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