Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Water, a Natural Wonder in Malvar, Batangas

A call of duty led me to Malvar, Batangas for a week. A week is too long to stay in one place, so I googled on the potential tourist spots or natural wonders in the town or nearby places like Lipa City or Tanauan City. Then I found one very interesting plac in Malvar town itself, the Calejon Falls.

Located in Brgy San Gregorio (trivia: Calejon was the old name), I took the usual and only transport around here - tricycle. Those who have been here said in their blogs that the trip cost 50 pesos, but the driver (I didn't get his name) charged me 55 pesos per way. It was around 10AM when we crossed the STAR Tollway and reached the dropoff point.

One there, I noticed no signage, nor guide posts, no indication of which way, where to go, what must and what not to do. I realized that this supposedly interesting natural wonder, which should have been a touristy spot, is not maximized by both the municipal and barangay local government. I suspect the spot is privately owned. 

The trek down the river is challenging the fact that the stairways are old, dilapidated, not maintained, and abandoned. It was longer than I expected, may be because I was alone and the jungle gave me an eerie sensation. There were instances that tree fruits fell from time to time and caused movements in the grounds, grass and trees. My advice, go there in groups, or at least with a friend. At the riverbank, I noticed a hut on the right side and the small but wondrous Calejon Falls on the other side of the bank. A grotto was erected beside it. On the far left, you will notice a residence. That supported my thought about private ownership of the spot. 

I savored the moment of silence, the nearness of nature, the cleanness and clarity of water where waterfalls and the river meet, for about 15 minutes. I wish I brought with me pen and steno notebook to have everything scribbled in letters as they were formed then. The climb up the barrio was more challenging as the steps are eroding and concrete stairways are crumbling.

I skipped checking the Elsa's Sweet Candies, that most bloggers promoted as another interesting spot in Brgy San Gregorio, because people we inquired there claimed that many of them are now manufacturing sweet candies. They cannot even point for us Elsa, denying knowledge of any Elsa in the neighborhood.

My tricycle driver suggested to also reach Alulud Spring and Swimming Pools. Located in Brgy Bulihan, farther from the town proper than San Gregorio, he told me he will be charging 80 pesos a way. The road to the spot is hard for the tricycle, so we parked the vehicle in a spot close to the last house in the area on the way to the water point.

This time I asked the driver to walk me to the Spring, where a number of swimming pools surrounds the area, he told me. A concrete hut welcomed us. That signals the start of the stairways down the spring point. This destination is quite new or adequately maintained because the concrete steps are new, in place, and looked strong.

T'was a long steps down, but the view of the spring that falls down along the stairways was wonderful. All drops of water appeared foamy, looked pure and clean and felt cold. The 3-layered concrete swimming pools looked so inviting to a dive, a splash, and a dip. But I resisted because I just came by to photograph it, tag it, and enlist it for future getaways.

As it is sunny days, plenty of people would love to dip in the water, so much so in here. Youngsters mostly composed the crowd today. The adults were inside the single hut or cottage in the left corner of the place, centered by the river and the pools in either sides. I bet it would feel eerie at night because the jungles covered the area. But the karaoke jam, available in this cottage, may compensate the quiet and eerie overnight ambiance.

After quite a while of taking pictures, observing swimmers, and feeling envious of the dipping in this pure and clean body of water, I climbed up the same steps, then head back to the training venue. I paid the tricycle driver 220 pesos, but he seemed wanting for more.

I really enjoyed my short trip around Malvar, Batangas via tricycling! I believe I will return...

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