Pamalingkingen Falls: A Victim of Mining in Cabangan

While most of us hang around beaches, water parks, and malls this summer, Playin' Tourist decided to go out for another adventure far from the city.  In Cabangan town province of Zambales, we trekked and hiked to see Pamalingkingen Falls.  We were guided by Mang Danny Atanacio together with his two young kids, neighbors, and friends.

Pamalingkingen River in Cabangan
Pamalingkingen River

With a smile, Mang Danny said it will be a two-hour hike to Pamalingkingen Falls and asked if we have pain relievers.  We took it as a challenge, a four-hour hike to and from the site.  This will be our longest trekking so far.

Cabangan Market
Katya and Anton at the Market
Cabangan Market Zambales
Where to eat...
Cabangan Town
There were only two open carinderias when we arrived in town.  Zeny's Eatery got our attention because she was smiling at us from afar.
From Cabangan Public Market a took a tricycle to Barangay New San Juan.  We then crossed a river going to Sitio Maporac, an Aeta Community recently declared as Indigenous Community Conserved Area (ICCA).

When we arrived at Mang Danny's nipa hut, they were having breakfast and our group was invited to try their food.  I am a farm boy from Tarlac but I haven't seen snails they were eating.  Paul, one of our group member who lives in San Marcelino Zambales boasted the taste of these snails.  Since  we already ate, we tried the offered food "without" rice just to taste.  Paul was right, it was delicious!  Mang Danny told us that these snails are best gathered during night time when they come out under the sand.  He even said the exact time - 10 o'clock!

Cooked Snails
Snails - rich in protein.
The trekking started at 7:40 in the morning.  The road led us to a private property owned by Don Juan.  According to our guide, Don Juan lives in San Marcelino in Zambales and his caretakers look after his property named Manggahan.  We were not surprised it is called Manggahan because there were mango trees along the way.  Mang Danny said he was a security guard of Don' Juan's property for years. 

Trek Pamalingkingen Falls
Resting after a long walk.
Road to Pamalingkingen River
Don Juan's Property
I was surprised on this trekking because I was expecting a trail but didn't.  Instead, we walked a rough road that seems endless.  The group asked our guide why there's a road, he said it was constructed for the mining a few years back. Our guide said the mountain range of Cabangan has been slowly deforested by illegal loggers and mining. 

Coffee Seedlings Cabangan Zambales
Coffee seedlings
Our strides were getting slow on our first hour so we decided to stop, we had our snack.  Paul complained of charley horse and Katherine on her blister.

We didn't see the waterfalls.  Disappointed, all of us asked Mang Danny why there was no waterfalls.  His face was sad when he said its because of the mining, that he didn't know it was already dry.  His nephew exclaimed, "This waterfalls has never been dried out even during summer!"

Cabangan Wild Orchids
Paul got flowering yellow orchids along the road.
The group is still lucky there was a deep part of the river we passed-by going to Pamalingkingen Falls, it is halfway back.  It has huge rocks where we can jump.  Because of the heat, we hurriedly went swimming and had our lunch there.  Mang Danny brought a pot where we cooked our food.  We used banana leaves as plates.

Levitation at Pamalingkingen River
Anton doing his trick.
We left at 3 pm when we observed the sky was getting cloudy.  On our way back to Mang Danny's house, rain fell.  The rain is in favor of our trek going home, we didn't have to complain about the heat though our legs hurt.  Still, we couldn't believe how disappointed we were not to see Pamalingkingen Falls - a victim of mining. 

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