Pikaw Falls, Bakun, Benguet

Pikaw Falls, located in Poblacion, Bakun, Benguet, is one of the major falls in the municipality due to its towering height and rainbow formation.

The route to Pikaw falls converges with part of the path going to Gedgedayan, another tourist hill destination. Going to Pikaw is an enjoyable journey itself as you will see a lot of beautiful sceneries, rice terraces, water cascades, mini waterfalls, burial cave, as well as pass through several hanging bridges.

As of writing, access to Pikaw Falls is a little bit of a challenge. Previously, the locals had created pathway for tourists bound to the area. However, it was destroyed during one of the previous typhoons. Apparently, tourists were discouraged to go there because of this, despite of the beauty of the place. Fortunately, we were able to convince our guide, Uncle Max, to accompany us. I had to admit that going there is grueling as, obviously, the old path was already covered with vegetation. I had to admire Uncle Max’s diligence to bring us there.

Our tour guide Uncle Max, the guy in blue in the lead, had to clear our way because no tourist had reached Pikaw Falls for a couple of years. The above image is actually the easiest part. Some parts hard which needs you to stoop walk under brushes and walk through cliff. Once a new safe path will be created, it would be a lot easier to go there again.

Unlike other major falls in Bakun, Pikaw Falls retains enough volume of water to maintain a reasonable view even during summer days. During rainy months, the volume of water makes even the falls more beautiful and sometimes changes its clear water to chocolate-like color during heavy downpour.

During heavy rains, Pikaw falls turns into a chocolate-colored waterfall. This is due to the soil carried by small bodies of water coming from the bulldozed road above.

The name of the falls is taken from a plant which abundantly grows in the site. The plant is Pikaw, a plant typically growing in rivers, streams, falls, and marshes in the Philippines and in neighboring countries. Its scientific name is Schismatoglottis calyptrata (Bodner & Gereau, 1988) and is a kind of a wild taro used for indigenous dishes.

Pikaw, a wild taro, commonly grows in steep and rocky portions of bodies of water. The abundance of this plant in Pikaw Falls prompted the locals to call it as such.

Pikaw Falls has four stream drops from its overhung collapse. The water drops to boulders of stones instead of a plunge pool unlike in Mangta Falls. The way to the falls might be arduous, but the beauty of the destination easily erases your curses on the way.

Pikaw Falls as seen from a mountainside on the way. At this vantage, you can see the two levels of the falls.
Scaling the boulders for a better view of the falls is a little bit tricky. You need to squeeze through a space in between big rocks then scale the slippery boulders.
These are two of the towering water streams.
The other water streams are are more of a cascade over a wall of rock.
Yup, you can see a small rainbow up close in Pikaw Falls.

The presence of billions of droplets from the impact of water on the stone base of the falls creates a rainbow downstream. This phenomenon, like is Pattan Falls, is common in big waterfalls where the rays of the sun reaches the area where droplets are constantly numerous.

The following videos show Pikaw Falls in its towering splendor and the rainbow formation.

Pikaw falls as seen from a high vantage point. In here, you will see the upper level (waterfalls) draining to the lower level (cascade).
If you can’t get over the rainbow in this waterfall, this video will show you how vast the droplets are which is necessary in the formation the rainbow.

Other Notable Waterfalls and Destinations in the Area

Where to Stay in Bakun

  • Option 1. Old Municipal Hall at Php80.00 per night per person. Pro: cheap. Cons: bring your own sleeping gears; food** not included.
  • Option 2. Sagunday Transient at Php200.00 per night per person. Pros: you get to sleep in a bed with foam, bedding, CR, and with kitchen and cooking utensils (yes, you can cook and stores are a stone’s throw away. Con: food** not included.

** You can arrange with the barangay officials to cook for you at around Php200.00.

Contact Persons

  • Mr. Arthur Tolito (Municipal Tourism Officer): +63 921 211 3687
  • Ms. Nenita Budas (BTC President): +63 918 352 3722

Expenses (food not included) as of May 2019

  • Baguio City to Km. 5, La Trinidad: Php10.00
  • Bus fare from La Trinidad to Bakun: Php180.00
  • Accommodation: Php80.00-200.00
  • Environmental fee: Php75.00
  • Guide fee (Per guide per group [max of 6 pax per group]. In excess of 6 members, additional heads will pay Php75.00 each. However, if the total participants are beyond 8, it is mandatory to have two guides. Further, in excess of the maximum hours, the guide will be paid additional Php50.00 per hour):
    • Pikaw falls: Php500.00 (5 hours)
  • There are also packages if you want to go to more than one waterfalls and/or site (valid for a day, unless specified):
    1. Tekip falls, Bagiw river, Pikaw falls, rice terraces: Php1000.00
    2. Mt. Gedgedayan + Pikaw falls, Bagiw river: Php1200.00
    3. Pikaw falls + Bagiw river: Php600.00 (valid for 6 hours)
    4. Mangta, Pattan, Pikaw and Tekip falls: Php1600.00

Can’t get enough of Bakun waterfalls? Visit the following page for more information on other waterfall packages:

OF WATERFALLS AND FOOT BRIDGES: THE CHASE IS ON IN BAKUN

Reminders

  • Always practice the LNT principles.
  • Be early taking jeep from Baguio City to La Trinidad as traffic might get heavy.
  • Get in touch with the contact persons listed above for to verify for any changes in transportation schedules, fees, temporary closure of sites, etc. This will also give them ample time to prepare for your accommodation.
  • Be courteous to the locals, tourism and local guidelines, the culture, and of the place itself.
  • Do not go there if you don’t have endurance for challenging routes.

Reference

Bodner, C. C. & Gereau, R. E. (1988). A contribution to Bontoc ethnobotany. Economic Botany, 42(3): 307-369. Retrieved on 02 August 2019 from https://www.jstor.org/stable/4255087?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents.

6 thoughts on “Pikaw Falls, Bakun, Benguet

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