Finding El Nido’s Nagkalit-kalit Falls

Rappler's resident tripadora longed to see waterfalls but found an unforgettable experience instead

Izah Morales
Updated 7:48 PM, Jan 04, 2013

SYMBOLIC BALANCE. The author balances her Self and her life by traveling. All photos from Izah MoralesSYMBOLIC BALANCE. The author balances her Self and her life by traveling. All photos from Izah Morales

MANILA, Philippines - The adventure you seek is not in the destination.

It’s in the journey.

Tagged as the last frontier, El Nido is one of the must-see and must-experience places in the Philippines.

But beyond its limestone karst formations, hidden lagoons and islands, El Nido has more to offer other than its usual touristy routes.

The thirst for the unknown led my friends and I to explore the inland villages of El Nido. At the laidback town, we met tricycle drivers Kuya Dennis and Kuya Jun who agreed to take us to the far away village of Pasadena, 21 kilometers north of El Nido town proper.

ROUGH RIDE? Nope, just a bunch of laughsROUGH RIDE? Nope, just a bunch of laughs

Kuya Dennis warned us that the ride can be bumpy.

From a smooth tricycle ride on the paved roads, it became a seesaw ride that made us jump up and down our seats. We tried to laugh it out no matter how unforgiving the road was.

The farmlands that we passed were a visual treat.

SMILING GUIDE. Kuya Dennis' disposition made our trek lightSMILING GUIDE. Kuya Dennis' disposition made our trek light

We parked our tricycle at the roadside where a vast green rice field began. Kuya Dennis then became our tour guide.

I thought we were lost. I asked, “Kuya Dennis, saan po ‘yung Nagkalit-kalit? (Where’s Nagkalit-Kalit falls?)”

He smiled and asked us to follow him. He made his way into the middle of the rice field leading towards a forested area.

I spread out my arms while walking on the narrow path walk for balance. One wrong step would ruin the planted rice.

After the balancing act, we found ourselves walking in the forest.

Kuya Dennis reminded us that we’ll be crossing rivers and streams. (Thank God for my drybag. All gadgets were secured.)

After crossing one river, we passed by a large lot with only a carabao resting in its own mud pool. Maybe he was on a day off from the field work.

To my surprise, our first river crossing was followed by 6 more rivers and streams.

We crossed a total of 7 rivers and streams until we faced yet another challenge: a steep and muddy climb.

STREAM CROSSING. Dry bags are perfect for trips like thisSTREAM CROSSING. Dry bags are perfect for trips like this

It rained the night before; thus, the slippery trail.

Without thinking twice, I used my hands to help me climb and hold on to the muddy rocks.

Kuya, malayo pa ba ‘yung falls? (Is the waterfalls still far? Are we there yet?)”, I asked.

It felt like we walked forever.

'PETITE' WONDER. The humble Nagkalit-kalit falls'PETITE' WONDER. The humble Nagkalit-kalit falls

He told us not to worry as we neared the falls. After a few more minutes, we heard the sound of falling water.

Nagkalit-kalit falls was a small waterfalls that is about 10 meters high. It was not as majestic as the others that I’ve seen.

I must admit: it was underwhelming. Nonetheless, its water was ice-cold; just what we needed to refresh us after an exhausting hike.

DOWN BY THE RIVER. Green as a dominant color was refreshing to seeDOWN BY THE RIVER. Green as a dominant color was refreshing to see

Still, we got the adventure that we were looking for.

We found joy not when we reached the destination but while we were on the journey to that destination.

The old adage holds true: it’s not the destination but the journey that matters. -

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