Ancient Trees and Bird Songs at Kabigan Falls

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Group shot before we start trekking
The trek to Kabigan Falls was a relatively easy one. 

The path, interestingly, ranges from dusty to muddy to rocky. One moment, you're surrounded by thick rows of palay, next you're crossing a stream, then before you know it, you're walking under dense canopies that almost block out the sun.

Traipsing my way along the trail, I expressed my delight at the vast expanse of rice fields. My companions were already aware that I dream of becoming a farmer so they were no longer surprised to see the look of pure joy on my face. Sir George offered to take a picture of me amidst the field, even suggesting that I pose like I was planting crops. All that could hear chortled when I declined and said, "pinaghirapan po 'yan ng mga kapwa ko magsasaka tapos masisira ko lang." I was serious; I did not understand the laughter.

At any rate, after passing by a 250-year old balete tree...
I wonder if there's a Kapre in there
 ...and a friend...
Hashtag Happiness
...we found ourselves under a roof of thick foliage. Birds were chirping. Nay, they were singing.

At one point, the singing stopped save for a lone tune that sounded to me like an invitation to join in. I sang back for I was the Tagabantay, and to my delight, the songs resumed. How enchanting!

After that duet with the birds, we arrived at a makeshift bridge. All ten of us, plus Kuya Al, boarded the bridge to take pictures:

It wasn't long when someone told us off, saying the bridge wouldn't hold our combined weights. Snickering, we hurriedly crossed to the other side.

We continued on and clambered on boulders and finally found our way to the actual falls:

The place was crowded. We squeezed our way through the mass of tourists and eventually spotted a nice place to pose for photos:

After several pictures, we decided to take a dip. My eyes widened at how cold the water was. It was much much colder than that of Batlag. Brrr. The floor was a little rocky and a bit slippery too so one has to be mindful of one's steps.

In any case, I wanted to go directly underneath the raging water but that portion was deep and I was still not confident with my swimming skills. So I settled with skirting the edges of the pool, ultimately acclimatizing to the ice cold water.

After a quick dose of water fun, we left the basin and started our way back. No more washing up, no more changing of clothes. We're koboys that way.

I listened in on our tour guide, Ate Shirley, and Camille's conversation while heading back the way we came. From what I've gleaned, the mandatory tour guides for Kabigan Falls were receiving a fixed rate of a 100pesos a day, relying on tips from tourists for additional income. Ate Shirley said that all tour guides have their own families and that the local government refrains from hiring locals who do not yet have mouths to feed. I do think this system is acceptable. Ate Shirley also shared that one of her children is a star pupil. She saves the little amount she gets from being a guide for the upcoming school year. She told us that she hopes that by giving her children education, their state of life would be improved. I always admired the Filipinos' value for education.

So a word to my fellow adventurers: be kind and, if you can afford it, be generous to local tour guides. You may be helping a child to have a better future. 

And on that note, it seems to me that Ilocos does not run out of wonders to explore. You get to go trekking and swimming at Kabigan Falls, and therefore visiting this place is a must for adventurers like me who love the outdoors.

There's more to come! (Can you believe that??)

Cheers to the next adventure!

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