ILOCOS SUR TRAVEL: The Picturesque View of Pinsal Falls
From the home of a UNESCO world heritage is another breathtaking view of nature kept hidden in the neighborhood of Baballasioan in the far end of Sta. Maria—the Pinsal Falls.
A 9 km long drive down Sta. Maria town proper leads to the legendary Pinsal falls that manifest a majestic Abra mythology.
Pinsal Falls is worth the drive and trek as it unfolds its natural-made beauty of crystal clear water and rock formations
Pinsal Falls is located at the far end of Sta. Maria, bordering the province of Abra. Behind the largest waterfalls in Ilocos is a mythology of a giant named Angalo searching for his love, Aran.
The rock formation leading to the top of the falls that reveals the best-kept naturally-made pools
It is said that they were like a version of Adam and Eve in Ilocos and that Angalo passed by the mountains of Pinsal in search for Aran, leaving a large mark of his footprints that locals call as “Tugot ni Angalo”. The said footprint is now a naturally-made pool.
Twin Falls of Ilocos Sur
Pinsal Falls’ famed 85-foot waterfall of crystal clear fresh water is also called “Twin Falls” by locals as it reveals magnificent cascading water separated into two.
The falls also boasts best-kept naturally made mini-pools on top, with Angalo’s footprint as the biggest among them. These freshwater mini-pools are only accessible through a quick trek up the mountain with the best view of the falls, making it all the more worth it!
Pinsal Falls is also famed for being the Twin Falls of Ilocos Sur. Clear and cold waters cascade down the 85-foot deep falls
Trekking at Pinsal Falls:
Trekking at Pinsal falls to get to the top can be quite challenging but it’s definitely worth it. You don’t have to worry about going up—the trails have carved steps so you won’t have to deal with large rocks and bumpy soils. However, you have to be extra careful as some parts don’t have handrails for support.
On top of it, you’ll get to see the beauty of the falls and enjoy the countless pools available. Those who would like to stay for a swim, cottages are down the trail and costs Php 100 to Php 300.
How to get there:
From Manila, hop on either Partas, Philippine Rabbit or Viron buses going to Abra, Vigan or Laoag. All of these buses will pass by Sta. Maria town where you can hire a tricycle to bring you down the falls.
If you’re going via a private car, from Sta. Maria Church, take the Sta. Maria Burgos road and turn right to Pinsal Falls Road. The road might confuse you so make sure to follow the route of Pinsal Falls Road, and you’ll reach the end of it where you’ll see the falls from afar.
Locals will assist you for a boat ride going near the falls.
Once you boarded down the transportation, locals will assist you for a boat ride (P20/person) going near the falls. There is no entrance neither environmental fee here so guests are expected to keep the areas clean.
There are also parking spaces, so you don’t have to worry about that!
Tip: Make sure to go there early and on a good weather condition as the falls can sometimes be muddy. Also, the roads leading to Pinsal Falls have no lights yet so it would be very dangerous to go back when it’s dark.
Address: Brgy. Baballasioan, Pinsal Falls Road, Santa Maria, Ilocos Sur
Entrance fee: FREE
Boat ride: Php 20
Cottages: Php 100 to Php 300
This first appeared in Philippine Primer Japanese magazine’s February 2019 issue.
Written by Denisse Tenorio