Pinsal Falls (Ilocos Sur, PH)

Pinsal Falls is one of Ilocos Sur’s surprisingly best-kept nature secret. This 85-foot waterfall is located in the town of Santa Maria, which is also the home of the UNESCO-inscribed Santa Maria Church.

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Pinsal Falls is considered as the entire Ilocandia’s largest waterfalls. Its flowing blanket of water runs into natural pools that forage the rivers of Sta. Maria. According to local myths, the biggest from among these pools is said to be the footprint of a giant named Angalo, who was in search of his wife. If one climbs to the top of the waterfalls, a spring with warm water can be found.

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Sometimes, the waterfalls look like a twin falls. There is also a secreted cave behind the main waterfall. And in order to appreciate more of its beauty, you can go and trek your way to the top where more natural pools can be found. There are carved steps on the hillside although one has to be extra careful as the trail can be quite challenging still. Indeed, Pinsal Falls has a charm that is difficult to resist for a swim or an afternoon picnic with family and friends.

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When I went on a solo trip to Pinsal Falls wayback 2011, the waterfall’s flow wasn’t strong due to the summer season. Nonetheless, it is still a beauty to behold.

How to Get to Pinsal Falls:

From Manila, local bus operators like as Partas, Philippine Rabbit and Viron have daily trips to Abra, Vigan and Laoag. All of which will pass by the town of Santa Maria. Inform the driver to drop you off at the town center.

Hire a tricycle that will take you to the waterfall which lies among the hills and mountains of Brgy. Balbalasioan. It is said that the waterfalls may also be reached on foot from the town of Pilar, Abra.

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Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust. Take it easy ebriwan.

Sulvec Beach & the Grotto by the Sea (Ilocos Sur, PH)

The province of Ilocos Sur is primarily known for its capital city – Vigan. Hence, most people would spend their time in this famous Spanish-inspired “ciudad” (city). While it is true that the Heritage City of Vigan offers a lot to see and experience, the towns one gets to pass by on the way to Ilocos are also worthy of being visited.

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The coastal town of Narvacan (one of the largest in terms of land area and population in the entire Ilocos Sur) would actually capture a traveller’s attention as it imposes a stunning seascape. One particular spot is a rocky beach and a grotto by the sea called Paraiso ni Juan at Sulvec Point. The striking beauty of these vistas would often prompt a traveller to drop by the area. I suggest though that you stay until sundown because the sunset view is just stunning at this side of Ilocos.

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The grotto built by the sea was named after Captain Juan de Salcedo, whose fleet was shipwrecked in this area. Besides the sand dunes of Laoag and Paoay, this spot is also famed for being one of the places where the late Fernando Poe Jr shot his movie “Ang Panday”. TGoing to the grotto may require wading into the water and crossing some coralline rocksduring low tide as it is located several meters away from the beach line. The beach area (Sulvec Beach) is lined with some rock formations, and brown rocky sand. A few huts can be found making it an ideal place for picnic with friends and family.

As a person who loves sunsets, waiting for the sun as it immerses into the horizon at the end of the day, is the one thing I enjoyed the most. Just heart-melting!

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How to Reach Sulvec Beach (Point) and Paraiso ni Juan:

From Manila ride an Ilocos bound bus from Cubao (some in Pasay) Terminal. Bus lines like Genesis, Partas, Viron and Florida have regular trips to the provinces of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur and La Union. Ride a bus that is Vigan or Laoag-bound then inform the conductor to drop you off at Sulvec point. Just cross the national highway and you will immediately spot the grotto.

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Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust. Take it easy ebri’juan’.

Kaangrian Falls (Ilocos Norte, PH)

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust

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The town of Burgos in Ilcoos Norte is often visited for two famous landmarks – Kapurpurawan Rock Formations and Cape Bojeador Lighthouse. And just for the past year, relatively new attractions like Palpalokada and Burgos’windmills are also gaining their momentum as must-visit places. Little would people know that the town also have noteworthy waterfalls. One of which is Kaangrian Falls (the other being Tanap Avis Falls which I will blog separately).

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The word “kaangrian “ came from the Ilocano term “naangri” which literally translates into “smelly or stinky” in English. If I haven’t seen photos of this waterfall prior to my visit and knowing that is the exact translation of its name, I may not have wanted to visit it. Hahaha.This multi-tiered waterfalls are located in an outskirt Barangay Paayas Burgos, Ilocos Norte. Reaching it requires going through a dirt path with farm land views, and some walking through narrow and quite steep terrain. (FYI: This waterfalls was discovered in 1998 when the local government was looking for a good water source).

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According to locals I have met, the best time to come visit Kaangrian is during the rainy season (July to November) to see it in its full glory. I went there one summer day in April. I was quite apprehensive at first since I know that I might not see anything wonderful. When I arrived at the place, the water flow wasn’t as cascading as what I have seen in photos but I was still happy to see it. I even spent some time dipping into its cold water. Surprisingly, a lot of people were also there having picnic and swimming.

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I promised to myself I will come back some time soon. Perhaps with friends and loved ones… and I will make sure I will see it in its over-flowing state.

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How to Reach Kaangrian Falls:

From Metro Manila, ride a bus bound for Claveria, Cagayan and inform your driver to drop you off at Burgos town proper. Since buses directly going to Cagayan is quite scarce, the more common way is via Laoag.. From Manila, ride any bus bound for Laoag, then from Laoag, you can either take a van or bus bound for Cagayan.

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Once in Burgos, pay a visit to the municipal hall. You have to sign up in the visitors list and they will give you a guide if you don’t have one. I went to Kaangrian and Tanap-Avis by hiring a tricycle.

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Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust. Take it easy ebri’juan’.