“Let’s wander where the wifi is weak”

The mood changed from uncertainty to howls of excitement, once us city folks started cruising down the unpredictable bumpy roads on our own habal-habal, butt tightly clenched. It took us 40 minutes, and 9 rivers to get to Brgy. Laiban, and the adrenalin had most definitely kicked in.

Like most provincial towns, Brgy. Laiban is humble and the people are friendly. Locals happily pointed us towards where to register and the process was pretty straightforward. We literally just wrote our names on a log-book, signed a waiver, and paid an environmental fee. We were to pay our guide, Mark, a fixed fee, when we were done.

It was perfectly overcast when we began our hike.  I had done some prior research, and knowing that we were a mixed group, made sure to tell Mark that we were only interested in doing half of the 6-hour trail, and then hit the waterfalls. I had read from other blogs that the hike was “easy”, but a fair warning, if you haven’t worked out in a while (and whom will not be named in my group,) make sure to book a masseuse when you get home! Those quads are going to be getting some work!

The trail starts with a steady then dramatic incline. It had rained the night before, so the soil was soft, making the trail more slippery than it would have been in the summer season. Walking sticks were incredibly handy during this hike.

We went on a leisurely pace, catching our breath when we needed to. The scenery was incredibly inviting! Green everywhere, expressive rock formations from the distance, and patches of bamboo forests that looked thoughtfully placed.

The weather started off nice, but threw some theatrical bouts of rain as we ascended towards Mt. Ludo and Mt. Ngasung Kabayo. The rain had started to get stronger so instead of climbing the horse shaped rocks, we backtracked and headed straight to Laiban’s 4 –tiered waterfalls.

Like a cake, we reached the top tier of the waterfall and had to work our way down to see the rest.  Since the pressure of the water ran strong, Mark felt it was safest if we just swim by the last waterfall, before our way out.

Makeshift ropes were tied tightly on the trees to help us repel down each waterfall.  Since we had visited during the wet season, the “steps” were well hidden by the gushing water, which can be understandingly intimidating for some! Mark was especially helpful in pointing out where each foot should go with each individual as we made our descent. Just trust the process, and go slow. You’ll make it! Also, from what I understand, you don’t really have much of a choice!

By the time we reached the waterfall, we realized that we had been walking for a good leisurely pace of 6 hours! Sandwiches and snacks were enjoyed, while I sat under the falls and enjoyed the therapeutic pressures of the water hitting my back. After about 40 minutes, we packed up and ended our hike. Friendly locals asked us how it had went, and we had nothing but praises. We were lucky that the weather was civil, but even more thankful that we had the entire mountain and waterfalls all to ourselves! Even though by the next day, your whole body, clenched butt and all, will ache, this is another gem absolutely worth discovering!

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