Buntot Palos Falls stirred my interest when images from the Internet revealed a raging 90-foot waterfalls surrounded by rocky cliffs and abundant vegetation. It was a mere 2 hours drive from Manila to the jump-off in Brgy. Balian, Pangil, Laguna and another 2 hours (at most) hike from there. Ideal for a day trip to escape from the city. I learned about it from another blogger/mountaineer, Renante Mina who was eager to hike it. After one week of preparation, Renante and I, along with 22 others traveled to Laguna, to explore this wonder of nature.
The group met at 4:00AM in EDSA-Shaw Crossing and rented a jeepney to save up on travel time and trouble transferring from one vehicle to another. We arrived in early in Pangil, only to get lost locating the Barangay Hall of Balian. We contacted our guide, Joy (he is a guy) and in a matter of minutes, he arrived in the hall and directed us to the jump-off. We saw an eatery a few meters from the barangay outpost leading to the registration area and decided to take our breakfast before we start our journey.
It was my first time to try Gotong Batangas. What sets congee apart from the other version Filipinos know is that it has no rice. It is more like a soup with beef tripes and innards. Mixed with rice, the soup warmed up our growling stomach and pumped up our adrenalin.
Our research bared that the trail is easy but just to make sure, we hired three members from the barangay patrol to guide us. It is an steep concrete road from the registration area going to Nissy's Resort. This also signals the start of the trail. The path to Buntot Palos was rather wide and easy since horses and carabaos also pass this route. A smaller trail will shift left from the main trail that leads to the falls.
First Glimpse of Buntot Palos
I can hear the deafening roar of the water as we reach the final approach going to the falls. Finally, a glimpse of Buntot Palos as branches and thick leaves try to hide the magnificent view from us. I stopped to gaze at the overwhelming beauty in front of me.
Buntot Palos before the descend
Buntot Palos as seen from the ground
Wider view of Buntot Palos
The descend was the hardest part of the trail. It is slippery and one has to hold on to roots to get down. One wrong step and you will roll down to the big rocks below. The view was simply magnificent from where I was standing. The water current breaks down the hard rock beneath and then flows into the catch basin resembling a tail. This waterfalls would be ideal for rappelling.
The pristine and cold water more than made up for the long journey. I settled to take a rest while I prepare my gears. I started to take several images but the water keep spraying droplets into my camera filter even from afar. So much for long exposure shots! The basin is shallow but goes very deep as you approach the solid rock where the water drops from the top of the narrow canyon. Most of us swam in the cold brackish water but no one dared to go as far as beneath the furious waterfalls.
It was a rewarding trip for everybody. There were newbies who wanted to try hiking, some other seasoned mountaineers and some other travel bloggers whom I met for the first time. The area is still untouched and known only to mountaineers. A trip to Buntot Palos Falls is a very rewarding experience for adventure seekers and nature lovers alike.
Utazo at Buntot Palos
The trip will never be complete without Utazo having a picture with the scene on the background.
Mike Laagan at Buntot Palos
We left in the mid-afternoon and reached Nissy's resort where we washed up before heading back to Manila.
The trail is relatively easy but it is recommended to get guides as protection from bandits. They have tanods (barangay peace and security officer) equipped with radio and actively in touch with the barangay hall. It is not advisable to stay here overnight since there is no camp area. The trip from Manila to Pangil is 3 rides and around 3 hours when taking public transport. For a group around 20 to 24 person, renting a jeep will cut down the travel time by one hour and the hassle of having to transfer from one jeepney to another.
Jeepney Php 6,000.00 / 24 pax = Php 250.00 / pax
Registration fee = Php 25.00 / pax
Guide 3 x Php 300.00 = Php 37.50 / pax
Wash-up at Nissy's Resort = Php 25.00 / pax
Total Cost = Php 337.50 / pax
0330H Assembly at Chowking EDSA Central
0400H ETD Take jeep to Tanay, Rizal
0530H ETA Tanay / take jeep to Siniloan
0700H ETA Siniloan, Laguna, take tricycle to Brgy. Balian Pangil, Laguna
0730H ETA Brgy. Balian Pangil, Registration
0745H Final Preparation, Secure Guide, Breakfast
0830H Start Trek
1030H ETA Buntot Palos
1430H ETD Back to Jumpoff
1600H ETA Nissy's Resort, wash up
1700H ETD Back to Manila
2000H ETA EDSA / Shaw Crossing