Cataractophile. It’s the closest word my Google search gave me for a waterfall lover. After unlocking a few more waterfalls in my recent Cebu Spartan trip, I think I am already officially declaring myself one. Speaking of official, cataractophile should also make it to Oxford English dictionary, don’t you think?
Kawasan Falls was once a favorite but I think I might have found the best one in our country yet secluded up there in the northern province Abra – Kaparkan falls. Not only does this falls have quite a unique formation that reminds me of a certain travel bucketlist destination but also reinforced to me some life lessons during my visit. And here they are below:
1.Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations. The road to Kaparkan Falls is an agonized effort. In the orientation area in Bangued, they’re gonna be frank about it – it’s physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting. You’re going to sit on a wooden bench at the back of a 6×6 military truck for 3-4 hours on a rough road (about an hour in pavement) with almost nothing to hold on to while the truck turns sideways (almost) in some parts of the unpaved terrain. There’s a low possibility of mechanical breakdown of the truck but do expect to have a sore butt after the extreme off-roading adventure. But let me assure you that they’re all worth it.
2. The ride is best enjoyed with good companies along the way.
I booked this trip with Adventure Philippines and the itinerary includes a Vigan sidetrip for a weekender. As per my usual experience with this organizer (or perhaps it’s just Filipino humor), it’s almost impossible not to find someone who didn’t load up on jokes and punchlines to deliver along the way while everyone’s screaming for dear life. After all, when you’re already falling off your seat from the bumps on the road, there’s no better way to deal with it than to just laugh it off right? These types of people certainly make the already uncomfortable ride more bearable.
3. Sometimes the best thing is already right infront of us but we choose to ignore them in search of something better. Call it a hugot line or something (haha and raise your hand if you can relate to this the most) But personally, the view that best represents this blue terraced waterfall is right there the moment you stepped into the pool entrance. Look into your right and there goes your breathtaking view of cascading tiers of blue green mini infinity pools that remind me of Turkey’s travertine terraces Pamukkale (one of my bucketlist!). But, I wasn’t able to capture it. Here’s what happened.
Carol and I, being the “content creators” that we are (aka do anything for the gram lol), thought we could find a similar view down so went to trek further. Actually, IT IS the normal course – you’d wanna get to know and explore the thousand-meter waterfall. The 15- to 30-min trek down is a treacherous one where you’ll pass through a forest with a big balete tree and see some mini pools with its own waterfall along the way. Eventually, the water drains down to Tineg River and the moment we caught sight of the river was the time we knew we had to trek back up.
4. There’s beauty at the bottom alright but don’t linger in it.
As already mentioned, Kaparkan has a lot of these “pockets of pools” for you to enjoy/ solo with your friends. There are some pools with a mini waterfall in it, some that has vines for swinging or one that is beautifully bathed in sunlight. But with a limited time for everyone (the waterfalls closes at 3PM I was told), one must ensure that no overspending at the bottom is done because otherwise you’ll find yourself hurrying the climb up and only stopping by quickly to appreciate the ascent and missing out on my final lesson below.
5. The view from the top is great but it is best appreciated after seeing what’s down there. The easier climb would have to be through the layers of pool itself instead of the forest so naturally it is also tricky because of the water flowing down the walls of the pool. But as we make the ascent, I realized you can’t just bask on the breathtaking bird’s-eye view from the top without realizing how it beautiful it is as well at the bottom. And I mean to say, the beauty of the water flowing covering the walls like a curtain and getting wet/ showering in them. You know what Miley said about this, it’s always always all about the climb.
Once back at the top, I look down once more to the terraced view that I wasn’t able to take a photo of. Did I think of my visit a failure for not getting it? Please, let’s not be shallow here. I think of all the lessons it imparted to me and how they figuratively apply in real life. Can relate? I know you do.