Sunday, October 13, 2013

ZIM-SIM-UG Twin Falls of Arosip Ecotrail

"Sometimes, it is not only the panoramic and scenic views that make-up a great trail experience for me as a hiker. The trail may start even before setting your foot inside the forest or going down and up the steep mountainside. The people we meet along the way contribute largely to the entirety of an experience such as hiking at the town's outskirts."

Bacnotan, La Union is endowed with the sea, plains and mountains. With the sea located at the western side of the town, the mountains at the eastern side and the plains in-between.
Our hike for that day (October 13, 2013) was at the mountains of Bacnotan, particularly that of the AROSIP ECOTRAIL that culminated at the Zim-sim-ug Falls. 

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.

If you find this story/blogpost interesting and/or had helped you in any way (in your researches, works, travels, blogs, adventures, homeworks at school, a personal project and more), I'd like to hear a word or two from wonderful people like you or simply Like "pagnapagna" in Facebook. I'd be very thankful. It gives me inspirations. Cheers!

-my pagnapagna-

From the City of San Fernando, La Union (9:51 am), we rode a mini-bus going north, passed by the surfing town of San Juan and arrived at the town of Bacnotan, La Union at 10:11 am.
At Bacnotan, we opted to ride a passenger tricycle to the drop-off point at Barangay Casiaman. 
Barangay Casiaman is located before the Barangay of Sapilang where the school of Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University - North La Union Campus (DMMMSU-NLUC) is located.
On a tricycle (10:34 am), we went northwards along the National Highway, then turned to the right on a barangay road (10:39 am) where a welcome arch of DMMMSU-NLUC is located at its entry-point. Passed by the barangays of Say-oan, Salincob, and the Barangay Hall of Casiaman. We arrived at the "drop-off" area still at the barangay of Casiaman along the road to Sapilang at 10:44 am.
At the "drop-off", we began to hike going up at the one-lane road towards north. After some 60 meters, we passed by a waiting shed. The uphill hike continued until we passed by a second waiting shed and later on into a third waiting shed. From the third waiting shed, we continued our hike at the main road into a clearing on top of the mountain of generally flat area (12:05 pm). 

A clearing on top of the mountain
Walked further, we arrived at the Barangay Auditorium area where the Barangay Hall is also being constructed (12:20 pm).

The Barangay Auditorium Entrance Arch 
where the Barangay Hall is also located

Walked some few meters and we were at the Barangay Captain's residence. It was there where we requested for a "guide" to lead our way to the waterfalls. 
Since it was some few minutes after noontime, we went to eat our lunch first at a store below the road and got back afterwards.

going down from the main road above to the "sari-sari store"
here I am getting ready for lunch at a local sari-sari store

After eating our packed meal at the sari-sari store, we went back at the barangay captain's residence.
With our guide Chief-tanod Daniel Lopez, we went hiking along a trail to the falls (12:58 pm). We passed by the same sari-sari store, into some rice fields and into a one-lane rough road going to sitio Poser.
From that road, we went off-road into another rice fields and grasslands. Wild guavas grows along the trail and my companions can't resist their sweet fruits. They ate a lot of guavas after our "guide" said it is just okay to pick and eat the fruits. I also ate some.

this part of the trail is teeming with wild guavas.
Along the trail
Going down, down and down the mountainside to the river bedrock below.
At the bedrock going to the falls

We finally arrived at the bedrock where the water flowed at the side. With extra caution, we walked further upstream and arrived at the vicinity of the two waterfalls at 1:50 pm.

Zim-sim-ug Twin Falls
These two waterfalls almost faces each other on opposite sides. The one on the northern side has single, bigger but shorter cascade that drops to a deeper pool area.
The other waterfall located on the southeast has a weaker strings of cascade that breaks as it drops to the rock wall. It drops to a base covered with boulders and flowed down to the pool area of the first waterfall.
Most of the waters of these twin falls were diverted to the rice fields above for irrigation before falling down to their cascades.

One of Zim-sim-ug Twin Falls
The other twin of Zim-sim-ug Falls
Diving is fun. So, let them dive.
The Chief Tanod (our "guide") 
also had his moment at the waters
And here we are, like kids enjoying the waters of the Falls.

After having some fun and swimming at the deep pool area of the first waterfall, we packed our things and headed back to the trail (2:47 pm).

Just a souvenir shot at the waterfalls
 before leaving the area.

On our way back, we walked with caution along the bedrock. Most of the areas are slippery when wet.
"Diyanay ngay waterfalls ditanay?" (How about the waterfalls over there?) I asked our guide referring to "Pad-tok Falls".

Said to have been damaged now by erosion. The Pad-tok Falls. Photo taken way back year 2011
He answered back, "Ay madi ta nargaayan gamin" (Oh, it is not quite good because it had some erosion).

back to the bedrock area to get to the mountainside trail
On our way back to Barangay Proper of Arosip.
Along the way we met 
Kagawad Lucrecio Dingcog.

After walking some 63 minutes, we arrived at the sari-sari store at 3:50 pm.
While we were having snack at the sari-sari store, we happened to meet barangay treasurer Laurencio Dingcog and company. They were carrying a plywood and a 2x2" lumber which they will carry it all the way to where we just came from at sitio Poser. 
I just wondered why "Arosip" is used to name this barangay up in the mountains since the word "arosip" is a seaweed that grows only at sea.
Daniel, our guide said to me pointing to barangay treasurer Laurencio "Isuna a ti pagdamagam nu apay nga Arosip ti nagan na daytoy barangay" (He is the one you can ask why this village is called Arosip). 
They came to have a snack with us through our invitation.

