Matin-aw falls-Malaunay,Valencia,Negros Oriental

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It was just a simple day trip that weekend but it turns into a full-day affair when I randomly came across a hidden waterfalls en route to the hinterlands of Malaunay Valencia Negros Oriental.

I was supposed to attend a whole day general assembly event as I was one of the chosen members to represent an annual meeting. Aiming to avoid a busy street, the long lines and the crowd just like last year, I woke up early and proceeded to the event. The registration of the assembly starts at 6 am and I was already in the area, it was well organized and smooth.

The event always starts with a mass then the main program follows. I was seated on a higher deck of the arena to get a clearer view and comfort. A few minutes of just sitting and looking for familiar faces, I feel like I was bored. In an instant, I found myself driving away from the court to somewhere. I was thinking to probably go home and do my household chores. On my way home, my sight was directed to the mountains of Valencia town. Seeing a clear weather, I decided to detour heading to Palinpinon.

The cool environment pushed me to continue driving the next barangays of Caidiocan and Malaunay. This is one of my unplanned trips, never made an arrangement, just go with the flow, and follow where my feet would bring. But what I usually do when going to unfamiliar place is searching for pictures online, saved those photos and ask the local community.

The foremost thing I wanted to check in Malaunay is an astounding waterfalls not much visited. No idea of where it is I stopped to nearest gymnasium of Malaunay, asked the locals but none of them knows. How could they don’t know? They should know better than me. Though it wasn’t the first time that locals doesn’t know what I’m referring to, many times it happens. The quest continues as I moved up, I ended up with a warning on one of the people not to go there, it could mean a great danger. In spite what he had said, my enthusiasm prevails and that it continues me to move forward.

At the end of a paved road, before entering Sitio Balantian I saw some parked vehicles, there were also houses along the road so I asked one of them and showed the waterfalls. Being at the right place for jump off area, a woman directed me to a descending route with a few houses along the way. Some meters away, the trail becomes confusing, the signs of the path loses further down the bushes. Analyzing the area, I shall allow my intuition to guide me this time following a sound of a river flow on its foothills. When wandering to new places, it is always recommended to look for a local guide, it will save you more time rather than finding your own way.

Halfway on my descent was a clearer sight of Okoy river. Upon reaching the river channel, the easiest way is to follow its flow up to its source. Careful moves should always be observed in this kind of environment, safety should always be on top priority when wandering to unfamiliar destinations. With its huge and sharp rocks, and strong current, one mistake will put ones life in jeopardy.

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Along the river are numerous natural pools, further up on a winding way sits a certain scenario of Matin-aw falls, it has two levels of powerful water currents dropping to a firm rock partitions. The first level is uniquely divided into half down to an extensive basin. To the right is another river tributary, though less in volume, still a picturesque setting of nature adjoining to the waters of Okoy river.

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The upper portion of Matin-aw also displays an immense volume of water, but reaching the top demands a rock climbing ability. Concealed by the surrounding cliffs the waters were extremely cold. Fortunate enough, the sheer cliffs were home of wild monkeys leaping from branches to other branches. This is one of the many pristine destinations in Valencia, just a nearby town from Dumaguete City. As always, we have to be reminded of the number one policy when visiting any place, “Leave No trace”.

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There are many things I’ve realize or learn when alone in nature, I enjoy solitude, I’ll never truly feel lonely, disconnect to the busy routine finding that inner peace. Lonely? nahhhhhh im just hanging out with my soul. This is the kind of rest day I always wanted. What about you, have you tried going places with no fixed plans? or have you followed your heart in case of doubt?

Wander and look for that spot where you could find peace amidst the face of discord and stress.

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Silab, Amlan, Negros Oriental

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Nature’s greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Recently I explored one of the most difficult road driving trails en route to the hinterlands of Silab, Amlan in Negros Oriental but difficult roads have always been a manifestation to a beautiful destination.

Nature has combined this unique natural topography with extensive vegetation and sleepy mountains in this town. The wet road surface and forest terrain conditions on rainy season make access more difficult. I have no idea where I am heading to, and I have no contact person in the area making this a challenging trip.

From a quick visit to Amlan Zoo, my mind was shifted to that huge river, running along Brgy Tambojangin. There could be waterfalls up on those mountains I am staring. From the animal park, an elevated road will lead to the next Brgy of Silab.

Brgy Silab being an agricultural area, the surrounding lands is utilize on usual crops, wide fields of sugarcane, there were few rice plantations, coconuts, bananas, among others, while I noticed most of the crops grown uplands were pineapple, cabbage, corns, variety of vegetables, pepper and some others.

Though developments are now slowly seen specifically on road projects on the remote areas of Silab, mountainous areas still remain unassisted. Sitio Pasalan, the farthest village in the Brgy will hopefully be more accessible in the coming years by the government through farm to market roads.

