Martin Fallls - Tabacuhan Sta. Rita, Olongapo City

Finally, we had the chance to see the hidden waterfalls of Tabacuhan in Sta. Rita, Olongapo City.  Martin Falls is new to us considering we've been living in this city for a long time.  It is located on a mountain ranges between Gordon Heights, Tabacuhan, and Old Cabalan (we don't know the name of the mountain though).  The opposite side of this waterfalls lies the Mampueng Falls, it was great that we come to find not only one waterfall in the city!

The Martin Falls - Olongapo City
Anton, hesitant to jump
Our journey started in Olongapo City at the brown jeepney terminal going to Forestry Old Cabalan.  By 9'0clock we were already at our jump-off which is the end of Bennette Road.  We crossed the shallow river of Forestry and followed the path instructed by local people.

Hikers in Olongapo City
Asking for directions...
Of course, we brought our food and water which is a must in a trekking like this.  After crossing the river we finally found paths to Martin Falls.  It was a bit confusing because there was more than one path and we found ourselves arguing which one leads to our destination.  But then we saw a house a few hundred meters away from us and decided to ask the people who live there.

Snapshots of Martin Falls Trekking
Finally, the Martin Falls

Not only once but thrice we asked the locals for directions.   The way on getting to the waterfalls became easier after we asked direction from the first nipa hut.  The only thing we stopped and ask locals is to know whether we are already close to the said waterfalls.  It took us half an hour before we reached a house with a sari-sari store.  The owner told us that we will just follow a trail, the coconut palm as our landmark.  We were told that we have to cross an opening of the waterfalls like a cave.  We were surprised when we arrived at the opening for the water was muddy!  It was summer that time and it rained the other night so it must have been the reason for the untidy water.

The Muddy part of the waterfalls
Crossing the opening of the hidden waterfalls
After crossing the untidy waters, we were able to see Martin Falls.  The waterfalls would have been better during the rainy season because the torrent isn't that great and the water is dirty.  We visited this place last June and was too late to post on this blog.  Though water flows throughout the year, it is recommended to visit the place in the months of August to October to appreciate the beauty of the waterfalls. 

Martin Falls in the background
Before leaving the waterfalls

We left the place at11 AMM because the place isn't that great then.  It took us more than an hour to reach Mabayuan in Sta. Rita, Olongapo City.

How to get to Martin Falls:

  • Brown Jeep (Old Cabalan) from Olongapo to Forestry (15-20 minutes ride)
  • Trekking from Bennette Road to Martin Falls (1 hour); don't hesitate to ask the locals - they are friendly!

Our Budget:

  • Php 10/pax - Olongapo City to Forestry
  • Php 150/pax - Food and water
Approximately 3 hours of travel back and forth.

You might also want to visit these waterfalls:

Mampueng Falls or Mampweng Falls - Old Cabalan, Olongapo City

Thank God it's Friday!  We are going to a waterfall!  The name of the waterfalls is Mampweng Falls, formerly known as Malabig Falls by the original settlers - the Aetas.

Before our journey started, the group had a heavy breakfast at Chowking Olongapo.  We need to get energized for this trekking and hiking because we didn't really know how to get there.  Our guts and intuition will get us to the there because no clear instruction or information from the internet was available though we GMG'd (google mo gago/gaga) for an hour!  We found an article on this blog - Batang Gapo, entitled "GANDA NG MAMPWENG, IDI-DEVELOP! " but oh my! no instruction!  just the place where it can be found - Old Cabalan.

Good thing our resourceful and inquisitive "Anton" managed to ask his friends and co-workers a week before the hike about Mampweng Falls.  Though he gathered insufficient data we decided to pursue and will just ask people who live nearby.

After breakfast, we rode a brown jeepney (New Cabalan) and stopped at Kalapati.  Grocery stores and Kitchenettes are available at Kalapati where we bought our food and water.  We took a tricycle to our jump-off, the place is called Malawacat.

The trek to Mampueng Falls Olongapo City
Traversing Malawacat
When we reached a river, we asked the locals on how to get to Mampueng Falls.  We learned that before getting there we will pass an Aeta Resettlement Area called Mampueng.  Now it is clear that the name of the waterfalls was after the place inhabited by these natives.  The guy whom we asked for directions also told us that there is another waterfall, a closer one and is called Martin Falls located on the opposite side of the mountain.  We also instructed to look for Purok who lives in the resettlement area.

While on our way, we saw an old maroon Jeep crossing the river.  Christian who was left behind looking for rocks to step on, avoiding to get his shoes wet, made the move and asked the driver for a hitch.  Luckily he was allowed to hop in, so we joined.  Christian was the hero of the day because if we walked, it will take us thirty minutes to reach the resettlement.  We were lucky it happened that the driver is the son of Purok so we were dropped exactly in front of Purok's house. 

Mampueng Community
Mampueng Resettlement Area
At Mampueng we've been told that Purok's name is Juanito Hardin.  We asked for his help on how to get to Mampueng Falls.  He gave us a tour guide, his name is Kuya Cesar - a funny and talkative Aeta.

