Last May, my friends and I went to La Union for our yearly get together. Since we really enjoyed our visit to the falls from our Baler trip the year before, we decided to embark to another hike when we got to LU. It was also perfect since the beach was barricaded because of the Labor Union party, and we can’t really enjoy the beach as much as we wanted to. We ended up going to Tangadan Falls, located at San Gabriel, a good 30 minute ride from San Juan.
How to go to Tangadan Falls:
One of our friends had his pick up, so we didn’t have any issues on traveling. But in case you’re going here via commute, you may take tricycles from San Juan to the drop off for Php 200.00. Alternatively, you may also take a jeep going to San Gabriel for Php 15.00, and then take a trike from there to the drop off point for Php 50.00.
What to expect on Tangadan Falls:
You will be hiking for 2.7 KM, and we would highly suggest that you get a guide during your tour. It can be pretty tricky especially around the woods area where there’s a huge possibility of getting lost, so someone to herd you around would definitely be helpful. Usual rates for the guides are around Php 50/head. You may look for our tour guide, Kuya Allan, at the jump off point (sorry, lost his number already huhu).
It took us around an hour and a half to get to the falls since we took a lot of time taking photos and goofing around. Be sure to wear a sturdy pair of sandals or something that won’t slip as the trek would require you to cross rivers and climb slippery rocks. Bring water in case you’re the type of person who gets thirsty easily, as the shops are still a good 30-40 minute walk from the starting point. Mark and I made a wrong choice of not buying water before going up. We survived, eventually, but it would’ve been so much more refreshing if we were able to drink something while trekking under the heat of the summer sun.
Before the falls, there is a quick pit stop where you can cliff dive. There are no life vests to help you float, but the guides are kind enough to wait for you at the bottom and save you before you drown. Not the most comforting words, I know, but I guess it could be something to hold on to if you feel like a daredevil (and you have zero knowledge about swimming or floating).
Three of our friends were brave enough to take the plunge from the main jump off point, which was around 20 feet high, with water around 20 feet below. One of those three didn’t actually know how to swim, and was only saved by clinging to our guide, Kuya Allan. It was nice seeing them jump, but that didn’t gave me the courage to jump myself. I know how to float, but heights scare me, and not feeling the floor terrifies me. There is a lower jump off point, which was around 8-10 feet, and two of my friends decided to give it a go. The rest of us stayed and rested, having second thoughts if we should try it as well. I guess I’m not the only one terrified of heights or drowning or hitting myself on a rock and dying. Ha ha ha.
A few more minutes from the cliff diving spot, we reached the falls. And bam, that crowd though. I think we made a huge mistake climbing at around 9:00 AM, that a huge number of people have already gathered in the falls. We were too drunk/sleepy/tired from our crazy travel adventure the day before that we woke up late. And by late, I mean REALLY late for a trek. There are available tires a.k.a. floaters for rent at Php150.00 each, and it’s pretty limited. We were able to rent 2 floaters for the ten of us (imagine), and since the water is 10-20 feet deep, we weren’t really in for a swim. We went towards the falls and it was glorious, although I would admit, the sound of the water falling into our floaters wasn’t the most comforting thing to hear, especially if you’re as scared as I am. Or maybe that’s just me.
My two cents about our trip to Tangadan…
A few years back, Tangadan Falls is considered to be a ‘hidden gem’. And now that it has been found by a lot of people and are being continuously referred to friends, family, and acquaintances, the beauty of the falls is actually starting to falter. I’ve only been to three falls (Kawasan Falls in Cebu, and Ditumabo Falls in Baler), and by far, Tangadan was the most crowded and the dirtiest one (in my opinion). While walking around the falls area, we saw an assortment of trash lying around — from shampoos sachets to conditioners to a broken slipper to junk food wrappers — it was appalling and disappointing. People clean themselves on the falls and they eat their lunch around the area, I get it, but they are not nice enough to actually spare the place from their trash. You brought it here, you have to bring it down with you as well.
I’m not saying that we have to keep these places hidden, but at least, please have the decency to clean your own trash and NOT spoil beautiful places like this one. The trek was definitely fun, but was it worth it? Not as much as I remember. It might have been the number of people, and I know that the crowd might have died down eventually after the summer, but it was mainly because of the garbage that was kept in there, lying around, ready to spoil the beauty of this gem. I hope people would stop being such dickheads and be responsible for mother nature. How can you enjoy the beautiful waters of the falls if you see an ugly sachet floating beside you?
You guys get it. Be responsible. Okay. End of rant.
Budget is pretty cheap, considering that we have a ride from here and back to where we were staying. But transportation aside, we only spent Php 75.00 per head — Php 25.00 for the bottled water, and Php 50.00 for the guide. Tipid!
How about you? Have you been to La Union? And have you tried visiting their falls? What are your experience? Share it below and let me know! 🙂