This mustache went a long, long way just to see a huge, huge stone staircase for a short, short time.
Long, long way
We could have gone straight to Davao City from Mangagoy in Surigao del Sur and it would have taken six hours. But we included Cateel, Davao Oriental as a stop and added two hours of road time. (Bachelor Express bus schedule from Mangagoy, Surigao del Sur to Cateel, Davao Oriental: 7AM / 1230PM / 230PM / 6PM; Fare: Php120)
In the small and quiet town of Cateel, we looked for a habalhabal/motorcycle (Php150/2 pax/roundtrip) to take us to Aliwagwag Falls (about 40 minutes from town), but not before having breakfast. I am grateful that the ladies at the eatery allowed us to leave our bags (oh, the kindness of strangers) for a few hours while we went to see Aliwagwag Falls, a giant stairway with cascading waters.
Huge, huge stone staircase
Wiki says Aliwagwag is...
"...a towering waterfall considered by hydraulic engineers as the highest in the country and regarded as one of the most beautiful falls in Mindanao. It is a series of 84 falls appearing like stairway to heaven with various heights among the steps ranging from 6 to 110 feet (34 m). One step is measured 72 feet (22 m) and another is 67 feet (20 m). Overall Aliwagwag Falls is 1,110 feet (340 m) of cascading energy and 20 meters in width. All these in the midst of virgin forest. River at the foot of the falls. 13 rapids to cross."
I agree, this huge stone staircase carpeted by rushing water is a wonder. If I wasn't too lazy, I would have wanted to see all 84 levels. In truth, even if I wasn't feeling lazy, I think I can only cover five levels. If this were a real staircase, one step would take a dozen human steps to reach the next, and some steps would most likely require both hands and feet. Aliwagwag Falls made (and still makes) me feel like an ant.
Short, short time
Ah, but we had to say goodbye to Aliwagwag Falls and Cateel after a few hours. Soon we were back in town to have lunch and to catch the 3PM Mallen Express bus to Davao City (Mallen bus schedule: 5AM and 3PM. Fare is Php250). It's going to be a long six–hour bus ride through the mountains of Compostela Valley.
A Beauty T(r)ip
In the Beginning: Cagwait, Surigao del Sur
The Quickest Island Hopping Ever
Hinatuan's Enchanted River
Bislig's Marvelous Waterfall
Cateel Just for Aliwagwag Falls (you're here!)
Pit Stop: Aveflor Inn and Museo Dabawenyo
Suggested by a Davaoeña: Marina Tuna
Sunset Beach Park and Monfort Bat Colony in Samal Island
Butt–rosying Route Equals...