E X P L O R I N G
M O U N T
M A L I N A O
There are many ways to reach a waterfalls in the Philippines. The character of the trek to it is reflective of how remote the body of water is from public view. I've only reached a few so far in Quezon Province, Rizal, Laguna, and Ilocos Norte. There are still a lot to visit in an archipelago that prides itself of such natural gushers.
Invited by the team of the Tabaco Travel Adven-tour for my "I Love Albay!" Blog Series Tour, I went with a group of vacationers that included an American philantropist to Albay's famous Vera Falls. Located in a secluded nook of Mount Malinao, the waterfalls is paradise for city dwellers like me. It's always exciting to see up close clear cascading water in a highly-vegetated forest. Located in the mountain slope is the decommissioned Tiwi Geothermal Plant that used to provide 330 MW of output.
Cheese-topped Halo-halo Snack
After a refreshing snack of the Tiwi-favorite cheese-topped DJC Halo-halo (the first branch in Bicol), we rode a van for the hour-long route to the forest and waterfalls trail. The trail itself was short but required enough stamina. Made easy with the construction of a cemented walkway that had numerous steep slopes, it was snake-like and took at least 15-minutes to finish. It was almost next to the river in a lot of spots where bamboo, coconut, and banana trees grew in abundance. There were also a lot of gabi-like plants called tigbi from which the town's name was derived. It was originally called as such by Spanish Franciscan friars who first settled there in 1658.
Nestling almost 400 feet above sea level, Vera Falls looked pristine even with the presence of a newly-constructed restroom nearby. The latter was installed to provide visitors a decent way to relieve themselves and for proper sanitation. Visitors are not obliged to pay anything but are encouraged to give any amount of donation to maintain the private property. The base of the waterfalls is deep enough for diving and its water is fresh for drinking. There is enough sunlight that opens up the place revealing nature's beautiful design even in the late afternoon visit that we had.
The Legend About Malinao and Mayon
It was my first time in Mount Malinao so I was captivated by its tale wherein a jealousy ensued between her and Mount Mayon as neighbors. The story had it that Mayon was so insecure of Malinao's fire for it enabled her to conveniently prepare meals while she had to contend with having none and always asking for assistance to cook hers. In one incident of the tale, it was said that Mayon, out of rage, cut off Malinao's head with a bolo (long heavy knife) to steal the latter's fire which is why the conical crater of Malinao can still be seen at the foot of the mountain, rendered powerless and with nothing but Vera Falls to show for her former might.
Photography by Josua Chan
and Karl Ace
My tour of Vera Falls was made possible by Tabaco Travel and Adven-tour.
For tour updates, contact Maria Anna Banadera at 0916-293-8743 or 0947-690-9098 or 0932-882-3771.
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|A Tiwi local near Vera Falls|
My "I Love Albay!" Blog Series Tour:
More Photos Below: