Asik-Asik: The Curtain Waterfalls of Alamada, Cotabato

Asik-Asik Falls

The ridge of the mountain where the waterfalls is found below.

Tucked into a deep forested ravine approximately 1,200 steps down is a work of nature like no other. Asik-Asik Falls (from the Hiligaynon term “asik,” which means sprinkle) has become the biggest sensation not only in Sitio Dulao, Upper Dado, Alamada, Cotabato but also throughout the country and if not in the world. Emerging after Typhoon Frank ravaged the mountainside, Asik-Asik is truly a must-see mystery.

In my interview with one of the locals who allegedly discovered Asik-asik Falls, Bambi Santander, he mentioned that in 2008, there were only small streams along the river, but then floodwater literally dug the river that passes through stream deeper and uprooted the trees that grew on the side of the cliff, which included a huge balete tree. It created cracks and water started to gush out.

Asik-Asik Falls

The tip of the highest waterfall seen from the paved stairs.

There was no written documentation as to how Asik-Asik Falls was discovered. The Idalemen Tribe already knew of the place long ago but considered it as sacred and it remained a hidden sanctuary before it was re-discovered. However, it has been told that there was a farmer who was looking for his lost horse. He tracked the rope and he later found out that it fell into the ravine and then eventually saw the waterfalls too. From then on, the news about it spread like crazy.

The Unique Feature and Scientific Theory

What makes Asik-Asik unique from the rest is that the falls stream from the side of the mountain unlike a conventional waterfall where a river stream flows from a cliff. The upper portion of the mountain is deforested and planted with different crops like corn and peanuts. Hence, one can easily wonder how it is possible.

The highest waterfall is about 25 meters tall and some are about 5 meters and below. The entire system stretches about 130 meters wide on the curved mountainside. A river flows from the upper portion of the terrain passing through Asik-Asik, which according to the locals denotes the presence of other waterfalls further upstream.

Asik-Asik Falls

My personal illustration on how Asik-Asik Falls may have been formed.

In my research, though I am not a geologist, there is one scientific explanation that this phenomenon can be possible as opposed to the different beliefs told by the locals. Asik-Asik is about 1/20th the height of the mountain where the existing water table can be a notable source of water. Lake Baranibud, the nearest lake, is about 10 kilometers away. Hence, its probability of being the water source can be so trivial. The erosion that exposed the crack on the side of the cliff may have opened the crevices of the mountain where the water table is present. The series of mountains north of the waterfalls may have an ample water supply enough to support them.

A Myth Told

Asik-Asik Falls

The waterfalls seen a few meters after the paved path, showing the river from upstream.

The cliff where the water cascades is covered with beautiful flowering vines, which according to locals blossom with different colors every December. There was once a visitor from Cotabato who picked various plants from around the waterfalls and brought them with her to the city. She could not sleep every night after she arrived home from the waterfalls. What she did was she returned the plants back to the waterfalls. From then on, she was able to sleep well.

Asik-Asik Falls

The grandness of Asik-Asik Falls.

The locals believe that the place is mystical and legendary, considering the presence of a huge balete tree before the flood uprooted it, which then caused the emergence of the beautiful waterfalls. 

From Asik-Asik to Lamihan Waterfalls 

Asik-Asik Falls

The other angle of Asik-Asik Falls.

Mindanao Cross, a local newspaper in Cotabato City, published an interview with Bai Rebecca Alamada-Buan, the president of the United Idalemen Tribe Association of the Philippines, stating she sent a proposal to the provincial government renaming Asik-Asik to Lamihan, which means a curtained structure for the spirit linked towards the tribe’s respect for nature. She further reiterated that Lamihan is very apt as it signifies a meaningful and sweeter description for the natives.

Future Developments, Conservation and Protection 

Asik-Asik Falls

Yours truly at Asik-Asik Falls.

