By Nikka Garriga
TIBIAO, ANTIQUE—If you are an adventure junkie with a knack for trekking, the Bugtong Bato Falls in Antique is one spot you definitely can’t miss.
Located at the town of Tuno are the seven waterfalls of Bugtong Bato, a hidden attraction behind steep ravines and large boulder formations.
The name ‘Bugtong Bato’ refers to a huge rock found a few meters away from the first of the seven falls. It usually goes unnoticed due to a tree that grew on top of it.
Town councilor and tour guide Neri Menes said most of their visitors here are foreigners who are either backpackers or mountaineers. Getting to the site entails a 30 to 45-minute hike from the town proper, passing by houses, rice fields and clearings.
“We began to form an organization for tourist guides back in 2009 when a group of Russians came to see Bugtong Bato,” Menes says.
The first of these multi-tiered waterfalls is not very tall but packs a powerful cascade of water that creates a pool that’s about knee to waist-deep.
Locals and tourists often go to the first waterfall for a refreshing plunge or a picnic because it is easily accessible among the seven waterfalls. Upon reaching the first waterfall, the trek turns to a challenging adventure until you arrive at the last waterfall.
In order to reach the succeeding formations, one has to climb a flight of stairs found on the left side of the first falls. A handle has been placed to help visitors climb up.
After the stairs, one must climb a rope to reach the second waterfall’s side and then rappel going down. This routine will be the same for the remaining five waterfalls.
“It became necessary to have a tour guide especially for the visitors considering how dangerous the climb can be. We often resort to climb by batch for bigger groups because the trek can be too slippery and steep,” Menes explains.
As it is truly one of a kind, the locals ensure that Bugtong Bato is preserved and protected from destructive practices like illegal logging.
“We make an effort to be strict particularly on cutting down trees because we know that we will be affected for our negligence,” she says.
How to get there:
From Caticlan Airport, you can take mini buses or vans headed to the Tibiao town proper. Travel time is about an hour and a half.
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