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Every time I ride tricycles I prefer to be seated at the back of the driver so that I could have a bigger view of the surroundings than when I am sitted inside the sidecar. But when I was talking to the Tourism Officer of Hungduan, Wena Sicat, she suggested that since I was alone I could take a single motorcycle. I thought to myself “Why didn’t I think of that!” It offers unblocked view from left and right, and since I’m going to pass by lots of rice terraces then I would easily see where to stop to take a picture.
I woke up in the morning in my lodging in the middle of Hapao Rice Terraces, ate breakfast, started walking to reach the road and waited for the driver, Kuya Elpidio, and the motorcycle to arrive. Hopped on the motorcycle and passed through many different rice terraces and the lower parts of the Poblacion of Hungduan. After that it was still about 5 kilometers of unpaved road to go before we reach Balentimol Falls.
It was a bit long journey but good thing we passed by the viewdeck of Bacung Spider Web Terraces. Got down the tricycle and climbed up the viewdeck. It was a sight to see but I could not see the spider web. Kuya Elpidio then told me that the spider web could only be seen from an aerial view. I looked at it in Google Maps, still I could not find it looking like a spider web. If I let my imagination go wild though I can see the cephalothorax and abdomen of a spider through the land formation, and the legs are formed by the pilapil of the rice terraces. Maybe it’s not really called a Spider Web Terraces but only Spider Terraces. Anyways, I’ll let your imagination go wild when you visit the place.
Back at the motorcycle scene, it took us a good 30 minutes (a big chunk of the time was allotted to occasional stops for picture taking) to get to the jumpoff point of Balentimol Falls.
From there we talked to the locals and asked if they could guide us to the waterfalls. The one we were talking to then called onto someone and he said that that will be the guy who will be guiding us to the falls.
It was only a short 15 minute trek to the falls. The vegetation was a bit dense as it was months since they cleaned the area and according to our guide it won’t be too long before they clean the path again. No complaints on that, the dense vegetation adds fun to the trek.
Then the trail became steep. We passed by the stream from the falls that I had to get my shoes wet to cross. It was slippery too.
For such a short trek it was surprisingly dynamic but when I saw the falls, the trek was worth it.
Seeing Balentimol Falls upclose was good and the breeze created by the falling water was cool and refreshing. Our guide told us that they call it a natural airconditioner.
After spending a few minutes gazing on the falls, we went back. When we were going up I didn’t realize that we were on a valley.
When we were back at the road, I took a look again on another stream near the jumpoff point and it was certainly tempting to swim on it.
I gave our guide a hundred pesos for guiding us to Balentimol Falls then we were back again on the motorcycle. I expected that we were going back to Hapao but Kuya Elpidio asked me if I wanted to visit the Native House in Awa, about a kilometer away. I thought to myself “I’ve seen a lot of native houses, maybe I should skip this one and go back.” but I quickly countered my thought that it may be a long time before I could visit Hungduan again so I decided to check it out. It was a good decision. Only one word could describe my experience there, enchanting.
Balentimol Falls Details
One can take a tricycle ride or a motorcycle ride from the lodging in Poblacion or Hapao and back.
The fare of the tricycle is 700 Pesos/tricycle if you’re coming from Hapao and 550 Pesos/tricycle if from Poblacion. Motorcycle fare is the same as the tricycle fare. Personally, if you are alone go for the motorcycle as it offers a better view.
Tricycles can only carry up to 3 pax/tricycle. While single motorcycle can carry only 1 person, you could try asking if 2 could squeeze on it though.
Travel time from Hapao Rice Terraces with a stopover at Bacung Spider Web Terraces to Balentimol Falls jumpoff via motorcycle is approximately 45 minutes. I had many picture stops too. Tricycles has a longer travel time.
To get access to tricycles/single motorcycles you can ask your lodging or the Tourism Office of Hungduan to contact one for you. You can e-mail the Tourism Office of Hungduan at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
The tricycle driver or motorcycle driver will wait for you to go back.
- Guides to the waterfalls can be hired at the houses at the jumpoff of Balentimol Falls. I gave our guide a hundred pesos for the service that he did.
- Estimated walking time from the jumpoff to the waterfall is 20 minutes.
- The walk is steep and will become slippery when you get to the stream near the falls.
- Expect your footwear to get wet as you pass by the stream.
- I did not see any stores nearby the jumpoff so better supply yourself with food and water from your lodging.
- According to the locals, there will be some developments in the trek to the falls. I wish the developments would not invole concrete but only rocks and indigenous materials.
Let’s make an effort to preserve Hungduan, Ifugao as enchanting as I have experienced it.
- Keep your trash and throw it on proper disposal bins.
- Respect the locals.
- Keep the noise low as not to disturb locals and other travellers.
- Be mindful of others.
- Do not vandalize.
- And most of all, be contented with the simple life they have. What happens in the city should stay in the city.
- To trip organizers, whether personal or professional, you are responsible to educate the people you are with about responsible travelling and encourage them to practice it before going to any destination.
Let us not change Hungduan, let it change us.
This post is part of my 12 for 2012 Travel Project that aims to create travel guides to help travellers go around the Philippines.
Follow my Hungduan, Ifugao series
- 10 Things to do in Hungduan, Ifugao (overview)
- Hungduan, Ifugao Budget and Itinerary (helpful)
- How much did I spend on my trip to Hungduan, Ifugao
- How to get to Hungduan, Ifugao (helpful)
- Where to stay in Hungduan, Ifugao (helpful)
- Hungduan Rice Terraces
- Bogyah Hot Spings
- Hapao Rice Terraces
- Balentimol Falls
- Native House in Sitio Awa