Are you ready for some more inspiration, travel-style? Because let’s face it… summer is a great time to get out, enjoy the world, plan an adventure or two, and get lost in the great outdoors. (Or all of them at the same time… because as long as you make it back to the campsite, it’s legit, right?) So let’s welcome July’s Wall of Fame Editor’s Choice winner, Salty Bug and learn all about her Adventure Saturdays!
From our Guest Editor of the Month, Bernadyn: Sarah’s descriptive submission about her trip to Batlag Falls is an enjoyable and informative piece that left me inspired to travel there one day to see it for myself. Her words and photos made me feel like I was there exploring the beautiful scenery with her as she walked us through her day in the life of an expat.
About the Author: I am Sarah, otherwise known as SaltyBug. I’m an Australian living as an expat in Manila, The Philippines. I moved here with my husband and our two young children in early 2015. I love to explore our new world and write about our adventures, capturing moments. Local travel is what we are about as we make the most of our short time in this remarkable country. Come follow along at www.saltybug.com.
Adventure Saturdays, Waterfalls and I Swear I saw a Mermaid…
Living the Expat life has its perks. One of those is that we get to travel around a foreign country relatively easily, cheaply and quickly. My husband works long days, and we live cooped up in a condo with a dog as well so when the weekend comes we are all ready to head out on the road to explore. I call it Adventure Saturdays and one of my favourite trips was to a magical waterfall, high up in a mountain, called Batlag Falls.
Early in the morning, we busy ourselves packing a picnic. Lots of water, fruit, and the children fill special draw-string bags with the toys they want to play within the car. Travelling locally is fun, but you need to be prepared for anything, so I have a big bag to pack my essentials. I make sure I have wet wipes, tissues, sunblock, hats, hand sanitizer, bathers, and spare clothing for the car. Throw in a few towels too. We finally get the car packed up and hit the road.
Batlag Falls are in the province of Rizal, a gorgeous area of mountain wilderness. They are the sister falls to Daranak Falls which just means they are in the same mountain range and very close together. Daranak Falls are a great place to go and swim in mountain pools with crashing water all around you. The secret, however, is to keep on walking up a little mountain path and bypass the crowds.
The day we went it was busy because it was a really hot day. We paid our entrance fee to the area and walked across a bridge to the Daranak picnic grounds. On a busy day like this, there are guides there to help manage the crowds and direct people. We were led off to the side of the mountain where we found a Sari-Sari, this is one of the little roadside shops you see everywhere here in The Philippines. This one sold snack foods and a few cold drinks. We paid our fee for Batlag Falls and walked a short distance up a steep path.
Life here in the provinces of The Philippines is simple.
On the right of the path was the mountain side, tall, covered in beautiful rich foliage. The other side was a small plot of land where there was a tiny hut. A child sat playing quietly in the shade and chickens scratched the dry earth. This was where the caretaker of this area lived with his family.
The sun was searing hot and as we walked the sweat poured off our skin. The walk was short but steep. Suddenly our surrounds opened out onto a small flat. We crossed over and found a new path, the decline down into a valley, to Batlag Falls. This is where the magic started. As we descended this path, the air temperature dropped and was beautifully cool. The sound of trickling waters filled our ears, and the light faded as the tree canopies became thicker. Sunlight filtered through thick leaves and sprinkled delicate sparkles of light onto the ground, glistening off pale clear waters. Glimpses through tree branches showed small waterfalls and clear pools. We walked further along the rocky, uneven mountain path and space opened out to the most stunning waterfalls. The water was turquoise and clear. It was like a secret garden.
We hired a table under a tree and had our picnic. Then we hired two inner tubes for the kids to float in and my husband took them for a swim. I love the water, but I don’t always feel like swimming, and this was one of those days. Instead, I wandered around putting my feet in the icy cold pools, taking photos and breathing in the fresh mountain air, filling my senses with the beautiful symphony the mountains perform.
Look at these beautiful falls during Adventure Saturdays!
These falls were so beautiful because the rocks were covered in moss, ferns, and other rainforest plants, so the water seemed to appear out of the ground. The rock formations were different, hanging and draping down like curtains turned to statues over time, so the setting was ornate and mysterious with small caverns surrounded by curtains of water, creating curiosity and I swear, if mermaids lived in mountain pools, they would be here. I just expected to see a maiden rise out of the clear turquoise water at any moment to say hello.
It was finally time to leave. The children were exhausted, and as we were packing up, the Dirty Ice Cream Pedlar came by with the familiar ding-a-ling of his little bell (so called, because it is a street food). People lined up for chocolate coated vanilla ice cream or cheese flavours.
Ice cream dripped over small hands as we strolled back to our car. Little heads lay on the seat falling into a deep, and rather satisfying slumber as we drove away from this paradise found during one of our Adventure Saturdays.
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Do you do Adventure Saturdays too? Let me know about them below!
July’s Guest Editor is Bernadyn
Bernadyn is a writer and is currently attending graduate school where she is a reporter for the school’s paper. She also writes for Jacksonville Moms Blog and contributes to other websites. Bernadyn is the voice and owner behind B is 4 where she shares lifestyle and family tips, recipes, crafts, and more. She enjoys learning from other people and hopes to inspire others with her writing. When she is not studying or writing, you can find her spending time outdoors with her kids, exploring her town, or cooking in the kitchen.
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