Sunday, September 8, 2013

Asik Asik Falls, Alamada, North Cotabato

Ever since I’ve seen a post in facebook of pictures of Asik Asik falls, I immediately saved in my phone notes. I usually maintain a list of places i’d like to go to so I have a cheat sheet of places I can go to whenever I have availability.

Lately though, I could not find much time doing research for my trips. As I may have written on my older posts, I have found excitement at the surprises of not having an IT; I think it’s a good practice for strategy building and learning to adapt to every situation. Although, somehow, I do basic reading whenever I wait on terminals, or while sitting in the bus/vans.

I made my way to Midsayap at about 5pm, and just as soon as I get off from the van from Pagadian, the last trip to Alamada has just passed. My reading said there will be no lodging available in alamada, but, I never have a problem with lodging; I am that type who can just sit anywhere for hours, not to mention that I have my hammock with me, so long as I get to where I want to go.

There were some habal offering service to Midsayap for P150. However, I was not ready to spend that. Luckily, there was a chartered habal that serviced a passenger to Midsayap, and will be going back to Alamada (and I paid only a little more than the jeep fare).

We drove through the dark and cold mountains, and it was about 7pm already when we reached Alamada. As soon as I got off, I asked some of the parked habal drivers if there’s any chance I can hitch from someone who may be home to brgy Dado, but they say it’s impossible. They were offering to drop me off for P150 (but again it’s not in my tight budget); I said I was Ok with waiting for the 10am jeep that will be coming all the way from Midsayap. Meantime, one of the people in the crowd I spoke to is the head of the barangay tanod and offered to stay in the barangay hall. Thank goodness they had a washroom where I had taken a cool bath.

Next day, I woke up about 7am. Kapitana and other barangay officials were already there; shook hands and had a few words; Afterwhich, I bid goodbye to wait in the nearby terminal for chance transport.

Some habal drivers would approach me once in a while and offering P500 to Asik Asik, but i thought it was a huge expenditure. 3 hours passed and I had a serious thinking of what’s my time worth. Indeed, i may be saving, but calculating between the time I’m loosing and the travel opportunity I am loosing, I thought spending a bit is OK (And I managed to get it somehow down to P450) – Back and forth Alamada-Asik Asik.

When I asked how far is Brgy Dado from Alamada, I was told it’s 20+ kms, and from Dado to Asik Asik is 7.5kms. I was wondering why it costs so much.

The next 2 hours told me why. It took us about half an hour to reach barangay dado, and an hour and a half to get to the jump off point. That was the most daring habal habal I’ve ever taken. I had to ask the driver to let me get me off and I’d rather walk since we were wobbling through the muddy uphill. He would always insist he can, but he’d wound himself every so often too with miscalculations on his motorbike. I think I walked 70% of the trail up (which I rather would than risk opening some cuts).

From the jump off point, it will be a descend down to the falls. The descend started on a muddy (again) trail), where I slipped, considering I have been very careful already. Then, midway the hill, there will be 374 (hope I remembered the no right) cement staircase.

At some point I asked myself why I am letting myself endure that much for the sake of a waterfall, but, when you get there, you won’t even recall anything you may have asked/regret about your coming. You’d just want to get so close to the falls.

How to get there:

From cotabato city, take the van going to Midsayap. Fare is 60 pesos and travel time is about 45mins. From Midsayap, there are jeeps (called double tyre as the back tires come in pairs of tires on each side) that go straight to Dado ( I was told these jeepneys leave Dado at 5am the earliest and the same jeep will be on the way back to Dado from Midsayap before 8am, and will get to Alamada by 10am; In this case, best to leave Cotabato city by 6am). Fare to Dado from Midsayap (if I recall it right) is P80.

In case you miss the jeeps, or opt to travel fast, you can take habal (or “Skylab” for cotabato regions) service. From Midsayap, you will most likely be charged P800 up, and from Alamada, it will be P600, both up to Asik Asik jump off point. In Brgy Dado, it will be P300; back and forth, and per ride, not per passenger. However, it will be best if you take the habal from Dado. These drivers take these route (Dado-Asik) more often that the rest, so they are more capable of handling the adversaries in the trail. Look also for those with which wheels are tied up with ropes/chains that prevent the bike from sliding in the mud. In case you’d travel alone, I was told that the rate for Dado-Asik-asik shall only be P200.

In case you’d think about spending overnight in the Jump off point, which is, I’d like to try sometime soon when I come back, you may contact Sally Dequil; A vendor in the jump off point who has a hut nearby for tourists. Rental is P500 and can accommodate up to 4; No is 09058064501. In case you’d need a habal service from Alamada, here are some contacts:  Albert: 09068551214; Elmer: 09307202574.

This trip is part of my 13 day Southern Mindanao Trip. I posted a few details of my schedule and expenses here

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