A year ago, Kaye and I were contemplating on where to celebrate my 27th birthday. Surely, it wasn’t an easy decision given the 2 previous birthday celebrations I had (my 25th was in Singapore and my 26th was in Hong Kong) but since we haven’t planned on going to an international destination, at least for this year, we decided to go local instead. Then we had the green light for my 27th birthday: to stay at Midsayap, my ever beloved hometown, and a visit to one of the most fascinating tourist destinations the Philippines has seen in the last decade, Asik-Asik falls.
How to get to Asik-Asik Falls
Before we delve into the details of our buwis-buhay adventure, let met give you key points when going to Asik-Asik falls. Bear in mind that since I’m a proud son of Midsayap, I will be using Midsayap as the starting point. If you have questions on how to reach Midsayap, you can ask in the comments section.
|Type of Payment||
|Double-tire Jeep (Midsayap to Alamada proper)* – 45-minute travel||
|Habal-habal (Alamada proper to Upper Dado and vice versa) – 1-hour (super bumpy) travel||
|Tourist Registration Fee (Upper Dado Brgy. Hall)||
For an audio-visual perspective, check out Tim & Glo’s Asik-Asik Youtube Vlog. They went to Asik-Asik Falls last January 2015 with this blog as their reference.
*This information is based on what I know is the current prevailing rate as we did not experience the double tire jeepney ride first-hand. We rode a private vehicle from Midsayap to Alamada. The actual rate may vary.
I would like to thank Mr. Gasmin (Vincent’s dad) for driving us from Midsayap to Alamada and back. That was really generous of you, Sir!
Caution: Going to Asik-Asik Falls is serious business. Definitely a journey not for the faint at heart.
***August 23, 2014, Saturday, One Day before I turn 27.***
Our day started at 7AM at Jollibee where we bought our lunch to-go for the activity ahead. My companions going to Asik-Asik were Kaye, Rodhel (my older brother) and my 5-year old sister, Baby Lou. Vince and his brother arrived shortly and after we were done ordering our food, our ride to Alamada started. We arrived at Alamada after a 40-minute drive. Along the highway (near the public market), you will see a mini habal-habal terminal (a.k.a. skylab, single motor) bound for Asik-Asik (look for the ASODA tarp signage). This was where we negotiated with the habal-habal drivers for our ride to Asik-Asik. The rate we got was Php300/head back-and-forth.
Blogger’s Tip: It’s more convenient to bring ready-to-eat food to Asik-Asik rather than bringing fresh meat and cooking on-site. There are no barbecue grills for you to use unless you bring them yourselves (and I seriously discourage that). Don’t forget to bring water and other snacks as there are also no sari-sari stores to be found on-site.
The (literal) Rocky Road/s of Alamada
Although it’s a bit pricey for a motorcycle ride, note that going to Asik-Asik is not your ordinary kind of land travel. The travel time from Alamada proper to the Asik-Asik jump-off point (located at Upper Dado) can reach up to 1 hour (one way) and the terrain and road conditions may be the worst you will see in your entire life. Unpaved roads, big rocks laying on muddy terrain, lots of “bangin” on the roadside and then some. Trust me when I say that the habal-habal ride to and from Asik-Asik was THE rockiest motorcycle ride I’ve ever experienced.
After about 30 minutes of butt-numbing motorcycle action, we reached the Brgy. Hall of Upper Dado. Tourists must stop here to register and pay the necessary Php30.00 “entrance” fee to Asik-Asik. Note that this is just the first half of the habal-habal ride!
If the road condition from Alamada to Upper Dado was bad, wait until you experience the terrain going up to the jump-off point to Asik-Asik. The dirt roads become steeper, the rocks laying around seem bigger and the ravines at the side look deeper. There was even an instance where Kaye and I got off from the habal-habal because the driver can’t maneuver the motorcycle properly due to the gravitational pull. Hey, I’m not trying to discourage you or anything, but that’s the real score when going to Asik-Asik. Ah, the risks we take for the love of travel.
After an hour of nerve-wracking habal-habal ride, we finally reached the Asik-Asik Tourism Center a.k.a the jump-off point to the falls. Don’t worry about your ride back to Alamada as the drivers will wait for you here (hence the higher than usual motorcycle fee). Tourists will have to travel by foot from this point on going to the falls.
Descent to Paradise
At this point, our feet were already starting to shake due to the force exerted during the habal-habal ride. You will get what I mean when you experience it first-hand. After shaking off some muscle pain and dust, we commenced our long walk down to the waterfalls.
