Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Reward of Finding Tukuran Falls, a Hidden Paradise

When I was planning for our Puerto Galera trip, the said Hidden Paradise located some 35 kms away from the town never left my mind. I saw few tours offered by hotels and travel companies online but there's no way we can afford the fee. Price ranges from Php2500 to Php 4500 per person with other inland attractions included. I searched high and low over the net on how we can possibly do it on our own but I never found a clear instruction on how to go there. I just know that it is on the same way going to Tamaraw Falls.

The adventurous in my blood worked its wonders on me and the lack of information didn't stop me from wanting to reach the place. So on our second day of stay in Aninuan Beach, Nikko and I left mid-morning and was transported by Tamaraw Beach Resort's tricycle service to the town where we took a jeep going to Calapan City, the capital city of Oriental Mindoro.

We first reached Tamaraw Falls in 30 minutes and after spending some time marveling at the high cascade, we decided to leave for Tukuran Falls. We asked a local, who seemed to be a tour guide in the area since he was holding brochures and offering different tour packages, the way to the said falls. He offered a jeep to take us there and back to the town for Php2000 instead. I explained that we don't have the budget for that so what he did next is speak with the driver of a multicab who was there and about to transfer other tourists to thesame place, then we would just need to share with the transportation fee. We agreed to pay hp250 each but at the end, we were told that the group pf local tourists wouldn't want to share their ride with us. Since that didn't work out, I ended up asking if there's a way we can commute to reach the falls. He then said, it's probably just about one or one and  a half kms from where we currently were. Nikko and I had hiked several mountains in the past and we both agreed that less than two kms is just a walking distance. I remember asking him how we would know that we should be turning from the main road to the falls and he replied that there will be an obvious sign at the highway. We then started walking.

It didn't feel like walking in a highway at all. I could count the passing vehicles in just one hand. It felt more like I'm trekking on a tropical forest. On our right side  is the unending range of mountains dotted with lush greens. On our left is the view of the sea. The climate is pleasant and breezy. While walking, a dead bat fell from a tree and we don't understand what happened but it fell dead.

The light mood changed when after walking for about 40 minutes, we still didn't see the sign the tour guide told us. We we're figuring out that in that span of time, we should have seen something already. We continued walking until we saw a basketball court and a barangay hall near it. We stopped and asked the locals for directions. I told them what the guide told us and everybody seemed to be confused. They were saying that the hidden paradise is still quite far, just right after the town of San Teodoro and we would still need to  hire a vehicle that will take us to the foot of the mountains, then ride a carabao cart afterwards. As confused as them, we thanked them,  left and continued walking. When a jeep passed by, we asked the driver who didn't seem to have an idea how to go there as well. We were then called by the locals who happened to have overheard our conversation and they told us Tukuran Falls is really far and is not possible to reach by walking specially it was already 1 PM. They instructed us to ride a passing jeep, alight in the next town of San Teodoro then make arrangements for a tricycle ride. This time, the concern in the locals' faces assured me that they know what they are talking about and it's time that I trust their words over the tour guide's.

We walked for another 15 minutes yet jeeps are scarce and nothing passed by yet. Maybe it was the heaven sending us some help when an empty tricycle appeared from nowhere and I hailed it to stop. I asked how much is the fare going to San Teodoro. It was Php20 per person. I then asked if he knows how to go to the hidden falls. He offered to take us there for Php200.  Knowing we probably wouldn't be able to travel back to our hotel that night without a vehicle that will take us back from the falls to the highway, I tried making an arrangement for him to wait for us. He willingly agreed and he just asked for Php350 - that's for everything. We agreed right away. :)

Michael, (the driver) drove for probably another 15 minutes along the highway then turned right into a narrower road. We continued traveling, passing through rice fields and with the road going uphill. In about 35 minutes, we reached the parking area and we were advised we either take a cart pulled by a carabao (fee if I remember it right is about Php350 for 6 pax) or just walk to the falls. We did walk, thinking that way, we'll do it with our own pace and we could stop as frequently as we wanted to take pictures.

