Colton's Asia Experience

Mambukal: Hiking in a Monsoon

By Colton Powell

Before you set out on any adventure you should always have a bucket list of things you want to see or do along the way. For me waterfalls and cliff jumping was an item that needed to be crossed off.

We traveled by ferry to the city of Bacolod, Philippines to meet one of Sunny's friends and then headed off into the mountains.

We didn't have the best day for hiking, as it was still monsoon season and pouring rain. We figured we were from Vancouver, meaning we were born in the rain, and could handle anything.

We arrived at Mambukal, a mountain resort located about two hours from Bacolod. It is home to a trek that takes you to seven different waterfalls up the side of Mt. Kanlaon.

We made it to the base of the trail and were approached by two guides who wanted to show us the way. We decided the more the merrier and followed them to what they called "the shortcut" up the mountain.

Mambukal Philippines Hiking
Crossing the River
 
As we began the ascent up the muddy trail I quickly realized flip-flops weren't the best choice of hiking shoes.
 
The guides spoke some English and told us they wanted to practice so we chatted and learned more about the local area.

The trail twisted and winded up through tall trees, bush and went through several mountainside villages. The guides explained that the path we took was the only access to some of the villages. As we walked through, small children smiled and waved from their shelters. We meandered through rice fields and ran into cows, pigs and even a huge bull.

Mambukal Philippines Hiking
Waving to a local in one of the mountainside villages
 
We continued and crossed through a river up to our knees. Sunny had also made the mistake of choosing flip-flops as hiking shoes so one of the guides gave her his shoes.
 
We crossed a rickety bamboo bridge and made it to the first waterfall. It was huge and cascaded down into a pool that the guides told us we could swim in.

It felt like we had already been swimming from how hard it was raining so we jumped right in. The water was warm and the waterfall was so powerful that standing under it knocked you over.

Mambukal Philippines Hiking
The bamboo bridge across the river
Mambukal Philippines Hiking
Cliff Jumping at the fifth Waterfall
 
We continued on along the river to each of the waterfalls stopping at the fifth where you could jump off the cliffs into the canyon below. The guide explained the only sketchy part was the current was a little strong and the spot to climb back up was on the edge of another waterfall. He jumped first to show us the reins as we followed suit.
 
The path began to get steeper and steeper through the thick jungle that it was almost like a slide. We held onto whatever piece of foliage we could grasp and surfed our way down through the mud.

We finished the final waterfalls and made it back to the base as it began to rain even harder than before. I felt like a wet dog that wanted to shake all the water off.

Mambukal Philippines Hiking
The Hiking Crew
 
We thanked our guides and decided we had earned some lunch. Two items have been successfully crossed off the travel bucket list, now onto the next.

Click next to continue to Part 11 of Colton's Asia Experience

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