|Address:||Mogpog, Marinduque (about 182 km from Ninoy Aquino International Airport). From Balacanan Pier where the ferry from Lucena lands, take a tricycle to Paadjao Falls. After a few minutes ride past Central Mogpog towards Santa Cruz, you will see a sign on the right saying 2 km to Paadjao from the main road. Do note that there is no sign at the point where you are supposed to take a right and start walking to the falls. I didn’t note exactly how long it took from Balacanan Pier to Paadjao Falls itself, but I’m guessing it took more than an hour on a tricycle.|
|Hours:||Open all the time, but there are no lights to guide the visitor when it gets dark.|
On my second day in Marinduque, I rode a jeep from the provincial capital, Boac, back to Balanacan. The distance was about 22 km (14 miles), but it took more than half an hour. The fare was P50 (a little over U.S. $1).
I met Kuya Dante Molpog who runs a store just outside Balacanan Pier. I told him I wanted to go to Paadjao Falls. He didn’t know exactly where it was, but he was willing to find out and give me a ride. [If you want a tricycle driver who is friendly and fair to tourists and who loves what he does, Kuya Dante is your man. You can reach him through his cellphone: 0930 579 9781 or 0921 562 0098. Born and raised in Marinduque, he knows this island province inside and out.]
As I wrote above, the path to Paadjao Falls was not easy to find. Kuya Dante kept driving his tricycle towards the top of the mountain. On many occasions, I got off my seat and pushed the tricycle, as the climb became too steep. It was way past 2 km from the main road. Either the sign was wrong, or we missed the path to Paadjao. Seeing that we were lost, villagers on the mountain slope told us to go back to where the bridge was. We made a u-turn and eventually saw the bridge the villagers spoke about. What an adventure! Walking a bit further, Kuya Dante and I found another bridge. Here are pictures of the second bridge.
When I heard the sound of falling and flowing water, I knew Paadjao Falls wasn’t too far.
This was the view from the top, which wasn’t very exciting.
So I decided to go down. Because it rained the previous night, the rocks were a bit slippery, and the ground was muddy.
As I was taking these pictures, Kuya Dante learned that there was a second waterfall. But we had to walk further up to see it.
What is great about this place was that were no tourists! It was just me, Kuya Dante and occasionally some villagers passing by. Kuya Dante also found out that there was a third waterfall at the top. Carrying two cameras and a tripod, I didn’t want to risk dropping a camera into the cold water. I decided to go down instead. Here was what I found.
I wanted to stay for a bit and enjoy the view, but I was concerned it would rain heavily again like the previous day. As Kuya Dante drove me back to Balacanan Pier, I asked him to drop me off at Mogpog Market. I bought a huge red snapper weighing 1.25 kg (2.8 lbs). Kuya Dante offered to cook the fish at his house. I met his wife (who is a school teacher) and his three children. I was told the middle child contracted dengue early this year. Kuya Dante took him to a private hospital in Lucena, and the child recovered.
This was another day of what seemed like endless hiking uphill and downhill. In this part of the world, there are often no road signs or detailed maps to guide visitors. For some people, this is a nuisance. For me, the rawness of the place indicates I was about to experience 100% adventure. Thankfully, I didn’t see venomous snakes — only fresh air around me and the sound of the leaves as the wind gently passed through the coconut trees.