Even the start of the trek is exhilarating! We have to cross a shallow river right away. We did cross the river about six times before we finally reached what we came for. Most of the rivers are shallow, with the deepest part just a little higher up my knee. Be warned though because there are parts where the current is strong.

The trek proved to be refreshing. There are towering coconut trees almost everywhere and the river is crystal clear.

After 45 minutes of walking (which we could have made in just 25 minutes if we didn't stop a lot for pictures), we heard the gushing sound of water and right before our eyes is the clean and green colored pool created at the bottom of the rocks where the water is freely flowing. You wouldn't imagine how I felt when I saw the place, for a moment there I couldn't believe that Nikko and I reached this place. I thought we'd never be able to make it. I thought, we would be going back to our hotel without seeing this hidden paradise. Then I'd probably be sad for the entire night.

We paid the entrance fee of Php20 each. The guide and driver we've talked to earlier that gave us the wrong information approached us and aked in Tagalog, "You're the one from earlier, right?" I said yes. They added, "You made it. " I answered, "yes we did." They even asked how did we make it to the falls and I told them we met a wonderful soul that helped us, in my most pleasant tone. I then smiled and left for a swim. It was my reward for not giving up. :)

The water is cold yet comforting. Nikko started swimming around the pool, diving to check the depth of the pool. He said it's probably about 25 feet. I started floating on my back, barely moving.. watching the trees around me, staring at the blue skies partially covered with cottony clouds... occasionally closing my eyes feeling like in a cradle, gently lulled by the calm water. It felt like I'm really in paradise. After probably an hour, we decided to climb the rocks towards the other side of the falls. We explored for a while then Nikko started frolicking in the waters again. I, on the other hand was contented taking pictures and videos.  There are few local kids who are having fun in the water as well. They were a couple of really good swimmers, not to mention brave since they spent most of their time jumping from the top of the rocks and even from the top of the trees.

I was so conscious of the time though since when the guide approached us earlier, he told us that the last trip of jeeps going back to Puerto Galera from Calapan City is 4 PM. I still am not sure why they kept on giving us false info. It was a good thing I got along with ate (I'm not really good at remembering names but she was a souvenir vendor in the falls that travels back and forth Puerto Galera everyday where she lives) so well and she assured me, the last trip is 7 PM. That gave us a little more extra time to experience and enjoy the place. When the clock turned quarter to 5, I dipped into the water for the last time and in a few minutes, we started trekking back to the parking area where Michael patiently waited for us. He then brought us first to a hanging bridge before dropping us to San Teodoro's town proper.

Overall, it was a wonderful experience, one that I'll surely never forget and definitely is my favorite. I'm writing this blog because I want everybody who's dreaming to have an intimate encounter with nature to experience this paradise. Tukuran may be called a hidden paradise because it's a real heavenly place that's not easy to reach but I also know that a lot of people have already been here, those who are willing and can afford to pay for expensive package tours. Maybe, what I really like to happen is for the beauty of Tukuran not to remain hidden anymore, even to budget travelers, but I do hope that this place will forever remain a paradise. So let's all be responsible and do our share when visiting places like this.

How to Go to Tukuran Falls Hidden Paradise from Puerto Galera

- From Puerto Galera town, ride a jeep bound Calapan City. Pay fare for San Teodoro, amount is Php40. San Teodoro is about 34 kms away from the town and about 19 kms from Tamaraw Falls. (not including the tricycle ride on the narrow road)

- When you reach San Teodoro, alight from the jeep. Make arrangements with a local tricycle driver that  can take you to the falls and is willing to wait to take you back to San Teodoro. There are no public transportation available to and from the falls. You may contact Michael, who drove us to the falls at 0907-3606205. He charged us Php350 for the two of us but we added Php50 when we paid him. It takes about 30 minutes uphill climb from the main highway of San Teodoro to the parking area in Tukuran.

- There's a Php20 entrance in Tukuran Falls.

- Bring your own food. No restaurants in the area. And please don't leave any trash.

- Apply insect repellant. Mosquitoes started biting me at mid-afternoon and I had rashes for a week.

