Chasing Zamboanga Waterfalls in 2 Days

As part of our Ultimate Zamboanga Trip, we, of course, cannot miss the Zamboanga Waterfalls. Mindanao is rich in natural resources. Let alone the natural wonders and attractions God has blessed the region. From mountains down to the diversity of marine life, Mindanao is indeed a near untouched paradise.

Check out the whole Zamboanga trip here: Ultimate Zamboanga Trip 

If we are to count the number of waterfalls in Mindanao, the small section of Iligan City alone houses 24discovered waterfalls. It would take someone months to roam around Mindanao just to visit all the “discovered” waterfalls in the region.

This late August, we ventured out on an Ultimate Zamboanga Trip which covers chasing waterfalls in the Zamboanga Peninsula.

Zamboanga Peninsula is composed of three provinces and one independent city.

Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay and lastly, Zamboanga City. 

We started our trip with a courtesy visit to one of our friend’s hometown in Dumingag. Of course, we did little side trips on our first leg.

Check them out here: Ultimate Zamboanga Trip (Side Trips)

 

Zamboanga Waterfalls – Pulacan

Zamboanga Waterfalls

From the humble municipality of Dumingag, we headed straight to Pagadian where we experienced their quirky tricycles. Their tricycles are so unusual but with a purpose. They intentionally positioned their passenger’s seats in an inclined manner because Pagadian City has mostly steep and inclined terrains. Positioning the passenger’s seats in that manner helps the motorcycle cruise the steep roads.

Zamboanga Waterfalls

Prior to our arrival at the proper Pagadian City, we dropped by to see Pulacan Falls. Pulacan Waterfall is a waterfall which is very visible and accessible from the main highway. It is under the municipality of Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur. Actually, Pulacan is just beside the main highway. It is located along the Ozamiz – Pagadian highway. The water is somewhat murky so we did not mind taking a dip in the waters and we were actually racing with time as we still need to be in Tampilisan as early as 2 PM.

CAUTION: The stones are quite slippery so be mindful of your steps.

HOW TO GET THERE:
  • From Pagadian ride a van or bus bound for whichever of the following cities: Tangub, or Ozamiz, or Dipolog.
  • Tell the driver to drop you by the highway near Pulacan Falls.
  • Or you can charter a ride (habal-habal or tricycle) from Pagadian to take you to Pulacan Falls. Travel time from Pagadian City is around 20-30 minutes.
NOTES and IMPORTANT REMINDERS:
  • There is a trail at the side of the waterfall to get you to the upper level of the waterfall tier.
  • No entrance or environmental fee.
  • Not advisable to visit the falls especially during heavy rainy days.
  • Always practice and observe LNT (Leave No Trace)

 

Zamboanga Waterfalls – Situbo

Zamboanga Waterfalls

Within the heart of the mountains of the municipality of Tampilisan, Zamboanga del Norte is a grand waterfall which will really capture the hearts of each adventure junkies. Situbo is quite familiar already among the locals in the municipality.

After a very long ride from Dumingag, we finally arrived in Tampilisan past noon. We arrived at around 2 PM. Just as we stepped on the grounds of the municipality of Tampilisan, we were then greeted by a bunch of habal-habal drivers offering to tour us around, especially to their known tourist spots.

Tampilisan houses not only the Situbo Waterfall, but they also have caves and other waterfalls as well.

We did not mind getting an accommodation yet. Instead, we hired habal-habal and went straight to the waterfall with our humongous backpacks on. We dropped by the local government office first for registration and courtesy call before proceeding to the waterfall. After around half an hour of bumpy and muddy ride, we finally arrived at the waterfall. There were no other people present. It was only us that time so we were lucky to have the place by ourselves. We headed back early for the hope of hitting another waterfall in the neighboring municipality of Titay. But fate disallowed for it rained so hard that we took shelter at one of the local sheds. The rain stopped when it was already almost twilight and it will still take more than an hour to reach the next waterfall. So we decided to visit the other waterfall the next morning.

HOW TO GET THERE:
  • From Dapitan or Dipolog City, ride a bus or van that will pass Ipil.
  • Drop by the municipality of Tampilisan
  • From Pagadian City, ride a bus or van that will pass Ipil.
  • Then ride a bus or van bound for Dipolog or Dapitan then drop by the municipality of Tampilisan.
  • From Tampilisan, get a habal-habal ride that will take you to the waterfall. The drivers will also serve as your guides.
  • We got habal-habal at 300 pesos good for 2 people.
  • It would take roughly 30 minutes to get you to the waterfall.
WHERE TO STAY:
  • Lopina Pension House. They have plenty of rooms with different capacities and amenities. We got ours for 600php good for 4 people, air-conditioned and with own private bathroom.
NOTES and IMPORTANT REMINDERS:
  • Make sure to drop by the local government office and make a courtesy call and register. This is to make sure of the visitor’s safety.
  • The place is kinda eerie and we don’t know the exact depth of the water and the possible water current beneath, so we did not take a dip. Also because nobody else was around to rescue us in case of whatever happens.
  • Enjoy the view!
  • Always practice and observe LNT (Leave No Trace).

 

Zamboanga Waterfalls – Tagbilat

Zamboanga Waterfalls

A lesser known but of equal grand and beauty with the rest. Tagbilat Falls lies secretly and silently at the heart of Titay, Zamboanga Sibugay. I must say it is an underdog in the world of waterfalls popularity. But with a proper care and tourism campaign, this waterfall will definitely be one with the others on the pedestal.

