Where on earth is this Lulugayan Falls anyway?
This is the first tricky thing! It’s just like traveling from Monumento in Caloocan down to Shaw Blvd. in Mandaluyong. Plus the 739 meter walking trail which is just like walking from the MRT’s Shaw Station down to its Boni Ave. Station. Not far, right? But when this distance is on a dirt road with loose gravel (rocks?), some the size of my fist (or even bigger) amidst nothing but wilderness, grass, trees, creeks, steep climbs and descents… ah, listen to me… it felt like we were going to some point of no return in the land of the definitely lost hahaha!
If you wanna go to Lulugayan, a better way would be to ride the habal-habal since there are a lot anyway. Can’t miss them. They’re all parked and waiting at a shed on that corner of the highway and that little road that goes to Barangay Literon.just off that big Calbiga bridge with steel braces (whatever those are called). It costs just P50. Yes, fifty pesos! But there’s a catch – minimum 4 pax per motorcycle! Whahehehe! Yes, FOUR EXLUDING THE DRIVER! So if you wanna go alone saddled at the back of the driver, it’s P200. Actually! Okay okay, those are the old big bikes, so 2 of you riding behind the driver will be comfy enough, I think!
Just like that? No. There is more…
In the end, we did not pay anything (shhh, that’s a secret hehe) except the P200 for the guide.
There’s a guide and a fee?
Yes, two hundred pesosesoses per guide! He walks you the 379 meter walking path, answer any questions you may have and also tell you where not to go and what not to do. Each usually has a “sundang” – yep, a bolo like what Andres Bonifacio carries in all his monuments, and it comes helpful in many instances, so don’t say your last prayer yet. They’re friendly and helpful – even uniformed!
Halfway during the walk, it was midmorning (almost noon actually) on a sunny one (while metro manila was still being inundated, come to think of it), I couldn’t anymore keep secret my thirst. I asked if there was some store somewhere so I could grab a bottle. The answer: NONE! But guide did not seem any worried. As if on queue, a few meters forward, we met a man lugging firewood on his basket of a backpack. We saw him exchange a few words with our guide and offered a stick of sugarcane to him. Guide declined but motioned for him to give it to me!
The falls, OMG the waterfalls! It’s, it’s, it’s… ah am groping for superlatives!
Height? You are not allowed to jump from there – even if you can. That’s what the guide told us, and that’s part of why they are there for. He said its dangerous as there could be things floating like trunks, twigs or bamboo strips when you land, and that the water runs deep at some portions, and that there is always a big whirlpool that could suck you down. Not hard to understand. We could see proof of what the guide was telling us. So?
Hey there are 2 open bamboo huts that can be rented just like at many beach areas where the ugly hotel urbanities have not yet penetrated! They’re cozy, and we found one of us was not actually swimming but snoozing in there! We sat there for a while looking at each other hehe. But my wits came forward! I remembered a dear friend gave me (as usual) packs of Catbalogan delicacies to bring home. So I fished a full bag of Charito’s Hopia De Pili. And we all devoured it like we have not seen food in weeks!
After enjoying the coolness of the pool of water just below and where the falls mightily perennially dropped water wherever it came from… you have to walk the 739 meters back to civilization. Argh! And believe me, you’ll feel lazy, with everything including your very own footwear seeming to be 3 times heavier. After the enjoyment, there you go perspiring again. Its just about 2 rounds of a track oval actually, and there is a clear fine path. But after enjoying the wonderfully mesmerizing Lulugayan Falls? Ah, you’d wish teleporting was already possible!
Oh that path!
Hey, one of the friends commented there is a simple solution (since I was harping they should have either concreted the whole thing or left it bare earth that it is). The friend says those concrete slabs should be pressed (embedded) more unto the ground so that its a plane level path. BRIGHT! Uhuh, he should be… he is one of the best engineering and architectural contractors there is in Region 8 and Metro Manila at the moment – and soon the whole country. So folks, if you know any of the high and mighty in charge of Calbiga or Lulugayan, please tell what my friend suggests! Mano Joni, yes please tell them so, so that you can bike that path with ease too!
We stayed a bit at Barangay Literon, talking to the guide, the store lady and some locals who passed by. We learned there is going to be a new construction some meters from where we sat. It is going to be a new building by/of/for the Department of Tourism, for whatever purpose they may deem necessary hehehe! And the friend was quick to remark again… “they should build the 14km road first as the building will be of no use if local and foreign visitors won’t come since the the roadway is grueling”! Agree again! That road is dangerously “luxurious” – that means lukso nang lukso ang sasakyan mo!
And we went off fording the 14km gravel road again going back to Calbiga! Haruuuuy! But it did not seem that long this time. Though I know some bikes’ front wheels attempted to fly into the air not once, not twice but thrice as we negotiated the pile of crushed rocks for a road!
Now that was adventure!
And reaching Calbiga, I had to commandeer for everyone to agree going back to that little restaurant on the side of the highway for a round of “Native Manok Tinola”! Yumm, but that’s another story coming up next!
Okay done and let’s recap folks!
If you’re going there, take a 4WD or a van. I think you can rent/hire from Grand Tours, Duptours or Vanvan’s for this special trip. They have offices in Catbalogan and Tacloban and their vans come zooming via Calbiga both ways in intervals of no longer than 15mins. Especially Grand Tours, they have collectively the best and cleanest vans all over this country. Take it from me, I have been to all provinces of this archipelago. (Dirtiest and konkiest are, come to think of it, in Metro Manila)!
Bring drinking water, lots of it – if you don’t wanna sip the river like I did! At least you now know you can have them at Barangay Literon just before the 739 meter walk! Bring food, even if you’re going to stay for just a while. The walk will surely drain your energies! Now I wonder how you will lug those heavy stuff off the 739 meter walk along a path where you pace the kabuki way! Hmm, I think, perhaps, the guides, are also there for that. I’m just guessing, otherwise, you’ll have to huff and puff your way – May The Force Be With You if that’s the case hahaha!
Bottomline: it is the most wonderful waterfalls I have ever seen in this country. And the easiest with any camera! No need to twist and turn. Just your simple landscape shot will already cover the whole thing!
Go go go!