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.


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.

pinsal (2)

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.

pinsal (7)

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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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

Baluarte de Vigan (Ilocos Sur, PH)

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”  – Mahatma Gandhi


The Baluarte or fortress is one of the must-see attractions for people visiting the Heritage City of Vigan. The place is primarily known for its mini zoo which houses animals from other countries and those that are endemic to the Philippines.


These animals are part of a private collection and constantly being improved by politician owner Mr. Chavit Singson. It is also a resort complex that features gently sloping plain towards the hills, from which animals either freely roam while some others have a cage of their own.


This beautifully landscaped fortress is open every day to the public for FREE. It is a given fact that not so many things are free in the Philippines, more so for an educational place like Baluarte.

baluarte (1)

Some of the animals in Baluarte include: tigers, monkeys, camels, deer, small horses, birds like ostriches, parrots, peacocks, eagles; reptiles like pythons and other snakes, also iguanas; a butterfly garden; and many more. Live Animal Shows and a Petting Zoo are also must-see. These are great ways to learn more about animals and how they are taken cared of.

baluarte (97)

If you and your family and friends intend to have picnic, there are designated areas for you to do such activity (also for free). Just make sure to be responsible in properly throwing your garbage. A small canteen is also available where you can purchase food.

baluarte (37)

How To Get To Vigan City

From Manila, ride a bus bound for Laoag or Vigan: Dominion Bus Lines and Partas Terminal are located in Cubao. Travel time is around 8 hours. By air, there are flight going to Laoag City. From Laoag, take a bus ride to Vigan that is about an hour to two hours away.

Baluarte Zoo 
Address: Brgy. Salindeg, Vigan City, Ilocos Sur
Contact Number: (077) 722-7186
Entrance Fee: Free
Open Hours: Everyday 7:00am – 6:00pm


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