Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Waterfalls of Laurel: Malagaslas and Ambon–Ambon

Photo from wikipedia.org
Time was not our friend on day two. From Caleruega, we bypassed Laurel and went to Tagaytay for a short break. Laurel was put off for the next day. I am glad we did, for it gave us more time to spend at the two waterfalls of Laurel: Malagaslas Falls and Ambon–Ambon Falls.

On the third day, when the alarm went off, I slipped on my sandals, went to my friend's house next door for breakfast, and then we were off. I noticed my friend was wearing shoes...were we on for a long hike to the waterfalls? Just a short 20–minute hike, he assured me.

At the jump–off, where the tricycle had deposited us, we were told that it was easy to find Malagaslas Falls: we would cross a bridge and then cross the same river thrice.

Indeed, we crossed a bridge. And at the first river crossing, I stopped at the water's edge, turned to my friend, eyed his shoes, and asked him, "Are you sure?" With a smug look on his face, "These are waterproof." Two steps into the river and, poof!, waterproof no more. His shoes were absolutely waterproof...up to four inches of water! (Evil laugh!) He eventually took off his shoes, went barefoot and an ouch–ouch–ouch with every step, all the way to the waterfalls (the path was covered with tiny pebbles) .

We found Malagaslas Falls not quite deserted. It was a Monday and there was a group of men occupying one of the wooden tables, drinking and chatting. Much as we wanted to cool down in the shallow basins of Malagaslas Falls, the afternoon was turning gloomy, so we decided to find Ambon–Ambon Falls before it rained.

Malagaslas Falls

After another easy 15–minute hike (easy if you have footwear, not so easy for my friend who was barefoot), we heard nothing but water, and saw the upper half of Ambon–Ambon Falls; the lower half was obscured by huge boulders.

Nothing could stop my two friends from going farther to see Ambon–Ambon Falls' basin and its full height. One tried to scale a boulder...unsuccessfully. And one made like Legolas over the log. The one who had unsuccessfully scaled the boulder, tried to be an elf, but was more like a dwarf and so scooted over the length of the log on his behind. I was the bumbling, unadventurous hobbit who chose to stay behind.

Ambon–Ambon Falls
Scale the boulder or do a balancing act on the log (left) to see
the basin and the lower half (right) of Ambon–Ambon Falls

While waiting for my friends, I listened: there was only the sound of water and silence. I looked around, observed: the way we had come from was bounded by cliffs on both sides and was blanketed in shadows cast by the trees above. In the shadows, I imagined Gollum crawling over the boulders. Silence and shadows are not good for me.

Hello Gollum

My thoughts were interrupted by the voices of my friends who had come back from their quick exploration. The gray sky prompted us to head back to Malagaslas Falls and spend the rest of our time there.

Around the Northern Half of Batangas:
Around the Northern Half of Batangas in Three Days
Back in Time in the Town of Taal
Boy Scouts in Burot Beach, Calatagan
What's in a (Business) Name? Treinta y ocho
The Waterfalls of Laurel: Malagaslas and Ambon–Ambon (you're here!)
Lipa, Batangas: Casa de Segunda, San Sebastian Cathedral, Our Lady of Mt Carmel Church
Where and What We Ate in Batangas

A Bit of Cavite in Between:
Wisdom from the Road #23
People's Park in the Sky

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