Pikkang Falls: Exploring the Other Side of San Juan

Pikkang Falls of San Juan, Ilocos Sur

Pikkang Falls of San Juan, Ilocos Sur (Pikkang Falls, San Juan, Ilocos Sur)

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.

Stream leading to the falls

Stream leading to the falls (Pikkang Falls, San Juan, Ilocos Sur)

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.

Pikkang Falls

It is advisable to go on a sunny day because the rocks tend to become slippery during rains (Pikkang Falls, San Juan, Ilocos Sur)

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.

Pikkang Falls

Proceed with caution: the rocky part of the stream is slippery (Pikkang Falls, San Juan, Ilocos Sur)

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.

Pikkang Falls

Groove-like cave of the falls (Pikkang Falls, San Juan, Ilocos Sur)

One of the wandering sheep enjoying the cool waters of Pikkang Falls

One of the wandering sheep enjoying the cool waters of Pikkang Falls (San Juan, Ilocos Sur)

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.

Pikkang Falls

The three tiers of the falls can be seen from the top of the adjacent hill (Pikkang Falls, San Juan, Ilocos Sur)

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).

Pikkang Falls

The three tiers of the falls can be seen from the top of the adjacent hill (Pikkang Falls, San Juan, Ilocos Sur)

Pikkang Falls

Pikkang Falls up-close (San Juan, Ilocos Sur)

ACCESSIBILITY

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.


DIRECTIONS

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.

Pikkang Falls

Long exposure shot up the stream (Pikkang Falls, San Juan, Ilocos Sur)

Pikkang Falls

The trail going back to the drop-off point (Pikkang Falls, San Juan, Ilocos Sur)


MAP

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