The road accessibility in Pasalan is actually associated with its power facility. Yes, there is a Powerplant in Amlan. The AHPP  is a 0.8 MW Powerplant facility constructed last 1958 and was ordered for commissioning in the year 1962. The high discharge rate of the river are believed to be springs of underground outlets of Lake Balinsasayao and Lake Danao in Sibulan. The connecting tributaries has several interesting waterfalls I aimed to see.

As mandated, the National Power Corporation (Napocor) first manages this part of Amlan water resources for power generation designed to operate as a base-load plant supplying power to the town of Amlan and nearby villages. It was on year 2009, that Amlan Hydro-electric Power Plant formally turned over to ICS Renewables by The Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM) for privatization. With the huge amount of water volume, that part of Pasalan is suited for the facility, hiding behind steep slopes are numerous waterfalls, one of which is Pasalan falls.

How did I get there:

From the central Brgy of Cantalina, road condition up to the Powerplant is undeniably unfavorable for vehicles. Nevertheless, I took the courage to drive up to where I could draw close to my destination. Slowly driving up are scenic views on both sides of the road. There were literally no one to ask, there were also few simple cabins along but no one is around, except to that last hut I approach.

It was a timely stop, a person comes out to that shelter as he also saw me coming. Jonard and his family owns the little hut, he narrated that he grew up in the area and had lived in that house for a year before moving to the central Cantalina village. That hour, he was with his older brother whom also helps him frequently cultivating their farmlands. Taking the opportunity to talk with them, Jonard was the right person to ask about Pasalan falls. He volunteered to guide me as well as interesting spots to see. Growing up in the area, the rivers are their playground whereas also serves the second source of their food. The river beds were home of abundant fishes, crabs and freshwater shrimps. I couldn’t ask for more, they were one of the most accommodating locals I’ve met.

From their hut, he drove me along terrible road, this is what I’m talking about, I could have stuck on those pond-like filled with muds or get lost as the worst. I’m amazed how Jonard handles the condition, not to mention, his previous work as a habal-habal driver gives him an edge to drive easily.

Pasalan Dam

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Our first stop, Pasalan Dam and water reservoir situated just on top of Pasalan falls. We managed to arrive at around 30 minutes from their hut to the jump off point for vehicles, we walk through a thick forests I never thought this town has. Jonard told me that the area were once a den of rebel groups, moreover, gunshots were a usual sounds they hear but now seems to be the opposite of what has been a chaotic environment they are living. Around 10 minutes we arrive to this barrier constructed to hold back water and raise its level forming a reservoir used to generate electricity in the Powerplant. The reservoir sits in the middle of a forest, the flowing waters were extremely very cold probably were ground springs from the twin lakes. To the corner is an outpost guarded by a person on duty whom mostly are relatives of Jonard. The area has some errie vibe, in fact, the person on duty tells experiences of strange sounds of a woman, he even sees unnatural sightings within the forests.

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Kang-ontol/Kan-ontol falls

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Visitors wanting to explore Pasalan falls will have to enter the Amlan Hydro-electric Powerplant premises, the property is gated and is mostly open to the public providing the purpose of your visit. Jonard being well known by many including the staff of the facility makes us to access immediately. The Powerplant system is situated at the bottom, both sides of the facility has river systems of which plays an important role in generating electricity. How does electricity works on flowing water? The impoundment facility, typically has large hydropower system uses a dam to store river water in a reservoir. Water released from the reservoir flows through a turbine, spinning it, which in turn activates a generator to produce electricity. The water may be released either to meet changing electricity needs or to maintain a constant reservoir level. From the building, we hike through huge boulders, but before Pasalan falls, there is another waterfall hiding on a cliff rock, who wouldn’t notice a resounding drop, we had to stop. Kang-ontol falls has such a mighty sight.  Further up is the highlight of our significant trip.

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Pasalan falls

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This is what I am very excited, there were just a few people I know who had climb up to that portion. True enough, double extra large boulders are obstructing the way. We climb, we have to crawl, and penetrate a limited size cavity just to reach the bottom part of the waterfalls. Just a few meters of Pasalan, the basin is stirred by waves caused by mighty drops of large amount of water. Both sides of the picture has towering canyons. Part of the whole waterfall is visible, attempting to view the entire height of the falls seems impossible. Fortunately, seeing it in real makes me appreciate more on our province. There is more to explore and discover.

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After a fulfilling day, Jonard ended the tour with a quick visit to their backyard and farmland. Further side of a hill, something sweetens my day with an expansive land of pineapples. Another thing to be thankful with him, he let me pick pineapples I want and bring it home. What a rewarding day, wish I could bring many but I can only carry two. Later he told me that the fruits will be sold to the provincial market. Not just that, they also supply variety of vegetables in the trade.

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