If you’re heading down south to the provinces of Sorsogon, Camarines Norte and Camarines Sur, you have probably passed by the infamous Bitukang Manok. This road is actually the jump-off to Atimonan’s hidden paradise. Philippine tourism is generally circled around famous white sand beaches of Boracay and Palawan but the Philippines really have a lot more to offer than that. One of them is Bantakay Falls. A perfect weekend destination tucked in the forests of Atimonan, Quezon, just four hours south of Manila.
- Take a Lucena-bound bus. Get off at Lucena Grand Terminal. Ask the bus conductor to drop you off there. Travel time: 3-4 hours. There are a number of bus companies in Cubao who have trips to Lucena.
- Ride another bus going to Atimonan Lopez or any bus that pass by the New Diversion Road. Get off at Brgy. Sta. Catalina. If you’re a big group, you can also hire a van going to the jump-off. Some locals offer that service in Lucena Grand Terminal.
- Hike to the falls. Duration: 1-2 hours.
- 0400 Take bus bound to Lucena Grand Terminal
- 0800 Arrival at Lucena Grand Terminal. Ride bus to Brgy. Sta. Catalina
- 0900 Arrival at Jump-off. Hike to Bantakay Falls
- 1100 Arrival at Bantakay Falls
- 1300 Head back to jump-off
- 1500 Arrival at Jump-off. Ride bus back to Manila/Cubao
- 1900 Arrival at Manila
The hike to the falls is fairly easy. You can get a guide at the tourist registration area. We recommend getting one since the route can get tricky. The trail is majorly downhill. You’re going to pass by streams, hence the hike can get really muddy when it rains. When you reach Niyugan campsite, you are near. If you’re planning to stay the night, set up camp first before heading up to the waterfalls. The source of the stream near the campsite actually comes from the falls. The hike to the falls from the campsite is mostly uphill. Good thing there are no tough assaults. The beauty about visiting Bantakay Falls is the hike itself is very scenic already.
You can swim at the natural pool at the falls’ base. Water is very clear, clean and blue. You can also swim to the base, climb the rocks and enjoy the natural shower.
There’s also a cliff-jumping area on the left side. Going down is very scenic as well; just follow the stream up until you reach the campsite on your left. You could also swim at the small pools and falls on your way down.
If you’re into caves, just tell you guides. You usually head to the cave first before heading to the falls.
The hike back to the jump-off is a harder; it’s mostly uphill. On your way back, there are buses passing by the highway to Cubao or Manila.
- Transportation: P220 Bus to Lucena, P30-P50 Bus to Brgy. Sta. Catalina
- Guide: P300/guide/10 people.
- The best time to visit is from October to February or during wet season. The falls usually dries up on summer months. According to our guide, the Atimonan Water District has started getting water from the source 4-5 years ago which greatly affected the water of Bantakay.
- Expect that the trail can get really muddy when it rains.
- There are neither shower rooms nor comfort rooms in Niyugan Campsite. If you want to freshen up, there are some locals who have shower rooms & restrooms for a fee.
- If you’re bringing a car, just ask the tourist information center where you can park it. There are some locals who just park their car along the highway.
- There are no stores in the campsite. Make sure to have your food, goods, etc. before heading to the falls especially if you plan to camp overnight.