Mampueng Falls in Olongapo City
Getting there was exciting!
We left Mampueng past ten in the morning.  Kuya Cesar headed to his house with us to tell his wife that he will postpone the renovation of their house.  While traveling, Kuya Cesar found a banana blossom (puso ng saging) and handed to us as a remembrance and suggested to cook it for sinigang. There was a steep rock to climb before getting there that's why our tour guide brought a rope.  We arrived at the site after an hour of walking and eventually had our lunch at the waterfalls before taking the plunge.  Of course, we took pictures first of the waterfalls!

Swimming at Mampueng Falls
Enjoying the cold water at Mampueng Falls.  Upper Left- Kuya Cesar, Upper Right - Katya and Christian, Lower Left - Anton and Christian, Lower Right - Anton.  Our photographer was Kuya Willie.
According to Kuya Cesar, this waterfall had been frequently visited by the Americans when the US Naval Base was here.  They'd bring tents, beers, and food and had stayated overnight.  It used to be a deep waterfall but became shallow when Mt. Pinatubo erupted in 1991.

Mampueng Falls Plunge Pool
The Waterfalls

Mampueng Falls
Water falls throughout the year and greater torrents during the rainy season.
Mampueng Falls
Sand was accumulated in the middle of the waterfalls brought by Mt. Pinatubo eruption, about 4 feet deep during summer.

Kuya Cesar
Mampweng Falls tour guide

After more than two hours of stay at the waterfalls, we decided to head back home.  Kuya Cesar introduced a new route, passing a wooden bridge then a river that stretches to Old Cabalan and Kalaklan River.  We reached Mampueng resettlement at around 3 pm and handed Kuya Cesar his talent fee for the tour.

From Mampueng, we started walking and reached Forestry, Old Cabalan then took a brown jeep to Olongapo City.  We realized that it would have been easier to go at Mampueng Waterfalls if we started trekking at Forestry.  We had fun and wish to go to another waterfall again soon.
Here's some tip on how to get to Mampueng Falls:
  •  Brown Jeep from Olongapo to Calapati, New Cabalan.  I suggest you take Forestry, Old Cabalan for the same fare because you'll save a twenty to thirty minutes walk.
  •  Follow the river going to the old Crusher near Acacia Trees.  From there, there's a road going to Mampueng area.
  • Ask for Purok for a guide. 
 Our Budget:
  • P10/pax from Olongapo City to Calapati, New Cabalan
  • P30 trike going to Malawacat
  • P250/pax tour guide fee
  • P10/pax from Forestry, Old Cabalan to Olongapo Proper.
Travel time approximately 4.5 hours back and forth.

More waterfalls in Subic Bay, Olongapo, and Zambales Area:

Nagsasa Cove - San Antonio, Zambales

Nagsasa Cove in San Antonio, Zambales was the last place we visited.  Our boatman was twenty minutes late and we were supposed to be picked up by twelve noon.  We left Talisayin Cove by 12:20 pm and arrived at Nagsasa Cove twenty-five minutes later.  The place is a lot better than Talisayin Cove because it is the farthest cove from Pundaquit Beach, haven't exploited by humans.

Like Anawangin and Nagsasa Cove, there you find Agoho trees.  The sand is very fine, water is clear and has shallow beach water.  Nipa huts and tents are available for rentals.  The only thing we noticed is the absence of nice sea breeze,  it was so hot and humid we were forced to swim a few minutes after our arrival.  

Nagsasa Cove San Antonio, Zambales
Our boat

Nagsasa Cove mountains
Nagsasa Coves' Greenery

Nagsasa Cove Pristine water
The crystal clear water of Nagsasa

Nagsasa Cove Local
Christian having a photo opp with Maribel

Nagsasa Cove rock boulders
A slice of Nagsasa Cove's beauty

Nagsasa Cove from the top of a mountain
The beautiful Nagsasa Cove from the top of a hill

More Coves in Zambales worth paying a visit:

  1. Silanguin Cove
  2. Sampaloc Cove

Talisayin Cove - San Antonio Zambales

My friends and I have been hearing about Talisayin Cove the last time we were at Pundaquit Beach.  Captain Tiago also suggested that we should visit the place and also Nagsasa Cove.  Since we didn't have the budget and time to visit these places then, we told Tiago that we will be back.

So here we are for another adventure!  Yes! Adventure because we planned to stay overnight at Talisayin Cove.  What's so special about Talisayin Cove?  It's the pristine water, the chance to be with nature and to escape from the noisy and busy urban life.  Travel time from Pundaquit Beach to Talisayin took us about 40 - 50 minutes.

Thirty minutes before sunset, the Banca reached the shore of Talisayin Cove.  We rented a tent from Tiago's parents who live there for more than two decades now.  Tiago's parents offered us their Nipa hut for a discounted price.  The place wasn't crowded, unlike Anawangin Cove which is good because it will make you feel like you are one of the locals.

