I give you, Asik -Asik Falls in Upper Dado Alamada!

An invite from a friend brought me to the mountains of Alamada in North Cotabato in search of “Asik-Asik”- a falls that was recently rediscovered and is taunted to be one of the awesomest nature-wonder in this part of Mindanao. This region in North Cotabato had a  “reputation” of having unpredictable peace and order situation which probably scared off  a number of potential tourists going to this place.  We have been planning explore this place several times before, but it never materialised. When a local assured us though, it’s safe there in Dado, Alamada we wasted no time and sneaked out of our desks and head on to Alamada.

How we got there:

Upper Dado Alamada, North Cotabato is an eight hours, butt numbing ride from my place, in Tacurong City. I travelled thru the Tacurong-Kabacan- Midsayap route (there’s another via Isulan Cotabato-Midsayap), then riding a jeep from Midsayap to Upper Dado Alamada. This jeep courses thru the mountain roads Alamada and at one point, wades through a huge river to get to the Alamada side from Midsayap. Generally, it’s a rough ride, transferring from one bus to another, or jeep to another jeep. If you travel by car, I suggest you leave it in Midsayap since the road going to Alamada is very rough, with rocks and boulders littering the road in most of the unpaved road. That huge river I mentioned swells in a blink of an eye during heavy rains, so I doubt if it’s safe to traverse that in a small sized vehicle.

broke

It was almost three o’clock when we reached our host’s house in Upper Dado. Asik-Asik Falls, which is actually located in Sitio Dulao, Upper Dado is still 45 minutes ride uphill by motorcycle and another hour or so of trek downhill. This 45 minute habal-habal ride is equivalent to a daunting 3-4 hours of trek during heavy rains, as the road turn into a mudslide preventing motorcycles to pass by. It did rain that afternoon so we stayed in our host’s place for the night and opted to start the trek the next day.

We were on the road by 8am the next day, with Erick leading the way. Erick is our main guide in Alamada. He goes to Asik-Asik Falls on almost daily basis as he maintains a farm nearby. We were lucky the road quickly dried up that morning enabling motorcycles to pass uphill enroute to Sitio Dulao. The road side view in the hills of Alamada is pretty astounding.

In one of these valleys is Asik Asik Falls

In one of these valleys is Asik Asik Falls

You can feel the cold breeze cold side even if the sun is already up. Lush green, upland rice and maize are still grown by farmers even if its summer already.  On the north side you can see Mt. Akir-Akir, another mountain I hopefully would be able to trek in the future.

Entrance and parking area  enroute to Asik Asik Falls

Entrance and parking area enroute to Asik Asik Falls

We arrived at the jump off site by 9am, readily registered at the local tourism booth, then started our downhill trek via the “376 steps”- stairway to paradise. I am not exaggerating when I say this is one hell of a tiring trek, because I’m damn sure it is. But if this will be what’s on the other end of your tiring trek, would you turn back?

Awesome Asik-Asik Falls view just a few meters from the entrance

Awesome Asik-Asik Falls view just a few meters from the entrance

Hell No!

What to expect:

I was tongue tied and awestruck by the paradise that greeted us upon entering the fall’s perimeter. This awesome sight now hides no more as I am about to gaze into its grandeur. I’ve been to a number of falls in this part of the Philippines, but Asik-Asik Falls just grabbed the top most of my wow-list! The long trip, the tiring hikes, its all worth it! I’m still groping for words to describe this wonder so I’ll just share some of my photos of Asik-Asik Falls.

We stayed in Asik-Asik Falls as much as we could, roughly around 4 hours or so. Four hours is still not enough to take photos and enjoy the awesome spring falls at the same time. This is the first time I’ve seen such spring falls so you probably guess the beamer in my face. The crystal clear water is incomparable to any other falls I’ve been. Some believe the water from Asik-Asik Falls has healing powers. One thing I’m sure of, it definitely quenched my thirst after that mile long downhill trek!

On side note, I like the way the local government “developed” the place near the spring falls. All mini tables were made of wood, was built on a high ground and away from the spring bank. No cottages were built inside the premises and overnight camping is not allowed in the area.  It is illegal to cook or bring alcoholic drinks there. There’s a maintenance guy who immediately clean up a rented place once the occupants leave. Trees were maintained and serve us ground cover. I hope those managing this place will preserve it the it was seen during its rediscovery and not follow the path of commercialism that whacked some awesome falls I knew.

I was kinda saddened when we were about to leave, surely I’ll miss this awesome spring falls. But I will be back here that for sure. We back trailed our way to the jump off site where our service motorcycles are parked. If you think going down Asik-Asik is tiring, try hiking up using the 376 stairs! There’s a “rescue’ horse halfway thru the stairs should you feel like fainting. But make sure you look around the scenery while hiking up. The astounding view alleviates some of the gasping and panting you make going up!

