Pagudpud boasts of its serene, white-sand beaches, but there is something else that makes Pagudpud really enchanting – Kabigan Falls. Kabigan Falls derived its name from the word kaibigan which literally means ‘friend.’ According to the locals, the 120-foot falls was given such name because the falls itself and the river water are magkaibigan.
The falls is just 10 minutes of drive away from Pagudpud proper. However, to get to the falls, you have to trek for 30 minutes from the entrance. While walking, you will see rice fields, woodlands, hilly terrains, streams, boulders and wooden bridges. The trek is just more than a kilometer.
Upon paying the preservation fee, the management will assign a tour guide to lead you to the falls. Kabigan Falls is specifically located deep into the forests of Ilocos Norte, visiting the falls would be a challenge; the guidance of the local to bring you and your group to the falls is necessary. All official guides are trained in providing basic medical care.
There is already an established trail going to the falls hence you may dismiss having an official guide. Know that, however, that the tour guides double as caretakers wherein they clean the entire and falls every day after the tourists are gone. Hats off to these locals and hey, this is their main livelihood and your only way to contribute! Half of the earnings of these guides actually goes to their local cooperative while the other goes to their local government.
At the falls, tourists are welcome to swim at the conclave basin so make sure you have your swimwear with you. Mind you, the water is so cold – what a great way to cool down after drenching yourself in a sweaty hike.
If you are lucky enough, you will have the entire falls to yourself since only a handful chooses to go there. If you are a nature junkie, you will surely fall in love with the falls, the locals and even the remoteness of the place.
The best time to visit Kabigan Falls is from 11am to 12nn and you can stay there until 4pm if you want. You can have your lunch there, but make sure to order your food first before you head to the falls. You can also bring light snacks with you. Don’t forget to bring water because you will surely get thirsty along the relatively short trek.
On the way to the falls, there are mini carinderias where you can have your lunch paluto-style. You can order your food and wait for it while it is being cooked or you can order now, go to the falls and come back later to eat. It usually takes an hour to cook an order.
How to get there
Kabigan Falls is found in Barangay Balaoi in Malingay, Pagudpud, about 1.8 kilometers away from the national road.
By land, you can ride any bus line (Florida, Partas, and Victory Liner) bound to Pagudpud. The bus ride is between 10 and 12 hours, depending on the number of stopovers. The one-way fare is around Php700.
By air, you can any airline company to take you to Laoag City Airport. The entire flight only takes about 45 minutes to an hour. The fare is around Php3,000 to Php4,000, depending on the season.
From the airport, you can simply ride a bus bound to Pagudpud which takes about 2 to 3 hours.
A Php20 preservation fee is required.
A Php100 guide fee must be paid as well.