Hey there, weekend warrior! Have you checked Tibag, White Castle and Olanguan waterfalls off your bucket list and want more accessible destinations like these? Perhaps you want to be one with nature again, hear the rustling spring water with the birds merrily chirping along the branches of lush trees or you just want to sweat off those guilty carbs from your cheat day? Hmm-mm? Yes? Consider visiting Arutayan Falls—a series of cascades located at Barangay Langogan, Puerto Princesa City.
The 45 minutes to one hour trek will begin by crossing the lamps-tao (per our guides – Pepito and Ren) river using a bamboo raft that can only load 3 to 4 people per trip. This will then take you to a walk under coconut trees and through the stream. Follow the brook up the verdant forest and enjoy the rustle of the water along the rocks and if you’re lucky, you may see some otters feeding along the area. The first cascade will be after the 35 minute-walk, but there’s more! Tread for 15 to 20 minutes further, hike up several small cascades and you’ll be rewarded by a 20-meter fall.
Take a short rest and proceed to the right side of that fall and climb up. Sweat that off, work the biceps and hidden abs – pull yourself and crawl beneath the fallen trees, slowly, one by one. Take a rest if you may but do not stop, the best part isn’t that far. Few minutes more and you’ll be surprised with, per the barangay’s chief, a 25 to 30-meter high torrent–where you can take tons of selfies, coufies (if that even exists) and groufies. Aside from that, you may also take your brunch at the rocks down the waterfall, catch up with the latest (love) life status of your friends, plan your next local weekend trip and you can go deeper: meditate with the sound of nature and envision your future.
If you’re curious what abalone is or you just want to learn more about this univalve shell locally known as sobra-sobra and you have the inner love for experiments, you may visit the Western Philippines University. The Binduyan Marine Research Station (WPU-BMRS) at Kilometer 79 accepts free visits– just ask your ride to take you there. WPU-BMRS’ kind staff will happily welcome you to their beach front station and will give you a free (as of now) guided tour and orientation on the life, growth and value of abalone. If you’re interested, feel free to contact Kuya jaysee at (0939) 451 9611.
How to get there
Langogan, located 81 kilometers north of Puerto Princesa City, can be reached via private vehicles and buses and vans departing from San Jose Terminal from 5: 30 a.m. onwards for Php70 to Php100 each. If you’re a do-it-yourself weekend warrior, get off at the waiting shed just after the Langogan bridge. Take a motorcycle or tricycle to the jump off point for Php30 per person. It’s advisable to take this trek with a guide for Php500, and you can contact Ms. Javarez, the barangay secretary, at (0920) 256 0914 to make the necessary arrangements. The more the merrier and of course, cheaper.
According to the locals, there may be more and higher falls up that side of Langogan, however, these weren’t fully explored yet. Who knows – you might be the one brave enough to conquer these. Fair warning, however, please do not go unaccompanied.
Be a loaded weekend warrior
Mother Nature is more beautiful in the morning – so it is advisable to take this trek from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. when the air is still cool and the sun is not piercing hot. Wear slippers and easy-dry comfortable clothes – take extra in case you decide to have a free back massage from the torrents. Bring at least a liter of drinking water and of course, filling snacks.
When we visited Arutayan Falls last week, the barangay officials, together with the PNP, were conducting general cleaning at the area. If you decide to visit, please do not leave your trash at the waterfall or along the way.
About the Author: Karen Madarcos is a weekend warrior from Puerto Princesa. If you can’t find her in her daily walks around Sta. Monica, she’s either chasing a waterfall, floating in a nearby beach, getting lost in an unpaved trek, eating, getting bruises from hiking, blogging about all of these, reading her book of the week or most likely, working in a Research and Development Consortium to save for her upcoming weekends. Follow her instagram account at @shinakaren and see her website at wanderingkaren.com.
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