An almost hidden waterfall in Abra

Categories outdoors

I’ve been visiting this landlocked province for the past few years, Abra. First upon the invitation of then Vice Governor Chari Bersamin, and I have been fortunate enough to visit its many pristine wonders. And this particular visit was just a whim, a short sidetrip to a more beautiful waterfall deep in the highlands of Tineg, my eventual destination. But when I saw this beautiful waterfall in Abra online, I was thrilled. Why not?

I was in a race for time as I alighted from the jeepney that I rode from the junction of Narvacan, chasing an almost hidden waterfall in Abra. Darn, I missed the yellow house and instead, went beyond it and after the blind curve where there were houses and it was well into the afternoon.

I asked the people who were ogling me from their verandas. Where is the waterfalls? How do I get there? I asked politely. Ah, the waterfalls. Just follow the trail behind that structure and go down. That’s what they told me. I looked into the direction of the small building, went closer to find the dirt path. Ah! There it is! I followed this path, down a slight descent and into a beautiful ricefield. The path leads to a small slope with a big tree in the middle, like an island amidst the greenery. I continued until I came to the riverbank.

At the top of the waterfall

But there was no waterfall. Only to find a lady with, probably her daughter, washing clothes at the clear and cold stream. But wait, beyond her, at a rocklike projection and where the water starts to gush, is a steep drop. I went closer, I edged closer and was surprised to find that I was at the top of Pantoc Falls in San Quintin, Abra. There, the water was strong and wild, falling below the rocks and into a pool. I was wide eyed and in wonder.

The lady washing clothes then told me that there is a steep trail going down, or I can backtrack and take the more established route to the bottom of the waterfall. I took the latter and backtracked. Then walked passed the tree island, the paddy field. I traced back my steps to the small building and into the highway, walking calmly while carrying my backpack, my tripod inside its case and my small camera bag. Down the sloping highway until I glimpsed the yellow house that I missed and then stopped.

There was a cement trail leading down. I followed it. To the dirt path after a few meters. Walking, one step at a time until I reached the river bank. I can slightly hear the rush of water but the waterfall was still unseen. I looked around, but there was no other way but to cross the knee deep water.

The river was cold, slowly wading until I reached the opposite side. All the while maintaining my balance, oblivious that I might slip and wet my camera bag. But I was already ecstatic. The rush of water was becoming louder at each step as I followed the source of the water. The smell of rotten fruit, the small puddles then giving way to an open area.

Pantoc Falls, beautiful waterfall in Abra

A few seconds later, I can see the white cascade behind branches. I inched my way closer until the view was freed from vegetation. It was glorious. It was beautiful. Pantoc Falls was in full cascade, gushing, raging waters falling down from the top and into the basin. I set up my tripod and took photographs with my camera and my smart phone. I stopped and gazed in awe. Beautiful. Majestic. After that short trek, here, a stunning visual reward. But it was too tempting and, looking at my watch, I still have time to bathe. Just 15 minutes. And I’m going back to the road again, to Bangued.

Wow, the water was wonderfully cold and the wind comforting. I was the only soul there at this waterfall in Abra.

Eerie, but beautiful.

Majestic and beautiful, Pantoc waterfall in Abra up close
Majestic and beautiful, Pantoc Falls up close
What a greenery! The ricefield just along the path to the top of the waterfall
What a greenery! The ricefield just along the path to the top of the waterfall
Mother and daughter laundering clothes at the top of the waterfall
Mother and daughter laundering clothes at the top of the waterfall
View from the top of this waterfall in Abra
View from the top of the waterfall
A girl gazes down the top of the waterfall
A girl gazes down the top of the waterfall
Blurred cascades becoming dream like
Blurred cascades becoming dream like
This sight just greets you when you come up face to face with Pantoc Falls in San Quintin, Abra
This sight just greets you when you come up face to face with Pantoc Falls in San Quintin, Abra

GETTING THERE: It’s quite tricky to get to this waterfall. Although located very near the National Highway en route to Bangued from San Quintin, there are no signages. What you need to know is the yellow house after the second road going to the town proper from the Tangadan Tunnel but just before the blind curve on a slight incline. A few meters after this yellow house is a cement trail at the left of the road that is good for a few meters before continuing as a dirt path. But once you miss this yellow house and goes after the blind curve, you’ll end up at a few houses. This leads to the top of the waterfall. I’ve included a Google Map location below.

Pantoc Falls
Villa Mercedes, San Quintin

@anglangyaw A hidden waterfall in #Abra. I almost got lost looking for Pantoc Falls in San Quintin. Although it’s just near the national highway, it’s easy to miss. #waterfalls #chasingwaterfalls #abramazing ? original sound – Stan | AngLangyaw
I'm a Travel and Architecture photographer, blogger and writer based in Cebu, the Philippines.

A true blue Cebuano, I make stunning images and meaningful stories. My work has been published in various coffee table books as well as local and international publications including Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London), done photo assignments for Mabuhay and written posts in Smile.

My personal Photography work has been exhibited around Asia and Europe including Paris in France, Germany, The Netherlands, South Korea, China and around the ASEAN regional capitals.

I am a peripatetic traveler and have been to all 81 Philippine provinces and abroad.

Check out my portfolio site at StanCabigas.

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