Where To Go In Pagudpud: Kabigan Falls

Published on September 21, 2012

Our first stop for our third day in Ilocos was the Kabigan Falls. I knew that this part of our tour entails lots of walking so I made sure that I get enough sleep the night before. Although most people say that Blue Lagoon is less accessible compared to Saud Beach, I believe that we made the right decision since all the popular tourist destinations are within the area of Blue Lagoon. After a few minutes, we arrived at the entrance/receiving area of the Kabigan Falls. This is the part where you’ll pay the PHP10 entrance fee. There are also a couple of stores in this area which sell basic needs and offer paluto for tourists. Boyet and I only shared cup noodles and canned tuna for breakfast so I decided to look for something to eat. I didn’t want to faint in the middle of trekking. I saw a familiar street food which made me a little nostalgic. I bought karioka which only costs PHP10. I finished the three balls in no time so I decided to buy another stick of karioka while Boyet was munching on the lumpiang toge.

Aside from the PHP10 per person entrance fee, tourists are also required to pay a minimum of PHP100 for the tour guide. The one assigned to us was Ate Cielo. Tour guides in Ilocos are the epitome of what every tour guide should be – warm, friendly, knowledgeable of the place, trustworthy and honest.

As we were on our way to start the trekking, Ate Cielo asked us if we availed of the paluto. For a minimum amount, they will cook anything you like the way you like it. Thinking that it would probably be lunch time when we finish the trekking, we decided to avail it. We were supposed to go back to tell that to the people in-charge of cooking when I decided that I wanted some more karioka. Nyaha! Ate Cielo gladly offered to do both for us.

It may be a tiresome walk but the sceneries are simply mesmerizing. You had no idea how happy I was seeing a clean river, animals freely roaming around, tall trees, different kinds of flowers and farmers living a simple life in their humble huts. The moment I heard the sound of the flowing river, I deeply felt God’s presence. I told myself that the things I’m seeing are just prelude to what I’m about to see the moment we reach the falls.

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It will take approximately 30 to 45 minutes of walking to get to the falls. According to Ate Cielo, our timing was perfect because the place gets really crowded during peak season. And if we come there during summer, the heat is unbearable and exhausting too.

Since it would be a long walk, we decided to chat with Ate Cielo. Along the way, she gave us lectures on the plants and insects we saw. There was also a carabao who refused to let us pass through a very steep path. Ate Cielo literally guarded the carabao as we pass through. May tour guide ka na, may biology teacher at bodyguard ka pa!

DSC_1225 May photographer ka pa!

Ate Cielo showed us a vast empty space which used to be a parking lot. Years ago, vehicles could come up to that spot, lessening the walking time for tourists. But the people taking care of the Kabigan Falls (and probably with the help of the local government) decided to stop this because of the frequent landslides. Also according to Ate Cielo, there are other falls within the area, five if I remember it correctly. But they decided not to develop and keep the area untouched as they fear that more landslides might occur if they do so. It’s just so nice that there are still people who take care of our environment, a perfect example of responsible tourism.

You’ll know that you’re already near the falls because the sound of the water gets louder, and traversing the path becomes extra harder. I was glad that it wasn’t raining when we came there because the track will definitely be slippery. When you come to places like this, make sure to LISTEN TO YOUR TOUR GUIDE. When they tell you to step on a certain rock, step on it. When they tell you not to do something, don’t dare try it. They absolutely know better. I distinctly remember Ate Cielo telling us not to swim directly under the falls. Weeks later, I heard of a news of the student who drowned in Bataan because he went directly under the waterfalls.

Guests can opt to go through the steep stairs to get a glimpse of the falls from an elevated perspective. Again, Ate Cielo told us how lucky we were that it was not peak season. During summer, tourists need to take turns in taking photos on this part. Most of the time, you’ll never get a decent shot that does not include some random strangers in the background.

DSC_1256 With Hubby

DSC_1258 Jeff and Joie

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A few minutes later, we went down because the boys wanted to swim. Ate Cielo told us to brace ourselves because the water is cold. She was lying to us. The water is FREEZING. It’s ICY. Or whatever is colder between the two adjectives. I put my hand on the water, and I immediately took it off. 

DSC_1259 Nag-iipon ng lakas ng loob!

DSC_1260 Gininaw!

DSC_1261 Ginaw na ginaw! Haha! :p

DSC_1271 Jeff who was literally “testing the waters”

I told Ate Cielo that it was the unfortunate time of the month that’s why we couldn’t swim. But even if I could, I don’t think I’d have the courage to swim with that kind of temperature. Joie and I had no other choice but to just look at the boys from afar.

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DSC_1278Disclaimer: The behavior of the man on the photo does not necessarily reflect the behavior of his wife.

Joie and I just took the chance to admire the view and take photos while the boys were swimming and goofing around.

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DSC_1281I therefore conclude that camera flash makes your legs look shinier! :p

On our way back, I asked Ate Cielo how many times she needs to go up the falls each day to accompany tourists. I thought that they go there multiple times a day. I was surprised when she told me that during off-peak season, she’s lucky to be a tour guide ONCE EVERY THREE WEEKS. During summer, she gets to go to the falls twice or thrice a week. She told us that there are 80 tour guides on rotation. When I asked her where she lives, she told me, “Ma’am doon pa po sa kabilang ilog.” Even if we were only required to pay her PHP100, we gave her PHP300 instead. Her service and care are priceless, though. Her story and the stories of the tour guides from Ilocos made me admire the Filipino spirit even more. Workers like Ate Cielo may be a rare breed, but they still exist.

After two hours, it was time for lunch! Kuya Lenzer who we asked to join us for lunch, told us that he discourages tourists to avail of the paluto because it is a bit expensive. I think we paid PHP500+ for the two dishes, rice and Coke. We actually didn’t mind because the Sinigang na Bangus and Grilled Liempo were surprisingly good. The liempo dunked into the famous sukang Iloko (vinegar) was the best part of my lunch. That meal was the perfect way to compensate our tiring adventure.

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For people who are planning to go to Ilocos, never ever, as in NEVER leave Ilocos without going to Kabigan Falls.

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2 comments

  1. nahiya naman ako sa post ni Boyet...pang supah mowdel! Ang taray! Bato kung bato! LOL!

    ReplyDelete