I have been wanting to reach this place ever since I’ve heard of it just last September. It has been infamously nicknamed as ‘Gollum Falls’ (though not official…yet) because to get there, you have to re-enact a scene from the Lord of The Rings movie wherein Gollum goes down to the forbidden pool to catch a fish, so juicy sweet! Now to continue on with my story…
Dotdot, a fellow trek buddy called me up all so suddenly in the wee hours of 7:30 in the morning just to let me know if I wanted to come along with them to visit Gollum Falls right after they gave out framed family photos sponsored by Umbrella, a photography group in Iligan. The meet up time was 9AM sharp and in just a few minutes I made up my mind and went along with it! I packed light and wore white which was something I should not have foregone against my better judgement. Our trek team that day was composed of nine fellows, six who have not yet ventured the area namely Ace (the very prepared looking dude), Aubrey (the adventurously timid photographer), Nj (the graceful lead), Jophet (the friendly support!) and Lupe ( the youngest of the group). The experienced three would be Rio (our guide), Dotdot (not his first time here but one of the excited of the lot) and Sir Bobby Timonera (Boy Kubal the trail runner).
The path going to Gollum falls was a two hour trek which as slightly tricky as we went farther along. It started with us going off road once we met up with our guide Rio who is originally a habalhabal driver in the area. We passed by shallow streams, haughty carabao glances, plain grasslands, rocky areas and even a hanging bridge which rocked left and right for every step you took. Just as we were at about midway through our destination we passed by some kids dunking their heads on the stream trying to catch hito or catfish with their makeshift spear gun. Talk about childhood…
You crawl like Gollum
This is no walk in the park. The pictures posted here recounts the various flora and fauna found on the way. You can see the streams are pretty clear and the terrain is pretty tricky. Proper footwear is advised. The sturdy kind that sticks to your feet well without giving you blisters. Bring water too! Hydration is essential on long treks. If you’ve got a sensitive stomach like me then don’t risk drinking the water in the area unless it has been boiled.
By this time we were slightly straining our breaths because we had to climb uphill at about a 45 degree angle. The trail was very steep and rocky so one had to carefully climb up while making strategic foot placements. It literally was a breath of fresh air and nature has more than ever looked so inviting in my eyes. The harder the climb, the bigger the anticipation! As you can see from the photo below, this was the final path to get to Gollum falls and the reason it was called that. One had to scale down a rocky crevice with an estimated height of about 30 feet. It was definitely a requirement to bring a rope! There are two tiers one should climb but, you can rest midway. There are roots you can hold on to and the rocks are very ‘grippable’, mind you it can be a little risky should they break of during your climb.
This is Gollum falls. It may not look it but there’s a part of the pool that’s pretty deep and so far hasn’t been measured how deep it goes. The rocks here are slightly slippery because of the growth of moss around the area. So be extra careful where you’re stepping especially when you’re at the mouth of the pool which connects directly to Dodiongan Falls below.
Gollum falls on one side and downward to Dodiongan falls on the other. I strongly advise to not make any silly motions while you’re at the spot I am (photo below). One little slip will doom you to a romantic 20 meter fall to Dodiongan. I was also told that one can rappel down but I guess we’ll have to do that next time since time was a luxury during this trip.
Take nothing but pictures.
Leave nothing but footprints.
Kill nothing but time.
The waters were inviting me to go for a cool swim but I didn’t bring any extra clothing so I had to make do with just partially submerging myself. We are now officially at the top of Dodiongan Falls! Yay! P.S. I haven’t been to Dodiongan Falls yet but hopefully I can get to visit it sometime in the future. Do remember to always bring your trash, keep the place clean and no to vandalism!
We didn’t stay too long because some of our companions had other places to go to and had much pressing matters to discuss. I guess it was time to go back up through that crevice again. If you’re having a hard time, try being the nature photographer, sir Bobby T. (All photos with no watermark are of his own takes).
Time to go bouldering
I tested my bouldering skills when we got back up again (do not attempt this though). This means I wasn’t aided with the use of a rope and purely relied on my hand and feet coordination to reach the top. This was an exhilarating experience for me and the surge of adrenaline was very much welcomed. Yes, the struggle is real but our guide Rio managed to walk in between the crevices like some Jackie Chan!
This particular waterfall was quite difficult to reach as well but not as tricky as Gollum’s. You had to traverse through huge boulders slowly just to get to this part. I find this a good photo op despite my slightly messed up state. Haha! Sir Bobby liked to call this one as Frodo Falls since this was found on the way and goes directly to Gollum Falls.
Call me silly but don’t you think this flower slightly resembles something we’re all to familiar with? While looking through the interwebs, I have discovered that this is scientifically named Clitoria L. I know you know what I’m thinking. Hey! Wanna smell a Clittoria? HAHA.
I got home by 2pm. Our total trek time was at about 4 hours. I cannot wait for the second visit! You could say this was definitely one of those secret falls one has to climb through canyons and cross streams just to get there. Mind you I will definitely bring my picnic basket the next time I come back!
Check out these links:
- Aubrey Llamas Photography
- Bobby Timonera’s Adventures