quick getaway: Sagpulon Falls

/ 12 June 2016 /
One of the best things about living in the Philippines is that you're never far from places that take your breath away. You get spectacular sunsets right outside your window, inviting beaches by the side of the road, and rivers and lakes and waterfalls just waiting after a little hike.

Knowing that, we often skip the more tourist-ready destinations and explore a place we've never even heard of before. We like to get a little lost.

Thankfully, we don't have to be so far away from home (nor break our budgets) to wander. From our city hideouts in Cagayan de Oro, we can just hop on a bus to somewhere like Sagpulon Falls in Jasaan, Misamis Oriental.

Who would've thought that something so idyllic was only an hour or so away from a city of half a million people?

Seriously, a trip to Sagpulon Falls is quick and easy:
  1. Bus. At Cagayan de Oro Eastbound Bus Station in Agora, get on a bus that's headed for either Balingoan or Butuan. Tell the bus conductor you're getting off at Spring View Resort in Jasaan. The fare ranges from Php 30 to 50, depending on the type of bus you're boarding.
  2. Drop-off. After about 45 minutes on the bus, you'll spot Spring View Resort's giant sign on the right side of the highway. Here's where you yell "Lugar lang!" then hop off.
  3. Habal-habal. On the roadside, there's a waiting shed where habal-habal (motorcycle) drivers hang out. They'll approach you to ask if you're going to the falls and offer to take you there and back. Prepare Php 100 for your round-trip fare.
    The habal-habal will take you uphill; most of the roads are already paved, but it will still take some 20 minutes to get to the site entrance. Don't forget to agree with the driver about the time you want him to pick you up for your return trip.
  4. Hike. Pay the Php 10 entrance fee. Now start your short hike through a lovely trail and to the waterfalls.
The hike to the falls is in itself a treat -- you'll want to take your time to just enjoy the sights and sounds.

The trail starts with a short hanging bridge over a shallow stream teeming with greens. On the other side of the stream, you are met with a stone stairway that makes your hike easier. The stone steps continue alongside the river, occasionally giving way to rocks and earth, gently taking you higher up the hill. The ascend won't exhaust you, as you are sheltered by the trees and accompanied by the sound of birds and flowing water all throughout.

Then a break in the canopy draws your eyes up, and you get a glimpse the highest waterfall this side of Sagpulon. Just a few more steps and you're there, face to face with the towering yet gentle waterfall, the smaller cascades and beautiful rock formations that flank it, and the turquoise lake where they all meet. 

Around the area, there are a couple of cottages that can accommodate only a few visitors -- the rest can just pick a spot among the rocks next to the water. From the unfinished concrete structures, the piles of rubble, and the rough signage that warns of a rockslide-prone area, it's obvious that this site has been picked for public development and then abandoned again. The result is a ruins-like mess around the otherwise gorgeous site.

But that won't stop you from enjoying the cool water. Though the lake is wide and deep, you can cross it by swimming or by tubing (tubes or salbabida are available for rent).

Don't be afraid to explore the little nooks on the rocks underneath the waterfalls. You can just sit there, looking up at the light curtain of water, the drops sparkling in the sun before landing on your skin. While you're at it, you can get acquainted with the little fish that seem to be at home with their human visitors.

It's best to visit this place on weekdays, when there are very few people around. The breathtaking view and the beautiful quiet can make you feel like you're somewhere else entirely, somewhere far from everything else...

Soak up all the beauty of the place while the sun's out, as the site closes at 5 pm. When it's time to go and your habal-habal has taken you back to the highway, just cross to the other side and wait for a bus bound for Cagayan de Oro.

All that hiking and swimming might make you fall asleep on the bus. Dream a little of your day's adventure, but keep your nap short -- it's only less than an hour to the city, and before you know it, you're home.


{ Glenn Paolo A. Goopio } on: June 12, 2016 at 4:49 PM said...

This is amazing. I never would have thought naa ra sa Jasaan. Haha! Will be adding is to list of spots for group outings. Nice read, mame. :)

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