Busay Falls: Hiking Up the Seven Falls

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Malilipot Church with the majestic Mt. Mayon and Mt.Busay in the backdrop.

Busay Falls is a popular day trip destination for local tourists on weekends especially during the hot summer months of March, April, and May. It is tucked away in a forested mountain at the quaint town of Malilipot in Albay. The seven-tiered falls are about 5 kilometers from Tabaco City proper, 20 kilometers north of Legaspi City and is easily accessible by both private and public transport. It is considered one of the highest waterfalls in the country descending in stages from a height of 250 meters cascading into seven small pools.

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The water plunges approximately 91 meters from its highest point, and the last 40-meter cascade drops to a small and shallow pool which is the most popular among the seven falls.

 

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Busay Falls was our first stop when I was guiding my balikbayan Aunt and her fiancé, Marc around Albay’s famous tourist attractions. It was those hot April days when we visited, so the cottages were all taken and the pool was teeming with bathers cooling down from the summer heat. The falls are way smaller in size than most falls I have seen around the Philippines but I was determined to hike up the mountain and see the 7 cascades during our visit.

Everybody made it to the second falls which is just about 5-10 minutes of scrambling over a fairly steep trail. Unfortunately, we had to leave early because we still needed to visit another 5 tourist spots which were all located in different municipalities of Albay.

 

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Two weeks after my first visit, I had finalized a traverse climb of Mt. Busay to see the 7 waterfalls along the way. From Ligao City, I hitched a ride with my Uncle who was on his way to Malilipot Fire Station where he is working. I was joined by Sir Nono of Dahong Palay Mountaineers and his friend Maggie who had just hiked down from Mt. Asog in Camarines Sur. Frank, a German national, also turned up for this trek. My relatives and I met him a few weeks back during our island-hopping at Caramoan.

 

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Marc, scrambling towards the second falls.

Our meet-up point was at the Municipal Hall of Malilipot which was the easiest landmark to find for everyone. After buying our packed lunch from the nearby eatery we finally took off. Together with our guide, we traversed though a village and rice fields before we finally hit the last section of the road towards the falls.

 

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The second cascade from the bottom has clearer pool and fewer visitors

There were fewer visitors this time but we spent most of our time up at the second waterfalls. It has two small cascades that drop on a narrow but clearer pool, hemmed by green canopy. We had the whole place for ourselves and whiled away our time here. Refreshed and satisfied, we then set off to the next falls. We traced the riverbanks often getting wet from the occasional river crossings. It was the peak of El Nino so the river’s current wasn’t as strong as usual. The trail was fairly flat; it was actually a pleasant walk through the forest covered with exotic plants, wild orchids and towering coconut trees.

 

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The trail is fairly flat and shady after the second falls

 

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Scrambling over these rocks is more challenging during the rainy season when the current is stronger.

 

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One of the seven falls

After a fair bit of walking, we finally reached a clearing with two small nipa huts, a vegetable patch and another small waterfall at its southern end. It was the perfect place to rest and have lunch. The trail to the last remaining waterfalls is quite obscured it is advisable to have a guide if you aren’t familiar with the area. We continued scrambling through the narrow gorge, getting wet and taking the occasional snapshot until we finally reached the last of the seven falls. Traversing to the other side of the mountain would still take a few hours walk so we decided to head back since we had seen all the waterfalls.

 

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On the way to the clearing where we had our lunch

 

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Another falls along the riverbanks. Almost dry because of El Nino.

 

It was a very satisfying experience to finally do this trip. But it would be nice to come back to Busay Falls during the rainy season when the river is surging with water and the waterfalls are at their best.

 

Bits and Info

  1. Malilipot Munical Hall is a good landmark for meet-up. It is situated along the highway and a few minutes  of walk from the turn out.
  2. Entrance fee is 10 pesos for adults and 5 pesos each for kids.
  3. Ample parking is available and the fee is 50 pesos.
  4. Refreshments are sold at the parking area, but it is better to bring your own food and drinks. You may buy your food supplies from the nearby sari-sari stores on the way there.
  5. Small Nipa hut cottages are available for rent.
  6. An improvised grilling area is also available.
  7. Early morning and during weekdays are the best times to visit to avoid the crowds.
  8. Although a guide is not necessary for experience hikers, it is advisable to get one if you will hike all the way to the 7th falls. Drop by at Malilipot Fire Station and look for Untos to help you find a guide.

 

How to get to Busay Falls

By Private Car:

From Legaspi City, follow the main highway to Tabaco City, the turnout on the left side is well-marked. After the turnout, it’s a short 2-kilometer scenic drive along mostly paved roads and rice fields. The road ends at the spacious parking area of Busay Falls.

From Ligao City, take the Sabloyon Road to Tabaco City, from the city proper, the turnout is about 5 kilometers and then it’s another 2 kilometers drive after the turnout.

By Public Transport

Take any bus to Tabaco City from Satellite Market in Legaspi City. Tell the driver to drop you at the turnout of Busay Falls or at Malilipot Municipal Hall if you missed the turnout. Pedicab and tricycle drivers parked near the municipal hall would gladly take you to Busay Falls in 20 minutes or less. You may opt to walk from the turnout to the falls which is about 30 minutes following the narrow road or walk through the villages and then through the rice fields if you have a local guide.


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