Saturday, December 6, 2014

Saturday, December 06, 2014
Two cascades of Balagbag Falls




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.

My most recent visit of Infanta to catch up with cousins this year took me only 3 hours and 30 minutes aboard an air conditioned Raymond Bus. Rustic houses called kubo have since replaced some of the exotic plants that I remember to be sprouting from along the winding and muddy road. The Famy-Siniloan-Real-Infanta Road's already well-paved and the only scenic thing about the road trip was the scale of the mountain region. It was my turn to experience my own stories.

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.

Camping In Real

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 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
Going Back To The Camp Site

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
Balagbag Falls
The clear stream I crossed to Nonok Falls from the Real-Mauban Road
Balagbag Falls
Nonok Falls
Morning butcher at the Infanta Commercial Center


  1. sir magkano trike from "The park" to 2 waterfalls(balagbag and NokNok)? how much ang guide fee din. maraming salamat

    1. Since I only hitched a motorcycle ride with the resort caretaker to reach the waterfalls, I can only assume that you can haggle with a tricycle driver in the community for a packaged rate (two-way) of P50 or more. I'm not sure of that rate though. Although I gave a tip of P200 to the caretaker for taking me to the waterfalls. He gave me back the P100 coz he felt that P100 was enough.

  2. Been here at Balagbag Falls! Thanks to Estravo Family for the warmest welcome! Ill be back soon!

    1. It's great that you had a nice time there.


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