It’s funny how this gets published first before the Boracay 2017 post (which I haven’t finished yet). I will get back to that soon, probably.
For 2018’s first adventure, the destination is Pasukulan Falls in Orani, Bataan. This is really a random trip because I practically begged (HAHAHA no) to be in it. I heard that my college classmates were planning to go on a hike and I just tagged along. It was a Sunday so it was okay.
I don’t know anything much about Pasukulan Falls other than it is in Orani. The people I’m with are my Limutan Falls (blog post here) buddies so wherever they say, I go. I didn’t realize we were up for a big challenge.
We met up at Abucay Café at 6am, hoping to be at and out of the falls before nightfall. We were complete by 8am (6 burly men and I) and decided to ride a jeep to Orani (10php each). Apparently, there is a trail going to the falls from Abucay and there is another from Orani. The Abucay trail was unfamiliar and a lot trickier (so they say) that is why we decided to choose the other option.
At the Orani hiway, we rode a tricycle going up to Tala for 50php each. Beside the resort VistaTala is where the road to the View Deck is located. The View Deck is a sort of pit stop before the actual trail to the falls. When we got to Tala, we were required to pay an Environmental fee of 75php and if we wanted a tour guide, another payment is needed. One of my classmates said we won’t be needing a guide because they know the way so we just signed a waiver.
But first, lomi.
Some of us didn’t have the time to eat breakfast so we ate Lomi before going up. I’ve tasted a Batangas Lomi before in my Tala Adventure (posted here) but we ate at a different store. It was filling because the soup was thick and it is filled with chicharron and other meat. It was priced at 35php for a regular and 50php for the special. We got the regular.
We then started the trek. The first half of the way to the View Deck has a concrete road but the other half was undeveloped which was filled with your usual undeveloped stuff eg rocks, grime, mud, soil, etc. I advise you to wear a full-body armor because things can get nasty. Wear long-sleeved shirts, leggings, and trusty footwear for protection from leaves, grass, and the like. Wear sun protection too like caps, hankies, extra towelette, etc., we were lucky because the weather was gloomy so the sun wasn’t that harsh.
We reached the View Deck after a half an hour (or less) walk. We took pictures, rested, refueled, then went our way.
It was a rocky ascent, I must say. Literally full of rocks. It was the ideal way to deal with rain and the roads get muddy but it really hurts my slipper-laden feet. Yes, I’m that prepared (Warning: do not imitate). A flat and straight road will be your new best friend.
While going up, we encountered a few mountaineers and guides that enlightened us in our endeavor. Apparently, we have to get to the top of Mt. Natib first before we even get to the trail going to Pasukulan Falls. And it will take time. A lot of it. We were advised to just go to Mt. Natib because we won’t make it to the falls with where we were. Time check: approximately 11AM. Approximate time to Mt. Natib is 2-3 hrs more. So, to Mt. Natib we trek.
You must look out for these tiny pesky blood-sucking limatik. They are like linta but a little less scary because of their size. They are about half an inch, slimy, and sticks like a gum. They will suck your blood until they are bloated, looking like an earthworm. They can be easily removed and easily killed. You won’t lose a lot of blood either. I just don’t like their texture that is why I don’t like them. Just be careful. Wear socks?
We were instructed to go left after the grass land and guess what? We did what we were not told to do. We went to the right, the one with the rope. Our thinking was maybe this was the shortcut because of the rope. Little did we know that that rope will be the first of many.
I think the trail we went to was the expert trail. Keep in mind that almost all of us are beginners and we were just after the falls. But we still trudged on. Another tip, don’t bring too much luggage. We brought a change of clothes and soap because we thought we were gonna go swimming, and lunch. It was hard going up with a lot of things in your back. There were times that I had to be down on all fours because of how high and steep the trail was. There were ropes provided for the inclined rocks but the beginner in me was afraid for the state of my arm muscles. Thankfully, I survived. I didn’t know I could rappel until I did. That says a lot about life.
It was getting harder to climb up and it started raining so we sent 3 people to survey the top if we can find an alternative road going down. We were 180m away from the top (1123 MASL, Mt. Natib) and it is way past lunch so were starving, cold, tired, and afraid. Well, I am, I am afraid because my anxiety is kicking in and I have a strong faith that there is an alternate route going down.
But then there isn’t. We decided to just go back because of the rain, the time, and our inexperience. It was past lunch and the trek down will take a lot of time and effort because of the rain. Personally, downhill is such a challenge for me than uphill trails. My knees tremble easily, making me afraid to make any fast movements. I was the main reason for our delayed trek down. Better safe than sorry!
It took us a while to get to the camp site. The rock climbing parts were one of the trickier parts to get down to. The rocks were pretty slippery and yes, the altitude makes me nervous. All I see when I look down was fog, tons of it, in every direction. It was exhilarating and frightening at the same time. It was almost 3pm when we ate lunch at the mini camp after the grassland. After 30 minutes, we trekked again.
We walked in the seemingly endless rocky path for hours. Stopping only for a few to catch our breaths and take a sip of water. Don’t forget to bring sweets for the needed energy!
Fast forward to 5pm, at the View Deck once more, to look at the receding outline of the sun. I didn’t think I could walk even more after that. My slippers-laden feet were sore, bloody, and aching. We stayed for a few minutes to watch the sun set, a fulfilling ending to our eventful day. Then we walked. Again. Back to Tala, back to concrete roads, and back to civilization.
At 6:30pm, we were heating our supposed lunch of Sisig and Bopis plus buying another round of Lomi for everybody.
And by 8:30pm, we were on board our friend’s car, who kindly went out of his way to pick us up, and merrily but tiredly are on our way home.
I haven’t seen the guys since the board exams but it still feels good to be with familiar faces. We might have evolved into better versions of ourselves by now but the same old weird habits were still there. It was nice to be able to ask them how they are in person, chat with them, bully them a bit, and just be with them. I just wish I could come to these get togethers more often, travel more often, discover new places, but not this year, no. Maybe next year?
Anyway, it was a nice trip, a very tiring one but fun nonetheless. If you are planning to go to Pasukulan Falls, I advice you to trek as early as possible or stay overnight.
It would have been nice to actually see the falls. But, there’s always a next time! ‘til then!
PS I apologize for the lack of pictures. I promised myself I would enjoy it and not stress about taking good pictures while I’m at it 🙂