23 May 2011. Valencia. Negros Oriental.
It was one activity I so looked forward to, and after reading about it on the web, the desire to personally see the place was overwhelming. I am talking about the trek to Casaroro Falls, located in Valencia. Valencia is about 9.4 kilometers west of Dumaguete City. I learned from the web that Valencia has other sights to behold but the group was treated only to the Four Falls Tour, the first of which was Casaroro.
The group left Dumaguete at around 9.30 in the morning on the 23rd of May. We stopped by the house of a certain Cata-al on the way to Casaroro Falls. It turns out that the Cata-al residence houses an impressive collection of war memorabilia. Mind you, the terrace has for its support burnt mortar shells. Admission to the residence / museum is free, but donations are encouraged.
Images from the Cata-al Museum:
The sun was up and about when the group alighted from the van and started trekking towards the entrance to the falls. It’s a fairly easy trek, and the hike down to the falls has an established trail, concrete even. One has to go down 335 steps to a stream, and the stream leads to the falls, which is surrounded by lush greeneries. The sight blew me away; thinking really hard, this was my first falls experience, and I immediately fell in love. Although I was in a group, the mystique of the falls was so strong that, for the first time since I arrived in Negros Oriental, I felt calm and peaceful. There are huge boulders surrounding the basin where one can rest his weary feet. I made use of the boulder to just admire the beauty of the falls, and enjoy the really cold, but refreshing, waters. The challenge of the trek is not really the going to, but the coming back from, the falls. The trail going down is the same trail used for coming back up. The steepness of the trail made the climbing relatively difficult. I was one of the few who arrived early at the entrance, and while waiting for the others, I, my cousin, and another guest thought we’d climb yet another 374 steps at Camp 1 for a glimpse of Siquijor and Cebu. Unfortunately, it was too cloudy to have a clear view of the nearby islands.
Images from Casaroro Falls and Camp 1:
I honestly thought there were three more falls to trek, so I made an attempt dividing the time we had left among the rest of the falls, apportioning it further to the speed and endurance of the members of the group. It turned out that the next stop, Pulangbato Falls, has three falls, and those falls made up the rest of the tour. Pulangbato Falls is so named because of the natural reddish rocks found in the area. The water basin in all three falls are safe for swimming so it was here where I took a dip. The water was freezing. There are huts in the area for picnics, and they are strategically located between the two falls. The third falls is located just above the picnic area, and one can actually sit on its boulders for, probably, a photo ops or water spa, sort of.
Images from Pulangbato Falls: