Summers in Manila are often intolerable. Step out of the shower and a few minutes later, beads of sweat will already start forming on your face. And ironically, as dry and hot the weather may be, you never really feel dry. You always feel damp, hot, and icky no matter how many showers you take.
But touring Ilocos is a different story–like baking yourself in an oven. It was so hot (hotter than Manila even, if you can believe that) and we only had a few minutes of reprieve when traveling from one spot to another inside an air-conditioned vehicle. After a couple of destinations, most of our party were reluctant to push through. It took a bit of wheedling and whining (Andito na rin tayo, di na tayo makakabalik dito!) but the few of us who were willing to tough it out convinced them in the end. To reach the falls, tourists need to trek the mountain for about 30 minutes (easy peasy!), passing by acres of lush green fields and walking under a canopy of leaves.
A relief, really, since the trees give us shade and the flora and fauna gives off cool, clean, fresh air. A stream of water gurgles like giggly schoolgirls alongside the trail, and I couldn’t resist dipping my feet into it a few times. Our guide owned a snobby dog who turned his nose up when we tried to pet him, like he was saying “These noobs dare to touch me??!!” He knew his way around and I just sort of followed his lead–stepping where he stepped and avoiding spots he avoided. Good choice, too. Clumsy me only slipped once (a record!) and it was more because of my slippers than my clumsiness.
We passed an elderly couple who was on their way back. “Tiga-saan kayo? Ang ganda dun sa taas!” (Where are you from? It’s beautiful up there!) I’m not sure why, but people from the city become nicer when they’re visiting other places: more willing to smile, to make small talk. I’ll have to assume that nature makes us good-tempered. True for me, at least.
If anything else, the walk cooled us off somewhat, but that was nothing compared to what was waiting for us at the top. We knew we were going to see the falls, but even so, I couldn’t help holding my breath a little when our first sight loomed into view.
It’s a pity that I wasn’t prepared for a dip (I left my swim clothes in the car!). The water was COLD! And after a whole afternoon of walking around under a bright, burning sun, even with only my legs submerged in the water, it was invigorating.
On our way back, even though we were considerably rested, our group opted to hire a carabao ride to take us back.
TRAVELER’S TIP: Wear your swimsuit under your shirt before setting off for the falls. Trust me, you will want to take a swim and you will hate yourself if you missed the chance. You can also hire a carabao to take you to and from the falls (150 PHP each way).
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