The following morning, we woke up as early as 4:30 AM to leave by 5 AM. We arranged a trip with the same habal-habal drivers that brought us to Situbo Falls. They picked us up at around 5:30 AM and went to Tagbilat Falls early. It took us more than an hour to get to Tagbilat Falls jump-off. We still have to walk around 10 minutes to reach the waterfall.

Mentioning the name “Tagbilat” Falls might bring a bisaya native to an awkward smile/laughter. Our driver/guides flippantly mentioned that the waterfall was named so because the water only reaches as high as a grown woman’s upper thigh approaching the crotch area. In bisaya, a woman’s privates (vagina) is called “bilat”. The name “Tagbilat” may translate to “taga bilat” which means “up to the vagina”.

The waterfall is so raw. It is still not yet developed but traces of humans are already visible. Garbage from every corner is very evident.

We did not stay too long as we still have to race against time and get ourselves to our next waterfall destination in Zamboanga City.

HOW TO GET THERE:
  • From Dapitan or Dipolog City, ride a bus or van that will pass Ipil.
  • Drop by the municipality of Titay.
  • From Pagadian City, ride a bus or van that will pass Ipil.
  • Then ride a bus or van bound for Dipolog or Dapitan then drop by the municipality of Titay.
  • From Titay, get a habal-habal ride that will take you to the waterfall. The drivers will also serve as your guides.
  • Around 1 hour of travel.
  • We, however, stayed in Tampilisan so we hired a habal-habal from Tampilisan to cross between the two municipalities and take us to Tagbilat Falls.
    • We paid our habal-habal 500 pesos for each motorcycle (good for 2 people).
NOTES and IMPORTANT REMINDERS:
  • Make sure to get a trusted driver and who knows how to get to the waterfall.
  • The road is bumpy and might get muddy.
  • You still have to walk several meters from the jump-off to get to the waterfall.
  • The place is so remote. You’ll pass several houses of the residents.
  • Enjoy and be safe always.
  • Always practice and observe LNT (Leave No Trace).

 

Zamboanga Waterfalls – Merloquet

Zamboanga Waterfalls

Merloquet Waterfalls is already popular among the locals and travelers. The signature facade of the waterfall looks like mini terraces where the water cascades gracefully. Photos of the waterfall have already been flooding over the internet especially on the social media.

Straight from Tagbilat Falls, we hurriedly went back to Lopina Pension House to prepare our things, shower, and check-out. We headed straight to the terminal to catch a van or bus bound for Ipil. Several minutes passed and yet no van nor bus heading for Ipil arrived. So we decided to go straight to the main highway and wait for the bus or van to pass by. After an hour ride from Tampilisan, we finally arrived in Ipil. Then from Ipil bus terminal, we rode a tricycle to take us to Ipil van terminal bound for Zamboanga City.

Zamboanga Waterfalls

Our last waterfall destination is located in Vitali, Zamboanga City where we finally arrived after an hour and a half of van ride from Ipil. From Vitali, we took another 30-minute habal-habal ride to take us to the waterfall jump-off. I can say that Merloquet is already developed because of the well-developed concrete stairs leading to the waterfall.

As we reached the last steps of the stairs, the sound of the rushing waters tickled our ears. At last, the view of the waterfall greeted our eyes. There were other visitors when we got there. This time, we took our time to enjoy the waters. We changed clothes just on the bushes near the waterfall. I did not mind getting naked while changing clothes as I was too excited to finally wet my skin with the cold waters of Merloquet.

We lost track of time until our habal-habal drivers gave us the last call. We did not change yet as we sill have a steep stair to conquer. After several hundreds of steps, we finally arrived at the jump-off point. We chased our breaths as we quickly change into our dry clothes. The habal-habal drivers dropped us back to the main highway where we caught a van bound for Zamboanga City for the next leg our out Ultimate Zamboanga Trip which is “Roaming Around Zamboanga City”.

Check out our full Ultimate Zamboanga Trip here: Ultimate Zamboanga Trip

Zamboanga Waterfalls

CAUTION: The stones are quite slippery so be mindful of your steps when climbing the waterfall.

HOW TO GET THERE:
  • Get on a bus or van bound for Zamboanga City. Make sure it’ll pass Vitali.
  • Van ride from Ipil to Vitali will take around 1.5hrs
    • Van fare cost around 120 pesos.
  • If you are from Zamboanga City, get on a north-bound bus or van. Make sure it’ll pass Vitali.
    • Van fare cost around 100 pesos.
  • Drop by Bataan just a few meters away from Vitali National High School.
  • In Vitali, ride a habal-habal that will take you to the jump-off point of Merloquet Falls.
  • The habal-habal ride will take around 30 minutes.
    • They charge 70 pesos per way per person.
NOTES and IMPORTANT REMINDERS:
  • Make sure to get a trusted driver and who knows how to get to the waterfall.
  • An entrance fee of 5 pesos will be collected at the jump-off area.
  • Tipping the habal-habal driver is up to you but is highly recommended especially if they wait for you so that you can have a sure ride back to the main highway.
  • You still have to descend via concrete stairs to the waterfalls. Same goes for getting back to the jump-off area.
  • Always practice and observe LNT (Leave No Trace).

2 Responses

  • Thank you for this post! It’s very informative and the photos are awesome! 🙂 Would you know the last van or bus trip from Vitali going back to Zamboanga proper? I’ll be in Zamboanga by noon and I’m planning to visit Merloquet falls on my first day and explore Basilan on day 2. Thank you!!

    • Hi Kar! Thanks for dropping by.
      I don’t know exactly the time for the last trip, but all I can remember is that it was already around 4pm when we left merloquet and arrived in Zamboanga City at around 5pm.
      Anyway, I am kinda excited for your Basilan trip. Have you contacted the tourism offices already?

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