Valencia's Casaroro Falls: Hidden Beauty of Negros Oriental

Tuesday, August 14, 2012



Located in the municipality of Valencia, Casaroro Falls is dubbed as Negros Oriental's most photographed waterfalls —  and it certainly has a lot of reasons why Casaroro earned that title. Towering at almost 100 feet lodged between two huge rock crevices with a dense forest surrounding the area, Casaroro is indeed a beauty to behold that is well worth a detour away from the hustle and bustle of Dumaguete city life.

It once attracted a good number of tourists in a day but Casaroro Falls was one of those areas that got damaged when Typhoon Sendong hit the province last December. Sadly, those numbers dwindled down — in fact, the place was closed at some point in time — but despite how heavily battered it now is, there are still people, including myself, my dad, and my girlfriend, who are crazy enough to go there, to conquer and bear witness to Negros Oriental's hidden gem.

Badly beaten but fun
Going there was literally a pain-in-the-ass while the habal-habal driver (a motorcycle-for-hire popular in rural areas with a seating capacity of a car's) maneuvered pass the rocky road. It was a beating that left me aching for hours. But that's all part of the experience.

The trip up though was fairly scenic — anything you'd expect from a laid-back, quite provincial life from friendly locals with warm smiles that welcome you to old houses along the road.

We also passed by two of Valencia's popular tourist destinations — the Tejeros Swimming Lagoon and Forest Camp — but both were also hardly hit by the typhoon (although plans are underway to rehabilitate the two areas).

After we reached the entrance to the falls, we were welcomed by one of the caretakers and we had to pay the PHP20 entrance fee.

After we registered ourselves, we went down the concrete stairs (some parts made of steel). Some claim it's almost 400 steps all the way down to the river so anyone with a mobility problem should better think twice.

Tip: Wear your most comfortable footwear. Some steps are slippery so be careful. You should also bring a bottled water with you. You will be gasping for air climbing up the stairs.

Final push
At the base of the river, we saw huge rock boulders that were swept away by the flood piled on top of each other and, at first glance, it was simply impossible to walk around. The concrete pathway that once lined the river got destroyed so the only way to reach the falls was to go over those boulders. Some boulders were as big as a car and some were even bigger.

We almost gave up. We wanted to. But we were almost there and it was too late to go back.

We decided to go up and around those boulders. Good thing I was with my father, who was once a notorious mountain climber (conquered Mt. Apo ten times) during his prime. He was able to notice the nylon string than ran up the river to mark the right boulders to pass by. We followed the string until we reached the part where we had to cross the knee-deep water of the river.

Tip: Stick to the right side of the river going to the falls since it's the easiest. If you're planning to wear jeans, it's not going to be a walk in the park. Expect to get wet.

A few hundred meters away, we could already hear the sound of the waterfalls so we pushed one last time to reach the final curve near the destroyed viewing deck. From there, Casaroro falls was just a peak away.

The view was stunningly amazing that we stayed there for almost half an hour. In fact, my father even went farther up to the base of the falls and he said that the view was even better from there.

It truly is Negros Oriental's hidden gem. If you're a traveler willing to get your ass beaten but wanting to be equally rewarded by one of Mother Nature's greatest gifts, Casaroro Falls is the best place to be.

Tip: The place is prone to flooding and water can rise quickly so if you value your life, avoid the river and better go back. Use sound judgment when it looks like it's going to rain.

How to Get There
From Dumaguete City, take the PHP9.00 pedicab ride going to the Valencia jeepney terminal near the tiangge (market).

Take the jeepney that will take you to the municipality of Valencia. The fare is just PHP12.00 per person and travel time is around 15-20 minutes.

Once you reach the municipality proper, grab some food in the area since there are no food establishments in Casaroro.

Take the habal-habal for PHP100 (one way). Make arrangements with the driver to pick you up and ask for his cellphone number so you can text him once you're done. Although cheaper than the habal-habal, do not take the pedicab since it will only take you up to the end of the concrete road, which is still far from Casaroro Falls, but you can take a hike from there if you want to. It would take at least 30 minutes to reach the entrance.

Next stop: Hagimit Falls in Samal Island and Kadayawan Festival in Davao City.

We decided to rest for a while before the final push. 

     
You need to cross this part of the river.

This used to be the viewing deck in Casaroro.

Climbing (sliding) down one of the biggest boulders in Casaroro.

No camera tricks involved. This was really huge.


2 comments:

Ryan Mach said...

Pwede naman pala. Well, perhaps I could have pursued if I had companions to cheer me up. Hehe. Unfortunately, hanggang tunog lang ng falls ang na-experience ko, didn't have have a glimpse of the waterfalls itself. :-)

Anonymous said...

Been there a week ago. It was still a hard trek but it was all worth it. Casaroro Falls is a sight to behold. Had to conquer those boulders as well. And the climb on the way up, that really gave me a work out!

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