Since Asik-Asik falls was only recently discovered back in 2012, the path going down to the falls has not yet been fully developed by the LGU or the provincial government. The descent to the falls consist of soil paths and a paved stairway starting at the midway point of the walk and will accumulate to an estimated total of 500 steps. That’s a lot of burnt calories right there. Senior citizens, people with serious medical conditions and pregnant women, among others, are discouraged for obvious health reasons.
Blogger’s Tip: Wear breathable and comfortable clothes! More likely than not, it will be a warm sunny day when you go down to the falls (there are no trees to provide shade). Avoid over-packing. Only bring things that you need for the day’s activity to minimize your load. You will need all your strength for the long walk going to the falls and vice versa.
Asik-Asik’s Different Kind of Charm
Trekking for roughly 25 minutes, we finally reached the majestic Asik-Asik falls! One gaze at the stunning, curtain-like waterfalls is enough to make you realize that the time, money and effort needed to get here is very much WORTH IT. And that’s a good thing.
After ogling the falls for a couple of minutes, we settled at the benches on top of the hill facing the waterfalls. Since we arrived there a bit early (we arrived at 9:30AM), we got first dibs on the best seats of the house. A major perk for being at the top of the hill is the panoramic view of the falls. Makes you really appreciate the beauty of Asik-Asik even more.
Setting aside our belongings and gearing up with our swimming attires, we then immersed ourselves into the fresh and cool waters Asik-Asik had to offer. The flowing water from the falls is VERY COLD. The waters in Asik-Asik, in my opinion, is cooler than the ones found in Sto. Nino Cold Springs in Camiguin. While the waters can be very cold, it certainly makes for a very refreshing dip!
The water flow may seem weak due to the curtain-like structure of the waterfalls. However, don’t be fooled by this as the current at the bottom of the falls can be quite strong. Do keep an eye if you have kids with you.
*The proper way to use a monopod is to make it seem that you’re NOT using a monopod. It’s not hard, people!
Being the adrenaline junkies that we are (and to capture interesting photos), Kaye and I decided to go up on one of the steps of the falls. It was challenging to go up because of the strong water flow and the uneven wall of rocks but we eventually made our way to higher ground.
Of course, I wouldn’t miss the chance of taking lots of photos of the falls so I took the liberty of shooting from all angles. Hehe. What I liked the most about Asik-Asik is it’s rawness. It’s a good thing that the place hasn’t been heavily developed yet; it certainly helps in preserving the natural awesomeness the falls intrinsically exudes. We can only hope and pray that the place will maintain its natural grandeur and beauty and will not be destroyed by the greedy doings of man, mainly commercialism.
After taking lunch and some last-minute appreciation of the wonders of Asik-Asik falls, it was now time to face the daunting task of leaving and climbing our way back up the treacherous mountain trail. This was when we realized that going down to the falls was the “easy” part. It was the climb back up to the jump-off point that was the real challenge.
Blogger’s Tip: After eating lunch (or any meal for that matter), take your time before going back up to the Tourism Center in order for your food to be digested properly. Let’s just say someone from our group learned this the hard way. I assure you that he won’t be looking at a Jolly Spaghetti the same way again. 😉
Calling our climb back to the top “exhausting” may not fully encapsulate the feelings we had. The steep stairs coupled with the scorching afternoon heat of the sun made for a very hellish journey back to civilization. The end result of this climb? Leg pains, body aches and sore thighs for at least 3 days. Alaxan FR ain’t got nothing on you, Asik-Asik.
Blogger’s Tip: Bring a scarf/bandana/towel to use as cover for your head and face. Don’t push yourself too hard to finish the climb quickly. If you are feeling tired, stop, take a breather and rest. Rushing up to the top will not help.
I really wished Kaye and I did jogging rounds to physically prepare ourselves for Asik-Asik. I really had a hard time climbing up and was the last person in our group to reach the top. Talk about insult to injury. Haha. We’ll know how to deal better with Asik-Asik’s trail IF we decide to come back. That’s a big IF.
With a big sigh of relief, we finally reached the Tourism Center. We rested for a little while to calm ourselves after the physical beating that we took courtesy of the climb that we had to endure. After that, it’s off to another hellacious habal-habal ride and a tiring but fulfilling travel back home.
After our Asik-Asik experience, it’s never more clear that man-made attractions really do pale in comparison to God’s natural works of art. It’s time we appreciate nature more. -rod-