Exploration Climb: Caririga Series of Waterfalls, Mount Isarog, Camarines Sur

“How to get the best of it all? One must conquer, achieve, get to the top; one must know the end to be convinced that one can win the end – to know there’s no dream that mustn’t be dared…” – George Mallory

I was fortunate enough to be invited for an exploration climb last January 7, 2018 by Sir Jojo Villareal of Kadlaggan Tours/ Outdoor Shop. I was with two (2) other Kadlaggan friends- Sir Pipin and Sir Kadoyks, Sir Rymar (Staff of Kadlagan) and one (1) local guide, Sir Pacs. Mount Isarog is my playground… the mountain that started it all…

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My playground- Mount Isarog
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Team Astig (L-R) Sir Pipin, Sir Kadoyks, Sir Reymar and Me!

I have been into organized activities in my outdoor ventures, I have tried hiking solo though but back then I am still an amateur/ newbie in hiking way back May, 2017. To date, the number of times I went to the mountains to either rappel, climb, mountain bike, has been up to more than ten times and having mountaineering as a hobby has gone beyond just for simple pleasure, therapy or escape. Mountaineering has been my love and the passion that burns along with it being fierce and bold that I can’t be stopped gearing up and loving more all other crafts associated with it e.g. mountain climbing, MTB Enduro and trail running.

I was warned about the exploration climb at Isarog prior that it could take as long as six hours before we can reach said water falls. And that it is an extreme climb. INDEED IT WAS! Along the way, we have seen traps installed by locals for the wild bores locally known as “Baboy Ramo” around the area. I have not seen one during the climb, but I have heard one later in the evening during descent.

The trail going to the falls is still not yet very established that the guide has to slash down some bamboo stems for us to make it through. The slashing of grass, bamboo, etc has been our take five during climbs… Mount Isarog is a leech infested mossy forest, so expect leeches to suck blood out of you. Locals has called one place as “Toktok Limatok” where there are bunch of leeches in trees. I have even seen leeches right at the waterfalls. After about four (4) hours of trek, we had to rappel  down to at about 45 meters to the three (3) yet-unnamed waterfalls… it seem never-ending assault going up those waterfalls prior we can reach its mother falls leaving a total of four (4) waterfalls over all during the climb. Pictures below are some of my action shots taken by Sir Kadoyks  Oliva:

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After going through all of the three (3) waterfalls, we had to go up high to two (2) cliffs before we can reach the highest and tallest waterfalls of Mount Isarog- Caririga. During that time, I am already very tired and my morale is has reached its lowest point… I found myself singing this “Malayo pa ang umaga, di matanaw ang pag-asa hanggang kailan matitiis and pag-hihirap ko…” until Sir Rymar pinpointed to me the glimpse of Caririga… all the tiredness and feeling very lowly has been swept away. The stunning view made me said, what is the waterfalls of New Zealand and Australia ‘coz we have found right the heart of Camarines Sur! Its height is so tall like I can say it is thrice as Harubay falls at about 300ft. tall.

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With the clouds
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With cloud clearing

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I have learned a lot from the explo climb, it is a humbling experience to have… I have gone through a life and death hustle, a struggle, during this day hike that left me fourteen (14) long hours of walking to the wild… I will definitely be coming back to Caririga Waterfalls and river.

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