Baler, Philippines — WHATEVER POTIONS the Creator has added to make each waterfall majestic, they work well for many of us. This writer included.
Though this town is known as a surfing mecca for its gigantic waves, its mountains hold equally-satisfying jewels in the form of waterfalls. A trip to the Central Luzon province of Aurora where this town serves as the provincial capital is not complete without visiting these wonders.
No matter how simple or grand one may be, waterfalls are magical. They cleanse us in ways we cannot fathom. Soothing, simply breathtaking, they never fail to amaze our inner souls so we always find ourselves enjoying them with so much gusto.
There are three known waterfalls in Baler: Diguisit Falls, Caunayan Falls, and Ditumabo Falls. Allow us to introduce them to you.
Touring the town’s tourist spots include a stop at Diguisit Falls, found just beside the main road. Free for tourists, Diguisit is quite simple but it is effortlessly beautiful and enchanting. For someone who lives in the metro for a long time, the view is already a luxury that neither can be simply ignored nor be taken for granted.
While most of the tourists just drop by to have their photos taken with Diguisit Falls as the backdrop, we didn’t think twice to taking our shirts off and jumping in for a swim. There are moments when thinking twice is not necessary and that include taking a shower at a nature’s gift.
A few kilometers away from Baler is the neighboring town of San Luis, home to Aurora’s scenic many waterfalls. It could be reached after around 30-minute drive from Baler. Among its falls is the less famous ‘Caunayan Falls’ in the village of Pimentel. Easier to trek as it is only around 200 meters away from the main village road, Caunayan becomes an alternative whenever tourists overflow in the more known falls.
We didn’t get to visit Caunayan but tourists who’ve been to the area says it is worth seeing as well.
In the heart of San Luis are the waterfalls named after one of its villages, Ditumabo. The popular among them however is known as the ‘Mother Falls’ for it serves as the tallest waterfalls here, aside from its being at the source of the river that runs the town’s hydro power plant.
Only by trekking around 1.2 kilometers from the village proper or about 30 to 45 minutes trek one can enjoy the beauty of the Mother Falls. On our way up to her embrace, we met a lot of kids and senior citizens smitten by her glory — the age groups’ presence in the area testifying it’s an easy trek going up.
Ditumabo Falls gets crowded on weekends, locals say. Around 2,000 to 4,000 visitors flock the the area per day, according to reports. The site, being managed by the local tourism office asks each visitor an ecotourism development fee of P30. Tour guides in the area charge P200-P300.
It was a good decision to visit the falls late hours of Friday before the falls close for visitors at 4pm as suggested by our local guide slashed driver, Kuya Boyet. He anticipated a bulk of tourists to visit the falls by weekend especially that it’s a long weekend.
So our experience was quite different. There were only around 20 of us sharing the beauty of the Mother Falls. After a few minutes of enjoyable swim, only the three of us remained when the last groups of tourists decided to go down. We satisfied ourselves by swimming non-stop in a 20-meter pool below the 140-feet high natural showers. The huge boulders served both as a resting place and a temple for pictorials.
We can thank Kuya Boyet enough for obliging us to push through despite the heavy rains, and after a long day that started at 4am sandwiched by a surfing lesson under the scorching sun earlier in the afternoon. But it was all worth it. Dimutabo Falls are Aurora’s hidden jewels now found. We won’t mind paying another visit when we return.
It wasn’t our first time chasing waterfalls but with our recent experience, we are sure to be chasing more in this lifetime. Blame the Creator’s unparalleled potions for that for we are simply suckers of anything awesome.
How to go to Baler? From Metro Manila, ride a bus (Genesis/Joybus) from Cubao. It takes 4-6 hours to Baler. Fare is between P450-P750 depending on your choice of bus. We took the De Luxe (Sleeper Bus with washroom) and it took us less than 5 hours, non-stop. Fare was at P750 with free water and light snacks. [Featured photo is of Ditumabo Falls taken by Maui Sanvictores].