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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Balbalan: Land of Waterfalls

Balbalan: Land of Waterfalls
by Augustus Ulat Saboy, ca. 1966

[Note: Although commercialism has, in the past few decades, crept into the hinterlands of Balbalan and has scarred their pristine beauty in many areas, the municipality remains alluring. Several waterfalls still cascade down mountainsides to join the great Saltan River and the underground river Gus Saboy speaks of still rumbles below a section of the rugged roads of Balbalan. Deer and wild boars, however, are now on the brink of extinction. - sms]

BALBALAN – A wanderlust may find himself fully satiated with historic sights and scenic wonders in this municipality if he makes it a point to visit all the natural wonders of this western Kalinga municipality.

Of course, he must be physically fit, first of all – with a strong back to meet the bumps of a buggy ride through Balbalan’s rugged road and a good pair of legs to climb hillsides into the barrios and sitios, criss-crossed by horse and foot trails.

From the municipality of Lubuagan, the capital town of the sub-province of Kalinga, one is greeted by the sight of Limo-falls, a 60-foot waterfall in the sitio of Salagpat, Balinciagao. This is the second known highest waterfall in this municipality, and perhaps in the province. It cascades down a high cliff overlooking the Pasil River below and the villages of Balinciagao barrio.

Along the road up to the old municipality center of this municipality bearing its name are other waterfalls gliding down thickly wooded hillsides. As one travels westward through the barrio of Balbalan, he finds himself swallowed by thick forests through which the Kalinga-Abra national highway is carved out from the rocky mountainsides. Here in this jungle section of the road is found a natural tunnel formed by a huge rock whose caves rest on another big rock, thus forming a short tunnel.

Beyond this tunnel and towards the barrio of Salegseg, the present municipal center of the Balbalan is the famous Ugid underground river. A short stopover on this spot gives a traveler an opportunity to hear the droning sound of the river below, as if a propeller-driven airplane is left with engines running. It is said that this subterranean river is teeming with black fresh water eels of varying sizes. Thomas Awing, a public school teacher and among the few natives of the place who have toured this underground river, said that during the dry months of the year, natives of the place visit the river by passing through big rock cleavages on the surface near the road. In some sections of the river, torches are needed because of the darkness. It is in these sections of the underground river that fresh water eels are found, Awing says.

The public school teacher also reveled that in his own barrio of Poswoy, which is some two-hour hike from the national road, another breath-taking sight can be had from what is believed as the highest waterfall in Kalinga – the Ligayan falls. During rainy seasons, the waterfall sends down a giant silver veil of water from the mountain above. As the falling water hits the Saltan River hundreds of feet below, it sends sprays of water formed like huge flower petals. Other waterfalls, according to Awing in Dao-angan and Poswoy – all in this municipality – are Pudao and Maulilog falls which he said are equally “beautiful” in sights.

Salegseg, the site of the municipal hall, has also its contribution to scenic wonders in this region in the form of the Makelkelang mountains whose huge rock face appears like the world-famed Rock of Gibraltar in Span along the Morrocco Strait. Legends have it that Kabunian, the legendary Kalinga superbeing, once roamed this mountain. White stripes formed on the face of a rock below the mountain is said to be the stains” of the “vomit of Kabunian” when he was food-poisoned by the old villagers of the place.

Westward towards the Abra-Kalinga provincial boundary, the barrio of Pantikian greets you with another huge waterfall called the Giso-od falls. The falls which is hemmed in my perpendicular cliffs on its sides is famous for its legend as “suicide-fall” for spurned lovers. Other waterfalls seen along the road now under construction leading to the province of Abra on the west are the Bagawat falls and the Agta falls, the latter yielding a romantic sight with its “gold” water apparently caused by the rusty color of the rock through which the water flows.

In the westernmost barrio of Balbalasang, more waterfalls greet the sightseer. The Mapatag falls near the barrio may be likened to the “Bridal Veil” falls of Kennon road in the municipality of Tuba. Within the barrio is the Toy-ob falls around which are found natural swimming pools where the weary traveler can take a dip into its fresh, clear and cool waters.

Perhaps the only pure-brick building the Mountain Province is found in this border barrio. This is the Balbalasang Elementary School building, erected some 30 years ago. The bricks used in putting up the school were baked from crude implements by the early pupils as well as the parents of the schoolchildren. Today, this school building stands as one of the historical landmarks of the Mountain Province – a living symbol of civilization in this part of the country and a living tribute to the dedication of early settlers of this barrio to their dreams of enlightening their sons and daughters through the blessings of education.