"Adu gamin ti kayo ditoy idi nga ti bunga na ket kasla dyay seaweed nga arosip, isu ti nagalaan da dyay nagan nga arosip" (There were many trees here before with a fruit that resembled the seaweed "arosip", that is where they got the name arosip), Laurencio Dingcog explained regarding the name of the Barangay.

I learned that it is a way-of-life in this part of the town to just walk to get around even it takes some time.
"Nu bigat apan mi iwayway dagidiay kalding idiay baba tapos nu malem met apan mi manen alaen nen. Isu nasanay kamin nga magna pababa ken pangato" (In the morning, we bring our goats to pasture then in the late afternoon we go and get them again. So, we are used-to walking, going up and going down) the younger man said.

At a local "Sari-sari store" in Barangay Arosip. 
With me were Daniel Lopez (Chief Tanod in yellow shirt), 
Laurencio Dingcog (Barangay Treasurer in blue polo shirt) 
and his companions. 
If I am not mistaken, the one at the left, 
resides at the "Sari-sari store" .

After our snack and some conversations with the Barangay Treasurer and company, we thanked everyone and went up back to the road (4:22 pm). It rained for a while and we took shelter at a waiting shed fronting the Barangay Auditorium. The rain lightened up and we went our way down the road to hike our way back.

Along the way, from Barangay Arosip going down to the main road at Barangay Casiaman,
looking down below at a garden of "kamote" (sweet potatoes) and ricefield

Along our way going down to Barangay Casiaman, dusk started to set in. It drizzled and it continued until it rained as we arrived at the roadside going to DMMMSU-NLUC (5:49 pm). The sun had set and in the night we waited for a passenger tricycle at the roadside while rain poured.
Finally (6:01 pm), an available passenger tricycle came that transported us to the Supermarket area of Bacnotan (6:10 pm) where we rode a jeep going back to Home Sweet Home.

-end of pagnapagna-

Our sincerest thanks to:

Daniel Lopez (Chief Tanod) who guided us at the trail to the Falls
Laurencio Dingcog (Barangay Treasurer) for the little Trivia
The People of Arosip we met along the way

For another post on Arosip Ecotrail fet. Tekdag-Aso Falls CLICK HERE

a throwback Photos
A photo collage from my Arosip hike way back June of the year 2011

Here is a video of the waterfalls

Time Duration:
San Fernando City, La Union to Bacnotan, La Union (mini-bus) - 20 to 30 minutes
Bacnotan Public Market to "Drop-off" at Barangay Casiaman (tricycle) - 10 minutes
"Drop-off" at Barangay Casiaman to Barangay Arosip Proper (Hiking) - 90 minutes
 Barangay Arosip Proper to Zim-sim-ug Twin Falls (Hiking) - 60 to 90 minutes

Fare (as of October 2013):
San Fernando City, La Union to Bacnotan, La Union (mini-bus) - 20 pesos
Bacnotan Public Market to "Drop-off" at Barangay Casiaman (tricycle)  - 45 pesos of 3 passengers

Subject   ZIM-SIM-UG Falls
Location : Arosip Ecotrail, Barangay Arosip
                 Municipality of Bacnotan
                 Province of La Union

How to get there:
From Manila take a bus bound for any of these Nortwest Luzon places : Laoag City (Ilocos Norte), Bangued (Abra), Vigan City (Ilocos Sur) and Candon City (Ilocos Sur).
You have to get down at the Bus stop near the Public Supermarket of Bacnotan, La Union. 

At Bacnotan, La Union you may:
1- wait for the jeeps bound for Barangay Sapilang and get down at the road going to barangay Arosip in Barangay Casiaman.
2- ride a passenger tricycle going to Barangay Casiaman and get down at the road going to Barangay Arosip.

After going through either one of the steps 1 and 2 , hike your way up on the road going to Barangay Arosip Proper (where the Barangay Auditorium is located).

At the Barangay Arosip Proper, visit their Barangay Hall or ask for the house of the Barangay Captain where you may request for a "guide".
With the "guide" you may now hike your way to the falls.

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


  1. Hello sir. May i just ask how much did it cost you to pay for the guide? thank you and may God bless you sir :))

    1. Hello ma'am jonang, If i can recall it right we gave him something like 150 to 200 pesos for short of a half day's worth of work. So it may vary if you stay there much longer. :-) God Bless you too ma'am.

  2. Hello po sir, very helpful po yung mga details ba binigay niyo. Ask ko lang po sana kung pwede po bang mag-camp sa Arosip Eco-trail?. Interested po kasi akong magtravel sa mga place sa Ilocos Region ng ilang days espesially sa pwedeng ihike. God Bless po :)

    -Mark po, Backpacker from Baguio

    1. Salamat naman kung ganoon Mark. Nai-kwento sa akin noon ng "guide" na taga Barangay Hall ng Arosip na meron nang nag-camp doon so, palagay ko pwedeng-pwede lalo pa pa-summer na walang masyadong peligro ng "flash-flood" basta i-coordinate lang sa opisyal ng Barangay.

  3. Hello! Thank you for your great blog post.
    Is it easy to find these drop off places if I only speak English?

    Thank you

    1. Most likely yes, most knows english and friendly :-) ... and sorry for the late reply.