Contrary to its peaceful and serene scenery, this far flung town of Baggao invites you to pump out those adrenaline through its destinations that is surprisingly breathtaking and captivating. This town is known for its Bluewater Cave and Waterfalls adventure zone.
Entering the town’s realm proves exciting owing to the rolling terrain and snaking river crisscrossing the landscape. Life is simple and slow. Some locals does laundry along riverbanks with men bathing their respective motorcycles and vehicles. The vast fields, as we notice, is on its way to recovery after the onslaught of the typhoon Ompong. Life is business as usual. Locals sauntering the main arteries with motorcycles that seemingly rule the transportation system. Stores are alive, and some brimming with items for sale.
Our guides, Sir Gavino and Sir Ronald, whisked us away from the Tallang terminal to the jump off point to the Bluewater area. It was past 10:00am as we started our winding journey through the hilly landscape. As the newly paved road kept its ascending pace, we are greeted and surrounded by awesome and breathtaking scenery. Sprawling forest and rolling hills dominated are view. Cool and fresh mountain winds protected us from hot brunt of the noon sun.
We parked the motorcycles on a muddy patch of land at the end of the paved road. The view from there was really breathtaking as our eyes glued on every crevices and hilltops.
The adventure starts as we descended on a dirt road leading to the registration area – about 15 minutes. There are options of vest rental in the area and would cost Php100.00 each. Registration Fee is Php30.00 per visitor. We are greeted by Ms. Love, the staff that facilitated our registration process. Expect that she will provide a separate trashbag.
Momentarily, we found ourselves treading a forest trail – about 20 minutes to the falls. The trail features alternating mild ascends and lots of recovery – an easy trek. Sound of gushing water slowly emanates and a sign that we are near the falls.
As Kuya Gavino led us to the lower tiers of the waterfalls, we are surprised of its hidden splendor! Pools of emerald water cascading through white rocks. It is true – we will traverse 24 waterfalls until we reach the cave’s mouth. Every tier exudes unique beauty and varying heights. This is the long trail, by the way. Inching through this upstream trail, more and more waterfalls truly unveil. Should you have a blood type that is attractive to insects, better slather on protection, I won numerous itchy bites that last for weeks.
Arriving, at last, near the mouth of the Bluewater Cave, we indulged on our bought lunch and waded its cool waters while watching other tourists jumping from the high waterfalls.
Thank you to the lifevest, I had a bit of insulation against the cold water and environment inside the cave. Spelunking the Bluewater Cave is a bit challenging. A lot of wall scaling, ascending against a waterfall and swimming onto its expansive large pool. A lot of interesting rock formations and some glistening with crystals as our lamps illuminated them. Once inside a cave, do not let your body cool down, rest a while, but keep moving. Once the cold seeps in, you will never stop chilling. Mustering left energy, we trod out the cave. Going to the canyoneering jump off site was a less than half an hour trek downward under a thick foliage.
After a few minutes of catching our breath, we swam upstream on the canyon. The water is really deep that we are unable to see its bottom. The water is cold however tranquil. The current is weak and we easily made it through. Tall canyon walls and thick canopy were a great view as I backstroked. Few meters before the cave they are mentioning, the river starts to become shallow and current is stronger.
Kuya Ronald then swam upstream and threw a rope to latch on. It was challenging yet as we arrive at the shallow part, the water was clear and almost knee high, however, still cold. We arrived at the mouth of cave, but I did not entered since I was not ready for the intense smell of guano. I waited for them outside. I started to feel cold and tired. Kuya Ronald still wants us to go halfway, but I signalled I might be able to make it. We swam back to jump off point, trekked back where we registered, changed clothing, and drove through the scenic winding road of Baggao.
We are thankful that Kuya Ronald hosted us for the night. We enjoyed their homecooking a bit of gin to cool down the nerves. It was a blissful experience.
My heartfelt thanks to Jeff Cariño for taking me in this unexpected experience and special thanks to Jake Taloma for hosting our stay in Tuguegarao via Couchsurfing.
HOW TO GO TO BAGGAO?
Fly: Philippines Airlines has daily flights from Clark to Tuguegarao. Alternatively, you can fly via Manila with Cebu Pacific. From Tuguegarao Airport, hire a trike to take you to van terminal bound for Baggao. About 2.5 to 3 hrs travel time from Tuguegarao
Commute: Take buses bound for Apparri or Sta. Ana. Alight at the Baggao junction. Take bus or van bound to Baggao. About 14-15hrs land travel depending on traffic and road condition.
Once in Baggao terminal, you can arrange Kuya Ronald to fetch you.
You can reach Kuya Ronald at +63 926 526 0295. They are trained guides with licenses from Department of Tourism.
We visited Callao Cave upon arrival, and visited the town of Aparri after Baggao.
Our Actual Itinerary:
- Day 1: Fly from Clark to Tuguegarao. Visit Callao Cave. Tried Pancit Cabagan and Pancit Batil Patong.
- Day 2: Baggao Adventure
- Day 3: Aparri Town Walking Tour then took last trip back to Tuguegarao.
- Day 4: Visit Calvary Hills in Iguig, take afternoon flight back to Clark.
Tricycle Contact in Tuguegarao: Kuya Ismael +63 997 681 7890