They said there is no electricity but we had it for maybe three hours.  Tiago's brother (I forgot his name) played "Pusong Bato from their nipa hut, taking his chance while generator powered electricity is available.  We had a bonfire at the shore after sunset and it was great!

Sunset at Talisayin Cove
Taking the chance to take pictures during sunset.
Talisayin Cove Sunset
Another sunset pic

Background Sunset

Camping in Talisayin Cove
Tent ready to be occupied
We woke up early to be able to see Talisayin Cove in bird's eye view, a 40-minutes hike from the foot of the mountain to its summit.  Christian, who haven't experienced hiking complained that his legs were hurting so we had to slow down.

Talisayin Cove
Low tide...

Talisayin Cove Hiking
From the top looking north you can see Capones Island
Talisayin Cove in Pundaquit San Antonio Zambales
Overlooking Talisayin Cove
Talisayin Cove Water Supply
Old school water supply

talisayin cove free cooking
The Cook

We cooked our lunch before going to our next destination, the Nagsasa Cove. 

Anawangin Cove - Pundaquit San Antonio, Zambales

Anawangin Cove is famous for its pine trees, fine sand, and crystal clear water.  It is a crescent shaped cove about thirty minutes away from Pundaquit Beach.  This was our last destination on our island hopping, our afternoon delight because it was past 3 o'clock when we headed to Anawangin Cove.

Anawangin Cove Pundaquit Zambales
The lush Agoho trees...
Anawangin Cove
Fine white sand
Anawangin Cove Sand
Footprints on the sand

Anawangin Cove Pictorial
Enjoying the waters of the cove while having photo opp
Agoho Tree Anawangin Cove
Under the Agoho Trees

Anawangin Cove River
Snail Pickers in Anawangin Cove

Sunset Anawangin Cove
The sunset

Capones Island - Pundaquit San Antonio, Zambales

After a short stay at Camara Island, the next stop was Capones Island, a few minutes boat ride on a sunny day. We were glad we applied sunblock on our skin to protect ourselves from ultraviolet rays and have our sunglasses to protect our eyes from harsh light from the sun.

I've been to Pundaquit Beach too many times but in the group, I was the only one who hasn't seen the beauty of Capones Island.  They keep on bragging about their frequent visit to this island, tried to convince me to skip the island and proceed to Anawangin Cove.  The boat was filled with laughter while we were on our way to the island.

Capones Island Pundaquit
The sand isn't fine and was mixed with corals.
Shore Capones Island Pundaquit Zambales
Enjoying the crystal clear water
The island doesn't have plenty of trees because it is just a huge rock formation.  It would have been better and spectacular if trees covered the island.  We decided to proceed to the lighthouse after indulging on the beach-water at the southwest shore of the island.

Capones Lighthouse Philippines
While resting, we posed for another picture...

Lighthouse Capones Island
Boulders along the stairway going to the Lighthouse
Stairway to Capones Lighthouse
Stairway to the Lighthouse
Lighthouse of Zambales
Lighthouse in the background

Capones Island Stairs
The rusty and spiral stairs screeched on every footfall

Rustic Stairway Capones Island Zambales
Going up!

Capones Lighthouse
Christian and Anton - through the looking glass...

Capones Lighthouse Viewdeck
Deep blue water

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Camara Island - San Antonio, Zambales

Camara Island was the first island we planned to go since it is the closest island from Pundaquit Beach.  This island is close to a more famous neighboring island, the Capones but of course, we decided to explore this island first because boat rental cost us Php. 2,000.00 for the whole day escapade.

We were four in the group and the small boat carried us smoothly to Camara Island.  The captain of the boat was Captain Tiago, one the best boatman we've ever had.

Camara Island Pundaquit Zambales
Camara Island
Captain Tiago gave us life vest then we hopped into the boat with excitement.  The water wasn't rough that day so we felt safe and we had the chance to take pictures during our journey, not to worry about the camera getting wet.

Island Hopping Pundaquit
Happy me!

It took us fifteen minutes to get there and had the chance to enjoy the view.  The shore has white sand but not as fine as the sand in Pundaquit Beach.  The rock formations are good for taking pictures...

Camara Island Zambales
Me and hubby

Don't forget to buy a native hat peddled by some locals.  Aside from giving you shade, it adds to the summer feel and good as props in taking pictures like the one above.

Islands in Pundaquit
The sand is white but not fine and will tickle your feet.

More things to see in Pundaquit:

  1. Pundaquit Falls
  2. Silanguin Cove
  3. Mabanban Falls
  4. Angeles Falls or Capalngan Falls
  5. Capones Island
  6. Anawangin Cove
  7. Talisayin Cove
  8. Nagsasa Cove

Pundaquit Beach - San Antonio, Zambales

Pundaquit is located in San Antonio, Zambales, a village where fishing and tourism are the primary livelihoods.  This is the place where "Going Turista" stayed for a day to explore the beauty of this famous beach visited by tourists from nearby provinces and probably all around the Philippines.

Pundaquit River Delta
Pundaquit Beach