Water without worry

Call it Taytay or Imelda

Developed during the Marcos years by Lady Imelda with hopes to increase tourism traffic in the beautiful yet unexplored historic town of Majayjay, Taytay falls is now a favorite camping spot for hikers, backpackers and lovers. The people wanting to reciprocate the good initiative named it after the first lady. The Cory government wanting to erase everything that is good and decent that came from Marcos reverted back all the names to their original. Only here in our country you’ll find names of places changed with regularity, thanks to Pinoy politics. There should be a law that will outlaw this abnormal behavior.

The view from a vantage point I forgot...

In front of Majayjay’s Catholic cemetery is the towns Jeep terminal where rides going to the barrio where the falls is located can be found. It leaves every one or two hours depending on commuter volume. Travel time is around 30 minutes. The town is predominantly rural with very low population . There is a military detachment in the area because of reported Marxist activities. Well, the only red I saw in the town was pig blood sold in the market. Majayjay is one of the most peaceful town I’ve ever visited. I witnessed a day market where local produce, from veggies to poultry, are put up for sale to buyers who would then bring it to Sta. Cruz and Sn. Pablo where it waits to be sold. This is the towns central activity. The local government invested on a good market house in the poblacion.

Fruit bearing trees near Taytay

It started raining. Then suddenly, it's gone. Time to move.

After a short scenic ride to barrio Gagalot, tricycles awaits to take you to where the trail to Imelda falls begins; the trail is paved so it’s an easy 20 minute hike down to the falls. I saw some campers unloading their stuff when I arrived. How I wish I could spend a night in Taytay but I have no equipment, no tent, not even extra shirts – so I have to come back one day. Though it has cemented trails and tiled comfort rooms [yes! Right in the middle of the jungle], it’s still a tropical forest, and it felt like it is – so, it’s still important to take the proper precautions. Taytay is just one of the many series of falls coming from the mystical Banahao that passes Majayjay. I visited on a weekday and found numerous people around the falls, there could be more visitors during weekends. The improvement of the area has its pros and cons– the important thing now is that we keep the place clean and that we limit human constructions that would alter the natural landscape.

Like life, the falls is short but beautiful. Its water is clear and cold. There are stations along the paved trail where trekkers can rest but it’s a short distance so I walked straight to the falls and found many young people drinking [not the water, I mean alcohol!], eating and taking pictures, who wouldn’t? The place is just gorgeous. I noticed that people would take a dip and get out of the water almost immediately; the falls’ water is freezing. I was expecting that Taytay has become polluted because of its fame but no, it was still ok. This is one of those places where we can learn more about nature and adopt a deeper understanding of our natural resources. The best part is that it’s not far from us.

"trouble with these shots is that you have to go back and get your camera" - Les Stroud, Survivorman

September 2009


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