Thursday, April 25, 2013

KAGUTUNGAN River Summer Dayhike

"Hiking along a river on a great summer day. Expect the unexpected. Harm would be prevented if things are done right. Well, I have to say that to myself"

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.

-my pagnapagna-

It was my second time to visit Daligan, Sta. cruz, Ilocos Sur, particularly the Kagutungan Falls. My first visit was way back in May 11, 2011. Back then, the place was still at its pristine state (no picnic sheds and more natural looking) but got no chance to visit the upper area where the “Sinmimbaan” Cave and “Sinmublan” Pool are located.

My second visit started with a bus ride going to Sta. Cruz, Ilocos Sur and we went down across the road just fronting their supermarket. After eating at an eatery, we asked from the parked tricycles’ drivers if they can bring us to Barangay Daligan. They instructed us to go near the waiting shed and look for the tricycles with green linings or stripes. Luckily the tricycles bound for the Barangay Daligan still have 2 vacant seats which we occupied and off we went at 7:34 am.

Sta. Cruz Public Market

Riding a tricycle from the Public Market, we went south bound along the National highway, then turned left eastward to a barangay road that passed by barangays Turod, Bacsayan, San Pedro, Amarao and finally to our destination Daligan at 7:57 am.

We walked further eastward to a store named “Gumangi“. We bought some food and drinks for our hike and asked for directions.

From there, we went to the stream or a nearly dried up river below at 8:06 am. We walked on rocky trail, crossed the river, passed by some sheds and went up to a trail where we walked on top of the irrigation canals' concreted wall. Following the trail, we passed by “Kinpadi” , “Nagbungbungan” and “Kagutungan Health Restoration Country Site”

Health Restoration Country Site

Then at a point along the trail we saw a small cascade below. We went off-trail and went down to the river to see the cascade. I've seen some people fishing downstream. From there on, we decided to just walk along the river going upstream.

We finally arrived at the Kagutungan falls. Its base seemed to be wider than it was before and I think the drop or cascade became shorter (probably due to pass typhoons). 

The Kagutungan Waterfall

Developments in the area were already introduced with some picnic sheds constructed at a clearing beside the waterfalls. The big Balete tree is still there with its dangling roots still soaked in to the river’s waters but now provided with a table and stool or bench at a certain part.

After hiking some few more minutes farther upstream, we saw a man at a distance saying :
 ney duduwa kayo mut, kaya yu aya nga bagkaten?” (Hey there are only two of you, can you carry it?).
(all conversation were said in our local dialect which is Iloco or Ilocano)
Puzzled, we replied, "Naimbag nga bigat yu manong, ayan na kadi didianay Sinmimbaan Cave?" (Good morning sir, where is the way to Sinmimbaan Cave?).
The man answered back while sitting and waiting for someone (he must have mistaken us for someone) and said, "Oh! Nu agpakasyay kayu pay, addan tu ti makita yu nga duwa nga tao, agpakadwa kayun tu diyay ubing nga mapan idiay Sinminublan pool" (Oh! If you go further you will see two people there, ask the boy to accompany you to Sinminublan pool).
Thank you sir” we replied and went on our way.
Few more minutes, we came upon a boy sitting under a tree while the older man was at the river below washing his machete. We asked directions.
The older man came up and answered our querry,
 “nu Sinminublan pool dita lang a, asideg basta agpa kannawan kayo, ngem  nu dyay Sinmimbaan cave adayu pay, basta nu madanon yo dayta nagsangaan ti karayan, agpa amianan kayo, magna kayo lattan madanun yun to, makita yon to dyay igid ti bantay” (“If Sinminublan pool, it’s just that direction, go to the right but if in Sinmimbaan cave, it is still far away. If you reach the intersection of the two rivers, go to the northern direction, just walk and you will just reach it. You will see it at the side of the mountain”). Then he told us that they were waiting for the men who will butcher the calf (which explains why the first man we met thought that we were the one who will be butchering the calf).
We noticed the lifeless calf of some three to four feet in height laying some few meters away. The calf was accidentally strangled by the rope where it was tied.
We thanked the man and went on our way.
We made it to the intersection of the river (tributaries) and followed the northern one for the Sinmimbaan Cave. On the trail, my companion walked through the waters of the river but as i followed him, my slippers got so slippery when wet, so I decided to walk along the river banks at 9:40 am. While walking, I came upon this bush and decided to just walk through and shove the plants aside, but few steps further, as the leaves brushed into my bare lower legs, there was this stinging, burning sensation I felt on my legs. Oh my Gulay! Ahh! I said as I rushed further and more stinging, burning sensation I felt. I hurriedly walked just to get out of that area not knowing what was stinging my legs. I came out and as if hundreds of tiny needles were stinging on my legs not to mention the burning sensation. I went to the waters and rubbed my legs with sand but still it persisted (rubbing is a no no. if you have a masking tape or anything like it , you may apply on it to pull out those tiny stinging hairs). Went to my companion and asked what to do? Will it make me faint?  It must have been that stinging plant, he said. It will not make you faint, the pain will subside in due time, he added.

