The Philippines is blessed with so many wonderful natural waterfalls. One of them is Pinsal Falls. This is located in Barangay Babal-Lasioan, Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur. It is sitting right at the border with another town, Pilar, Abra. This destination is a breath of fresh air from the usual Ilocos Sur that we know. When we say Ilocos Sur, the first thing that comes to mind is the cobblestone streets as well as Spanish era heritage houses in Vigan City.
Pinsal is not just an ordinary waterfall. Towering at 85-foot (26-meters) high, this is considered as the largest and grandest waterfall in the province. The waterfall is best visited during the rainy season or just after it for the obvious reason that more water is flowing from the mountains. We went there in December so the level of water is not as much as it should during May to September.
Its emerald water cascades down into a curtain of cold water. It pours down its might on a pool at the bottom where everyone can swim. At the back of the cascading water is a hidden cave where you can also go and swim.
Previously, going up the falls is difficult via a steep rock carved with steps. Today, the locals have built a safer path following the side of the mountain with steel and concrete pavements and steps.
Up the Hill
On top of the falls, you will be mesmerized by so many Jacuzzi like pools. Choose your corner and take a plunge. They are deep enough that you can jump right into the pool.
The view from down below is already amazing. But, the view on top is much more astounding! I envy the birds for having the best vantage point in this case.
This waterfall is also a favorite venue for movie and television show shoot.
Just like most places in the Philippines, Pinsal Falls has it’s own share of legendary stories. According to stories pass down to generations, the biggest pool is actually the footprint of a giant named Angalo looking for the love of her life, Aran. Today, the locals called the footprint as “Tugot ni Angalo” in the local language which means Angalo’s Footprint, obviously. Lol. They were believed to be the first man and woman who lived in the face of the Earth.
Getting into the place early is advisable. If you are lucky, this will allow you to own the place for yourselves. Just remember that the place is still not too much commercialize. There are not enough or proper toilet, showers or changing rooms. Hope it will stay that way forever.
Going into the falls is completely FREE. You may or may not rent a boat from the jump-off point going to the waterfalls. You can walk 15-20 minutes alongside the river before you can reach the site. There are available cottages for rent between Php100 to Php300. However, getting a cottage is not necessary. It’s your choice. If you don’t know how to swim or you get easily exhausted while swimming, you can rent a life vest.
Bring your own food and drinks. You can’t buy anything from there. If there are, they tend to be limited. So, when the supply is limited and the demand is great, you know what that means. $$.
No reservation needed. Just simply go and bask in the sun while enjoying the exquisiteness of this natural wonder. Clean as you go (CLAY GO) is practiced here. LEAVE NOTHING BUT FOOTPRINTS. GET NOTHING BUT PICTURES. Just revel in the beauty of nature.
How to get there:
- Private: From Manila, travel to Ilocos Sur via Manila North Road. Upon reaching Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur, go to the bridge that connects to Narvacan. Honestly, from here, I am no longer good at direction. The locals are nice so don’t hesitate to ask for directions.
- Public: Ride a bus bound to Vigan, Abra or Laoag. Ask the conductor to drop you off at Sta. Maria. From the town proper, hire a tricycle ride going to Pinsal (Php250 fare per trip-maximum of 4 passengers). For those who are not familiar, tricycle is a motor bike with mounted carriage. It is a common transportation method in the Philippines.
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