Mindanao, as a whole, has arguably never been a peaceful land for very very long. The numerous conflicts in certain areas of the island group have undeniably affected its growing tourism activities. We ourselves have put on hold our plans to Asik-Asik Falls of Alamada, North Cotabato because of the unrest in the neighboring province. And some people outside of Mindanao may have thought and did too. But then, it may be the right time to also inspire going back to these places which have been put on hold on many bucket lists.
UK Peak, Aleosan, Cotabato
Kicking off the tour to North Cotabato is expecting the sunrise in UK Peak, Aleosan, Cotabato. That’s 4-5 hours from General Santos City. Cloudy skies conceal the sun, thus so much for the much awaited sunrise. The elevated place is cold and foggy and overlooking the hills and residences of the municipality.
UK Peak features cottages, a volleyball court, and a souvenir shop. Flowers are blooming at this time of the year. Different colors of multiple kinds of flowers are decorating the place. There are stores around the place which opens very early in the morning. And even at 06:00AM, the registration area is already accommodating us.
We are in the place because of the sunrise and because it is definitely not showing with those clouds, we will resort to wandering off the area until we consume our sunrise-less time.
Before 0700 AM, we are on our way to Asik-Asik Falls and we are stopping at Midsayap for breakfast.
Asik-asik Falls, Alamada, Cotabato
Even before going to this trip we are already very familiar to the magical falls and how much it has sparked positive word-of-mouth referrals from nearly everybody who has visited. Still, it is very different to experience it. And I think, the idea of being finally be on the way to it excites everyone.
We are at the registration for Asik-asik Falls at around 0900 AM. There are a lot of people already in the area. Souvenir shops, which mostly sells shirts, dwarfs the registration area. However, the personnel manning the registration booth are loudly calling the newly-arrived travelers. They are friendly too. And the registration is also some sort of a waiver.
The personnel on the registration booth tells us that we need to walk down 700+ steps to reach the falls. She is saying we will be going down the steps for about 15-30 minutes and going up will be about 30-45 minutes. Walking down for a bit before reaching the challenging steps, we come across a souvenir shop selling ref magnets and key chains. We put it in our bookmark promising to drop by on our way up.
As you go down the steps towards Asik-asik Falls, you are treated with the view of green hills and plowed fields meeting the horizon. You will, however, have to be very cautious on your step down the unevenly constructed steps; and don’t even start thinking about the efforts going up.
The falls itself is a true work of nature. Unsurprisingly, there are a lot of people picnicking by the shades they could find nearby. ‘Asik’ is the native language translation of sprinkle. Asik-asik Falls, by all right, sprinkles from the mountain to the river flowing coldly. There are green plants dangling from the sources of the water making the appearance of the falls more unique, magical, and lush.
The waters from the falls and in the river are super cold. Although the sprinkles from the falls will massage your back, its coldness will freeze your body in no time. But still the coldness doesn’t compare to your ex’s heart, so there’s that.
One of the features of the falls, by which all most likely to agree, is that it is stunningly photogenic. You can admire at it plainly personally but it becomes something else when captured in video or still images – no matter how bad the angle. I think this is what makes this waterfall so enticing and fascinating.
Slippery rocks and logs are naturally laid on the river making some steps challenging. The wind sweeps cold drizzles from the waterfall. The sound of flowing waters of the river and the sprinkles from the waterfall drown the noises of the people around. All in all, this place screams of nature at its finest voice.
After hours of enjoying the cold water of the falls, we are more than hungry to take our lunch. After debating whether to go back up or find a shade nearby and have the lunch there because of the drizzles we find ourselves settling to a nearby shade and enjoy our lunch.
Not long after, we are on our way up. The steps are exhausting that we are stopping from time to time to catch our breaths. Under the thickening skies, we are slowly moving up. Halfway through, we are blessed with a rainfall we so calmly bask our shaking legs in.