"It was very steep as if I am climbing a tree! Yes, that's how steep it was to the point that I am handling the roots of the plants and other plants around just to be safe and be secured from injury or any accident."

If you want to commune with nature: fresh air, lush green mountains and hills, clear river and simply relax with the wonders made by God, I suggest the place called Baballasi-oan in the town ofSta Maria, Ilocos Sur, Philippines. There is actually a place to stay here. It is a Kubo-resort where you can stay overnight which mostly caters the visitors of Pinsal Falls.

Refreshing Hut


In fact, I have previously featured Pinsal Falls in my previous blog post and this place is actually where Pinsal Falls is located. At this juncture, I just want also to feature this place because aside from Pinsal Falls, other attractions of this place is also worth featuring for.

Bangbangsit flower (a wild flower)

Maps by Wikipedia
Location Highlighted in Red
To reach the place, we took a ride with this hired tricycle for 100 pesos one way only. For our transportation security, we acquired the cellphone # of the tricycle driver who drove us to this place so that we can contact him the moment we want to go home.

Going in this place, you might probably need a service vehicle because it is already located in a remote place in the town where the nature can thrive freely. I mean, there is minimum human activity except for the tourists who visit the place. It took as about 30 minutes from the town center of Sta. Maria to reach the place. My leg muscles got cramps because of the sacrificial positioning I endured just to be able to fit in this small tricycle. But this case should not be the reason to be discouraged because every sacrifice will be gone once you see the breathtaking place!

Verdant mountains, clean river



The surroundings of this place is an opportunity to cherish. There are wild plants, flowers and some other species of birds freely singing in the trees and in the sky. Some birds dip themselves to the surfaces of the river maybe for food. 

The hills you can see are covered with thick lush green tropical forest that everyone should take care about. On our way, I was able to capture some wild flowers freely propagating in numbers at this area beyond the intervention of man. 

That flower might look very beautiful in photo but in the actual setting, this flower doesn't smell so good that's the reason why this flower is called in the Ilocano language as "Bangbangsit" which literally means closely as "bad odor." This flower, even though it might not smell this good, it has a medicinal value. I'm not really sure if what ailments this flower might relieve but I am sure it is included in the Philippine list of medicinal plants.



If you want to reach this place and go to the Pinsal Falls nearby, you need to condition your leg muscles to  take this challenging trail. The moment we visited this place with my friends, the trail was raw, there were no any concrete stairs for assistance. It was very steep as if I am climbing a tree! Yes, that's how steep it was to the point that I am handling the roots of the plants and other plants around just to be safe and be secured from injury or any accident. However recently, I heard from a friend that the trail is already as smooth as silk. According to her, it has been concreted to make trekking easier and for fun. 

Because of tiredness in taking the trail, my 3 trip-buddies who happened to be a nurse, a physician and a fine arts student got hungry that instant and got so exhausted that they even can't talk that much. Haha! For the information of every reader, this trail has been used by the residents of the town of Pilar in Abra province regularly and even in a daily basis to go down to the town centers and the cities to buy their goods, study and shop.

See how high is the endurance of the people of Pilar? They are already accustomed with this kind of life. My friends only endured it an hour. Haha. Because of that, we started eating our packed lunch at the rocks of Baballasi-oan just near the Pinsal falls. Although we were tired and hungry, the sound of the rushing waterfalls relaxed our soul reminding us that relaxation has been started to be experienced.

Breathtaking isn't it? This is the stream created by Pinsal Falls nearby. Look at the hills covered by lush green forest, there are some rock formations too, or probably limestone formation [?]. My eyes instantly bulged in awe and my pupils instantly reacted with this breathtaking view!

Wait there's more. The photo above is a closer look to the details of the hills. At the foot of the hills is covered by a thick array of weeds which is even taller than an average man. I think the grasses/weeds are as tall as 12 feet based on my personal estimation. If you try to notice the water, it might not look so clear but don't get disappointed because those are algae or whatever we might call them. The setting is really an ideal place for this form of life to thrive. However, it actually appears to be an eye-soar isn't it? I hope I was wrong. The LGU of Sta Maria should do something about this. I think this is a golden chance for man to perform human activities here and to alter the natural condition right here. It is all about cleaning the river. I hope our environmental conservationists agree with me. 
Beautiful views are everywhere and looking at them is already a sign-up bonus for getting here! Here's more!


I also saw this bangka and I wondered why there is a bangka here. I was wondering what was the use of this bangka because the river here is fresh from the waterfalls and it really seemed that even though it might contain fish, I don't think this bangka is used for fishing and it's way too big to catch a bundle of fish for this kind of setting and location.



But recently as I was browsing other blog posts in the net for Pinsal Falls, I saw some people riding in this bangka. Now I know, this bangka is not used for fishing, I was right there, but used to carry tourists and visitors directly to the lagoon of Pinsal Falls. As I observed, there was really no other way of reaching the main natural lagoon but to swim the deep part and the other option is to ride this bangka. We never tried to go the lagoon because we can not swim and weren't aware of the use of this bangka.

I would also want to share some other photos I captured in Baballasi-oan:
SPEAK YOUR HEART OUT. C'MON! DON'T BE SHY. I PROMISE TO REPLY EXCEPT FOR TROLLS.

Axact

EDMAR GUQUIB

Born and Raised in Vigan, Philippines. Hardcore Ilocano. Genuine Bigueño. Sucker of Long Land Trips. Loves the Highlands. Professional Nurse on Weekdays. Coffee Addict. Travel Blogger in Between. For sponsorship, advertising, event invites and collaborations email me at edmaration@gmail.com.

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