The Sayahan Falls Guide You Should Know

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Sayahan Falls is a natural gem tucked away in the most remote area of Ormoc. For years it manage to hide itself from the eyes of the tourists til recently when it was opened to the public last December 2016. It's a multi-tiered type of waterfall where the flow drops in a series of distinct steps or mini falls. What made this a must visit is its sheer size with an estimated height of over a hundred feet. And also the deep basin that's perfect for swimming and a rope was setup for the safety of those who can't swim.


I've learned in my years of chasing waterfalls that challenge is directly proportional to the beauty of a waterfall; meaning the harder the trail is to a waterfall the greater the chance of satisfaction that it'll be worth it. The trail to Sayahan Falls is definitely not for the beginners and getting to Sitio Maglahug is a challenge of itself. 


The naming of the waterfall ( Sayahan ) according to our guide originated from the shape of the waterfall. In a local dialect "saya" means "skirt" yes! a woman's skirt and the shape of Sayahan Falls does resemble that. I always prefer a usage of a native dialect in naming a waterfall that make sense as opposed to lazily copying another person's name. There's a fun side of discovering how the name of the waterfall came to be. 


Beforehand, I was well aware of the difficulty of Sayahan Falls trail but I was mum about it to my companions fearing they will cancel out of this plan once they knew. I just told them it's a walk in the park and just beside the main road but it's actually quite far from it. So if you are planning to visit this waterfall expect some level of challenge probably around 7 / 10 assuming ten is the highest. 

We landed in Ormoc with a sunny weather ( an answered prayer! ) and head over right away to our friend's apartment to leave our luggage. It's been awhile since I last visited Lake Danao so I couldn't recall where the jeepney terminal is now located. We have to ask around the bus terminal to find it. The jeepney is real small and the driver mostly overload it so if you want comfort you should definitely take the front seat.

THE ROAD BLOCK




After 40 minutes, we reach Lake Danao brimming with excitement only to be shattered by a bad news that no habal-habal would willingly take us to Sitio Maglahug until one in the afternoon. That would not only hurt our itinerary but also present a possibility that we will be spending the night in that sitio if we chose to push through with the plan. 

Naturally, I'm used to this kind of challenge in my travels but my companions are not ; so I was tasked to ask around for some options while they layaway in the lakeside taking photos. It's a first time for them to visit Lake Danao so I just let them be. 

Surprisingly, when our hope is close to shatter to a million pieces God sent us an angel in a form of huge truck filled with the nicest people on Earth. They happened to pass through Lake Danao in the perfect time that I was on the road. We hitchhiked at the back of the truck along with the locals all the way to Sitio Maglahug. 


I noticed we passed through numerous waterfall signs in the different sitio and barangay along the way. I could roughly count around five waterfall directions and can only recall three names ( Aliw, Minerva & Paraiso Falls ) I wish I have the time to explore each one of those waterfall. I'll probably return in a distant future.

Finally, we reached Sitio Maglahug after almost an hour and was accompanied by one of the locals aboard the truck with us to the Gaas Tourism Office. We paid the required fee ( Php 50.00 for the entrance / environmental fee & Php 300.00 for the guide ) and a guide named "Jun" was assigned to us. Sitio Maglahug have their own lake as well which I forgot the name.

This young handsome lad is our guide who accidentally took a selfie in my phone when we asked him to take a photo of us.

THE TRAIL



I must say majority of the trail is a downhill trek so we naturally expect to navigate the same route again our way back to the entrance. We started in an easygoing pace guided with trail flags so I thought it's impossible to lose our way to the waterfall and a guide is not necessary with the help of those colorful trail flags. Until halfway, the trail flags are nowhere to be seen and the difficulty of the trail started to rise. We started grabbing to the ropes they placed on the steeper parts of the trail. It was obviously placed for the safety of everyone who dare brave the challenges to conquer Sayahan Falls.



Naturally, the sign of water lead me to believe that we are already close to the waterfall but it's actually going to take another 20 minutes to reach it. We navigated a series of streams for 10 minutes more before reaching a concrete staircase. That was the positive sign that we reached our destination.   

THE WATERFALL




The roaring sound of the waterfall made me conclude that it is huge before even getting a glimpse of it. Once we reached the base of the mountain, the waterfall reveal itself to us and it was indeed gigantic. Towering for over 100 feet it's hard to believe that such a colossal beauty lay hidden from the public eye for so many years.

The deep emerald hue of the waterfall's basin wasn't very inviting to me and reminded of Tangadan Falls in La Union. It somewhat evoke my phobia for deep water even if I can swim I can't help feeling that a creature might grab me once I started getting comfortable swimming around. I know it's silly for a waterfall chaser but that belief stick with me and I'd like to believe that it has protected me as well in the long years of searching waterfalls.


Sayahan Falls was indeed a marvel to behold. The first drop is ledge type with the water descending vertically losing contact with the rock and the second drop turns into a horsetail maintaining most contact with the huge boulders. I did climb the waterfall but I wouldn't advise it to anyone for safety purposes. It surely was a very scary experience going down with the difficulty of finding a good grip with those slippery rocks and a shallow water just below the waterfall made it impossible to just jump right into the water. I can foresee a "no climbing" sign & regulation be enforced in the future.





We took our lunch around that area and responsibly clean up our trash. We didn't stay long because we anticipate the trek back to the entrance will double our time and we have a bus to catch in Ormoc bound for Baybay.

EXTRA STORY

Intentionally, I was motivated to make a write up of this waterfall right away after the trip because the content that my friend created about Sayahan Falls was stolen by another blogger. Ely provided me the whereabouts of this waterfall but sadly his photos and content was used by another blog without any credit given at first until we reprimand the person. Plagiarism is a big deal for me and I always get pissed off when our intellectual property is easily stolen or used by other people without any proper credit. So that's a back story of how I discover Sayahan Falls.




HOW TO GET HERE:
  • Ride a jeepney from Ormoc to Lake Danao for Php 50.00 per pax
  • Hire a habal-habal in Lake Danao to Sitio Maglahug and back to Lake Danao for Php 200.00 per pax
  • Sitio Maglahug pay the entrance fee of Php 50.00 per pax and guide fee of Php 300.00 per group
  • Ride a jeepney back to Ormoc from Lake Danao for Php 50.00 per pax

ADDITIONAL TIPS:
  • Pack lightly and bring water & light snacks for the trail.
  • Never use slippers for the trail and make sure your footwear has a better grip to avoid unwanted accidents like what happened with one of our companions.
  • Leave early from Ormoc to make side trips possible in other waterfalls and lakes in the area.
  • It is best to hire a habal-habal in Ormoc to take you straight to Sitio Maglahug and back but I don't know how much it will cost you. 



Vlogs for Sayahan Falls




Christian Vincent Literatus

Travel Blogger

Chris just loves to travel, and for a long time now has been drifting from place to place around the Philippines. With his combined passion for travel and photography, he’s managed to find himself in the middle of some magical moments and mind blowing scenery. The Bisdak Explorer is Chris’s way of sharing his experiences with you, and showcasing not just his travel photography, but the moments and stories behind those photos.

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