Sta. Cruz Falls

A challenging trek to Sta. Cruz Falls

Beautiful Sta. Cruz Falls in Brgy. Sta. Cruz, Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte

Beautiful Sta. Cruz Falls in Brgy. Sta. Cruz, Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte

It was another beautiful waterfall in Lanao del Norte, but more remote, more challenging than Cathedral Falls. Our first attempt to go there, we had to postpone it as it was already 4PM and the dark sky was foreboding. But it didn’t dampen our spirits.

We departed after lunch the next day. After visiting the barangay captain who gave us a guide, we hit the trail. I was expecting a forested setting but we passed by bucolic sceneries, river bends and coconut groves. After 30 minutes, the guide told us. Easy enough then.

But those 30 minutes stretched to an hour. When we finally hit the snaking river, we had to go down and cross. We had to climb over riverbanks and back to the shallow portions again. As we got nearer, we had to negotiate with boulders and rocks and it was where, at the point when we already heard the raging waters, my Columbia sandal broke and had to walk barefoot to the waterfall and back.

But the hardship vanished. The sweat, aching foot and inconvenience just didn’t matter. Before us was just beaitiful. It was wider than tall, but still imposing. Although the volume of water wasn’t the same as Cathedral Falls, probably because the water curtain was spread out. We would have wanted to bathe in the cool water but because of the previous day’s shower, the water was murky.

After a few photos, we had to go back and negotiate the trail again, sans my sandal. It made the trek all the more difficult and painful for my feet. After we got to the highway and rode a tricycle back to Kapatagan town center, that was the only time I was able to buy a slipper.

But the memory of that waterfall still lingers. Even until now.

The cascading waters up close

The cascading waters up close

Two men fishing at the edge of the waterfall being dwarfed by the cascades

Two men fishing at the edge of the waterfall being dwarfed by the cascades

Men preparing to fish at the river along the route to the waterfall

Men preparing to fish at the river along the route to the waterfall

The bucolic scenery that one has to pass through to get to the waterfall

The bucolic scenery that one has to pass through to get to the waterfall

Sta. Cruz Falls is located in Barangay Sta. Cruz. Before heading to trek, always visit the Barangay Captain or the Barangay Councilors and ask for a guide as the trail can be confusing. Don’t trek when it is raining or will rain as the river can rise and, worse, be caught by rampaging waters.

From Kapatagan town center, ride a tricycle bound for Brgy. Sta. Cruz or hire a habalhabal. For the latter, you have to negotiate. There are lots of tricycles passing here that goes back to the town center.

Estan Cabigas is freelance photographer, blogger and writer based in Makati City, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London) and other publications. He is also a peripatetic traveler and has traveled to all 81 Philippines provinces. I'm open for work, collaborations and inquiries, including hotel, restaurant and site features and reviews.

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