Banica River is one of the major sources of domestic water in Dumaguete City, which the fountainhead originates in the mountains of Valencia town, one of its tributaries flows through the famous Casaroro falls. Do you know that aside from that most photographed waterfalls, the upper and lower parts of it has also some series of waterfalls which snakes through the Cuernos de Negros ranges?
Believe it or not, there are at least 11 fascinating waterfalls connecting that river. From the top, the twin falls of Nagabi is around 6 kms of uphill climb from Casaroro entry point, 5 and 3 kms away to the titan falls of Lubas and Pulangtubig, 2 kms away down to the Original Casaroro, 2 kms away further up to Dolley and Tabunan falls, 4 kms away to Andoy falls, and 1 km to Totyn falls and Lulunggan falls.
That’s a lot of exciting destinations to check right. But for now, let’s get to know more of the towering falls of Lubas and Pulangtubig. These two keep lingering my mind since that first major climb I had en route to Mount Talinis. Viewed from the trail, the portion of the waterfalls were already compelling. The sound of its water drops echoing every corner in the jungle. The dense woodland and undergrowth has been a complex territory for visitors.
Prior to this trip, there were at least four attempts I did finding for that trail going down. Failed to those times and as much as I love to wander alone this is definitely a chance to look for local guide together with easy going companions. As much as I don’t want others to undergo mishap or difficulty on a trip, but the world is just full of friends, who shares equally the same passion and discovering new adventures to create a meaningful stories. We wander as one to promote the beauty of our province and spread awareness on responsible traveling.
We agreed to assemble early morning one weekend aiming also to finish early. Joel, our certified and local guide in Valencia will lead us through the whole itinerary. Along with me are two dauntless wanderers, Klydie from Bayawan City and Archie from Bais City whom will also be first timers to those waterfalls.
Our starting point is at Casaroro falls entance. We started out smooth, following an established trail via Apolong to Mount Talinis. Eventually, before an overlooking area of the lowlands, we changed our direction as we followed Joel to an unnoticed track. Condition now shifted to a slow paced movement. Slowly but very careful, ground was wet and slippery. The gradual descent requires full concentration and without rush, we leave plenty time to get down but on a reasonable pace. Suddenly we figured out that we have no idea where we actually were.
We couldn’t familiarize the route as literally there were no trail, we were just following Joel whom were also cutting down the shrubs along the way. We just constantly hear the melodies created by the river but we couldn’t see it clearly from a distance since the slope is full of trees. With the help of our guide who cuts out unnecessary obstruction to the view finally we are able to see a short glance of an isolated waterfall. Its water flows down from a different tributary, as we draw closer down the river, the three of us felt a sign of relief.
From an arduous descent, I couldn’t help but to immerse my hands and face to its cold waters. From that standpoint, we witness a natural occurrence of the connecting river. Huge amount of clear water on our right unites to a reddish colored water from the left and finally flows as one down to Casaroro, then to Banica and eventually to the ocean.
We walked along the colored waters up to its source. Ladies and gentlemen, this is Pulangtubig falls. Derived from its appearance, Pula meaning Red and Tubig as water, though it doesn’t really look red, but the rocks were turned into somewhat red. Puzzled how it turns that color, probably the source has an abundant sediments and is carried away with the current or probably a sulfuric stream upstream causing the rocks to turn red. It resembles that characteristic of PulangBato falls.
Just a short river hike from Pulangtubig, we stopped by to a shorter waterfalls. They call this as Andoy falls. Joel told us that this is the area where they usually catch freshwater eels. With the changing weather in the mountains from fair to gloomy, all of us don’t want to get stocked out there when water rises. Thinking of that struggle we went earlier, we were hopeful for an easier way around which we did, the ascend on our way back has a trail and was a lot more easier. Finally we rested some time back at the trail. Joel emphasize this time that the second waterfalls will be tough, and that we must be prepared for some climbing session.
Right after our rest, we immediately went to a critical route, we were knee-shaking standing on moist water pipes, underneath is a dangerous ravine we couldn’t afford to fall. This is way much difficult compared to the first. We were really very careful with the unstable footing, there were grounds that it looked firm but once you step were actually just dried leaves. Next we have to deal are thorny plants, a lot of instances we don’t notice it, some of them are unavoidable, worst we stepped on it and touched it. The steep ground was really tough to descend. Joel were always there to help especially with undergrowth interferences, but most of the time, plant roots or tiny shrubs are the only thing we hold onto in order not to fall. Clearly we are struggling on some parts that we have to creep in inches.
The last part of the trek down was the most dangerous as I could remember, we were climbing on lateral part of a rock cliff clinging to that tiny roots along with it. A mistake will surely land on the rocks, but it comes along a clearer view of the entire waterfall. We took a little time to rest and look on its raw beauty in the middle of the jungle, completely separated from the touch of humankind. Mighty water drops on a captivating basin. The natural pool is insanely cool. The rocks were naturally formed into a holding basin deep enough for its coldest waters.
Not done yet, We opted to ascend more down to the bottom. Again, Joel with his help were always ready for necessary stuff needed, using a rope tied on a tree manages us to easily go down to the river flow. The view and intensity here totally blows me away.
This has been an exceptional day for us, it was tiring but totally fulfilling, we are one in a few people and locals who has been to this spot. We may never see future plans of coming back but the experience will be remembered over and over again.
- Check the weather
- Make sure you have a guide
- Be prepared for some climbing session
- No shouting in the mountains
- Pack essential things like food, extra clothes, and water
- LEAVE NO TRACE