The suspected "Itchy " plant

Still in pain, we went on our way and finally came into the “Sinmimbaan Cave” at 9:53 am.

It is a small & shallow cave at the side of the mountain along the river. It is generally made up of accumulated sediments and resembles the likes of Pinsal Falls at Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur at a smaller scale with orange-brown to gray in color, forming a church like entrance. The cave is wet and moist because of water that continuously drips from above.

We sat down and rested as we took a great look at Sinmimbaan Cave. Enjoying what we were seeing, it needs not to be explored as it is too shallow, everything can be seen from standing in front of it.
Adventurous we were, we went further upstream.  The river path became more mysterious as it runs into a gorge.

Looking at the small waterfall at a wall

Deeper into the gorge, the path bends and the rush of water can be heard, a prelude that a waterfall is just around the bend. And there it was at 10:20 am, sunlit, cascading some 8 to 10 feet, a small waterfall, as if pouring from a wall. We call it “end falls” as it was also the end of our hike and needs not to go further up the wall (we also had seen a small snake about the body size of an ordinary pencil at our back scampering away from where we stood).

With caution and a stick at hand paving our the way, we hiked back taking the same path. We passed by Sinmimbaan Cave at 10:27, and got at the intersection of the two rivers at 10:51 and decided to go to the other stream (southern one, we came from the northern stream) for the Sinminublan pool which is just few walks from there.

Arriving at Sinminublan pool at 10:54, my companion decided to take a dip in its clear shallow water and I also followed. We both dipped into the cooling water.

Sinminublan Pool

Located at the southern stream which is just some few meters away from the intersection of the two streams of upper Kagutungan River, Sinminublan pool is a pool supplied by a cascade of water temporarily contained in a natural reservoir then pours out naturally to continue its streaming down to the river.

After that refreshing dip, we departed from Sinminublan Pool at 11:05.
Along our way back, we came across again the area where the strangled calf was. Some 9 to 12 people were crowding at the now butchered calf.

Umay kayo pay ag-caldo” (Come and have some soup) they said to us as we approached the area. We had some sip of the soup with lots of cow’s tender meat in it. Afterwards we thanked them and went on our way again.

Further down the river we passed by some young men cooking, catching small shrimp. I think they were having a picnic.

Approaching the Kagutungan falls area we decided to take the mountain side trail, but instead of leading us to the irrigation canal, the path brought us higher up into the mountains, walking beside a fenced mountainside lots and mountainside ravines wherein just a wrong move and down you go rolling down the steep side of the mountain few hundred feet below. It was a wrong path we walked on.
We finally got a trail going down the mountain and into the irrigation canal below at 12:05 pm. That was some trail we had going back.

We rested some few minutes at a shed along the river just after “Kinpadi” area where some of the men from the butchered calf passed by carrying their shares of meat. Then we walked back to the road above to have some snacks at a store. After which we rode a tricycle back to Sta. Cruz town proper to ride a bus and head back to Home Sweet Home.

-end of pagnapagna-

Location : Barangay Daligan (mainly)
                 Municipality of Sta. Cruz
                 Province of Ilocos Sur

How to get there:

1- From Manila, take a bus ride going to any of these northern Luzon places namely: Laoag City, Vigan City, Candon city or Abra.... But get down at Sta. Cruz, Ilocos Sur fronting their Supermarket.

2- At the waiting shed fronting their Supermarket, ride a passenger tricycle going to barangay Daligan ( look for the tricycle with green stripes or lining ). It cost 20 pesos per passenger, so it cost about 100 pesos if you hire the tricycle.

3- At Barangay Daligan look for "GUMANGI store" and go down to the river from there or ask for directions going to the Kagutungan Falls, Sinminublan Pool, and Sinmimbaan Cave. Now take a Hike!

  © All original content copyright sparkPLUG, 2012-2013. Please ask permission for content use.

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