|Two cascades of Balagbag Falls|
Q U E Z O N
P R O V I N C E
G E T A W A Y
Back when parents of my grade school classmates would take their kids to karate lessons, my mom would tag me along with her to summer vacations in her hometown of Infanta. The first class municipality used to be a grueling 9-hour bus ride from Metro Manila and the scenery was more like the Amazon jungle right off a treasure hunt Hollywood movie. Aboard a non-air conditioned ride where giant leaves of exotic plants would slap my face from the bus window, I would listen to her tell stories of how Infanta was once hit by a tsunami in the early years of the Spanish colonization of the Philippines. By the time the trip was over, I'd look like an espasol (a native delicacy in Laguna) from all the dusty whiplash I endured from the Sierra Madre route to the neighboring municipality of Real.
|An ancestral house of Lolo Mando (a relative) in Infanta's poblacion|
|With The ParK's resort caretaker at Balagbag Falls|
|A young local of Infanta|
|St. Mark Parish Church of Infanta|
Early Morning Infanta
Waking up one weekday morning in this side of Quezon Province had me see familiar houses and faces. I was told by my relatives that there have been new residents in the area from as far as Laguna and the population is no longer as close knit as it was in the '70s and '80s. An auntie even chided me for running around the town without company as there's an aswang who's known to attend Catholic masses at a church in the next town of General Nakar.
After a simple breakfast, I did a morning stroll of the poblacion to see the St. Mark Parish Church of Infanta where I witnessed a lot of weddings as a kid. I dropped by the marketplace to sample the local delicacy of pasingaw (or steamed in English) and see how the commercial center still thrives in delivering the tasty, little sea gems called bulinaw (anchovy) that used to make me finish three cups of steamed rice in one meal. On my way back to my cousin's house at the town proper, I was glad to see that the old ancestral house that still serves as a clinic in the area had just been newly-painted.
Soon, I was on my way to check-in at Barangay Tignoan's The Pacific Recreation Kamp (The ParK) at the nearby municipality of Real for some camping fun. Having pitched my tent for an overnight at the camp site, the resort caretaker agreed to take me to two of the town's nearest waterfalls, namely Balagbag and Nonok.
Habal-habal To Balagbag Falls
After only 15 minutes of plying the newly cemented Real-Mauban Road from the camp site with a sharp turn from Tignoan Bridge and a short trek, I reached the two-tier waterfalls of Balagbag in Barangay Malapad. It has a couple of cascades that allow for great depth of shots from different angles with one's camera. During my visit, young locals were there for an afternoon dip and dive. The drop of roughly 20 feet from the second tier is a favorite spot for free falls in the sleepy town.
|Short trek to Nonok Falls|
|Sampling some Pasingaw (a local delicacy) at the Infanta Commercial Center|
|Two young locals at a stream near Nonok Falls|
Nonok Or Lunok?
About 10 more minutes of motorcycle ride from Balagbag Falls and another short trek was another natural vertical drop called Nonok. It could be named after the Tagalog term for chicken (manok) but since locals also call it as Lunok Falls, the reason's probably more about the enclave with the same name.
At Nonok, the scenery was more intimate. One can have a dip sheltered under thick layers of tree stems sans a view of the muted sky. Visiting it at high noon can make you feel it's almost sunset. Visiting it alone can probably even give you an enchanted view of a diwata or fairy.
|At Nonok Falls|
The motorcycle ride back to the camp site at Barangay Tignoan was breezy and fun until my rider took in a hitchhiker so I got sandwiched rather awkwardly. There are no jeepneys that traverse the route, so hiring a tricycle is best for tourists to do for viewing Balagbag and Nonok Falls.
I will be returning to Infanta soon to make it as another jump-off point for visiting more waterfalls in Quezon Province after my Real immersion. I heard that there are a lot more to see in General Nakar. The idea of plying the Infanta-Marikina route next time to reach Infanta from Metro Manila has long been nagging me as I've been told that there's a waterfalls along the highway in Barangay Magsaysay called Pinlac.
Check out my other Quezon Province-related blog posts:
+ Real's Tignoan Beach
+ General Nakar and Agos River
+ Cagbalete Island getaway
+ Attractions in Mauban
+ Attractions in Tayabas City
+ Graceland Estate and Country Club of Tabayas
More Photos Below:
|The highly-vegetated trail to Balagbag Falls|
|A stream at Balagbag Falls|
|The clear stream I crossed to Nonok Falls from the Real-Mauban Road|
|Morning butcher at the Infanta Commercial Center|