Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Merloquet Falls

When mother nature is left unadulterated by human inventions detrimental to the upkeep of natural habitat, we are shown such places full of splendor and awe for the Creator's magnificent works. Managing what we are given freely by nature is one task that must be inculcated to all generations lest we lose a beholden beauty before us. We are so lucky to be endowed with such natural resorts. I have seen many such places from my travels that has been destroyed by the inhabitant of the earth who was given authority over all creation not to destroy but to propagate and protect it.

Zamboanga City: Asia’s Latin City, blessed with historic and cultural attractions like Fort Pilar, the museum, Mt. Pulong Bato, pink sand beach, beautiful parks and hidden falls—one of which is Merloquet Falls.

Merloquet Falls, Brgy. Sibulao, Zamboanga City
One such beauty is the Merloquet Falls, a place I have come back to after eight years, still intrigued and mesmerized by the beautiful sweeping falls rendering the sweetest music of water cascading down and kissing the rocks beneath her. Located around 2 hours (78km east) from the city center, in the interiors of Barangay Sibulao, Zamboanga City’s well known tourist destination and dubbed as one of Mindanao’s popular waterfalls—Merloquet Falls is yours to explore and be part of the peaceful bliss. And enticing to be tickled by the mossy ferns, slippery stones, brushing your bare feet with soft touch grasses. It was as if Mother Nature pinned a white curtain over a luxurious forest wall.

369 concrete steps
I am much captivated by the environment as a whole, not only by the famous falls. Everything around the falls vicinity beckons the visitors to explore more and be as one with nature. Let me site the conquered moments I experienced this second time around. I could not but wonder that the people behind the promotion of this place must have been a nature lover. From the drop-off point, the 369-step concrete stairway paves the way the falls. Realizing maybe that the steep climb up would tire the guests, a line up concrete seats alongside the stairs beckons you to take your time, take a seat, enjoy the sceneries and continue to conquer the steps paving way to the falls that are pleasantly comforting; as the breeze from the swaying full grown trees provide fresh air and shade. Upon reaching the last step, the scenery of the falls give a breathtaking welcome and seems to commend you for the job well done. Cottages were made available by locals to provide visitors a place to eat and leave their baggages to savor the cool and inviting crystal clear water.

 So, what is so special about these falls? Well, Merloquet Falls is a two tiered waterfalls with the upper level located around 50 meters from the main cascade. This upper tier is handmade by nature with an inclined rock face having five separate but low cascades. Fresh water stream into a shallow basin then flows downstream into the main waterfall forming a wide curtain. Both tiers are connected with a rather difficult trail, located at the leftside, with a thick rope for support. The main cascade is wonderful; varieties of rock-face gave Merloquet Falls its majestic beauty: at the left was a higher fall then a flat rock platform, the right side is another rock form that gives it volume.

Getting upstage, slippers are to be taken off as a precautionary measure of your safety since you adapt with what nature has to offer the visitors. The side of the falls was slippery, most of the rock surface were carpeted with a layer of furry moss. Looking through the veil of water, droplets left rainbows dancing in the distance—as if the rainbows are within your reach. Sit back against the falls and get a natural massage—nothing but pure bliss. Like “Malakas at Maganda” (Adam and Eve), the flow on the left falls was quite strong and hard (like a man’s strength) while the one on the right was gently flowing downstream (like a woman’s grace). 

I was quite amused that during our trip to Merloquet Falls, almost all of the attendees were first-time visitors. After 8 years, I am back in Barangay Sibulao not because it is a mandate but because if the magnetizing attraction it offers the guests as well as coming out energized, refreshed and destressed of life's trial. Luckily, the local government is now developing the area as an eco-tourism attraction. Concrete roads were paved for easy access for vehicles, and a concrete stairway was designed for easy hiking up and down to the falls. Because of its isolation, the area remains primeval and there are a lot of strategic vantage points for photography. It’s good to note that people are not allowed to eat or drink at the waterfalls. If you do stop by, be sure to bring trash bags with you and leave the place as beautiful as you found it. Merloquet Falls is being featured in one of Zamboanga City’s local TV channel “VEZ TV: DI ATON ESTE”. Because of this, more and more locals are becoming aware of its existence. This is good news for promoting ecotourism and a great challenge for the local government. People will soon find out about Merloquet Falls and getting there was made easy. However, this would also impose threat in the pristine environment of the falls. People might destroy the beauty of the place if they are not disciplined and determined to keep the environment clean and lead the way for its upkeep.

Tree Planting and Clean-Up Activity

Thus, the nature shall leave us a passing note- enjoy its beauty and captivation for the future generations. The change should come from us, being accountable for our actions either in light of protecting this site or adding this place to the destroyed natural habitat. The choice is yours-be a responsible gatekeepers of God's works and masterpiece!

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