Santol: Bewitching Balay-Anito Falls
There are really no falls included in our itinerary when I and the flock went to Santol, La Union last December 2014 – we just went there to visit our fellow sheep. I was intrigued to the town because Santol was in the news everywhere in the past due to having a marijuana plantation. Billions of pesos are said to be confiscated there by the authority. Today, the Santol’s newly-elected mayor is doing her efforts to detach the town’s name to any controversy.
When we visited our fellow sheep, he said that there are two falls in the town – Siminublan and Balay-Anito. 10 o’clock in the morning, we decided to go to Barangay Lettac Sur where the Balay-Anito Falls is located. After we crossed the bridge which serves as the boundary of the town proper, we then traversed a narrow path that has succession of uphill as we went further. We reached the mountain peak after 15 minutes of road travel wherein a good view of the town can be seen from there. 10 minutes later, we finally reached the entrance arc of Balay-Anito Falls alongside an elementary school.
We started our trek adventure from there. We paced the paved, curved road down below. It was roughly 600 meters when we reached the stony stream. It’s like we’re playing luksong tinik with the boulders as we go upstream. Thankfully it was a sunny day because wet, slippery rocks can be more pain in the arse. After 300 meters of rock skipping, we finally reached Balay-Anito Falls, though we saw that we’re on its top instead of its basin. We climbed first to a slightly steep ascent where a nice overall view of the waterfalls awaited. Then, we proceeded below.
We’re unhindered by the steeps going down because of too much excitement to swim. Soon as we reached the basin, my fellow sheep quickly undressed, then splash! There’s no cottage there, so changing clothes is… well, diskarte na lang.
Fresh from the mountain, the water is so cold and pure. The water level is pretty shallow, maybe with exception to the dropping point. There’re a lot of basins for us to choose from – from the first basin down to the smallest basins.
Balay-Anito is indeed befitting name for the waterfalls because of its veiled beauty (Balay means bahay or house, Anito means diety). Maybe because it’s somewhat difficult to get there and commercialization is still out of reach, the place managed to preserve its magnificence.
After half an hour of dipping, the TupangGalas decided to pack up. We first quenched our thirst and hunger at a sari-sari store near the school before we return to town since we’re not really prepared for that getaway.
We’re a bit disappointed for not staying there that long; but still, discovering Balay-Anito Falls is worth it.
From Balaoan Town Proper, ride a jeep bound to Santol. Then from its town proper, hire a tricycle going to the entrance of Balay-Anito. Get ready to hike from the entrance down to the falls. Just follow the downstream and you won’t get lost.
Good thing, there’s no entrance fee, but make sure to spend some for food and drinks to town before you go to the falls.