It was supposed to be just plain mountain climbing but K, my climb buddy, wanted to go "chasing waterfalls" so we went to Buntot Palos (or Hidden Falls, as what the falls is known to the locals) last Sunday, July 24, 2011.
We didn't get a guide anymore cuz we heard the trail was pretty easy to follow. You just have to lookout for this flat rock in the middle of the trail right after passing the second stream (sapa). A little before that rock is the almost invisible trail to the left that goes down to the campsite.
Once you reach the campsite, there's another trail to the left that leads down to the falls area. It was very steep, reminiscent of the steep trail that leads down to Buruwisan Falls. But K seemed to find the descent so easy. I took a video of him at one point.
You have to cross the water in order to get near the falls. The rocks were quite close together but there's this one hop I had to make that I couldn't do. The rock was inclined and a little far from the one I had to hop from and the surface was wet and looked so slippery. I couldn't really trust even the Merrell Barefoot I was wearing with my life. LoL! I was afraid of slipping and falling and getting carried away by the strong current of water. Look at where I stopped in the video and how K laughed.
The Buntot Palos falls was grandiose! It looked even more beautiful than Buruwisan Falls in Mt. Romelo. It has a 40-meter drop that breaks into large rocks forming small cascades before flowing into the deep catch basin. The water was cold, but not as cold as the water of Taytay Falls, making it ideal for swimming. K and I even killed some time in the water with the other four climbers that day together with some kids from Brgy. Balian who was there to bond.
One of the kids named Ronnel took this:
We pitched the tent so we could have a place to leave our stuff while we swim. That, in the picture, was my P550 two-person tent I bought on mark down at Ace Hardware. It's not something sturdy that can shield you from the rain or strong winds, though. It's just good for purposes like a place to change clothes or leave your stuff.
But it was so hot we had lunch under the tress at the mountainside. There's a big, broken pvc pipe at that part and the guide of the other group told me the water coming out of it is potable. True enough, I drank from the refreshingly cold supply and my sensitive stomach didn't as much as get upset. I also cooked my pancit canton using it.
Buntot Palos Falls, which the locals call Hidden Falls, is now in my favorite trips list. Not so strenuous like a real mountain climb, the place was serene and the beauty of the waterfall was really captivating. It's also not so expensive to go to. An ordinary bus ride from Alabang to Sta. Cruz only cost P80. From there, a jeep to Siniloan was P36 and the tricycle ride to Brgy. Balian was only P80 per trip (but we were only charged P70 by a different driver on our way back).
I'd like to commend K for choosing Buntot Palos as our destination yesterday. It was a spur-of-the-moment plan but ended up one of our best hikes together.
How to get to Buntot Palos Falls:
- ride a Sta. Cruz, Laguna-bound bus and get off at the terminal (P80)
- from the bus terminal in Sta. Cruz, ride a Siniloan-bound jeepney; ask to be dropped of in front of Jollibee or Sts. Peter & Paul Parish Church (P36)
- Hire a tricycle to take you to Buntot Palos Waterfalls (or Hidden Falls) jump-off in Brgy. Balian. (P80)
- at the jump-off, someone with a logbook will approach you, register and pay for the registration (P25)
- if you don't want to get a guide, just follow the cement road, it will soon end and you'll find yourself in a dirt road and eventually the mountain trail
- look for the barely visible path to the left between the second stream and the stone in the middle of the trail
- once at the campsite, descend to the waterfalls using the trail to the left (be careful for the trail is very steep)