A couple of weeks ago I got a tip from fellow photographer Jaymar about this other waterfalls in L. Pimentel, so we planned to go there and take pictures. I also decided to have a brief detour to Banju Springs in Brgy. Real, a tourist destination with very few online presence. So I posted an announcement in the Aurora Camera Club FB page about the trip and some group members responded. The date was set to Sunday, September 1. The meeting place was at the Quezon Park and I went there early to chek what’s new at the Museo de Baler – nothing. I saw Von and Mato waiting for me when I got out of the museum. There’s also Eddieboi but he’s just there for a quick meet and greet because he can’t come. We took off in our motorcycles a little after 10 am, had a brief stop at Caltex for provisions and fuel then off we went to San Luis. At Disalet Bridge, Rey and Jaymar and his friend were waiting for us. A few more chit-chats then off we go.
Our first destination is Banju Springs in Brgy. Real. As one of the listed tourist destinations of San Luis I thought there would be signs pointing us to the right direction and that the locals would know the place. I was wrong. I’ve been to Brgy. Real only once before so the place is foreign to me and no one in our group knew how to go to Banju Springs. We asked a tricycle driver and he told us to follow a certain road. At the end of the road we asked someone where’s Banju Springs and she looked puzzled. She never heard the place so we described it to her, a terraced limestone formation with flowing spring waters, but she still had no idea. She said we’re probably looking for Kuli-Kuli, the place where they get their water supply, and she pointed us further down the road. A few more minutes riding on a rough road in the middle of a coconut field and we saw a man carrying woods, so we asked him where is Kuli-Kuli and he pointed us to a fork in the road going left. So we followed the road up the mountain, then the road got smaller and smaller until it’s just a trail for carabao carts that went higher and higher. A few more hills and I thought we’re already at the foot of Mt. Minoli but there’s no spring in sight. There’s also no one to ask for directions though we passed a couple of huts with no one in them and some carabaos by the road, but they won’t answer our questions. When the trail became too steep for our motobikes we started walking, on through rolling hills planted with coconuts and carabao grasses. After half an hour we heard the sounds of water running and we thought we found the place. Unfortunately we found only creeks and small waterfalls, small versions of what we thought Banju Springs would look like. Some of us took pictures while others rested by the road. Since it’s already past noon and we’re tired, we decided to give up and go to our next destination. On the way back I took more pictures since the place was actually lovely. I didn’t mind that we got lost, the trip was fun. On the way down we saw an old lady and asked her where the spring was. She’s also not sure about the exact location but she said we probably went too far. Next time, we will bring a guide.
The road we took to L. Pimentel was new to me. We didn’t go back to the barangay proper but instead took a left turn and continued driving through a small road going west. Later I would learn that it’s a short cut going to L. Pimentel passing through a place called Ibayo. I enjoyed the ride through that gravel road. There were great views of coconut farms, ricefields and a wooden bridge. It reminded me of Motorcycle Diaries, the movie not the Jay Taruc thing. From Brgy. Real the trip was about fifteen minutes up to the familiar roughest of rough road going to L. Pimentel falls. When we reachd the intersection where you’re supposed to make a right turn to the familiar Caunayan Falls, we went straight up the road until it ended and again turned into a kareta trail. A few more minutes riding under coconut and citrus trees then we stopped near a small dam where we parked our motorcycles and started walking. We crossed a small river then walked again. Jaymar said it’s just a few minutes walk. Along the way we saw some suha trees and “took” some fruits for snacks. It reminded me my younger days when me and my playmates would walk from Caledian to Kinalapan river and steal some guavas or santol along the way. Only this time no one chased us.
It’s really just fifteen minutes walk but by the time we reached our destination I was already dripping wet from sweat, tired and hungry. The first thing I did after putting down my backpack was to take a dip in the cold waters of the river. The falls is located in a place called Tabon. It’s a small beauty of a waterfalls about twenty feet wide and fifteen feet high. The waterfalls was formed by a giant rock on the river that created a natural dam where the water overflows and drops down fifteen feet to a deep lagoon below surrounded by more giant rocks. After the brief swim we ate our baon (mostly breads), took pictures, and swam some more. You can easily go up the top of the falls and slide down or jump from it to the lagoon below. The whole time we were there, the place was entirely ours. It’s like we reserved the place exclusiely for our enjoyment. That wouldn’t be possible if you go to Caunayan Falls or even Ditumabo Falls. Those spots look like malls on weekends. We were there for more than an hour then packed up and went on our way back. Going back, we took the regular vomit-inducing king of rough roads to Brgy. Nonong and continued to Ditumabo to visit my buddy Donnel for some beer and wine and stories. We went back to Baler at around 7:30 PM.
Lesson learned: if you’re not sure where you’re going, find someone who do. That being said, our last week’s motorcycle adventure to Kuli-Kuli and L. Pimentel was great. We travelled on unfamiliar roads, got lost but also saw previously unknown places.