This is Balbalan – the land of cascading waterfalls and a promising timber as well as mining municipality.

Hunting any species of deer starts from January to May 15 every year. This was embodied in the parks and wildlife regulations promulgated by the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
According to the regulations, a licensed hunter could hunt any species of deer during the season. The law, however, prohibits the hunting of female deer any time of the year. Two male deer are the catch limit (bag limit) allowed by law for any licensed hunter. Wild carabao could also be hunted during the same season but the bag limit is limited to only one male of this animal.

Sports hunters could get their permit from the Parks and Wildlife Office at Binondo, Manila.


popoy said...

11 Responses to "Balbalan – Land of Waterfalls" from old Wordpress account, Part I

sannadan- magmoyao | June 18, 2008 at 9:43 am | Reply


Since I saw this website, i’ve been using it as a source of my research and some projects in school. You have featured the origin of the Banao people, the natural resources and the beautiful sceneries within the locality, etc. I’ve been searching if you have some record regarding the culture of the Banao people. I think this culture or tradition is a the source of pride and wealth for our tribe. May I request you to have also the different aspects of the Banao culture to be featured in your website.
Thanks a lot!!! Keep up the good work….
Domini | April 19, 2009 at 12:40 am | Reply

ag-magmoyao ka from Banao? how are you related to Pablito? apo na syak – just getting to know my roots…
sannadan- magmoyao | October 12, 2009 at 2:36 pm |

oh i see!!! we’re couzin… lolok ni pablito magmoyao agkabsat da ken ni lolak…
i’ve seen you before, that was during your wedding in camp john hay…
scott saboy | June 19, 2008 at 10:42 pm | Reply

i’m glad that you’ve found some of the materials here of some use to your studies. i got a few more docs re Banao/Kalinga culture to upload but i couldn’t find time for it yet. am quite busy now especially that i’ve just gotten back to university teaching… ingatz!
sannadan- magmoyao | October 12, 2009 at 2:38 pm | Reply

…how are you related to mr. teddy saboy from sesec- an???
scott saboy | October 12, 2009 at 3:32 pm |

he’s my first cousin. :) of course, he got the family’s “vertically active” gene while i got the “vertically challenged” one hehe.
sannadan-magmoyao | November 16, 2009 at 3:11 pm |

…I extend my deepest sympathy & condolences!!!
I’ve never expect the news about the death of Mr. Teddy Saboy. He’s an approachable, kind, generous fellow and a man with his own principle…

may he rest in peace with the Lord!!!

popoy said...

Part II

scott saboy | November 16, 2009 at 5:23 pm |

thanks. i feel really bad that i couldn’t be at the wake and the funeral. will greatly miss manong Teddy. he had always treated me in the gentlest way he could. sayang ngarud, i had hoped to spend some time learning from him when i do my field work next year koma ngem anya ngay talaga nga saan tay nga iggem ti biag ken panawen.
lyn bagne | February 24, 2010 at 6:19 pm |

hello sir do you have some copies of kalinga literary pieces,,, i’m having a hard time researching… it’s for our projectl… thanx
scott saboy | February 25, 2010 at 9:33 am |

hi lyn, i have my mom’s book with me but i got my hands full at the moment so i won’t be able to make a digital copy for you this early. anyways, you might want to look for Lambrecht and Billiet’s books on the Kalinga Ullalim. See also Bienvenido Lumbera’s books, Philippine Literature: A History & Anthology and Filipinos Writing: Philippine Literature from the Regions both published by Anvil and available at all National Bookstore outlets. I hope this helps… :)
manilyn bagne | February 24, 2010 at 6:16 pm |

hello i am bagne, ijust want to ask from you some of the literary pieces of kalinga,whether poems, songs, short stories, epics,etc…either tagalog or written in our own dialect,,, if you could upload or if you have some copies,a,,, i’m having a hard time researching po kasi…salamat.wait ko po…

Kate Nightingale said...

Gusto ko lang po sanang ipalam na magcocopy paste po sana ako ng ilang words gaya nung mga definations po,,kasi po may gagawin po sana akong video about Balbalan...Ipapaalam ko po sana kung pwede lng poh??Salamat poh,,wait ko poh response nyo...

popoy said...

Hi Kate, sige lang, cite mo lang ang source. cheers to another year!