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Asik Asik Falls Is Not For the Virgins! | A North Cotabato Adventure

More than two years ago after the discovery of Asik Asik Falls, many are wishing and praying to witness the flagship grandeur of North Cotabato, Mindanao. This 140-meter curtain spring waterfalls have been a mystery and many were wondering how to reach this great work of nature.

Visiting North Cotabato was part of our 2014 Summer Travel Series.  As of this writing, Asik Asik Waterfall is the only embossed scenery in North Cotabato that I have known through Facebook and Twitter. This gem seats majestically in this once empire province of Mindanao.

I Shall Not Tell Lies!

Excited to tick an item out from my bucket list, I forced myself to visit Asik Asik Falls while dodging all the potential hindrances from financial, to companion and even with poor direction from a source of information. 

Asik Asik Falls looks so easy to reach coming from a still picture and we have never imagined that this Mindanao jewel was the real dare devil. The road was cruel that the travel itself would break your spirit coming to this place.

Coming from a farm tour in Davao City, I decided to travel directly to Cotabato City on a mid-day as I have known that it takes more than 2 hours to reach the intriguing water body from its jump-off point in Alamada. I have computed the approximate travel time and concluded that it would be a waste of time to push through on the same day to Asik Asik. So,  I just took a break and delay my excitement by taking an overnight temporary refuge in Diamond Hotel in Cotabato City.

When the first ray of light have shone from the east, I immediately left Diamond Hotel and headed directly to the public transport terminal and boarded a van going to Midsayap. Fare was Php100 and the travel time was one hour.

In Midsayap Public Market, there was this ginormous bus-like-type jeepney that waits for passengers bound for Alamada. I arrived at 7:30 in the morning, thinking that the first trip would leave by 8:00 am. 

It was already late when a local informed me that the jeepney will leave only after the driver was convinced that his jeepney was fully loaded inside and “outside” (top load or the roof). I was in the front line among passengers waiting for 2 hours mastering the art of doing nothing.

After an hour of a roller coaster jeepney ride, we reached the “terminal” of the sleepy town of Alamada where  motorbikes or habal-habal were waiting for passengers. I asked one of the drivers to take me to Asik-Asik Falls in Upper Dado but it seemed that no one wanted to give me a ride as if they were all afraid to go to the location of the mystic waterfalls. Finally one driver agreed to take me to Asik Asik for Php 700.00. Sounds absurd right? But read below why I feel I need to pay more.

Virgins Beware!

The initial 10-15 minutes of habal-habal ride was a little smooth and tolerable for a regular outdoor guy. As we reached the sitio proper of Upper Dado and paid the Php 30.00  entrance fee, my driver hit the accelerator hard making the trip a little eerie and uncomfortable. I just realized that we were already traversing the thousand-hectare land of corn fields, crossing and jumping from one hill to another. 

Supposedly, as an experienced traveler, this kind of condition shouldn’t have bothered me but when the burden of taking a “ROCKY DUSTY RIDE” shoot to the point of almost tearing some of my adductor muscles, I felt the need to take a little break and massage my cramping legs. 

This ride to Asik Asik Falls has transcended the road difficulty of other “troubled” tourism destinations in the Philippines. If I will be ranking it, it will just go a little behind compared to Polillo-Burdeos Road of Polillo Group of Islands in Quezon, which I considered as the worst road system in the Philippines as of this writing.
Some of the roads are filled with eroded soil materials which made it difficult to traverse by motorbike. Yes I have to walk
Damn, if I was a young virgin woman, the bumpy ride could have torn my hymen and put me to bleed throughout the painstaking DE-VIRGINIZING rough ride. So glad I wasn’t, but I felt it did crack my eggs a little and have blended my “YOLK” completely! Grrrr!

Actually, I was more worried on the motorbike we used that seemed to be on the brink of breaking apart. There was a pinch of pity on my heart while looking at the driver checking his dusty, overused and almost “traumatized” motorbike. I  felt the obligation to pay more than what we have agreed on upon learning  it was his only source of living to feed his family. Darn, what if the motorbike broke in the middle of the field? God will be my only witness how I will react on that situation. But I am glad it didn't.

