Thursday, December 25, 2014

Falls | Buruwisan Falls of Mt Romelo

FALLS | Buruwisan Falls of Mt Romelo
Siniloan, Laguna

In a corner of this river trekking, the powerful cadence of Buruwisan Falls welcomed us.

This is one of those trips where I just hitch up, but unlike my previous adventures with this group, this time it feels like I'm already part of the pack that I am with. Tired of planning my own trips or going solo, I welcomed the invite from a good friend Arnie of The Kid Wanderer. The same gang that I was with in Pico de Loro, these guys is of the same age bracket as me so I can easily relate. Adventurous and sometimes reckless, it is with this group that I learned to "Ratrat" (local slang term for trail running) a trail especially when backtracking to where the jump off started.

I've always prided myself for being a strong hiker with very good stamina, but these guys know how to push it further. Perhaps in this trip we went a bit far in being young, forgetting the fact the Buruwisan Falls is known all over Laguna to regularly take human lives in its bosom, we almost brought a friend home in a body bag. I can describe the Buruwisan Falls, painfully beautiful but deadly if you come closer.

The Highway Crossing of Brgy Macatad, the road to the Buruwisan Jump Off.

Mid-way in the assault, a pair of sandals gave way. The trek shoes were all soaking wet and caking with mud.

Definitely A Nature Trek

A seasoned hiker, we have debated whether we should consider Mt Romelo to be a mountain to trek at 300 MASL. It felt and looked like a hill for us; since we have been to Buntot Palos Falls of Pangil Laguna (see: Buntot Palos) that is also situated along the Sierra Madre Mountain Range. People go to Buntot Palos for the Grand Falls at the tail end of the river, but the trail feels more like trekking a mountain complete with lush vegetation and usual mountain dwelling people riding horses. Taking into consideration the slippery mud makes Mt Romelo feel like a technical climb. Take the mud away in Mt Romelo and it would be an easy trip, but alas the slippery mud is frustrating that it can drive you to tears. I didn't have much time to think twice about the destination, I wanted to be there to photograph Buruwisan Falls in a slow shutter speed.

 Slippery trail caking with mud.

About Buruwisan Falls
  • Cascading from headwaters of Siniloan River (a.k.a. Romelo River), a tributary of Laguna de Bay that has a lot of falls in it. 
  • Buruwisan Falls is the most popular among the five known waterfalls due to its easy accessibility as compared to the others in the area namely; Guiling Guiling Falls, Lanzones Falls, Binaytuan Falls and Sebakun Falls. 
  • With a drop of 180 Ft (about 50 meters), its not as impressive as the Binaytuan Falls with about 200 meters but its no less majestic. 
  • In an enclave of lushly forested area, Buruwisan Falls drops into a catch basin with a deep pool below and hanging vines along the drop, guarded by towering trees that shades the river itself. 
  • This place has been known as training ground for newbie hikers, being that Mt Romelo itself is but 300 MASL with a gradual incline, except for the mud, limatics and security concerns; Buruwisan is a good campsite. Rappelling in the falls is also one of the activity that draws outdoors men.

Mt Romelo is open all year round but the rainy season is recommended to experience the powerful grandeur of Buruwisan Falls itself. In this trip I did with six other friends, the trail was thickly caked with soft clay mud, it is advisable to trek with correct footwear instead of just regular sandals. It has to be noted though that the trail starts with a river crossing, you have the option of removing your shoes to avoid getting wet, but it will most likely end up wet even without the river crossing, so an extra pair of footwear is recommended. A guide can be hired anywhere, from the Highway Crossing in Brgy Macatad, Siniloan up to the jump off site to register. Guides will normally approach to offer their services. Once trekking, do not be surprised if locals atop their horses will tag along, like pimps they will offer horse ride for Php 300.00 to the camp site. Unfortunately, the sandals of one of my buddy in this trip gave out, and since he is having difficulty trekking barefoot in the mud, he opted to take the horse ride, it became convenient for most of us since the horse ride also relieved us of our bags as porter.

