Four Waterfalls of Siniloan

Nothing to do on a beautiful day, so why not re-explore the hidden gems of Siniloan, Laguna. Magtanggal din ng kati ng paa haha.  

The destination: Mt. Romelo of the Sierra Madre Mountain Range. 

We started our trek at Barangay Macatad and after more than an hour of navigating the muddy trail, we reached our first stop - Buruwisan Falls.

Towering at the height of 180 feet, the picturesque Buruwisan Falls is the most known of the Siniloan waterfalls. Hundreds of tourists flock to this place especially on weekends.

Next - Lanzones Falls. 

This 70-ft waterfalls has mystique ambiance  After hours of walking under the sun, it’s rewarding to soak your tired body in its small and cold water pool. The surrounding sharp, jagged rocks are also ideal for practicing your rock climbing skills.  Too bad it’s high noon, so no birds in the area.

To reach the next falls, one must pass (and swim) this beautiful gorge.

And then... Batya-batya Falls. 

The name was derived from the deep catch-basin that separates the two-cascading small falls.

After another hour of river trekking upstream, we reached our last stop – Sampalok Falls. 

This is the most majestic of all the Siniloan waterfalls and very few visit this spot because of its distance from Buruwisan. It felt we have our own private water pool!

Late afternoon, we dragged ourselves out of the water and started our descent with smiles on our faces.


Mt. Romelo was a favorite weekend destination during our college years. However, incidents of robbery and hold-up became prevalent in the past years and we stopped visiting this place. Today, it seems local officials manage to stop (or contain) these crimes. Still, extra precaution and vigilance are advised when visiting this place.


Wildlife Week: Birding in the City (2)

On January 25, I joined the 2013 Asian Waterbird Census (AWC) spearheaded by the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines and Department of Environment and Natural Resources. An annual endeavor since 1987, AWC aims to identify and monitor wetlands of international and national importance. 

Our mission for this day: count the waterbirds in the Las-Pinas Paranaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area (LPCHEA).

LPCHEA hosts the few remaining mangrove forests in Metro Manila. It is a declared bird sanctuary and provides temporary haven for thousands of migrating birds taking the East Asian Flyway during the months of September to March.

We started at the break of dawn and instantly saw flocks and flocks of little egret, great egret, black-winged stilt, common greenshank, common redshank and whiskered-tern. We also saw flocks of black-crowned night heron, little heron, Asian golden-plover, Kentish plover and even endemic Philippine duck.

After four hours, we counted a total of 2,230 water birds!

LPCHEA is an important ecosystem and yet, it is besiege by different ecological problems such as marine pollution, solid waste and the threat of continuing reclamation project by the national government. If the project pushes through, LPCHEA’s mangroves, ponds and lagoons will be wiped out of the map.


LPCHEA is located along the Coastal Road going to Cavite. The WBCP and other environmental organizations, fisherfolk groups and communities continue to oppose the planned reclamation project at LPCHEA.   

Wildlife Week: Birding in the City (1)

The fourth week of the year was full of surprises and amazing wildlife encounters. It’s mind-boggling and surreal to meet face-to-face magnificent creatures even in disturbed, hostile and highly-polluted environment.  Beauty really exists wherever you go.

Kicking off the wildlife week: birding at the La Mesa Eco-park (LMEP). LMEP is one of the very few mini-forests in Metro Manila and a favorite weekend destination of families, friends and students.

Arriving at 7:00am, we were first greeted by LMEP’s full-time residents: the kilyawan (black-naped oriole), tariktik (barred-rail), kasaykasay (white-collared kingfisher), common moorhen and white-breasted waterhen. Then migrant birds started to show up; tarat (brown shrike), tagak (little egret), susulbot (common kingfisher) and yellow wagtail

Above us, pair of Chinese goshawks and ospreys flew in circles.

Inside the park’s forest trail, we saw the two recently discovered residents of LMEP: the Luzon-endemic ashy ground-thrush and the scaly ground-thrush. Both birds are uncommon, inconspicuous  and very hard to see in the wild.  Thanks to the tip of fellow birding friends, we stationed ourselves near the bird's “hang-out” area. After 30 minutes of waiting patiently, we were rewarded... 

The ashy ground-thrush playfully hopped around us.

The scaly ground-thrush kept on feeding while blending itself magnificently into its surrounding.

For almost an hour, we watched these beautiful winged-creatures. We also saw a green tree-frog and another beautiful bird, a mangrove blue-flycatcher.

A wonderful Sunday morning indeed.

Bird photos by Anne Larracas

LMEP, Quezon City


Also check the next story: Birding in Las-Pinas Bird Sanctuary.