My love for travel had given me a fairly good fitness level that allowed me to hike and walk long distances at one go. Yes, I grow tired after the trip but I never really struggled with the physical activities during the actual trip. I guess it is safe to say that I am able to maintain a fairly good "travel fitness level" - a fitness level that gives me the endurance on exploration activities during my trips.
So when the opportunity to share my passion for travel with my Anytime Fitness team, I agreed to head off to a Laguna destination that would give us a quick fitness thrill - Bukal Falls.
Located at the foot of Mount Banahaw, Bukal Falls is a good destination for those looking for a quick respite from the city's hustle and bustle. The waterfall is in the midst of lush greeneries of Majayjay, Laguna which is both relaxing to the mind and soul. It is often referred to as Laguna's version of Hinatuan's Enchanted River because of its clear emerald green and sapphire blue waters.
The Road to Majayjay
Our trip kicked off with the scenic view of Rizal's landscape from the vantage point of Antipolo as we took the backdoor route to Laguna via Pililia. We caugt a glimpse of the flatlands of Morong waking up to the early morning sun . It was a refreshing view for the most of us who got used to the usual city landscape.
The leisure ride through Rizal was refreshing as it gave us a visual treat of farmlands and the mountain ranges of the Sierra Madre. With the close proximity of the province to the metro and the serene beauty it offers , it is not a surprise that it is a favorite destination of bikers and travelers for their daytrips or their weekends.
Food Stop: Rambull's Bakahan, Tanay, Rizal
Rambull's Bakahan is one food stop discovery during our road trip. Conveniently located along the main highway, it can easily be identified because of the cow skulls displayed along the facade and parking areas. It has a wide selection of food items to enjoy and their specialty is their "bulalo" or bone marrow soup. Getting a taste of their specialty was definitely a good way to start our adventure... with a full tummy.
Right outside the restaurant is a stall where you can buy fresh cattle meat that you can bring home. The stall is usually open only in the morning.
Quick Stop: Pililia Wind Farm
Pililia has gathered tourism traction in the past year when its wind farm opened in 2016. This energy farm, standing at 300 meters above sea level, harvests energy from the wind coming from Laguna de Bay. The 27 turbines along the slopes of Baranggay Halayhayin can generate 150 Gi of natural and eco-friendly energy, annually.
The opening of the wind farm also paved the way for the sleepy town of Pililia to become a tourist spot in Rizal. The farm is a great place to make a quick stopover because it offers a panoramic view of Laguna de Bay and the flatlands of Rizal. The view up there is perfect and you also get to enjoy the cool lake breeze in the morning.
This was my second time to visit the windfarm of Pililia and watching the landscape was very relaxing. This is the place to go when you need a quick escape because the views will simply clear your mind.
Challenging Bukal Falls
After an hour of snaking through the main highway and small streets of Laguna, we finally found our way to the baranggay hall of Bukal in Majayjay. This is where we registered with the local officials who oversee this natural wonder. For everyone's safety, guides were assigned to our group and they also took charge of the lunch arrangements we made prior to our visit. When everything was already set, we took a quick tricycle ride to the trek jump off point.
The 45-minute uphill trek was uneventful. Relatively, the team found the hike manageable because the ascent was gradual and we were all treated with amazing views of Majayjay's rural agricultural fields. The refreshing views, the cool damp weather, and the shared stories was enough to keep my AF team energized until we reached the "rest spot" of the trail.
The final part of the trek is the steep descent from the "rest spot" to the foot of Bukal Falls. The traverse was the challenge because the trail was slippery and steep. It was good that locals were able to establish the trail for the safety and convenience of their guests.
The view of Bukal Falls was a great reward after our trek. The team was excited as we crossed the wooden bridge to get to our chosen picnic spot. Our spot gave us a good view of Bukal Falls' second level falls and basin.
A short traverse over boulders will give you a view of its first level cascade and pool of Bukal Falls. From the vantage point, one can view enclave's rock wall where water drips from the top. Our guide shared that a stronger cascade can be seen when it rains creating a curtain of water along its rock walls. The clear turquoise blue water of the first level basin was deep that one can try jumping off on one side of its wall.
Our group decided to enjoy the cold waters of the Bukal's second level basin where the cascade was stronger and the water was just right for wading. The ice cold water was not enough to stop the guys from taking a quick dip. There were some who were even brave enough to go under the fall's cascade. The second basin was also a good vantage point where you can catch the beauty of Bukal Fall's two levels. I liked the way the sunlight struck its rock walls.
I guess the most challenging part of traversing the trails of Bukal Falls was the trek back to the top of the steep ravine. To say that it caught most of us off-guard is an understatement. It did not help that the trail was a bit slippery. We huffed and puffed but none of us stopped. It was great to see the team working together until everyone reached the top.
POST TRAVEL NOTES
As we took our late afternoon snack at Liliw, it was nice to see that everyone enjoyed our Bukal Falls' exploration despite the physically challenging trek back from the falls. The activity was an eye opener for the team and the work space that we live and breathe in. A greater challenge is ahead of us - to influence others to start a healthier lifestyle through our own #fitspiration stories.
It is my love for the outdoors that keep me at a certain fitness level. For some who find the gym boring, having an outside physical activity will compliment your gym workout. You can try doing trail running, hiking, or simply exploring the city by foot and it can bring a new dimension to your story of #fitspiration in finding your #healthierplace.
Getting There: If you are going to Bukal Falls using a private vehicle, you can take the scenic route through Antipolo-Pililia-Lumban-Pagsanjan-Magdalena route. I suggest that you start early. If you are taking this route, you can make the same stops that we had during the trip. It will take you about 4 hours to get to Baranggay Bukal.
If you are commuting, you can take a bus from Cubao or Pasay headed to Sta. Cruz. You can then take a tricycle to the public market where you can take a jeep headed for Majayjay. From Majayjay, you can hire a trike to bring you to the Baranggay Hall of Bukal.
You can coordinate with Konsehala Nelia of Baranggay Bukal through (0928) 216 8279.
For food arrangements, you can call Ate Elen Garcia at (0910) 452 5537.
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Marc del Rosario
I believe in education, entrepreneurship, and caring for the environment.