I swam through the darkness of the cave. The water was freezing and we can hardly see anything but the faint greenish light gleaming at the far end of the cave. Gingerly, a few of us crept on the side walls of the cave where the water only reaches up to chest-deep in height. Eventually, I arrived at the far end of the cave. My eyes adjusted to the midday brightness of the sun and saw Iligan City’s secret waterfall, the wondrous Kalubihon Falls.
Coming from the relaxing dip at Pampam Falls, a part of the three waterfalls that make up a stream in Barangay Dalipuga, we continued our hike uphill. It was not an easy trek, especially for someone as unfit as yours truly. The climb to Kalubihon Falls took only took fifteen minutes but it was a punishing quarter of an hour; especially its final leg.
A wall of boulders faced us and I asked where the trail was. There is no trail, someone smilingly said. Okay then.
Carefully balancing on the rocks, I conquered the giant treads one slow step at a time. Every step was so calculated, each rock surface ensured to hold my shoe’s soles. A slip would mean serious injury and certain death to my cameras.
After buckets of sweat, we finally reached the top of the boulders. There was not even a semblance of waterfall in sight. What we found instead was a wide cave mouth; cold water gushing out from its darkened bowels. I was chagrined; our punishment was not yet over it seemed.
Without dry bags, we left all our gear at one of the larger boulders near the cave mouth and prepared to go inside.
My legs suffer cramps easily, especially when barefoot. So my concerns include what makes up the bottom of the water inside the cave and the surface rock outside the end of the cave. Could my bare foot stand it without cramping?
Not wanting to experience the same cramps I had at Tinago Falls, I didn’t take the risk of finding out; I ducked down and entered the cave with my trek shoes on.
It was almost pitch dark and the water was extremely cold. We were instructed to make our way through the side walls of the cave where the water was at its shallowest. The middle portion was of the cave was really deep; it was so deep I was unable to touch bottom when I jumped inside on my way back.
The cave was about ten meters long and was pretty straight-forward. We reached the other end in no time but have to clamber up through some curious rock formations. It looked slippery but it is absolutely not, it looked similar to the cave formations inside the caves of Sagada.
And at last, my eyes finally glimpsed the fruit of all those hard minutes of trekking, climbing, spelunking and swimming; emerging from the cave, the gushing waters of Kalubihon Falls came into view.
Truly, some of the most beautiful places are the hardest places to go to.
The secret waterfall of Kalubihon, hidden by walls of boulders and a watery cave rises to only about 20 feet in height. The water isn’t as strong but it still can give one a good back massage if you go directly below its drop. There is a small catch basin that goes directly down to the cave we passed going to the falls, but it isn’t really deep enough to really swim on.
Kalubihon Falls is surrounded on all sides by cavernous rocks. The only way it can be accessed is through the punishing route we took; or maybe through the open ceiling above. I’m not really sure, but I think this is a hole from a higher plane of the ground above.
A couple of kids were already at Kalubihon Falls when we arrived. If some gals have their secret gardens, these guys have their own secret waterfalls; their very own personal playground it seems.
And for a few minutes, the kids happily shared their secret waterfalls with us. The guys just can’t get enough of standing below Kalubihon Falls’ drop. Well it’s really not everyday that you can simply walk under the rushing waters of a waterfall right?
In fact, Kalubihon Falls’ drop became quite the prime property as each one of the Waterfalling Adventure Tour peeps waited in line just to stand below it and have their photographs taken. I naturally passed the opportunity and offered to take their photos instead.
But all good things do come to past; we again have to go down through the same route we went up. Descending is twice as treacherous as climbing up and I can only cross my fingers as I carefully descended through the cave mouth. But it was just too darn meticulous. To heck with it, I jumped through the cold waters of the cave. ‘Til next time Kalubihon Falls!
Address: Sitio Kalubihon, Brgy. Dalipuga, Iligan City, Lanao del Norte
Entrance Fee: None
Trek Time: 30 to 45 minutes
View Location on Google Maps