At the camp site I felt so dehydrated and could do nothing but simply sobbed my face on the wooden table. I was so relieved that there were some sari-sari stores on the side of the camp that sell some bottled water and soda that saved us from total dehydration.

Tourism Readiness

You need to catch your breath when climbing back.
Coincidentally, Mr. Ricardo H. Ortuose, the project manager of Asik Asik Falls was around when I arrived on the site that I had the chance to give my comments and suggestions on their flagship attraction in Alamada and how they can address the issue of accessibility. 

The project has been given with some millions of pesos from the provincial government to develop the area but currently focusing on putting up bamboo cottages and concrete or at least bamboo-enhanced 400+ staircase-trail-like pavement going down to Asik Asik Falls, leaving the issue of the accessibility of the place from the jump-off point in  Alamada to Upper Dado as just a second priority. I just hope the funds go directly to the project completely.

Based on this actual observation, I can’t stop asking how the province or at least the municipality could encourage more visitors if accessibility wise, the place was far from reaching or limited to hardcore adventurers. 

If this condition continues, the place would be a ONE TIME-BIG TIME VISIT and those who have experienced the difficulty of reaching the place won’t be returning and worst negative impressions will slip through the mouth of those who experienced the inconvenience of visiting Asik Asik Falls; unless the recipient is a masochist or a hardcore thrill seeker who loves to face back-cracking, hip-crashing and hymen-breaking challenges in travel.

From the Eye of the Beholder!

The grandeur of Asik Asik Falls.
After enduring the slippery dusty trail down to Asik Asik, I felt I was soaked in a very cold water after seeing the hidden jewel of North Cotabato. The view magically relieved all my body pains and soothed the burnt skin I have sustained.

The 140-meter jade like wall is accentuated with splashes of thousands of spring water turned enchanted drops. The view was simply jaw-dropping and enchanting for everyone who sees it for the very first time and for me, I won't get tired looking at it for several hours. 

I just couldn't help myself but to be mesmerized with  this wonder of nature that is seldom reached by the general public.
I had the hard time capture the image of this falls because of its size.
I could say that the heart-pumping jaunt to Asik Asik was well complemented by its untainted therapeutic wonder and I couldn't agree more that the place is like a beautiful princess that could stop a thousand marching soldiers of war.

How to Get to Asik Asik Falls?

If you are coming from Manila, take the local flight to Davao City (Francisco Bangoy International Airport) .Take a taxi going to Ecoland Transport Terminal of Davao. You have 2 options, either you can take a bus bound for Cotabato City at Ecoland Integrated Bus Terminal or a Van at the transport terminal of SM Ecoland.

Once boarded, let the driver or the bus conductor informed that you will alight at Midsayap Public Market. The fare is roughly Php250 with a travel time of 4 hours.

At Midsayap Terminal just beside the Public Market, there are jumbo jeepneys bound for Alamada or  Dado waiting for passengers. I would recommend for you to bring something to entertain yourself as the waiting time can last to 2 hours before it becomes full. Fare is roughly Php 50-70 (forgot) and the travel time is one hour.

From Alamada, there are motorcycle or habal habal that will take you to Upper Dado with a maximum passesngers of 3. The standard rate for the Habal Habal as of this writing is Php 700.00 for a back and forth service.

I suggest giving a little tip or extra to the driver after the trip. Aside from the tedious driving over the unpaved and dusty road, that is if you are that kind enough. I could really attest that these drivers would take care of you. Just be kind and treat them nice  and they will reciprocate accordingly.

Passing through the Sitio proper of Upper Dado, you have to pay a “fee” of Php 30.00. From there, you have to traverse the 7km maze of corn fields and highland rice. Travel time is 1 hour. Opps it is bumpy and dusty, so may want to put a hanky on your face.

Once you reached the camp site or the reception area of Asik Asik, you are going to take a 30 minute trek on a slippery 400 + staircases before you reached the falls. When you come back, be sure to bring water with you, as climbing up back to the camp is not for the faint-hearted.

Notice to Public:

As of this writing, there are no accommodations in Asik Asik but there is a flat grassy area beside the campsite that I think you can put up a tent if you plan to stay overnight, that is if the caretaker allows you to stay in the vicinity. 

Good luck everyone and have safe trip to Asik Asik Falls! God Speed.

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