Tukuran Falls, also called Hidden Paradise, is a beautiful, peaceful place to visit if you are in the Puerto Galera area. I think it is called "Hidden Paradise" because it isn't easy to get to! We took a tricycle from Blue Crystal Beach Resort in Palangan. We made a couple stops along the way, so I lost track of the time it really took us to get there, but it was over an hour. Outside of Puerto Galera town, first you pass by Tamaraw Falls, which is a nice waterfall just along the roadside. Continuing on, you pass the Virgin Beach, and the Mangrove Conservation area in Tabinay. Once we turned off the main road in San Teodoro there were some rice paddies which were the brightest, most beautiful color of green! There were some people working and it looked like they were planting more rice.
Along the sides of the road, we passed many water buffalo, I liked the way this one looked with his fresh coat of mud! These seem to be the animal of choice for the heavy work here, we passed people walking them along the roadside as well as the ones tied up that were grazing.There were also goats, chickens and cattle along the roadside.
A short distance from the Tukuran Falls entrance, we stopped at the Caldara Hanging Bridge. This crosses a river and connects a native village to the main road. I don't like heights, and usually avoid this type of bridge, but after going a short distance, I realized the bridge was very stable and went the whole way across!
From the middle of the bridge, we could see numerous carabao, or water buffalo, grazing or cooling off in the water.
It turned out there was road construction, and a LOT of mud, before we reached the parking area for Tukuran Falls. This made it challenging in a tricycle, but thanks to our wonderful driver, Pablito, we made it! Once we parked, it didn't take long for our carabao cart to pick us up. I later found out that these are local people who work independently driving the carts. In slow season, they only make the trip once a day, on a rotating basis, but in the busy season, they can do the trip three times per day.
The trip went through the tropical forest and we had to cross the river 4 or 5 times. Quite a jerky ride through the river! I thought of the American pioneer stories of crossing rivers! Only for us it was never more than a couple feet deep :-)
Off duty carabao hanging out in the river! The one looks like it's smiling for the picture!
You have the option of walking also.There are numerous little shops along the way in case you need something. The huts you see behind the carabao in the following picture are the native people's homes.
Overview of Tukuran Falls area after arriving. Swimming hole straight ahead before the rocks, gift shop to the right, and picnic shelters to the right and left.
When you arrive, the cart driver drops you off and lets his or her carabao have a refreshing break in the river. This was "our" carabao during it's break :-)
Someone is your free "guide," while visiting the area (I gave her a tip at the end). We planned to have our lunch first, so the guide took our order. They had meat or fish; we ordered some grilled fish and bottles of water. We had also brought some of our own food. We relaxed and also walked around while waiting for our lunch to cook. Far end to near: A carabao driver, Dolores from Blue Crystal and her husband Pablito, and Leah. Pablito was our tricycle driver during the 2 1/2 weeks we were in PG and Dolores had the day off work so joined us, it was great to have them along :-) The dog took a liking to Leah!
The river seemed kind of low when we were there, the carabao driver talking with Dolores said that when they had the big typhoon last December, the water covered all of the picnic shelters! Where you see the people on the right side of the picture is where you could walk up the rocks to more falls and swimming holes above. Unfortunately, we didn't get to do this because by the time we finished lunch, it started raining and we were told that the rocks get quite slippery in the rain. I guess it's a good reason to have to go back sometime!
This is the swimming hole by the picnic area, and the rocks leading up river.
I was excited that there were LOTS of dragonflies and butterflies! While waiting for lunch to be ready, Leah and I were both busy exploring and taking photographs! It was the largest diversity I saw in PG and I plan to do a separate post on dragonflies.
We were glad we made the trip and look forward to going again sometime! If you enjoy nature and peaceful places, I definitely recommend this!