Location: Barangay Tangadan, San Gabriel, La Union
This is just a part of my 3-day La Union Trip. It was a mix of chasing water falls, city tour in San Fernando, beach surfing in San Juan, visiting old churches and other tourist spots of the province.
I did not have plan of touring around La Union but then I have to go back there to pick-up the passport I applied in DFA San Fernando. It was almost two months since my passport has been due for pick-up but the time of going there which would consume at least one and a half days just for traveling back and forth was really a problem due to my hectic schedule.
Realizing I will be consuming much time and expenses as well for the round trip bus fare, I decided to maximize everything when I go there in San Fernando City. The first time I went there was when I applied for the passport on its DFA Office and I also visited its Tourism Office housed on its Provincial Capitol for some query of its tourist destinations. The very accommodating staff gave me brochures but the problem was no specific contacts were given. I kept these brochures as reference thinking I can find time of touring around there maybe for summer which was too remote then. However, picking-up my passport was pressing me to go back there. It was only the night before my departure that I searched some blogs for possible tour guide. The blog which I read highly recommended a certain Pedro "Peter" Macaraeg or also known as Kuya Raymond and right there and then I called him. I can sense he was nice and so I finalized the deal.
The trek starts with rice paddies, the green rice fields and piles of harvests. It was just rolling and malling-like walk. My digicam started to grind for every step was a sight to behold.
Left Cubao at 10:30 P.M. boarding an airconditioned Partas bus with its terminal along Aurora Boulevard and arrived San Fernando City at 4:30 A.M. the following day. It was still dark and cold and so I stayed at the Partas bus terminal till 5:00 A.M. I managed to ask the bystanders to locate the jeep terminal of the route to San Gabriel and it was just walking distance anyway. The jeep left at 5:30 A.M. and the whole travel duration took 65 minutes to the town of San Gabriel. As per instruction of Raymond, I only have to take a tricycle going to Barangay Bucao which I did and I found him right there in their house.
Coming from an exhausting trip, I decided to take an hour sleep in the ancestral house of Raymond. His whole family was so welcoming and I was so comfortable with them. After breakfast, at exactly 8:00 A.M., we left their house and using his sidecar as service vehicle, we headed to the water falls. We passed thru picturesque ricefields and typical green countryside. We left his sidecar at Barangay Dagup where all vehicles are parked and started the 30-minute trek.
The trek was refreshing. The water of the river was so clear that you can see the reflection of your face. Big boulders of rocks are either on the river or along the river where we occasionally hop and climb. There is an amazing backdrop of the thick forest. We happen to pass through cottages halfway and a cargo zipline for transport crossing Baroro River.
Opposite the water falls is dotted with stores where food and drinks can be bought as well as life vest for rentals. There are also two comfort and shower rooms available for the guests.
A solo guest, Kuya Raymond and I were the first to be in the water falls at around 9:00 A.M. However, I've noticed that the water was brown. Unfortunately, there was a continuous heavy rain the night before. But according to the locals, during summer time or non-rainy season, the water is crystal-clear.
Raymond toured me around to the second layer of the falls and I find it there better as I felt so intimate with the falls. Though one has to be cautious because some parts of the massive rocks are slippery.
The second layer of the water falls has also a basin and its more calm compared to the basin down the first layer of the water falls where roars like a thunder in sound.
According to Raymond, the basin has an average depth of 15 feet while the basin of the main falls has an approximate depth of 20 feet. But he had advised me to be cautious as there were already two lives claimed by this water falls.
I have the reason to stay longer on the second basin as people have crowded down the main falls. As you see bamboo raft down there has been flocked with guests to get closer to the water falls.
Fortunately, I was lucky that even if water falls has freezing cold water, that time it was not. I just realized it was scary to swim in a brown water where I can see the basin rock bed.
I was highly engaged in the second basin as I stayed longer here. After all, only teenagers and athletic guests scale this height of the second layer of the falls.
After three hours of swimming and diving, I got tired and decided to take my lunch from the nipa stores around. Raymond was not available to serve as my guide the next day to Kapandagan Falls and so I he looked one for me.
Trekking back was easier and faster though it was already hot because it was 10:30 A.M. but some parts are shady anyway. I took my time trekking and I engaged myself in getting the details of the trail. I look at them up-close. I must be in love of the serenity and beauty of the place.
HOW TO GET THERE
1. Take any bus going to La Union or any other bus going to Vigan, Abra or Laoag for 5-6 hours night travel: Partas (Cubao), Farinas (Cubao), Dominion (Cubao), Viron (Cubao, Sampaloc) or Philippine Rabbit (Oroquieta Street,Manila; EDSA Balintawak)
2. Lift at San Fernando City, La Union preferably at Partas bus terminal.
3. From the Partas bus terminal, ask to find the terminal with the route going to San Gabriel town proper.
4. From San Gabriel town proper fronting its municipal hall, tricycles are available going to the jump-off point to Tangadan.
5. You have the option to wait for Raymond fronting the municipal hall, or take a jeep going to their house to Barangay Bucal.
6. Follow the same pattern in heading back to San Fernando City.
|1.||Round trip airconditioned Partas bus fare from Cubao to San Fernando City (P410 one-way)|
|2.||Round trip jeep fare from San Fernando City to San Gabriel (P25 one-way)|
|3.||Round trip tricycle fare from San Gabriel town proper to Raymond's house (P20 one-way|
|4.||Tour guiding fee|
|5.||Life vest rental|
|6.||Four meals at P45 per meal|