Uncovering the hidden natural gems of Bago City

  • Monday, November 07, 2016

Maybe by now you’ve heard all about the Sulfur River in Bago city that is making a buzz on social media. But did you know that the city is also home to many gorgeous waterfalls and many of which are actually off the beaten track? So if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous and want to escape the touristy crowd, you can try exploring these secret waterfalls that will definitely guarantee you a refreshing retreat!

Our initial plan for that weekend was to see the Sulfur River in Mailum, Bago City. With just few instructions from those who were able to visit there and the blog article we’ve read few days before the trip (which by the way the link of the article cannot be found on the web anymore or maybe was deleted by the author), we decided to go and just figure out everything once we arrive there. I first encountered the Sulfur River of Lunao last year however it seemed that everyone who has been there is quiet about it and nobody wants to share the information how to get there not until early this month when a travel blogger wrote a detailed itinerary about this destination which later became viral on social media that might have caused the sudden influx of tourist going there. Our guide even told us that some groups that went there are by bus of more than 100 people. Along with the volume of tourists came the garbage that they bring with them which somehow alarmed the local government. The area is said to belong to Mt Kanlaon protected area so the local government decide to prohibit further entry of tourists into the area until proper measures has been instituted.

The scenic road to Mailum made beautiful by these big trees tightly lined up on both sides of the road.

Upon arriving in Mailum, our trike driver dropped us at the place of the guide he recommended. We expressed our intention of wanting to go to Sulfur River, but to our dismay, the guide told us that it is presently close to the public. So that our effort of going there won’t be put to waste, he suggested that we can go to the two “busay” or waterfalls he knows. We were actually persistent of insisting we wanted to go there even just to have a glimpse of it but to no avail. In fairness to him, he did made an effort texting his contacts if it is possible for us to go there but according to him you need to get pass the DENR check points and secure the necessary permits before you get there. Left without a choice we decided to go for the waterfalls he suggested, which by the way turned out to be one of the best decisions we’ve done on this trip. But let me warn you fellow travelers that these waterfalls are situated inside private properties. To reach the “busay”, you need to ask permission first to the owners or caretakers to pass by their property before reaching the waterfalls.

Relatively easy and friendly trail towards the waterfalls. PC: Doctoban
The first waterfalls was just near his backyard but in order to reach there, you will have to trek a dense forest for about 20 to 30 minutes depending on your pacing. Along the way you will enjoy the view of the mountain and pass by field of pine trees.

The mountainsides had moderately steep descent where one wrong step can lead into trouble. I can feel the adrenaline building up while going down as my nerves begin to tremble, the good thing was there are big roots along the trail that you can hold on to preventing you from sliding all the way down.

When you hear a sound of flowing water, this indicates you’re nearing the river already. Just follow the red river bank and it will lead you straight to the waterfalls.

It was an overwhelming sight to see the strong gush of uninterrupted water pouring into a large basin and gently flows to the stream of red rocks.

It is said that the rocks turned red because of the sulfur & mineral contents of water coming from the sulfur river so don’t be surprise to see your soles become red if you wade through the stream barefoot.

Archie’s Tips: I highly recommend you wear wading shoes. It will help protect your feet from the rocky bottom which is very slippery.

We stayed there for few hours to savor the splendor of the place and after taking a short dip and few selfies, we had some light snacks then moved to our second waterfalls. We walk back to our jump off point where our trike driver is waiting to take us to our next destination. The travel was about 20-30 minute drive uphill in a dusty road but through a scenic mountain view that left us in awe.

Before you can get to the waterfalls, you have to pass by a private farm and then start to trek down. 

It was an easy trek at first but somewhere along the trail you will pass through steep ladder and bamboo bridges to get to the main waterfalls.

Our not-so-excited faces upon nearing the waterfalls. The place was so beautiful its a mortal sin not to take a selfie. LOL PC: Doctoban

The boulders along the way were very slippery so you need to watch your step and make sure you have a perfect balance before making that leap.

Archie’s Notes: I slipped several times and almost got my phone wet so make sure to secure your electronics in a dry bag!

Upon hearing the gushing waters, we got excited and our adventurous spirit hurried up passing one mini waterfalls to another linked together by these charming bamboo bridges.

When we finally made it to the main waterfalls, we were stunned by the unspoiled beauty of this waterfalls enveloped in rich green plants, trees and ravines! It felt like our drained bodies was restored after laying eyes on this beauty.

All you need to do is to savor the moment and take in the relaxing ambiance of the place while taking a cool dip in its freshwater. The cascades from the waterfalls make a great place for you to enjoy a ‘natural spa’ massage from the fast flowing waters as they bubble over the shallow ledges and pools.

For those travelers who are nature lover, exploring the outdoors and uncovering hidden treasures like these is an adventure like no other. Take time to savor the moment and enjoy the beauty of nature at its finest. This is not your everyday waterfall sightseeing let me tell you, for me it’s more like a spiritual experience that brings you closer to nature. Happy Travels!

Getting There and Around

Coming from Bacolod city you can take the commuter bus directly to Ma-ao. The terminals are located in Libertad Public Market in Bacolod just right in front of Savemore supermarket in Libertad. The travel time going to Ma-ao is around 1-1 ½ hours. Fare is 30 php.

After getting off at Ma-ao Public Market, find the terminal for tricycle going to Mailum just right in front of the market. The tricycle fare is P25 and travel time is usually 15-20 minutes. You can ask the driver to drop you off the starting point of the trek going to “busay”. There is a waiting shed in the area where you ask the locals to accompany you as guides in going to the waterfalls.

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  1. Hello Sir ☺ May I ask if how much did you pay for the guide? Thank you!

    1. Hi Beta! As of the moment there is no standard guide fee, usual rates is around 300-500 pesos per guide for the entire day. This depends on how many you are in a group or if you wanted to give little extra as tip. Our guide was too shy to say a specific amount so we decide to give him 300 php and he seemed very happy with it.

  2. Hello Sir ☺ May I ask if how much did you pay for the guide? Thank you!

  3. Wonderful article, Archie! I've seen some pictures of this blue river. Would you have pictures that capture the "blue-ness" of this river? I want to share your pics in case you have some. Thank you!

  4. hello i was the younger brother of micheal the tour guide there and i was a tour guide there also.. if you want more info. photos add me on face book " aj jastin librado" and i will send it to you thank u

    1. sir..., can you help us get there? i already leaved a message on your facebook account, hope you can reply.

  5. this my contact number 09463391506 or message me on messenger aj jastin librado.. so i can bring you here this summer.. and there s a lot off falls here..

    1. Sir jastin, meron po ako message sayo sa fb.. thanks

  6. Hello sir, what's the name of the second waterfall you've been to.