Travel Mindanao | Asik-asik Falls: The Long Journey, Rough Rides and Enchantment

The enchanting Asik-asik Falls
The enchanting Asik-asik Falls

There was a little apprehension in the next leg of our #TravelMindanao adventure coming from Lake Sebu, South Cotabato. We were headed northern counterpart of Cotabato this time and we can’t help thinking about its tainted reputation of sudden insurgencies. I’ve traveled to places like this while most of the time its safe, it helps to keep a low-profile so we were cautious. What ensued was the most arduous journey of #TravelMindanao in my opinion but rewarded with the sight of Asik-Asik Falls in Alamada, North Cotabato. Personally, one of the most enchanting and surreal falls I’ve seen in the Philippines.

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Travel Mindanao | Lake Sebu Zipline and The Seven Falls

Lake Sebu Zipline over Hikong Bente
Lake Sebu Zipline over Hikong Bente

Lake Sebu has seen its share of development in the years. Apart from the tranquil three lakes in this land of dreamweavers, the Lake Sebu Zipline has been a big draw — being the highest in the country and personally the most scenic as well. The #TravelMindanao team of course wouldn’t miss experiencing this one. Even if I had rode the Lake Sebu Zipline before, I was still excited to try it again. The group headed to Hikong Alu, the first of the seven falls in Lake Sebu where the jump-off for the zipline is stationed.

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Kalinga | Trek to Tulgao Palan-ah Falls and Hot Spring

The Palan-ah Falls in Tulgao
The Palan-ah Falls in Tulgao

“No wonder not many people go here. This road to Tulgao Village is treacherous!” This I thought as I strive to keep my balance on our habal-habal (motorbike) as we ascend this very (very) rough road. At times we had to go down and walk just to be safe. I told myself that before that if I go back in Kalniga, I would visit the Palan-ah Falls we missed on our last visit. On our third day in Kalinga, we found ourself in a 30-minute hellish ride at a narrow high-altitude dirt road to Tulgao Village.

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Sta Cruz Falls in Kapatagan | An Unexpected River Trek to the Falls

Sta Cruz Falls
The wide and veil-like Sta Cruz Falls in Kapatagan

Maybe we got a little too comfortable when we visited the Cathedral Falls. Going to Sta Cruz Falls, also in Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte, was an unexpected contrast yet still a welcome adventure. Since most of us haven’t been there (except for Alex of Bagdok on the Road) and we had no idea what the trail is like. We only knew that from the highway, the falls is at the tail end of a 1.5 – 2km trek along the river. We got two guides with us after meeting with the Mayor of Kapatagan Mr Lagura and Sta Cruz Barangay Captain Neceas Booc, just to assure our safety. I think they had a good idea of what lay beyond the peeling and undistinguishable signage “This way to Sta Cruz Falls” by the road-side and letting us discover it for ourselves what’s ahead.

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The Cathedral Falls in Kapatagan | A Roadside Wonder Falls

Cathedral Falls
Impressive looking rock formations at Cathedral Falls

Usually when I talk about waterfalls, I talk about the great lengths on how to reach a good one, the extensive hikes, the stair climbs and the sweat you have to invest. Well Cathedral Falls, found in Baranggay Waterfalls in Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte defies the norms. After a 15-minute habal-habal ride from the main bus terminal in Kapatagan, we pulled off on the road and there it was in all its glory.

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A Year in Travels September 2013 | Calaguas Islands and Lanao del Norte Waterfalling

Spotless. The pure shores of Mahabang Buhangin Beach
Spotless. The pure shores of Mahabang Buhangin Beach

It’s been much talked about by my backpacking friends how wonderful the island of Calaguas is. Finally this month, I was able to visit the place many thanks to Isla Lipana who initiated the Philippine Gems campaign, a search for emerging tourist destination in the country. Calaguas Islands and its Mahabang Buhangin didn’t disappoint. The journey may be long but it was well worth it. It eventually won the top spot in the Philippine Gems.

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Soak in the Fun at Kalubihon Falls and Dalipuga Falls

The showers of Kalubihon Falls
The showers of Kalubihon Falls

We’re still mid-way from a day of waterfalling in Iligan City and Iligan Bloggers Society still has a couple more in store for us. Satiated from lunch at Pampam Falls, the group was ready to move to the nearby Kalubihon Falls. It took us about a quarter of an hour’s hike, from gradual ascending hills to steep rock walls with some natural pools coming from a stream above. From the looks of the trail, this promises to be an interesting one.

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