- To go back to Puerto Galera, wait for a jeepney bound to Puerto Galera  in the highway in front of San Teodoro Elementary School. (There's a waiting shed right beside a police outpost) Last trip of jeepneys from Calapan City is 7PM.

- If you're with a big group, you can rent a jeep in Puerto Galera town directly to and from Tukuran. Price is usually Php2,000.

The Blogger Would Like to Share: Tips on Creating Your Do-It-Yourself Travel


  1. great find! puerto galera keeps getting better, more than the usual crowded White Beach.

  2. Mindoro is really blessed with beauty as the rest of our country. Hope we both discover more in the future!

  3. Thank you so much pang for this wonderful blog! Kaw na idol ko sa backpacking adventure!!! :) - peng

  4. I'm glad you like it Peng, thanks! Masarap talaga magexplore. :)

  5. wow, meron pala ganito sa puerto galera. added to bucket list ;) cheers!

  6. Hi Ms. Pang! Sobra kaming nag enjoy sa trip namin sa Puerto Galera when we explored Tukuran, thanks to your blog.

    I'm not sure kung magkano talaga ang rent ng jeep pero 17pax naman kasi kami kaya siguro passable na ang 3K.

    Thanks again!

    1. Hi Algen! Wow, I'm happy to hear you had fun in exploring Tukuran. :)Sulit di ba kahit tago yong lugar?

      Whew! Medyo malaki na din pala ang itinaas ng jeep but thinking about it, 2 years had passed na since the time I visited. Siguro ganon na nga talaga ang rates ngayon.

      Really glad na nag-enjoy din kayo. Yan ang pinakadahilan bakit masarap magblog, to share experiences na pwede din maenjoy ng iba. You're welcome Algen, it's my pleasure. :)

  7. Hi! This is really a helpful entry.;0)planning to visit tukuran.
    since we are a group of ten, planning to hire a jeep.from white beach how many minutes ( rough estimate ) to puerto galera town? or from white beach do we head to calapan? magkalapit ba yun? thank you!! ;0)

    1. Hi Bernie. Glad you found the post helpful. A jeep would surely be more comfortable. Please take note though that jeep rates might have already gone up. Please refer to Algen's comment from above.

      From White Beach, it would probably take you around 15-20 minutes to reach Puerto Galera town. If you're renting a jeep, no need to stop there. I'm sure the jeep would take you directly to Tukuran Falls which is located a bit past San Teodoro, the next town coming from Puerto Galera. You'd pass by interesting landscapes and seascapes specially if you're seated on the left side of the jeep. It might take you around 1 and a half hours travel time to reach the jump off point to the falls then another 30 minutes walk to the falls. You may also request the driver to drop you first at Tamaraw Falls (which is halfway Puerto and San Teodoro. Calapan is still a long way from San Teodoro, no need na to go there.

      I hope your planning works perfectly well. Enjoy your exploration! :)

  8. I am here in Puerto Galara and I just found your blog - absolutely wonderful information!!

  9. Hi! Me and my boyfriend are planning to go to Puerto Galera on December. This post will definitely help us going to Tukuran Falls and Tamaraw Falls as well. Thank you! :D

  10. thanks for the info were planning to go there also thanks for the info....

  11. Hi! My boyfriend and I are planning on just having a tour package but when I sawyour blog I think we'll try what you did for an adventure :) -Thea

  12. I book a room at Big Apple Dive Resort located in Sabang. Would you know how can I get to Tamaraw Falls and Tukuran Falls? Thanks for your response! Your blog about these is actually a big help! :)

  13. Wonderful info :) i'm planning to have a trip at Puerto Galera with my ex-boyfriend(now my hubby) and my daughter...

  14. You can also try LANTUYAN in Baco, Oriental mindoro.

  15. thank you so much for this blog. this helps me a lot. maybe now, the same route of trike and jeeps but a bit higher fare since you've been there 2011. thanks much much :*


  16. Thanks for your blog sis! We are also planning to go here this november. all in all, how much did you spend each person? Thanks! :)

  17. thanks a lot for your precious details !

  18. Thanks for the information. My wife and I together with our 8 year old son is planning to go there this month. This is very helpful.



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