboangueños, ‘merloquet’ used to be a fabled place pertaining to somewhere far far away when used in colloquial conversation. Nowadays, it pertains to Merloquet Falls that has gained popularity in the recents years due to its wide pour and lovely wall of cascades. It is still far far away in Zamboanga City but I managed to visit the place as a side trip while in the region.
Road to Sibulao
Merloquet Falls had long intrigued me after seeing a number of beguiling shots from photographer friends who had been there. With some spare time before leaving Zamboanga City, I was already planning to go there. Fortunately, Potpot of TravelTrilogy hooked us up with Errold of iTravel Tourist Lane, a travel agency specializing group tours around Zamboanga and nearby provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-tawi.
Errold picked us up with a van at 6am sharp from our hotel in Zamboanga City. We had a quick satti breakfast before heading north. Merloquet Falls is found at Barangay Sibulao, Zamboanga. That’s about 75km from Zamboanga City proper and close to the border of the next province Zamboanga del Norte. Travel time takes about two hours by private vehicle.
The zigzag road to Merloquet Falls is well paved coming from the national road. I noticed the elevation rose as our van drove deep into the barangay Sibulao. A hut with a sari-sari store served as the registration area and jump-off for the falls. At the back of the hut is a clean basic toilet. There is ample parking space near the hut.
There’s already a cemented stairway leading down to the falls. It’s roughly an easy 15–20 minutes descent then a short walk to the main falls. Very accessible and probably one of the easiest falls to get to. Merloquet Falls looks awe-inspiring in real life as in the pictures. Those layer of rock walls creates a wonderful wall of cascades. Looking at it, I’m estimating its 10–13 meters high from basin and at least 30 meters wide. It’s quite easy to climb up to the 2nd level and enjoy the natural shower. Since we came in on a weekday, there weren’t many people but I’m guessing this place is packed on weekends. I heard there’s an upper tier falls too but we weren’t able to check since we’re pressed for time.
Merloquet Falls is very accessible and beautiful falls. No more special adjectives needed. Simply an enjoyable the falls tucked between lush greenery. One of the easiest to go to coming from a 2-hour ride. I’m glad we made this side trip.
If you’re in a group of up to 10pax, it is more convenient to hire a van going to Merloquet Falls. Contact Errold of iTravel Tourist Lane for a hassle-free trip to the falls. Travel time is 2-hours
If you plan on doing visiting Merloquet Falls on your own. Here’s a handy tip/guide for you.
- From Zamboanga City, ride a bus bound for Pagadian City, Dipolog or Ipi at Guiwan Terminal. Aircon and non-aircon bus depart regularly throughout the day. Ask the driver to drop you of at Barangay Vitali near the PNP Station. Travel time is 2–3 hours with stops. Fare is around Php 200.
- Hire a habal-habal to take you to the falls. Fare is Php 50–100 per way. You can negotiate a roundtrip fare with wait time.
- Entrance Fee is only Php 5.00 upon registration
- It is recommended to bring your own food and drinks. Do take back whatever you bring. Merloquet Falls also have the same problem with other falls as there are trash already at the picnic grounds. Please, leave no trace.
- Bring clothes for swimming and spare clothes for change.
- Go on a weekday for less people.
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.