Other areas to explore:

There’s another  falls that is being taunted in Alamada town- Daday Falls . This unscheduled trip didn’t permit us to arrange ahead of time, a guided trek to that place. For security reasons,  we were advised not to, yet, by our local guide. I promised though, I’d be back in Alamada to see this falls.

After Asik-Asik Falls, we side tripped to Libungan River on our way home. Again, I’m just simply awed by how much this town is blessed with natural waterscapes.

Limbungan River, also in Dado Alamada

Limbungan River, also in Dado Alamada

There’s a ready picnic place in every corner of this town!

We went to visit a camp in Alamada, reportedly a training ground for elite military men in Mindanao. It looks abandoned now with just the two towering 105mm howitzers visible on the field or are the occupants there, just “trained” not to be seen?

PREVIOUS CONCERNS, JUNKED!
  • Safety concerns: I didn’t feel any threat to my safety during my stay there. So from that, I can tell its very safe for tourists/backpackers to go there. Just coordinate ahead with the local tourism officer.
  • Housing/Campsite: You can either stay in Upper Dado proper or camp at the jump off site just above Asik-Asik Falls.
  • Transportation: Mainly by Habal-Habal or single motorcycle on rough road. Hiking when roads are very slippery during rains.
  • Food: Plenty of vegetables in Upper Dado! Upland (brown) rice also abundant. Heaven for vegetarians. Fish and meat also available.
  • Communication: Mobile phone signals are variable, oftentimes non-existent.

I am very much grateful to our hosts who willingly showed us how hospitable the people of Upper Dado Alamada are. They are one of the kindest hosts I’ve met so far in my entire hiking adventures! Thank you. I really enjoyed my stay there.

Here’s some of the photos on my photoblog, Twelveinchesbehind.com  Please, please don’t grab my photos or post it anywhere else without my permission! You may share this blog post link on your social media accounts though. Better yet, go there and enjoy the wonder yourself. You’d be helping the local tourism industry too!

About the Author

I am Bundok. When I'm not mending bones for living, I go hike, travel and then rant about my outdoor adventures. I consider my life outdoors as a fitness essential. For more updates, consider subscribing to this blog and to my twitter and Facebook fan page

  • http://langyaw.com estan

    will be there this month :)

  • jell

    hi sir! been checking post about asik asik.. i plan to go there this june.. can you tell me the way to go there from davao? and any contact info sa place that i can stay for a night. thanx po in advance.

  • http://hikersitch.com Bundok

    @LouiePac, Thanks. Visit the place soon!

  • http://nomadperspectives.com LouiePac

    nice narrative, doc!
    nagdako mata sa mga photos and the words “plenty of vegetables”! definitely, the falls is on my bucket list. will hit the road soon to visit this piece of heaven.
    ayus!

  • http://nomadperspectives.com LouiePac

    nice narrative, doc!
    nagdako mata sa mga photos and the words “plenty of vegetables”! definitely, the falls is on my bucket list. will hit the road soon to visit this piece of heaven.
    ayos!

  • http://www.gensantos.com bariles

    Another awesome place added to my bucket list. Hope I will be fit enough to go there someday, along with you of course on your 2nd visit.

    Crossing my fingers now… :)

    Thanks for sharing this Doc. :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/bonedoc Remo Aguilar

      Velmans! kaya mo to. Haba ng byahe pero remember mo nung nga midsayap tayo? isang sakay sa jeep na lang dun! Tapos habal habal to the world na! Kaya mo to!

  • http://www.lakadpilipinas.com Christian | Lakad Pilipinas

    Grabe Doc! Ang ganda!!!!! Nakita ko na tong falls na to before pero without any details as to where and how to get there, ang hirap pala!

    • http://www.facebook.com/bonedoc Remo Aguilar

      Master Idol Christian, oo matagal byahe pero kayang kaya mo to idol. May isa pang wonder falls dyan sa area na kasing ganda nito. Puntahan natin pag gusto mo na!

    • http://www.dasocialclimber.com/ Kathleen

      hirap nman puntahan nito. Cotabato City pa! how is the peace process dito po?
      punta tayo kuya christian!

      • http://www.remomd.com Remo Aguilar

        Kath, as far as I’ve experienced, very safe! The people there are very friendly. Christian is actually scheduling Lakad Pilipinas dito, sometime this year

        • http://www.dasocialclimber.com/ Kathleen

          Talaga? Sir lakad Pilipinas, byahe Pilipinas tayo

  • http://sdumalay.blogspot.com sheng

    I have been convincing some friends to try this one as we most often have the chance to be in Kidapawan on account of official travel. However, either we don’t have much time for it or we cannot do it for lack of a guide. I envy you.

    • http://hikersitch.com Bundok

      You better go there Sheng. The yet unspoiled spring falls is one of a kind. Hopefully you get there before commercialization eats the nature wonder…