Tangadan Falls

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

You don't need to be a surfer to appreciate the beauty of La Union. While it is known as the surfing capital of the north, there are so many places to visit there that non-surfers would surely enjoy. One of them is the Tangadan Falls in San Gabriel, La Union. 

Tangadan Falls has been featured in my previous blog posts here and here, but I'll be giving you a more detailed travel guide in this post. 

The Ilocano word "tangadan" means "look up", and that's exactly what people usually does once they reach the waterfalls. The Tangadan Falls is 45 feet high, and is absolutely breathtaking. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

The town of San Gabriel, where the jump-off point is located, is roughly 40 minutes away from the surf town of San Juan. Upon reaching San Gabriel, tourists must first head to the municipal hall to pay the environmental fees and get a guide to be able to trek going to the waterfalls. From there, one can take a tricycle or habal-habal going to the jump-off. There are two trails: the short trail which takes about fifteen minutes of trekking on an uphill path and the long trail which is about seven kilometers long on a mostly flat trail with picturesque views. I've been to the Tangadan Falls a couple of times and I'd always go for the latter. I'd recommend it if you want to make the most of your trip. If you are in a hurry, I'd recommend the first one.

The long trail starts at an established path of dirt, which continues on to narrower dirt path with some small rocks. The trail runs along the Baroro river and we get to cross it thrice during the trek. 
Baroro River

There are also cliff-jumping points along the way and you get to choose your poison: 10ft or 20ft, both dropping on 30ft deep waters. The guides will tell you if it's okay to jump or not. They'd prohibit it if the current is too strong.
jumping off a 10-foot ledge

After a quick detour at the cliff-jumping area, we continued the trek on the dirt path, until we eventually reached the last river crossing before the waterfalls.

After a couple of minutes of more walking, we finally reached the waterfalls. It was such a glorious sight and definitely worth the trek. 
the Tangadan Falls

The water was cool that I couldn't resist going for a swim. The water here is 30ft deep and the guides recommend renting a life jacket if you don't know how to swim. As for me, no life jacket no problem (yabaaang). LOL.

But wait there's more. If the trekking and swimming still didn't tire you out, you can opt to go on a five-minute trek going to the top of the falls. Yes, that would entail more walking and climbing on rocks but it was totally worth it. You get to see the full view from the top of the falls and there's another cliff-jumping spot that you can try.
from the top of the Tangadan Falls
jumping from 15 feet above the water level

Depending on how fast you walk, the trek going to the falls is usually good for an hour and a half to three hours. In my case, it took me only an hour, excluding the time spend on the cliff-jumping. To go back to the jump off point, we took the same trail.

Travel Notes:

How to get there:
  • Via public transportation: From Manila, take the bus going to Vigan, Laoag, or Abra, and then get dropped-off at San Juan. From San Juan, ride the jeep going to San Gabriel. Its last stop is the municipal hall, where you register and pay the environmental fees. At that point, you can arrange for a guide and a tricycle or habal-habal ride going to the jump off. Just tell the guide which trail you want to take.
  • Via private transportation: From Manila, take the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), and then connect through the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) and then through Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX). Exit at Carmen Toll Plaza in Pangasinan, then turn left following the Carmen-Poblacion Rosales Rd., and turn right to Sison Bridge going to Villasis, Pangasinan. Then just follow the MacArthur Highway passing through Pangasinan and La Union. 
Expenses:
  • bus from Manila to San Juan - Php476 (x2 for round trip)
  • jeep from San Juan to San Gabriel - Php20 (x2 for round trip)
  • environmental fee - Php30 per person
  • guide fee - Php500 good for 5-7 persons
  • tricycle from the municipal hall to jump-off and back - Php100
After a tiring trek, I'd recommend going to San Juan to reload and refresh. Try any of the local restaurants there, offering a variety of dishes, to satisfy post-trek hunger. If you're heading back to Manila right after the trek, you can visit the Ma-Cho Temple and the Poro Point Lighthouse as a side trip. They're both located in San Fernando, La Union. Read about them here. :)

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