Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Siquijor: Cambugahay Falls and The Old Enchanted Balete Tree

I have seen some of the most spectacular waterfalls in the country, but it was my first time to see the bluest of blue basins. Cambugahay Falls may not have a stunning cascade, but its clear pool can easily tempt any visitor for a dip.

Shervin and I just came from Lazi Convent and Church, perplexed and blown away. After marveling on structures made of timber and coral stones, we were ready to see another natural attraction.

Cambugahay Falls' signage along the main road has an ethyl alcohol ad on it, with the president's youngest sister as the endorser. Not the most enticing sign, but it gave us a good laugh. Our tricycle driver dropped us off the parking area. We crossed the road and began the no sweat 15-minute hike. Actually, it's more of a stroll/descent down cemented steps.

The waterfalls is tucked inside a lush forest. At the end of the paved trail, I caught a glimpse of some blue pool which at first I thought was man-made. As I got closer, I had a full view of the falls and its basin. I exclaimed "wow!" for the nth time that day.

Though inviting, we weren't able to swim in. We were rushing through Siquijor's attractions because we needed to catch the last ferry to Dumaguete. After half an hour, we were once again aboard the tricycle. We zoomed our way to our last destination, recommended by the driver.

He took us to the famed old, enchanted balete tree which is believed to be 400 years of age. And let me tell you, this one's a behemoth (I wonder how big is the biggest in the world)!

Here in the Philippines, balete trees are known as hosts to scary creatures and spirits. I have no idea where this myth (I'd have to see one to become a believer) originated, but I do know its predator-ish ilk. In reality, it is the wild balete tree that's evil. A creeping plant that lodges itself onto a host tree, killing it when it's mature and mighty enough. When the host dies and withers, it leaves a hollow trunk. that's why we could sometimes pass through it.

Uhm, sorry to lead you to that geeky science stuff I'm occasionally into. In English, I think balete trees are amazing, so yeah I was more than happy to be brought there.

As we walked around the tree, gray clouds suddenly hovered above us. Our cue for calling it a day.

So for the last time, we hopped in the tricycle and headed to the port. The photo above was taken just before we boarded the ferry. It perfectly encapsulates our memory of Siquijor... A laid back, unsullied paradise. But full of surprises.


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Markyramone said...
February 7, 2011 at 7:29 PM

Our office before in Paco has this big balete tree, but not as big as that one in your blog. I plan to have a balete tree to in my future home in the mountains hehe...

I agree, that was the first thing i noticed even before reading your blog...that the water was sooo Blue...I'd like to jump into that...Dumaguete and Siquijor is on the top of my list this 2011

lakwatsera de primera said...
February 7, 2011 at 7:38 PM

Parang man-made pool nga yung catch basin, so blue!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
February 7, 2011 at 7:38 PM

Wow, so your future home will be located in the mountains? Awesome! Me, I'd like to have a bonsai balete tree someday. Will just place it on a coffee table. Cute, don't you think?

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
February 7, 2011 at 7:57 PM

Claire, yeah... unbelievably blue!

yhun said...
February 7, 2011 at 9:33 PM

wow beatiful!

wala ba masyadong naliligo dito? like ang mga locals?

Ed said...
February 7, 2011 at 10:10 PM

don't know how many times i jumped in Cambugahay Falls. did you see the Kris Aquino Casino Filipino signage? hehe.

also, the balete tree was really scary but we still had our photos taken with it. reminds me of those Shakre Rattle and Roll movies. hehe

journeyingjames said...
February 7, 2011 at 10:18 PM

i love waterfalls, cambugahay now is a must! siquijor, pupuntahan kita

Pinoy Boy Journals said...
February 8, 2011 at 12:00 AM

yes, ethyl alcohol ang sign para sa Cambugahay Falls, tapos di ba pag-akyat mo may mga nagbebenta ng gatorade? bumili ako ng tatlo sa uhaw! ha ha ha

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
February 8, 2011 at 1:06 AM

Yhun, we went there on a weekday. I've heard maraming locals ang nandito pag weekends.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
February 8, 2011 at 1:08 AM

Ed, maybe it's the Casino Ethyl Alcohol ad? Haha! Natawa ako sa "Shake Rattle and Roll".

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
February 8, 2011 at 1:11 AM

Jerik, 3 bottles of Gatorade! Wow, you must have been really, really thirsty. Pero tama, may maliit na tindahan sa may parking lot. Bumili ako ng drink para may benta si ate.

maierz said...
February 8, 2011 at 8:41 AM

Wow! Natalo ng Balete Tree na toh yung nasa Baler, and to think that tree was HUGE already! And di naman daw totoo na when there's a Balete tree maraming moomoo hahaha we asked the locals they said nothing goes on in that place..CORNY we wanted some weird thing to happen! :p

Ed said...
February 8, 2011 at 9:44 AM

@jerik: haha, buti na lang we brought bottled water prior to the trip. nakasave na rin, pero 3 gatorade bottles? haha

@gael: lol, ba't naging Casino Filipino? hahaha. labo hahaha.

Christian | Lakad Pilipinas said...
February 8, 2011 at 9:47 AM

Sarap ng tubig!!!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
February 8, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Mai, I have not seen the balete tree in Baler. And yeah, di rin talaga ako naniniwala sa mga moomoo na nakatira dun. Hehe.

Pinoy AdvenTurista said...
February 8, 2011 at 11:00 AM

sobrang ganda... i makes me want to book a flight now to Dumaguete and the go to Siquijor... thanks for sharing this..

Ian said...
February 8, 2011 at 1:16 PM

Cambugahay Falls is enchantinb. The blue pool creates a thinking that it is really clean....

I think one of the myths why Balete Tree is associated with spirits, elementals, etc., is because of its appearance where the hallow trunks or masses of leaves is said to be where those elemental lives.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
February 8, 2011 at 2:01 PM

Mervs, go! You've already been to Negros Occidental right? So Dumaguete and Siquijor next :)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
February 8, 2011 at 2:04 PM

Ian, perhaps. Also cause it's got lots of creepy vines hanging from its branches. Scary ang silhouette kapag full moon!

Eric said...
February 15, 2011 at 8:07 PM

I am happy that you visited my birthplace Siquijor, hope you'd come again.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
February 15, 2011 at 9:45 PM

Hopefully we could, Eric! We love Siquijor. Belated happy birthday!

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