Monday, November 5, 2012

OFF-THE-BEATEN-PATH.. San Gabriel Waterfalls

 "Crowded parks, noisy streets and polluted cities. Once in awhile it's nice to get away from these and away from regular comfort zone to hike the Off-Beaten-Path"
Please practice the leave no trace outdoor ethics when going to these nature places. Let us not vandalize, put graffiti on their rocks and stone walls. Manage and dispose our waste products properly.

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-my pagnapagna-

 It was around 5:30 in the morning and I was ready to go for a hike. Destination: Waterfalls of San Gabriel, La Union.
The passenger jeepney departed from downtown San Fernando, La Union at 5:54 in the morning, passed by the surfing town of San Juan and arrived at San Gabriel at 6:35 am.
I was aiming for Katebeggan falls and I don't know how to get there. 
I asked a passenger tricycle driver but he does not know if there were waterfalls at that particular place. For 150 pesos we went up to that barangay. 
So on we went at 6:43 am. We passed by Barangay Bacsayan, the Municipal Abattoir, Dumpsite,  Lipay Sur and finally at Sitio Pulicay at around 7:30 am.
At Sitio Pulicay, I talked to some locals, they offered me to see more waterfalls in their area and not Katebeggan. I asked them if i can have someone as a guide and they offered me "Eleazar" - nicknamed "Rizal". Two more locals were willing to catch up in the trail later on (fortunately they know one of my friend from that area).
So i hiked down to the stream with Rizal. Upon reaching the stream, we went upstream with some slight difficulty (at least for me and not my guide), at one point clinging to some plants on the mountain walls just to maintain our balance and passing some natural pools. After a while we where in front of a 5 meters high (approx.) small waterfall called "Immarbis" (8:20 am). It's name is from the Iloco (Ilocano)  word "Arbis" which means "rain shower or drizzle". Took some photographs and went back downstream using the same path. We went farther downstream and into some forest growth with Rizal paving the way with his machete. Along the way, the two locals (Eric Tuyan and Arnold Culbengan) joined us as a group.

The hike continued, passed by some cascades and mostly in difficult paths (locals use these off beaten paths usually for fishing on the stream). We were going downstream and arrived at the top of around 20 to 25 meters high "Maagagdanan" falls. We tried going down to its base or just to see the falls in its entirety (obscured by the side of the mountain) but failed (not ready with that kind of trail ..clinging to the walls of the rock faced mountainside) and decided to go farther downstream to "Bimmanyo". Its name came from the ilocano word "banyo" meaning "bathroom". Down further was the approximately 20 meters high waterfalls called "Limmungon" (10:17 am). Got its name from the rectangular slab of stone that looked like a casket or coffin ("lungon" in ilocano) at its base but now broken into two. Eric and Arnold swam in its cold waters.
Farther down again, we arrived at a river bedrock (around 12:16 pm) and at its edge is the approximately 15 to 20 meters high "Sarep" falls with its broken cascades. This waterfall is said to be located between the boundary of  Barangays Lipay Sur and Lecong. Along the riverbed rock  are springs good for drinking. Eric cut a bamboo pole which is abundant in the area and served as container for our drinking water.
Afterwards, it was time to leave the area. The Final Assault of all uphill hike to the road farther above. Tiring and really got a beating to the legs muscle (3 days after, my thigh muscles  still aches... as they say pain no gain). We rested some 3 to 4 times on the way up and finally got to the road at around 1pm. We rested on a waiting shed and went for a snack at the local store.
I rode a jeep from the store at 2:30 pm and arrived at Downtown San Gabriel at 3:10 pm. Hungry, I had my late lunch at the second floor of San Gabriel Public Market and afterwards, i rode a jeep at 5:19 pm going back to San Fernando City, La Union and eventually to Home Sweet Home

That's all in a day's hike to supposedly Katebeggan falls.

(I still wonder if two of the waterfalls I've been to were Katebeggan and Gumayenggeng)

-end of pagnapagna- 


As of September 2016, every visitors are required to register and pay a certain fee at the San Gabriel PNP (Police) office.

a Bamboo Water Container
Viewing the "Immarbis" Falls
The Group in "Bimmanyo"
"Limmungon" Falls

"Sarep" Falls

Subject   : IMMARBIS FALLS, 
                 BIMMANYO FALLS,
                 LIMMUNGON FALLS
                 and SAREP FALLS
Location : Barangay of Lipay
                 Municipality of San Gabriel
                 Province of La Union

How to get there.

1) From Manila take a bus going north - Laoag, Vigan, Candon, Abra, or La Union. Stop at San Fernando City, La Union City Plaza (buses are...Florida, Farinas, Viron, Dominon, Partas, Sta. Lucia, Candon, Genesis)
2) From San Fernando Plaza take a tricycle ride to jeepney terminal (near old market) bound for San Gabriel or you can walk to the jeepney terminal
3) Ride the jeepney bound for San Gabriel (cost about 26 pesos)
4) at San Gabriel Town Proper hire a tricycle or single motorbike to sitio Pulicay at Barangay Lipay Sur
5) now take the hike (with an impromptu local guide) (visit the Barangay Officials is a must)

Jeepney Schedule From Downtown San Gabriel to Barangay Lipay Sur vice versa:
Weekdays (may vary) (14 pesos fare, as of date of writing)
around 7 and 8 am from Lipay to Downtown San Gabriel
around 3 and 5 pm from Downtown San Gabriel to Lipay 


As of September 2016, every visitors are required to register and pay a certain fee at the San Gabriel PNP (Police) office.
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