‘Accidental’ beauty brings in tourists to Alamada

Inquirer Libre - Davao - - PANGUNAHING PAHINA - By Carlo Agamon

ALAMADA, North Cotabato—Typhoon “Frank” had brought so much devastation when it hit the country in 2010. But for the people of this sleepy town, they had something to thank the typhoon for.

For years, a small waterfall in Sitio Dulao in Barangay Upper Dado here remained hidden from public view.

“There was no waterfall visible at all. We only saw thick vegetation covering the side of the cliff,” Marlo Estella, a member of the Upper Dado council, said as he points to what is now known as Asik-Asik Falls. Asik is the Hiligaynon equivalent of the English word sprinkle.

The discovery of Asik-Asik Falls was ushered in by a multitude of events, starting with a forest fire that razed much of the vegetation of the area, including those that grew on the side of the cliff. Then there was a landslide that carved a large portion of the hill, which nearly uprooted the large trees.

The large trees that grew on the side of the cliff—including a large balete tree—were finally uprooted when Typhoon Frank slammed the country.

“A large portion of the face of the cliff gave way and a large volume of water suddenly burst from cracks. The largest crack, in which the water passes through, has a dimension of 50x100 meters,” Estella said.

Former Alamada Mayor Bartolome Latasa said the Asik-Asik waterfalls was accidentally discovered in late 2010 by Jun Miranda, a village councilman.

Miranda said the falls had been there for a long time but it was only recently that its beauty surfaced. He said locals knew of water coming out from the walls of the mountain but did not mind it as the area was thickly forested.

Amazed at the beauty of the waterfalls, Miranda reported his discovery to the barangay council. The village council people, convinced how Miranda described the beauty of Asik-Asik, came rushing for an ocular.

What was baffling for the residents of Sitio Dulao was the fact that there was no river that runs on the flat portion of the hill above Asik-Asik Falls.

The area is made up of typical upland farms. There was nothing that could indicate the origin of Asik-Asik Falls’ water.

The nearest body of water is Lake Baranibud, which is tens of kilometers away and is located in the boundary of North Cotabato and Lanao del Sur.

The mystery of Asik-Asik Falls is overshadowed by its beauty. For most visitors, it did not matter where the water was coming from. They were simply amazed at how it looks like.

Since the opening of the falls to public access during the Holy Week in 2012, thousands of people had come to admire its beauty.

North Cotabato Gov. Emmylou Talino-Mendoza said the provincial government was working hand in hand with the Alamada town government to further develop the area into a major tourism site.

Reaching Asik-Asik waterfalls is difficult as the roads leading to the site are still being developed. Sitio Dulao is about 20 kilometers from the town proper and about an hour or more by “habal-habal” (motorcycle cum passenger vehicle). From a spot, tourists have to walk a kilometer across 300 steps, rolling hills, large stones and flora and fauna through it.

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