Bugtong Bato Falls

Challenging multi-level Bugtong Bato Falls

A local attempts to climb the rockface at the third level of the waterfalls

A local attempts to climb the rockface at the third level of the waterfalls

I was a little disappointed when I first saw the first level of Bugtong Bato Falls in Tibiao, Antique. It hadn’t rained for about two weeks, I was told, and the volume of the water was not that big. Waterfalls are a bit tricky. During the summer months, don’t expect a deluge. When it rains, the water is murky. And during rainless days, most have small volumes of water.

Bugtong Bato Falls was no different. But it wasn’t something that I can do something about it. I was on assignment for a regional airline’s inflight magazine and together with the auther, we were already there. But you just have to make do what you are presented with.

Bugton Bato Falls is a series of cascades, of which three levels are possible to visit and swim in. I was told, there’s still an upper level but is quite far and difficult to access. The first level has supposed to be the biggest volume and it is where most groups, like families congregate. It has boulders around a pool of varying depths.

A steep steel railing leads to the second level and gives you a shoulder view of the cascade and pool below. Just be careful when going up as it’s really that steep. This brings you to the second level which, at the time of our visit, post Typhoon Yolanda, there were still fallen trees around. The pool is smaller and not as deeper but you have to cross it and climb a series of step like rock formations, just beside the cascade in order to reach the third level.

It can be challenging. A thick and strong rope dangles from above and you have to grip and use it to climb up. But the stone steps are quite slippery, uneven in distance and height and the cool water flowing down can sometimes dampen one’s resolve to go up, as what happened to my companion that she has just to give up as she slipped.

The third level has a deep pool and a beautiful cascade. Local children usually jump from a promontory into the water where it’s really cool and refreshing. Of all the levels, this is the best and most recommended. But just be really careful when climbing up.

Going to the falls is not really that hard as a road is established and a trail from the barangay is present. Visitors need to register though. Although the trail is not confusing, the barangay would insist in hiring a guide.

Local kids jumping into the pool at the third level

Local kids jumping into the pool at the third level

climbing up to the third level can be challenging as the rock is slippery while dealing with falling water. Although there's a strong thick rope to hold on too, my companion gave up because she had difficulty climbing up

climbing up to the third level can be challenging as the rock is slippery while dealing with falling water. Although there’s a strong thick rope to hold on too, my companion gave up because she had difficulty climbing up

View of the second level below as seen from the landing at the third level

View of the second level below as seen from the landing at the third level

Second and third level of the waterfalls

Second and third level of the waterfalls

View above the last tier

View above the last tier

Climbing up to the second level

Climbing up to the second level

Less water at the first level of the waterfalls

Less water at the first level of the waterfalls

Stair like rock formation at the second level leading to the third

Stair like rock formation at the second level leading to the third

GETTING THERE: Bugtong Bato is reached by motorized transport called habal-habal in Barangay Tuno, Tibiao, Antique.

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.

3 Comments

  1. Estan Cabigas (@EstanCabigas)
    June 18, 2015 @ 16:51

    Challenging multi-level Bugtong Bato Falls: A local attempts to climb the rockface at the third level of the w… http://t.co/i1Pq2CSqm0

  2. Challenging multi-level Bugtong Bato Falls - Pasyalna.com
    June 23, 2015 @ 4:54

    […] Challenging multi-level Bugtong Bato Falls […]

  3. shara
    June 26, 2015 @ 15:30

    I am looking for challenging and adventurous place to spend. I think this place is perfect for me, thank you for sharing this, I’m so excited for this hearth breaking adventure.

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