Pikkang Falls: Exploring the Other Side of San Juan
I’ve been visiting San Juan, Ilocos Sur a lot for more than 6 years and have seen its beautiful beaches. But what I didn’t know until my fellow sheep told me last December 2014 was that the town still has some hidden beauty for me to unfold.
It was 9:00 AM when I came to San Juan. I went (solo mode) at the market to ask some locals about Pikkang Falls and how to get there. I learned that there is a terminal for tricycles bound to Barangay Malamin, where the falls belongs to. There I met Jeff, a tricycle driver and he was lined to bring passenger there. The fare is 30 pesos per head, but I paid for the vacant spaces since I chose to ride as the only passenger.
We have a smooth ride thanks to concrete roads. We went uphill to a mountain with a white bevel. Jeff said below there is where the waterfalls is. After a 5-kilometer travel from highway, we reached the residential place of Barangay Malamin. We then proceeded to the barangay hall, however it was closed and no tanod on duty so Jeff stood as my travel guide.
From the drop-off point, we trailed beside a stream connected to the waterfalls. It’s like we’re playing “patintero” with the large rocks as we go upstream. Good thing it was dry weather that time so the rocks are not slippery. I also noticed some land erosions left by the past storm.
After an almost 700-meter hike, we finally reached the lowest basin of Pikkang Falls. Though it’s not that grandeur, it has that unique form compare to other falls I saw before. I told myself that “20-minute walk was worth it” as I plunged into the clear, cool water. I was able to stand with my head above water even to the deepest part of the basin.
The water drop there is stronger during rainy season according to Jeff. You can also climb up to the top of the falls but must proceed with caution due to slippery rocks. From the basin, it’s like you’re inside a bath tub. I opted out to climb to the groove-like cave because the slope’s slipperiness is too damn high. I was a bit upset when I saw vandalized rocks there.
I got dressed after few minutes of dipping. There are no changing rooms or cottages there so I just searched for a place concealed enough to change.
We ascended to the adjacent hill to get a distant shot of the falls. From there is the view of two more waterfalls above which cannot be seen from the lowest basin. Jeff said, there’s more above, but he warned a much more perilous hike there.
After a half-hour of photo-capturing the scenery from above, I decided to go down. Some teenagers were just getting started to swim while we’re going back to barangay proper. Some locals said that the falls seldom visited by tourists since the opening of the Mountain Resort owned by a mayor (that’s why it was not developed). But it’s okay. At least, the Pikang Falls of San Juan will be far from getting mistreated (for now).
The fall is located five kilometers from San Juan town proper and is accessible by a concrete road, from where it will terminate at a drop-off point in the barangay. After that, hiking is needed to go to the falls, which normally takes about twenty minutes. As few tourists are known to visit the waterfalls, its surroundings are still not yet being compromised.
From San Juan town proper ride a tricycle with 2 more persons back and forth to Barangay Malamin for 200 pesos. After a 5 kilometer ride to drop off point, set your legs into motion as you’ll hike 700 meters upstream.
There’s no entrance fee, but make sure to spend some for food and drinks to town before you go to the falls.