When I saw Gunhuban Falls, I said to myself, “I must write about this. It’s not popular but its beauty must be known.” And so I wrote it and got published on 8 Magazine.
Here’s the unedited version of the story:
What could possibly be in the town of Bato? This question occupied my mind as we prepare for Mama’s return to her hometown for their high school reunion at Bato School of Fisheries. My heart was filled with excitement as my siblings and I would finally see what we used to hear in stories.
Quaint and simple houses, the busy public market, roaming eight-seater tricycles caught my sight as I woke up from a three-hour stiff neck causing ride from Tacloban City. Yes, finally, we have arrived in Bato, the town where Mama spent her teenage years.
Fuelled by my wanderlust of exploring the road less traveled, I encouraged my cousins, brother and aunts that we visit Gunhuban Falls. I found little information about the falls. Googlemaps located Gunhuban Falls to be in between Sogod and Bato. Fortunately, Tita Abet, our aunt and local guide, knows where it is.
The sun stretched its rays giving the warmth that made us sweat. It’s really time for a refreshing splash. As early as eight in the morning, armed with sunblock and shades, we hopped on the van and off we go to Brgy. Buli, the barangay where Gunhuban Falls is.
The ride took us only 10 minutes from town proper. Unlike other falls, where trekking is needed, Gunhuban Falls was very accessible. We didn’t have a hard time going down with the help of the constructed stairway. Tall green trees gave us a cool shade as we made careful steps towards the picnic area. Blocks of cemented squares served us a bridge from the end of the stairway towards the picnic area.
I put down my things on the improvised chair made of rubber wheels and finally gazed around the beauty that surrounded us. I was in awe.
Enveloped by the greens and vines, the wide waterfalls flowed freely to the natural blue green pool. My companions readily plunged to the inviting waters. Though I wanted to jump too, I couldn’t resist but to take photos first before getting wet.
When I was finally satisfied with my photographs, I left my digital SLR camera on the table while my Lola and Aunt watched over our things.
I first dipped my feet. Brrrr…. It was freaking cold like water stored in the fridge. Mama then said, “Lumublob ka lang at mawawala rin ang lamig.” (Just plunge into the water and you’ll feel warm.)
Good thing, I had my waterproof camera, Canon D10 with me and still captured the moments even while playing in the water. I even directed my parents to pose like it was their pre-nuptial shoot.
Local kids suddenly arrived at the falls. They caught our attention when one of them swung and jumped using a rope tied to the tree. My ever-adventurous brother imitated the kid and my camera captured that moment.
On the other hand, the other kids swam towards the root vines hugging the rocks on the right side of the falls. The kids climbed on them and made it look easy but I wouldn’t dare trying. When they reached the top of the falls, they bravely plunged into the waters. Wow!
I got up and held my camera to capture the jump but was not successful to get a decent shot. It must be the shutter speed. Nonetheless, we really enjoyed watching them.
The time was ticking and it’s time to bid Gunhuban farewell.
It was such a memorable experience with the family as we dug out Bato’s hidden gem, the Gunhuban Falls.
- The gate opens at 6:00 am and closes at 6:00pm.
- Entrance fees: Php 10.00 for Adults and Php 5.00 for kids.
- How to get there: From the Bato Public Market, walk and talk to the tricycle drivers to take you there. We actually hired a van for a whole day trip in Southern Leyte. This was just one of our destinations.