Since we had our bags ported, midway in the assault, we were concerned with our valuables then. The drawback in going to Buruwisan Falls are the incidents of thefts, one will have to bring less valuables and gadgets or will need to be always vigilant. Incidents of theft have been regularly reported to happen here that climb advisory is given for Mt Romelo. We didn't stay here to camp, as these incidents were reported to happen at night time, luckily for us we got ourselves an honest porter who only wanted to earn a living. He went ahead of us with our bags and waited patiently in the campsite hoping that we would again hire him when we back track to Siniloan.

At the height of about 170 Ft, its already gut wrenching when viewed from atop which is the campsite. Rappelling down from atop is regularly done here.

The Buruwisan catch basin where one of our buddy almost died from drowning, swimming alone is not advised.

Suggested Itinerary (Dayhike)
Prepared by Arnie of Kid Wanderer
5:00 AM Meet Up Starmall, Blvd
6:00 AM ETD Starmall
8:00 AM ETA Registration Hall (Register, Breakfast, Prepare)
9:00 AM Start Trek
11:30 AM ETA Campsite, Visit Buruwisan for Lunch.
11:00 AM - 3:00 PM - Explore all the Falls
3:30 PM - Start Descent
5:00 PM - Back at the Jump-off, Tidy up at the Registration
5:30 PM - Head back to Manila

To Be Noted:
  • Travelling as a small team, it may be better to hire a jeep in Shaw blvd that takes the route of Tanay Rizal. The fare can be shared for a vice versa trip for convenience.
  • Registration Fee is Php 50.00 in the Macatad Registration Hall.
  • Wash up is offered in the registration hall, for a fee of Php 20.00 they have prepared bathrooms so one can remove the mud and dirt before going home
  • Guide fee is fixed rate Php 300.00 for going and back tracking. Additional fees maybe asked if their is intent to visit the other falls. Ii is implied that to river trekking is done to go through the other falls and one may have to waddle through waist or even deeper water levels.
  • Rappelling in the falls can be done, but with preparation. I'm not aware of any rappels for rent here, so one may need to bring in the tools needed.
  • Be vigilant from thefts especially when camping overnight.
  • Be prepared for Limatics.
How To Get There:
  • Along EDSA crossing Shaw Blvd, you can ride a jeep bound for Tanay, Rizal. From there, you can take another jeepney ride bound for Famy, Siniloan. Next ride from the town of Famy is Tricycle to Brgy Macatad or to the Buruwisan Falls jump off. 
  • Take a bus bound for Infanta, Quezon via Raymond Bus Line. This bus trip passes through the Famy-Infanta Road where the Brgy Macatad, Siniloan Crossing is located. The terminal is located in Sampaloc Manila a few minutes' walk from alighting in Legarda Station LRT Line 2. Inform the bus conductor to drop you off the jump off to Buruwisan Falls. From there you can hire a Tricycle to bring you to the Registration Hall.

Pala-lagaw's Buruwisan Multi Falls Photo Gallery
 Closer at Lanzones Falls.

Lanzones Falls, about 7 minutes walk from the catch basin of Buruwisan Falls.

The hired horse porter took our heavy bags, it sure made the trek in the slippery mud easier.

Unburdened by any weights, our young guide trekked barefoot and topless. I can certainly ask him for a tip on how not to slide in slippery mud.

Atop the dizzying height of Buruwisan is a powerful water flow. It's not raining, but the humidity left me sweaty and gasping for air.

Approaching Buruwisan Falls from the catch basin.

The water current is strong but enjoyable for a dip in the shallows.

The trail shoes took all the battering, and well the kiss of the mud.

Back at the site of our first river crossing.

A final photo before I left the basin of Buruwisan Falls.

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Francis Balgos is a Call Center Agent, Weekend Travel Warrior, Amateur Spelunker, Sometime Surfer, Newbie Mountain Climber, Photography Enthusiast, Certified Beach Bum, A first born son, True Explorer...

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  1. Now I want to go to Buruwisan Falls, ganda ng mga photos mo! By the way, what happened to your friend, masyado ba malakas undercurrent?

    1. hey Christian.. Thanks for dropping by..
      napulikat siya habang ng si swimming in the middle of the falls.
      He actually drowned, we were able to revive him through rescucitation.
      A minute more may have been too late.

  2. Hi! Are you Ilonggo?

  3. you did not go to batya-batya and sampaloc falls? i might go back here, do a buntot palos - mt romelo combination


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