Sibuyan island is one of the most fascinating in the country in terms of biodiversity. Its 445 square meter area is home to more than 123 species of trees (54 are endemic), estimated 700 vascular plants species, 131 species of birds, ten fruit bats and more animals that have yet to be catalogued. A naturalist haven that it wasn’t many are calling this the “Galapagos of Asia”. But Sibuyan Island should be called by its own character, home of the world’s densest forest and rich biodiversity. I was excited to finally step on this island of MIMAROPA and glad to be able to explore the waterfalls of Sibuyan Island. There are around 44 waterfalls but only a number accessible to tourist. Check them out below.
Finding ourselves billeted in San Fernando, the south side of Sibuyan island, the first waterfalls we visited on our first afternoon was Dagubdob Falls. The way to Dagubdob Falls is quite interesting too. You’ll encounter endemic plants like the katmon sibuyanesis (Dillenia Sibuyanensis), and even a busisi berry as we cross a few rivers to reach the 4-tiered falls. I saw a few sunbirds, wood swallows and egrets too. ABS-CBN foundation managed to design the trail to make it more accessible in 2011. It still is but I noticed some of the wooden structures, like the bridge, needs maintenance now.
Dagubdob Falls itself was fun. The waters were clear. The 2nd tier has a really wide basin to swim in. The top tier has a beautiful cascade too. There is a traverse trail but the wooden bridge at the top was unstable.
Location: Brgy. Espana, San Fernando, Romblon
Fees: P10/head – Sibuyan locals; P50 – visitors
The second falls we visited after our trip in Cresta de Gallo was Busay Falls also in San Fernando. It’s near the area of the Konsehal Titing Rios’ house who hosted our lunch. The trail to Busay Falls was a pleasant walk among coconut trees. I saw a large flock of Asian Glossy Starlings in the area too.
The hike took less than an hour. It was a surprise visit to the falls as it wasn’t in our IT. But since it’s near the area, I guess it doesn’t hurt to include. I am glad we visited this falls despite not having a tripod to take a proper photo. It his a high and powerful falls with a nice deep basin to swim in. Since we had limited time. I just had a quick dip to wash of the salt water from our island hop.
Location: Panangcalan, San Fernando, Romblon
Cawa Cawa Falls
Seven kilometers deep into the heart of Cajidiocan forest is Cawa Cawa Falls. The main basin, 10 yards deep, resembles a cauldron, hence the Spanish name. It has 3 levels but one has to have to do a little bouldering to see all levels. But those who does’t want to romance the rocks can stay at the lower basin which is also swimmable and has some pretty clear waters.
What interest me more in this area is that Cawa Cawa Falls is located within the ancestral domain of the indigenous people Sibuyan Mangyan Tagabukid (also called May-as). Not related to the mangyans of Mindoro as this tribe, 800 strong, are Sibuyanons. They live in the hills and forest of the island. They were our gracious host and we partook of a humble feast of sweet potatoes, sticky rice and delicious freshwater shrimp, “uyang”.
A local favorite from the folks at Magdiwang municipality, Lambingan Falls was named as such since a lot of locals shows sweetness and affection in this romantic falls. Another multi-tiered falls among lush greenery that’s quite accessible. A wide basin at the bottom, a little climb up the rocks leads to the main falls. A nice basin with a lovely cascade. The area has some endemic trees to like narra, dog-an and apitong.
LOcation: Magdiwang, Romblon
Fees: P20/head for Magdiwang residents; P30/head – local visitor; P100/head for tourists
Waterfalls of Romblon
There are other waterfalls in the area. These are, at the moment, were the ones we were able to visit given the time and circumstances. Will surely want to be back and explore the other falls. Will update this list by then.
For assistance on visiting the waterfalls of Sibuyan or for more info please visit Bayay Sibuyanon at their FB Page /BayaySibuyanon/.
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.