Puerto Princesa is famous for the Underground River and its pristine beaches, and hiking mountains are becoming a go-to weekend hobby too – but rainy season is the best time to chase waterfalls and there are a number of cascades to visit here in the city…one of these is Tibag or Puponton Falls.
How to get there
The two to three-hour trek to Tibag Falls starts at the feeder road left of the Bacungan Bridge, a few hundred meters from the KM 23 marker in Bacungan, Puerto Princesa City. If you have a motorcycle or a pickup, you can directly drive to the first river and begin a shorter version of the walk. The trail is clean and still passable with pickups until it narrows down into a small path after the third river. The surrounding forest during the first hour is characterized as ultramafic and the trees are quite stunted – these are observable in this part of the city. Pitcher plants, Agoho trees, and santans, often covered with mist from the early morning fog, are scattered along the trail. From the last river, walk past local farms to the river and follow it through the cleared trail. The flora from then on will gradually change as you start a slow repetitive gradual up and down hike deeper into the forest. Two to three hours of 3/9 difficulty level of the walk will take you face to face with a huge rock with waters falling on the side.
Below the rock where the last fall of the cascade is. You will have to brave this to go to the main fall.
A brave careful climb past it will then bring you cascading curtains of tumbling waters, akin to an impatient white liquid drapes rushing through the stair shaped rocks at the side of the mountains… and right there, enjoy the soothing sound of nature, have a back massage, give yourself a break, and feast into a lush view of Puerto Princesa’s forest.
Enjoy the water!
How to get there, guides and other notes
You can reach the trail head of the falls at KM 23 in Bacungan, Puerto Princesa City through private vehicles or vans and buses that leave from San Jose Terminal from 6:00 in the morning on wards (approximately 50 PHP). The best time to visit it is early in the morning to avoid the heat on the sun along the train and in the falls itself. Wear your comfortable hiking clothes and do not forget to bring to change into after the hike. Hiking sandals and shoes are also advisable. Do not forget to bring your reusable water bottle, packed lunch and trail food.
For guides, you may contact my friends Arjay Bundac through +639121207988, his facebook (Arjay Rodrigo C. Bundac) or email (email@example.com) or Jasper Arcinas, also at his facebook (Jasper Arcinas) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Please also observe the Leave No Trace Principles at all times: Prepare for the hike, only walk on existing trails, trash your trash – pack in, pack out, leave what you find, be careful with fire, observe wildlife from the distance and be friendly to other visitors. This way, we can enjoy nature and make sure that others can enjoy while minimizing our impact and protecting the environment in the long run.
Keep chasing waterfalls this rainy season, everyone! See you on the trail! …and thank you, Arjay, for letting me use your photos!