In an unexpected chat with Wendel Ventilacion, an employee of the Alamada Mayor’s Office, at the jump off point of Asik-Asik Falls, he mentioned to me some of the plans in relation to conservation and protection. Considering that most parts of the area are deforested, the local government is planning to plant high-value crops like Arabica coffee to relieve excessive usage of land and to mitigate deforestation. The upper portions of the cliff where the waterfalls are located down below are now planted with bamboo to prevent soil erosion. The path leading to Asik-Asik has already been paved to eliminate the further emergence of worn trails, which may harm vegetation and also cause soil erosion. Sari-sari stores near the waterfalls were demolished and banned. He also mentioned some other developments like road improvements and a zip line. The provincial government has allotted funds for improved infrastructure and facilities.

My Personal Recommendation

As a mountaineer and an environmental advocate, there are several things I would like to recommend to preserve the beauty and sanctity of Asik-Asik Falls. Given that the visit to this wonder can be educational and adventurous at the same time, visitors must practice the following:

  1. Principle of Leave No Trace:
    1. Plan ahead and prepare
    2. Travel and camp on durable surface (usage of a single trail)
    3. Dispose of waste properly
    4. Leave what you find
    5. Minimize campfire impacts
    6. Respect wildlife
  2. Be considerate of other visitors (minimizing noise can also preserve the serenity of the place)
  3. Mountaineer’s Creed: “Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, and kill nothing but time.
  4. No bonfire allowed. I saw traces of mishandled bonfires and trash.
  5. If possible, no bringing of excess foods and liquor as they may generate waste at the waterfalls.
  6. Soap and shampoo should not be allowed.
  7. A 10-minute orientation will help educate the visitors about the importance of environmental protection and conservation. 

How to Reach Asik-Asik Falls (Please click the link to see the comprehensive list.)

Asik-Asik Falls

Signage just before the jump off point.

From Manila, take a direct flight to Cotabato City. From Awang Airport, ride a tricycle to the national highway. Ride a supermarket-bound jeepney, alight at Don Rufino Alonzo St (Magallanes), then take a bus at the terminal en route to Davao City. You can either drop by Libungan (25-35 minutes) or Midsayap (45 minutes) where you can take a jeepney going to Alamada. From Alamada, you can take a habal-habal ride going to the jump off point at Sitio Dulao, Upper Dado, Alamada, Cotabato.

Asik-Asik Falls

The whole stretch of Asik-Asik Falls.

Asik-Asik Falls

The paved stairs down to the Asik-Asik Falls.

Sources:
http://lnt.org/learn/7-principles
http://www.mindanaocross.net/home/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=278:idalemens-named-curtain-falls-laminan%E2%80%99
http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/196829/waterfall-emerges-from-devastating-typhoon-frank

About Jakeson Florido

Jakeson Florido is working for a Fortune 500 company engaging in engineering and technology. Writing is his passion. Nature, culture and heritage conservation is his advocacy. He is a traveler wannabe and also speaks and writes in three major Philippine dialects.Follow him on twitter @myplanetph or his Facebook Fan Page My Planet Philippines. You can also find him at Google+.
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74 Responses to Asik-Asik: The Curtain Waterfalls of Alamada, Cotabato

  1. malapit lang pala… sayang! hope to visit this on my next trip to Cotabato city soon! thanks for sharing Jakeson! :)

  2. tonton llanura says:

    Congrats, Jake! Your article is so substantial and informative. I feel like I have visited already the place. It’s God’s way of saying our Mother Earth has many wonderful things to offer. It’s just a matter of how to appreciate and protect His wondrous creation. Asik-Asik is Mindanao’s identity. Atin ito, pangalagaan at mahalin natin ito.

  3. janice says:

    Congratulation my friend! You did an awesome job. I’m glad your writing again. I’m happy for you. hope to see you soon…

  4. Very exciting. I’d love to visit someday. Where I live there are many beautiful waterfalls, both large and small. Thanks for sharing the mountaineer’s creed: I love it.

  5. anita c. ceballos says:

    Congratulations, Jake! This is very comprehensive information about Asik-Asik Falls. Been there… truly a wonderful place! LGU of Alamada should know you are writing about it.

  6. bhongfacundodenal says:

    nice blog…..

