If there’s a will, there’s a way. I firmly believe so. And yes, I found a way to Casaroro.
The weather has been so uncooperative in the last three days that we were in Dumaguete City. Talk about a rainy summer in May. I woke up that day, determined that I shall see Casaroro Falls.
Armed with research, tripod, and camera, I told my folks that I’ll be going to Valencia, a nearby town which is 10 kilometers away from Dumaguete City.
Being the protective dad that he is, Papa insisted that he would come with me. I said, “Pa, okay lang po ako saka mga 300 plus steps going to the falls.” Nonetheless, he won.
From the inn where we were staying, we hailed a trike going to the public market where the jeepney terminal to Valencia is.
When we arrived at the market, I saw that there’s only one passenger in the jeepney. The driver said that he’s still waiting for others to join the ride. I looked at the time. Waiting for other passengers would be a waste of time since we would still be buying souvenirs in the afternoon before leaving Dumaguete.
We walked further and decided to just hire a tricycle to take us to Valencia, which was a 25-minute ride from Dumaguete City. For Php 100.00, we saved time and managed to arrive at the quiet town of Valencia
I didn’t have a hard time finding our next ride to the falls. A number of motorcycles or locally called Habal-Habal (meaning: A passenger motorcycle which can carry two or more passengers) were parked in front of the municipal hall. The drivers readily offered us to ride with them. I was glad Papa was there with me. Sometimes, it’s indeed a bit scary to travel alone (especially that I’m a woman).
As much as I wanted to ride together with Papa, the driver said that there’s a rough road and the motorcycle may not be able to carry us all. Papa was a bit fat. So I agreed. The drivers quoted us Php 100/way per motorcycle (which makes Php 400 for two motorcycles). I haggled: Php 300 for the two motorcycles. They agreed and so off we go to the falls.
After a few minutes, the driver of the motorbike that I’m riding stopped at a house. He said that the tire was losing air. Papa and his motorbike continued. I was worried. The driver replaced the motorbike. But thank God, we caught up with Papa and his driver after 10 minutes.
From Valencia Central School, we passed by cemented roads. About one kilometer away from the drop-off point from the falls, I saw the rough and steep terrain. The drivers were right. With that kind of slope, it’s an accident prone area.
For the motorbike to pass through the rocky road, Papa and I had to get off the motorbikes. We don’t want to get back with a sling arm or bruises. After all, we weren’t wearing any helmets. Our drivers weren’t wearing anything too.
At the entrance, we met two people sitting on the bench. One looked tired and was drinking water. I greeted them and asked where to pay the entrance fee (Php 10.00). The woman said, “A wala pa yata. ‘Yung mga anak namin nandun na sa falls. Kami, di na kami tumuloy. Di na namin kaya. (The caretaker is not yet here. Our children were already there at the falls. We preferred to stay here. It’s difficult for us to get there).
I smiled and saw this sign, which posted the challenge:
Going down the 335-step cemented stairway was easy since gravity was pulling us. I thought we’re near. But I spoke too soon. There’s another stairway. This time a steel stairway where you can see the altitude of where we were. My knees were shaking as I hold on tight on the railing and took this shot using my other hand.
Alas, we made it after 15 minutes of careful steps. The crickets belted out their sounds as if they were in concert. Indeed, we’re in the middle of the forest.
We passed by a hanging bridge, not the swinging one. Good thing, it looked stable. The bridge led us to path which ended in a dilapidated gazebo.
It seemed like a dead end. But where’s Casaroro Falls? I heard the gushing water and followed the sound. I climbed up the stairs of the gazebo, turned into my right and there I saw the narrow waterfalls which flowed beautifully like a water coming out of a faucet.
I set up my tripod and captured the scene, which looked like a haven of fairies and other enchanted creatures.
I was still meters away from the falls. I wanted to get nearer but that would entail crossing a log and boulders that block the way to the falls.It seemed to protect such beauty.
Nonetheless, I did cross the single log which served as a bridge from the gazebo. As I made my way to the falls before crossing over the huge log that must have been a fallen tree, I slipped. The water was cold. Brrrr….My balance failed me again. Safety first. The minor bruise was enough. I decided to just return to the viewing deck. I was not going to swim anyway.
After awhile, I felt my bladder’s need for a toilet. We were in the middle of the forest but thank God, they have a toilet built for cases like this.
We then started going back. The trek has just began. It was a struggle but I was reminded of the signage. By climbing, we burn fats.
Then, I saw Papa catching his breath and we didn’t have any bottled water with us. Gahhh… Guilty. I really felt guilty but I told him beforehand that it might be a tough trek. Anyway, he also needs exercise so he’ll lose weight.
Words weren’t enough to express my gratitude that I have a father who’s willing to join the crazy adventures of her daughter to chase waterfalls like this one. Thank you Papa!
*HOW TO RETURN TO DUMAGUETE CITY: At the Central School, where the motorcycles are, ride the multicab. Warning: It’s a jam packed ride. I sat on a bench placed in the middle of the cab.
The multicab will drop you off at Independencia corner Cervantes St. near the public market of Dumaguete City.
*Multicab Fare: Php 12.00/way
*Total Travel time: Dumaguete City-Casaroro Falls: 1 hour
*Habal-Habal Fare: Php 100/way/ motorcycle