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Friday, January 19, 2018

Bataan | Trail to Ambon-Ambon Falls


It was almost an hour into our hike when we reached the edge of a boulder ravine dropping to more than a hundred feet. I saw our guide took out his rope and instantly proceeded behind the trees. “Wait for us, we’re just going to fix the rope” he told us in Tagalog. I took a peek and figured it would have been a very hurtful fall - with major broken bone ramifications, if one slid down to the bottom.  This was just one of the many obstacle course-like trail characteristics of the path leading to Ambon-Ambon falls. It looks moderate when you consider the distance of two hour and a half away, but going through all presents a set of challenging yet fun adventure moments.


Kiss the Wall and Slide your Butt

Despite of my many hiking experiences negotiating a variety of mountain trails, I still found the path leading to Ambon-Ambon falls an exciting one. After our guide fixed the rope, one-by-one we took turns in passing through the wall I mentioned earlier. To go about it, we need to hold on to our rope like our life depended on it and carefully slide our feet sideways, as we position our self as close to the wall as possible.


Kiss the wall, kiss the wall” commands our guide. I found that part the most thrilling one – although falling a hundred feet below never crossed my mind, the sensation of lurking danger added another layer of excitement.


The last part consisted of cutting through an almost 45-degree slope of loose soil and rocks. Keeping your balance is impossible so we found ourselves surrendering to gravity by letting our butt slide and stretching our feet to step on a tree to break our momentum – otherwise, we’ll slide into another deep ravine.

High Drop, Small Basin

After two hours of trekking, the soaring Ambon-Ambon falls finally appeared. Shrouded in the forests of Bagac, Bataan; Ambon-Ambon Falls situates near the more popular and easier to access Limutan Falls. On most weekends, locals would troop here and take a dip on the cool waters and gather for a picnic under the shades of the towering trees.


Ambon-Ambon falls is more bare – just what I would want it to remain. The single straight cascade towers to approximately 60 meter high which flow directly into a surprisingly, small basin. It is like having a super-sized Jacuzzi below a waterfalls. Since we were a small group, we all fit perfectly into the natural pool.


I found the environs surrounding Ambon-Ambon falls, a refreshing sight. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect as well; the skies all bright and blue plus the sun shining directly above us, gives a more appealing gleam to the cascading waters.


We had lunch by the waterfalls (you can do so too, as long as you make sure not to leave any trash and leftover food behind) and took advantage of the opportunity to further bond with our guides and get to know miss Leslie of Bataan Tourism Office.



Cashew Plantation

Our way back became easier as we’ve learned from our silly mistakes earlier – such as holding on to thorny plants belonging to Dendrocnide, for support. Before we reached the CENRO office, we passed by a cashew plantation. Known locally as Kasoy, it is one of the main agricultural produce of Bataan. We picked up a few to familiarize ourselves with the fruit itself – since most of us only knew about its nut.


I found the taste of the fruit a little strong especially the after taste, but our guide told us once you get used to it, people start loving eating them. Plus it is a good source of natural minerals and vitamins.


A few strides and bouts of animated conversations and laughter later, we capped our little day hike with an afternoon snack at Choco Late de Batirol. It was a fun day that made me to appreciate the province of Bataan because as I later learned, it has a lot of great outdoors attraction waiting for adventure travelers to enjoy.

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I joined fellow travelers Christine, Dennis and Kara on this trip sponsored by the Bataan Tourism Office. Travelers wishing to visit Ambon-Ambon falls are requested to register and hire tour guides at the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) in Barangay Binukawan, Bagac.




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