    … this article is so much helpful to Philippine tourism…
    … continue what you are doing…. ^_^

  7. Pedrito Mandigma says:

    I will go to the falls tomorrow. Your article is informative. This will surely add to the chat while hiking with friends. I will quote you, Sir Jakeson, for all the things that I will contribute to our conversations going ” up and down” to the falls.

  8. Monique reyes says:

    The long roadtrip from cotabato plus the 4man habal-habal ride is really worthit! The most beautiful falls ive seen so far.

  9. CHRIS says:

    Very informative blog well documented…

  10. Earl (Suroy Pilipinas) says:

    Beautiful!

    May I ask how far is Alamada from Midsayap? Planning to visit this falls soon!

    Thanks!

    • Thanks for visiting my website. =)

      It would take around 2 hours 30 minutes from Midsayap to the waterfalls itself. I would suggest leaving Midsayap as early as possible. If you’re alone, it would be better to take habal-habal. I don’t have the idea how much it would be from Midsayap though. But if you’re coming from Libungan, my home town, (town after Midsayap), it would be around P400 round trip.

  11. happyphilippines says:

    argh! ididn’t know this. i think i passed by in Alamada from davao city to cotabato. thanks for sharing. will bookmark this page and see if i can return there this year. lovely falls indeed!

  12. Pingback: Taking a Dip at the Bolinao Waterfalls in Pangasinan | My Planet Philippines

  13. Dale Daryl Rosalem says:

    Thanks for all the info. I just want to ask if there are any hotels or lodging houses nearby.

  14. yujini says:

    Hello this is very informative, thank you. i am going home in May and planning to visit the place. i am so excited and amazed of this beauty. if im coming from isulan, how do i get there, please?

  15. Cris says:

    Thanks for sharing! This is very informative and very helpful. We plan to visit Asik-Asik next week. We’ll be coming from Cagayan De Oro. Would you by any chance have an idea as to how many hours the bus ride can be from CDO? Would you know if there any tour restrictions during holy week? Thank you!

  16. Pingback: Asik-Asik Falls Alamada | How to get to Asik-Asik | My Planet Philippines

  17. Daisy Mateo says:

    very informative and worth sharing Mr. Jakeson! I am now one of your followers!…^_^

  18. sds says:

    sir I’m from Koronadal City and we’re planning to visit Asik-asik falls this weekend. ok lang po ba ang trail? or do we have to climb high/difficult trails? thanks a lot.

  19. Augea Ean Joy A. Fortunado says:

    hello sir, Im augea ang from alamda,connected ako sa Lgu snce my father s one of the SB member..we were so pleased with wat you have done..its a great and nice information for the people to get connected with the asik2 falls…I just want you to know that we are very thnkful, we truly appreciate your work..To let you know we do have this cross at the peak of the rock mountain at the Mt.siya2..have you visit it?and anther nice spot thr is the river behind bao high school wtch you can do fishing,it was a ravished river almost crystal in color..and many were go fishing thre…hope you can barely know alamadas nice Places..go back and try to go around alamda….

    • Thanks a lot! I really appreciate it. It’s my little way of showing how beautiful our province is despite the attrocities and bad publicity it’s getting. Soon, I’ll explore those beautiful destinations you’ve mentioned. Please do keep in touch. =)

  20. I am a former military officer, in Philippine Army. We have a training camp at Dado, Alamada, known as Camp Jose Abad Santos 12 HDC, RCDG, PA, Dado Alamada, a military reservations. I hope the government can maintain it for the protections of the foreign and local tourist, since the area is near the head camp of Camp Abubakar, in Buldon, Maguindanao, ARMM, adjacent town in Alamada, and Pigkawayan, North Cotabato, the former stronghold of the Moro rebels, for security reason, and to ensure the safety of the site, as well as the visitors and tourist potential clients and the assurance of the MILF-GRP peace committee to assure the safety of foreigner and local tourist /visitors, as well as potential development of the site area for income and generating projects for the government and provincial government programs towards tourism endeavors. Thank you and more success to our tourism program in the philippines. 4/25/2014.
    (WHITE EAGLE).

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