Exploring Asik-Asik Falls: Cotabato’s Glorious Gem

The Philippines has numerous gorgeous and stunning waterfalls all throughout its thousands of islands. One of the most stand outs among these waterfalls that I’m blessed to have visited is the Asik-Asik Falls of Cotabato. This mystical waterfall in Alamada, Cotabato isn’t so easy to reach as traveling here is going to take a lot of hours. In our case, the whole Asik Asik experience required a whole day.

My trip to Asik-Asik Falls was a part of a 4-day adventure in Region 12 (Soccsksargen: South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos City). I have previously blogged about my adventure in Cotabato City and this time, I’m going to share with you my experience in the province of Cotabato. Watch out for my future posts about Maguindanao and South Cotabato.

COTABATO

Ph_SOCCSKSARGEN
Map of Region 12: SOCCSKSARGEN
Map of Alamada
Map of Cotabato

Cotabato, formerly known as North Cotabato, is situated at the center of Mindanao. Landlocked by the provinces of Lanao del Sur and Bukidnon in the north, Davao del Sur in the east, Maguindanao in the west and Sultan Kudarat in the south, Cotabato is a part of Region 12 or commonly called as Soccskargen.

Cotabato is composed of one (1) city (Kidapawan City, its capital) and seventeen (17) municipalities. The municipality of Alamada is home of the Asik-Asik Falls.

According to the 2015 census, Cotabato’s population is at 1,379, 747. The province is home to people coming from all over the Philippines as various folks from Luzon and Visayas migrated to the province, cohabiting Cotabato with its local indigenous groups.

The Asik-Asik Falls has attracted a lot of visitors for the past years and this has helped the province economically. It is now considered as the most popular travel destination in the province.

How to go to Asik-Asik Falls

Entrance to Asik-Asik Falls
Entrance to Asik-Asik Falls

From Cotabato City, we commuted early for about an hour and a half to Libungan (a municipality of Cotabato) via van. (There’s a van terminal near the city plaza of Cotabato City. You may ride the tricycle to take you there or ask for directions and just walk.) In Libungan, we then commuted via tricycle for about an hour towards Alamada. We then rode the habal-habal for another hour from the main highway of Alamada towards Sitio Dulay of Bgy. Dado where Asik-Asik can be found. As the paving of the road from the highway towards Sitio Dulay isn’t finished yet, we had to go through rocky and muddy roads. Then, we had to hike going down the hill for about a kilometer (a big part of the road towards the falls was already cemented) to finally witness Asik-Asik’s beauty.

Strawberry farm in Dado
This strawberry farm that can be found in Bgy. Dado is near the entrance to Asik-Asik.

Going to Asik-Asik Falls took us about 3.5 to 4 hours from Cotabato City. Going back also required almost the same amount of time.

Aside from Cotabato City, other cities that have accessible roads leading to Alamada include Davao City, Cagayan de Oro City and General Santos City.

Meanwhile, the airlines going to Cotabato City include: Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines and Etihad Airways.

The Awesome Asik-Asik Falls

Any traveler who has decided to witness Asik Asik must endure a long travel going here. But the traveler’s tedious journey is going to be rewarded in the end. He or she is going to be welcomed by Asik-Asik’s one-of-a-kind beauty.

Asik-asik Falls, North Cotabato
I was astounded by the beauty of Asik-Asik Falls! (Follow me on Instagram: @karl_olivier)

The view of Asik Asik is stupefying: the 60-meter high and 140-meter wide waterfalls resemble a rock cliff embedded with vivaciously green leaves of ferns and feature a series of sprinkling waters from left to right!

Taking a dip!
Clean, fresh water falling amidst the greenery of ferns can be so inviting for a dip!

It is said that the waterfalls got its name because “asik” in Hiligaynon means “sprinkle.” When we asked the locals about the source of water in the falls, they really weren’t sure where it is coming from. It seems like the falls’ waters come from a spring on top of the rocky cliff. Meanwhile, another theory says that the waters sprinkling down the falls actually come from the mystical Lanao Lake, deeming it mystical as well.

Processed with VSCO with s3 preset

A Philippine Daily Inquirer article reported that it was the village councilor Jun Miranda who accidentally discovered Asik-Asik in 2010. A series of events such as forest fires and landslides occurred in the area around that time, leading some locals to discover waters gushing out of mountain walls. When Miranda reported it to the barangay council, the pursuit of the falls began. And now it’s been more than 6 years since Asik-Asik has been discovered.

Dragonfly in Asik-Asik
Here’s a dragonfly as it takes a rest on the shallow portion of the falls. Isn’t the water very clear?

Sample Itinerary

Asik Asik Waterfalls Sample Itinerary (Origin: Cotabato City)
TIME ACTIVITY NOTES/TIPS
7 AM Travel from Cotabato City to Libungan via van It’s better to have eaten your breakfast before heading to your trip. If you don’t have the time to do it, bring some snacks that you can eat along the way.
8:30 AM Travel from Libungan to Alamada via tricycle or habal-habal We were two in this trip so it was better to hire a tricycle. It was safer and we were protected from the harsh heat of the sun.
9:30 AM Travel from Alamada to Sitio Dulay of Bgy. Dado via habal-habal If you still haven’t eaten anything yet, you can eat at the eateries found along the highway just across the starting point of the travel towards Sitio Dulay.
10:30 AM Start of hike going down to Asik Asik. Travel time depends on how fast you walk. J There are stores in the entrance where you can buy food and drinks.
10:50 AM – 1 PM Swim, take pictures and enjoy Asik Asik. You’ve come this far. Enjoy Asik Asik as much as possible! Just don’t leave any of your trash behind, okay?
1 PM Start of hike going up to the entrance.
1:20 PM Start of going back to Alamada via habal-habal. The habal-habal that you’d be renting at the start would be waiting for you at the entrance.
2:20 PM Travel back to Libungan from Alamada. People in the highway said that it would be hard for us to board buses that would directly take us to Cotabato City. Our habal-habal driver offered to ride us back to Libungan.
3:20 PM Travel back from Libungan to Cotabato City. Our habal-habal driver escorted us to a location along the highway where vans going to Cotabato City can be found.
4:50 PM Back to Cotabato City We were planning to head to Maguindanao after our adventure in Asik Asik. However, time constraints prevented us to do so, which is why we spent another night in the city before heading to the last 2 provinces that we’ll be exploring in Region 12. Watch out for the last leg of my SOCCSKARGEN trip soon. 🙂

 

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