Aliwagwag Falls: Inspiring Awe
October 12, 2015 2 Comments
2012. When I first saw a photo of Aliwagwag Falls from an airline’s in-flight magazine, the ONLY word that I was able to summon was: AWESOME.
“Awesome” is a word I stay away from as much as possible. I generally file it in my “for-lack-of-a-better-term” folder, and only pull it out in “emergency cases”, where I ran out of adjectives: Last night’s party was “awesome.” Your new Fujifilm X100T is “awesome.” The extensive coverage given by the tri-media to the presidential bid announcements of Binay, Roxas and Poe, while ignoring the masses’ call for a Duterte presidency, is simply “awesome.”
My reluctance on the use of “awesome” stems from a purely semantic point of view. Isn’t it strange, if not weird, that we describe such profound beauty that it inspires awe as “awesome”? Shouldn’t it be full of awe; therefore, awful? So, last night’s party was in fact awful, as was the camera and the media coverage.
But in the case of Aliwagwag Falls, I make an exception.
This beauteous stairway-to-heaven-like cascade is definitely awesome! I was mesmerized. Scanning the pages of the magazine, I excitedly searched its location, mouthing an inaudible “Whoopie!” when I found where it’s at: Cateel, Davao Oriental.
2013. Typhoon Pablo happened… and Cateel was among the badly hit municipalities in the region: and. Aliwagwag Falls was severely damaged. My hopes of seeing her was dashed.
Mid 2014. I got a call from a friend who works at the Davao City Tourism Office that they’ve just recently visited Cateel, and that efforts to “restore” Aliwagwag Falls is “well underway”. The news got me excited–and sad at the same time, because I wouldn’t be seeing the falls in all her natural splendor. Nevertheless, that didn’t dampen my desire to visit Aliwagwag a single bit.
Fast-forward to 2015, I was finally able to make the trip with these awesome people…
Cateel, Davao Oriental
Aliwagwag Falls is a series of 84 falls, mimicking a stairway with various heights in between steps, ranging from 2m to 33.5m (7ft to 110 ft). The highest cascades are about 22m (72 ft) and 20m (66 ft). Overall, Aliwagwag Falls is 340m (1,120 ft) high and 20m (66 ft) wide. If upright, it is undoubtedly the highest waterfalls in the country!
The Philippines is such a beautiful country; and the fact that I can enjoy its beauty is wonderful. Life, indeed, is full of beauty and wonder.
There are two routes leading to Aliwagwag Falls: through Compostela Valley (which we took) and via Mati, Davao Oriental. The latter is the more practical option, as there are many trips going to Mati (via Bachelor Bus Lines), compared with only one trip (via Mallen Express) if going by way of Compostela Valley. Travel time varies from 6hrs to 8hrs.
Since we were pressed for time, we opted to hire an AUV for two (2) days: Davao-ComVal-Cateel-Mati-Davao route.