“You need special shoes for hiking and a bit of a special soul as well”

It was light, but the constant shower from the time we left the city to the time we arrived to register for the Hulugan Falls was slightly concerning. Reassured by the locals that it was safe to proceed, we continued on and got extremely lucky, because by the time we had put our names down, paid, changed, and listened to the orientation, the sun started peeking out. It was a great omen for what was to come!

The hike begins with a 5-minute tricycle ride to the beginning of the trail. From there, an extremely muddy and slippery trail welcomed us ahead. If you have proper hiking shoes and a walking stick, bring them and walk with caution. Even without the rain, the trail can feel like walking on wet clay at times, so we were grateful that our guide Beth, was kind enough to find wooden sticks for all of us to add confidence to our stride.

You can visit 3 waterfalls in a day, Talay, Hidden, and Hulugan Waterfalls. While there is no specific order to visit the waterfalls, I suggest you go in this order if you want to see each waterfall dramatically reveal its personality.

The trail itself is full of character surrounded by lush foliage that kept us nice and cool. There are times when the trail seems pretty straight forward, but then the terrain becomes steep whether you’re going up and down, and you don’t realize how much cardio you’ve exerted until you catch yourself breathing heavily.

We crossed 2 streams to get to the first 2 waterfalls, Talay and The Hidden Waterfalls. The streams are fairly easy to cross, especially when the guide tells you where to step, but we took our time enjoying the scenery and the refreshing steady flow of water running through our feet.

 

Talay, is the “baby” of them all, and the first waterfall we saw. You can’t swim by these falls, but there are benches, tables, and a makeshift faucet, which make it ideal for hikers to picnic by. Curious to see Hidden Falls, we decided to go ahead and continue our hike and worry about hunger afterwards. Getting to Hidden Falls is a lot steeper then Talay, and majestic in its own way. Since the path is steeper, there is rope tied on to a tree, to help give balance and support to those who need it.

Hidden Falls reminded me of a big water slide in a waterpark, that ironically, you couldn’t slide down from. You can’t swim in this area either, but you can definitely gawk at its power and stature.

After Talay, Hidden Falls, and a quick lunch, we then excitedly proceeded to the famed Hulugan Falls! Sure, the path was super slippery that some of my friends ended up falling on their butts… but wow, that sight is something to truly behold once you reach it! We dropped our bags and walked towards the mouth of the falls and splashed around in the water. The water was energizing and perfectly set at a cool temperature. We couldn’t be more thankful to be wedged amongst some of Mother Nature’s best work.

Once we were done soaking the Hulugan experience, we went through another intense 30 minute trek uphill and a tricycle ride to get back to the registration site. By the time we got back to the car, we were exhausted but also exhilarated by what we had just seen. To end the near perfect day, we drove an hour and a half towards Los Banos, and ate at Kamayaan Restaurant, which is right by the National Highway with the sun still shining on our side.

Ratings

  • Kid Friendly – 2.5/5 – Active kids about 8 years old can do this. Just make sure s/he is wearing proper foot gear! Also, if you can afford it, just because of the terrain, get a guide just for your kid!
  • Dog Friendly – Yup!
  • Bathroom Friendly – 3/5 There are bathrooms to rent out which are available by the Brgy
  • Food Friendly – 0/5 Bring your own food! You won’t cross any during the hike!
  • Difficulty Scale: – 2.5/5 For the most part, the hike is pretty manageable for the average Joe, but watch your footing when you’re around the falls as there are rocks. My friend actually slipped right by Hulugan Falls, but she continued on like a good sport.

Expenses

Average Cost per Person for a group of 6: approx. Php 300

  • Registration: Php 20/person
  • Tricycle to Base (One Way): Php 10/person (You have to pay for the guide)
  • Guide: Give what you feel they deserve. We were going to give at least Php 500, but ended up giving Php 1,500 to our wonderful guides Beth and Salvi. Beth gave up her shoes and walked the ENTIRE path BAREFOOT when she saw one of my friends struggling in her shoes! Salvi, was busy sweeping the beginning of the trail, when he noticed that we had a little 8 year old with us, and volunteered to join us to give him extra attention which ended up giving us all an extra peace of mind!

How to get there

Itinerary

6:30 SLEX

7:45: Left SLEX

9:40: Arrived Hulugan (Missed sign, and had to backtrack a bit), Register, Listen to Orientation

10:05: Took tricyle to base

10:15: Started hike. Headed to Talay Halls first, then Hidden Falls next.

11:50: Took a quick break / early lunch

12:15: Started hike to Hulugan Falls

1:10: arrived Hulugan Falls. Swam, took pictures (Wish we could’ve spent more time)

3pm: Left Hulugan Falls, walked way up.

3:40pm: Got to top. Took a tricycle back.

3:45pm: Cleaned up.

4pm: Left area.

5:30: Drove to Kamayaan on National Road for Dinner.

Additional Tips

  • If it looks like it rained the night before or the day you hike, bring a walking stick
  • Wear sneakers that you don’t mind getting wet
    Bring ample food and water (It would be awesome if you had something to share with you guide too!)

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