Exploring the Island Garden City of Samal on a 'Habal-Habal' (Part 2)-A A +A
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
I TRIED desperately to erase the fear swelling up inside me as the habal-habal driver began our trip to Hagimit Falls. By now, three other passengers have dismounted in Penaplata, the Island main district. From there, we were to take two kilometers of rollercoaster roads to reach the waterfall.
The speed was almost intoxicating that I was able to whisper a short prayer while the driver went on to negotiate the curves. We did not wear helmets, which made me more nervous during trip.
I reached Hagimit Falls just before 9 a.m. and gave the habal-habal driver P200 for the fare, and arranged for him to pick me up after two hours.
If you are used to seeing large waterfalls, then Hagimit would only fall below your expectations. However, in terms of beauty and natural features, Hagimit Falls rivals most waterfalls in the country.
Hagimit Falls, in Barangay Kawag, is just a small waterfall, barely a few feet high but features several cascading pools, giving the illusion of a seemingly endless waterfall. Its natural swimming pools and rock formations would always invite for a quick dip. The place is perfect for camping, as the locals have constructed huts for picnickers and overnight camping. The area is covered by lush forest trees and the pathways have been developed to give easy access to the different areas of the grounds through a gentle hike.
I took time to relax at the cool waters of Hagimit while admiring the God given beauty of the area. If you're lucky, you might as well get a glimpse of the exotic birds that drink in the pools every now and then.
Admission to the area is set at P40 pesos for day trips and P150 for overnight stays, plus a few hundred more if you plan to use the huts. There are now big shopping areas in the island, so you would have to stock-up on necessities before you visit.
Having freshened-up, my habal-habal driver arrived just in time for a visit to the famous Monfort Bat Cave. Entrance to the area is set at P10 per person. There are several cave holes were tourists can take a peek into the enormous concentration of bats.
The Monfort Bat Cave was recently determined to house the world's largest colony of Geoffroy's Rousette fruit bats (Rousettus amplexicaudatus) with approximately 1.8 million bats according to Guinness.
It was a creepy experience as one would peek into the cave and observe the seemingly endless array of bats, as they hung by the interior of the cave like acrobats. A perfect time to visit is in the late afternoon when the millions of them wake up and fly out to look for food.
My day trip to Samal Island ended with a feast at Pearl Farm. The Pearl Farm Beach Resort is a former cultivation farm for luxurious south sea pearls. It is a favorite destination for high-end relaxation and blissful beach experience. But aside from the beach, the resort features a host of gastronomic amenities for food lovers and their buffets are always something to remember.
I left the Island Garden City of Samal on the noonday barge going to Davao. But I promised myself to return someday and to repeat the adventure event if I have to ride an adrenaline pumping habal-habal once more.
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Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on July 14, 2011.