We had had to cancel our boat trip to Coron because of the typhoon that was on its way to Palawan, even though there was hardly any wind and the sea remained quite calm. Then, just when we were looking forward to a day of diving in the Bacuit Archipelago, the Coast Guard had decided that no boats were allowed to leave the harbour. Given the mirror-like appearance of the sea, the sunny sky, and the absence of any wind, it seemed a curious decision. Staying the day in El Nido was not an option for me, so I decide to take a jeepney south towards Taytay, get off in time for a walk to Kuyawyaw Falls. For some reason, none of the jeepneys at the bus station are heading south, so I end up chartering a minivan in which a couple of locals travels south. When I get off at the junction, a steady rainshower ensures that by the time I arrived at the entrance of the Kuyawyaw Falls area, I am quite wet.
It had been decided that, given the wet conditions, a guide was mandatory, because visitors might otherwise slip during their walk up into the forest (as if a guide would make the trail less slippery). I team up with a group of Canadian girls, and we are on our way under a relentless rain. By the time we arrive at the first falls, I am soaking wet. I am clearly not the only one who has decided to head to these falls: it is full of other visitors, and I wonder how many there would have been if the Coast Guard would have allowed boats in the Bacuit. In any case, close to this powerful waterfall is a second, discreet one, and we pass it on the way to the second fall. This is the mightiest of all three: it thunders down 21 metres into a large pool. There is a rock from which people dive and jump, and I quickly undress and follow suit.
We now have to scramble up a steep trail to the third Kuyawyaw falls. Apparently, there is a natural selection at work here: less crowd, and therefore, a more intense, natural experience. We swim to a circular pool into which the water comes down, and I return, floating on a lifevest, with my camera to shoot some pictures from below, with trees standing high above the cliff from which the water falls. Meanwhile, the rain has stopped, and by the time we are back at the second falls, the sun is shining. We make another stop at the first fall, and someone spots a monkey high up in the trees above the falls. It does not seem to mind us, and is searching for food in the branches of the tree while some visitors enjoy the fresh water to cool off. The walk back to the main road is more pleasant in the sun, and I enjoy the beautiful landscape of rice paddies before I hitch a ride in a motorbike with a sidecar to a bridge, where a guy on a motorbike offers me a ride back to El Nido. When I arrive, I am all dried up.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Kuyawyaw Falls (Philippines). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Kuyawyaw Falls. Read more about this site.