Friday, July 1, 2011

Adams, Ilocos Norte: Another Sunday of Waking Up Ahead of the Sun and Chasing Waterfalls

Ilocos Norte - Adams Fog Lifting Off View from Lovers' Peak
Lovers' Peak early morning revelations
The Bugnay wine made for a good night’s sleep so much so that waking up at 4am felt like a sacrilege, like being given a pass to slumberland and never quite making full use of the privilege.  But with the habagat season making precipitation an almost daily ritual, it would be a pity to waste a window of promising weather. So half-asleep and half-awake, we ambled on the road to Lovers’ Peak followed by the bark of dogs unaccustomed to visitors passing their way at such an early hour.  It’s a 30-minute walk from the poblacion and the view simply took our collective breaths away.

No matter how often I’ve seen sunrises (and sunsets) in so many places, I can never be blasé about them.  And this one from this high-vantage point overlooking the rice fields and distant mountains is, there’s no other way to describe it, beautiful.   There’s this theatricality to the scenery that’s hard to miss, even harder to ignore.  The way the fog shrouds whole mountains, then rolls northwards, dissipating upwards to where we really don’t know and revealing the rich palette of the land, layer by layer.  And just when we thought the show is over, another fog bank rolls in to reclaim the vista, a last hurrah before the sun shows up and warm the earth.
Ilocos Norte - Adams Lovers Peak Foggy Dawn
Lovers' Peak views slowly, dramatically unveiled by fog
With only a full day to spend in Adams, we defer catching up on sleep to later.  Today, we dream of waterfalls, of which Adams has many.  We had a cursory list of falls to visit but had to choose the closer ones.  As I’ve written in the first part of my Adams post, the locals have another altogether different interpretation of the words “near,” “quite near” and “not so far”.  When our mention of Pao Falls and Lake Linao prompted reactions of “far,” “difficult” and “treacherous,” we knew we had to defer visiting these places to a future visit.
Ilocos Norte - Magliligay Falls
Magliligay Falls
Our first falls for the day: Magliligay.  It’s one of the “closest,” “more accessible” falls so says the locals.  It’s still a 40 minute trek through the forest with a trail that’s less established than that of Anuplig.  The highlight of the falls is its two-tiered main cascade.  Much as I want to go down a brush-covered trail to shoot a perspective of the “twin” falls, I contented myself with staying at the upper cascade and an early lunch of adobo and mountain red rice.  Going back, we were saddened by the intermittent sight of felled trees and sawdust from the chainsaws -- telltale signs of illegal logging so says our guide, Sherwin.
Ilocos Norte - Inuwayan Falls Dramatic
Diminutive Inuwayan Falls
By the time we head back to the jump-off, the rains let up.  I was still feeling the soreness of visiting Anuplig in my knees and wasn’t so sure about hiking again to another falls but perhaps, buoyed by the effervescence of the Coke litro I chugged at a sari-sari store, I gave in to the idea of just one more falls.

Inuwayan Falls lies closer to the poblacion and within the fruit plantation of the Bawingans.  It’s another 30-35 minute trek through grassland and part of the way, on the edge of waterways.  The falls is compact and charming save for a huge PVC pipe that spoils the view but what the hey, that’s how water is channeled and put to good use in these parts.
Ilocos Norte - Cabacan Falls and Leaf II
Resplendent Cabacan Falls
Further up, about 15-minutes by foot, we find Cabacan Falls surrounded by boulders and showing off a taller, more imposing profile with its 8 meter-high cascade.  It’s the same way going back to the jump-off near the poblacion as I hobbled on achy knees and throbbing feet.  The rains have declared a truce as I find my way home.  We were to go homey-place-hopping for the night to the Chens’ place and welcome the idea of a fresh tilapia dinner and a massage before calling it a night.

For more info on Adams, visit


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