Sunday, August 11, 2013


"There is something about waterfalls that keeps me wanting to see more. Is it the energy of its cascades? The falling waters that turns to spray and even to mist as it drops at a greater height? 
Each waterfall differs from one to another. One just have to visit two or more to see their differences"

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-

I got up early around 3 o’clock in the morning to get ready for my travel to San Juan, Ilocos Sur (not La Union) and I have to fetch my companion at Bangar, La Union. Bangar is 3 municipalities away from where I am.

I left San Fernando City at 4:25 in the morning, arrived at Bangar, La Union at 5:12 am and waited for my companion at the bus stop near their plaza.

My companion arrived and we left Bangar at 5:59 am. Riding on a bus, we passed by Santa Maria, Ilocos Sur at 7:25 am, at the intersection going to Abra at 7:34 am, and at Vigan City at 8:32 am. The bus (Partas) has a terminal near the Vigan Public Market, it had to turn left from the main highway at the municipality of Bantay to get inside Vigan City then goes back again to the National Highway after visiting its terminal. We finally arrived at downtown San Juan, Ilocos Sur at 9:20 am. We got down near their Municipal Hall.

San Juan, Ilocos Sur municipal Hall

At downtown San Juan, we went looking for an eatery to have a breakfast. We found one across the street beside the Municipal Hall. After eating, we went inside the Municipal Hall to inquire about the waterfalls of the said municipality.

The Municipal Hall is quite impressive. Inside, there is a fountain that is sheltered by a central dome. Near the entrance to that fountain area is a “complaint desk” which acts also as the information desk. We asked the officer manning the desk about “pikkang falls”. He asked us if we have a car, we replied and said we do not have. He added that we have to ride a tricycle and walk some 2 kilometers to get to the falls at barangay Malamin. I followed it up with another question,
 “Manu ngay ngata ti pagplete dyay tricycle?” (How much would it cost for the tricycle?).
“Hanku ammo, basta apan kayo latta aglugan ti tricycle dita palengken ta maki patang kayon dyay driver” (I do not know, just go ride a tricycle at the market and bargain with the driver) he replied in a nice way.
 “Kasatnu ngay nga ammu mi nu baka overpriced ti singir da?” (How would we know if what they are asking for is overpriced?).
Smiling, he answered, “nu gamin mapmapan kami  ket ada lugan mi, isu han ko ammo nu mano” “(we usually go there on our car, so I do not know if how much it cost) he dropped the "bomb" he he!.  I smiled back and thanked the officer.

We walked our way to the public market which is just some 50 meters away northwards from the Municipal Hall and looked for the parking/terminal area of the tricycles bound for barangay Malamin. The fare is 25 pesos per person with a total of 5 passengers. We hired the tricycle for 100 pesos for just one way. At 9:54 am we departed from the public market going south along the national highway then went eastward to a barangay road. We passed by the Malamin welcome arch at 10:05 am, Malamin Elementary School at 10:07 and arriving at the drop-off point at 10:12 am. We paid the tricycle driver and walked the trail going to the stream below. 

The land trail was short. Almost all the time, we walked on the waters going upstream and taking some videos and photographs along the way. We finally arrived at the waterfall area at 10:50 am.

Pikkang Falls

From a distance, the upper cascades can be seen. It must have been about 2 to 3 tiers of cascades all in all. The main cascade or lower cascade drops to a what it looked like a dipping area of  about a meter and a half wide and spills down to a the main shallow pool area that flows as a stream. What makes it more interesting is the cavity or a shallow cave behind the falling waters. The only thing you cannot do there is dive because there are no deep areas for diving.

There were no people around so we took a dip in its cool clear waters with just our underwear on. It was very relaxing. The sound of nature is the only thing you can hear.

Along the way, we bought some freshly harvested eggplants

After taking some photographs, we departed the area at 11:35 am and arrived at the drop-off area at 12:05 pm and saw a family sorting their harvest of eggplants.  We bought a kilo of the eggplant for 20 pesos and went to have a snack at a store nearby.

At the store, we had a snack, we also asked the way to “Tortorayok falls” and found out that there is also a waterfall at the nearby town of Cabugao, Ilocos Sur called “Arisudusog Falls”.
Malamin Elementary School

We left and went on our way by walking the same road at 12:24 pm.  Passed by Malamin Elementary School at 12:35 pm, along the road we asked directions going to “Tortorayok Falls” just to verify where we would exit from the main road.

At barangay Darao we found the exit road, just after a bridge, we walked a branching rough road going southwards and down to the stream (1:20 pm). 

crossing the stream

After we crossed the stream, we passed by some houses and into rice fields. Now we don’t know where to go. There is a lone man working at the rice field at a distance, we approached him and asked for directions. 
He replied with a question,
 “papanan yu aya sadiay sir?” (Where would you be going there sir).
We replied back “Mapan kami ediay tortorayok falls” (We will be going to tortorayok falls). 
He then said, smiling “ay awan pay ti danum na tatta sir daydiay, ta ni makita ket awan pay nagmula dita nay ta isu paggalalaan da ti danum da. Baka batbato lang ti makita yo sadiay” (oh, it still has no water at this time sir, notice that they have not planted yet in that area for that’s their water source for irrigating their farms. You might only see rocks and stones there).

A little bit frustrated at what we heard, we thanked him and decided not to push through in going to the falls. So at 1:33 pm, we went back crossing the stream again and into the main road at barangay Darao (1:48 pm). After walking some 3 to 5 minutes we flagged down a passing passenger tricycle and went back towards the National Highway and into the Municipal hall area at 1:58 pm.

After getting down from the tricycle we paid the driver 10 pesos each (total of 20 pesos for both of us), waited and rode a bus going back to Home Sweet Home.

-end of pagnapagna-

Location : Barangay Malamin
                 Municipality of San Juan
                 Province of Ilocos Sur

How to get there:
From Manila take a bus bound for Laoag City but you have to get down at the Public Market of San Juan, Ilocos Sur.

a-At the Public Market, go inside and look for the passenger tricycles. Tell the driver that you are going to Pikkang Falls at Barangay  Malamin. At the drop-off point, walk the trail going down the stream and walk your way upstream to the falls

b-“Hike all the way” – from the Municipal Hall, walk back along the national highway some 30 meters going south. Then, At the eastern side of the road you will see a signboard that reads as “to Malamin Elementary school” and a stone marker saying “Pikkang falls”. Walk this secondary road going eastward passing by barangay Darao, barangay Cacandongan, welcome arch of Barangay Malamin and the Elementary school. Just keep on walking until you reach the stream. Walk your way upstream along its waters until you reach the waterfalls.

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

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