I am in love with this world . . . I have climbed its mountains, roamed its forests, sailed its waters, felt the the oppression of its heat, the drench of its rains, the fury of its winds, and always have beauty and joy waited upon my goings and comings. John Burroughs
When we think about Zamboanga City, images of colorful vinta, Yakan-weaved products and historical vista like Fort Pilar usually comes to mind. But for the past years, the city government has been promoting Asia’s only Latin city as an eco-tourism hub.
Being the Philippines’ third largest city in terms of land area, Zamboanga seems to have several well-kept natural wonders that will sooner or later lure us nature-trippers. One natural treasure that is rapidly becoming a favorite attraction from among backpackers and visitors alike, is the magnificent Merloquet Falls.
My second visit to this Chavacano-speaking city in Mindanao gave me an opportunity to see what Merloquet has to offer. Together with 2 friends from Laguna, a friend from Leyte, and an Ig friend from Zambooanga, we went on to see the white curtain-like water flows of Merloquet Falls in Barangay Sibulao in the east coast of the city.
We were greeted by a heavy downpour once we rode a habal-habal on the way to the falls. But that did not stop us from wanting to see and experience this natural wonder. The heavens must have heard of our plea since the rain stopped when we arrived at the area. A 334-concrete stairs led us down to the waterfalls that is tucked inside a lush environ. True to the descriptions made by several bloggers, the cascade of Merloquet looked like a curtain.
Merloquet Falls is a two-tiered beauty. The lower level is about 10 meters in height. This is where most visitors stay and get their body battered gently by the falls heaps. (Caution: The mosses that has grown on the rocks are really slippery so be extra careful). The higher tier requires making your way to the side of the falls’ lower level. A thick rope and some sturdy tree roots will help you as you saunter your way up. The fall’s upper tier is a succession of serrated rock formations with diagonal angle and is about five meters high. Just like the lower tier, it also has a catch basin that isn’t too deep, making it ideal for swimming safely. Again, the area is slippery.
How to Get to Merloquet Falls:
From the town center, make your way to Sevilla Street where you can find the jeepneys (with a “Putik” signboard) going to Guiwan Terminal. You can also ride a tricycle and just tell the driver to take you to Guiwan Bus terminal. At the terminal, ride a bus bound for Pagadian City. Both air conditioned buses and ordinary buses are available. The travel time is around 1 hours and 30 minutes to 2 hours (including several stop-overs, and yes, that is how lengthy time travel is and you are going somewhere in the city). Inform the bus conductor to drop you off at Barangay Vitali. Once in Vitali, you will see alot of Habal-habal on the street which can take you directly to Merloquet Falls. Haggle with the driver. We gout ours Php130 per person, both ways (including their waiting hours). Some parts of the road is rough and really steep. Upon arrival at the area, an entrance fee! Of Php5 and a parking fee of P10/per motorcycle (P20/for cars and other vehicles) will be collected. And finally, a 15 to 30 minute trek through concrete stairs will lead you to the mesmerizing Merloquet Falls.
Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust. Take it easy ebri’juan’…