The smell of gunpowder was thick in the air as the soldiers fired off their guns one at a time. The rapid succession of shots from the Armalite rifles felt disconcerting as we stood meters away from what felt like a firing line. We faced the soldiers dressed in full battle gear as they introduced themselves – rattling off their names, where they came from and their position in the battalion. They listed all the gear they carried with them – maps, GPS, grenades and the main weapon they carried before firing it into the air in a grand display.
But since Malinamon Falls is located inside Camp Peralta, a military reservation in Jamindan, Capiz our visit was preceded by a courtesy call and a static squad tactics display. Seeing the weapons up close and talking to soldiers in training who served as our military escorts to the falls gave us a glimpse of the kind of work they do to protect the country.
We also got a look at the high-tech communications equipment they use in battle and got a chance to step inside a Simba Light Combat Vehicle, which was pretty cool.
Group shot with my companions at the Headquarters of the 3rd Infantry Spearhead Divisin in Camp Peralta, Jamindan Capiz. From L-R: Ish of 2GO Travel Magazine, Mai of Budget Biyahera, Jherson of Lonely Travelogue, Me and Atty. JP of Choose Philippines.
Camp Peralta has an area of 33,000 hectares and has been declared a military reservation by presidential order, which has kept most of its natural forest cover and wildlife preserved. Recently, they’ve developed some areas here into eco-tourism sites with the help of the Capiz Tourism office.
The camp has outdoor sites, sports facilities, adventure parks and other facilities. Within the thick forests are camping grounds, road and mountain biking trails and a dirt bike race track for motocross. There’s also a swimming pool, jogging lane & soccer field, firing range, airsoft and paintball field, and obstacle course.
Malinamon Falls is only one of seven waterfalls recently discovered in the area. According to our military escorts, it’s the most accessible for tourists and guests who aren’t used to training exercises or even hiking in general. To visit all the waterfalls would take 5 days of hiking. Since none of us in the group were planning on joining the army any time soon and had been feasting on seafood extravaganza meals the previous days, we were perfectly fine with just visiting one waterfall given our limited time.
Camp Peralta’s Headquarters and other facilities actually only covers 1,000 hectares of the entire reservation, which spreads across 27 barangays in the municipalities of Jamindan and Tapaz in Capiz province and the municipality of Lambunao in Iloilo province.
From the HQ, getting to Malinamon Falls is a 10-15 minute drive by truck, then a 30-minute hike starting halfway down a very steep paved road that’s only accessible by motorcycle or by foot. Once you reach the river stream, it’s an uphill climb through a forest trail along the side or over the rocky riverbed path. Following the sound of water, we eventually reached the foot of the falls.
Unlike many waterfalls in the country that have become too commercialized or are teeming with tourists, Malinamon Falls remains mostly untouched because of its location. The section we visited looks like part of a rocky riverbed with an uneven drop, where water cascades down from a semi-circle and forms a basin below. While some of the spots were clogged with lots of branches, I was glad to see there was no trash like candy wrappers and plastic bottles left behind.
The water wasn’t too cold. The temperature was just right for a refreshing dip after the the hike, which left most of us sweaty. While the more accessible spots for swimming weren’t very high, the mini-cascades felt like a hydrotherapy massage that made the hike really worth it. The basin pool on the left side of the falls was shallow and we could reach the rocks below. We were discouraged from going to the deeper basin on the right side because of the strong current.
If you like chasing waterfalls when you travel or are looking for something more adventurous to do in Capiz after you’ve toured the usual historical sites, then Malinamon Falls is worth visiting. Its accessibility means that not a lot of people have visited yet, so chances are you will have the place to your own group. The hike is very manageable now that they have paved most of the road (it used to be much longer) and the view is worth it.
TRAVEL TIPS & USEFUL INFO:
- Malinamon Waterfalls is located inside Camp Peralta in Jamindan, Capiz, about 54 kms or 1:30 hours away by land travel from Roxas City.
- For security purposes, visits to the falls must be pre-arranged at least one week before your trip.
- For inquiries, contact the Capiz Provincial Tourism and Cultural Affairs Office located on the 3/F, Provincial Capitol, 5800 Roxas City. Tel. (036) 621-0042 local 133, 221, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- For hassle-free tours around Capiz, contact Las Islas Travel & Tours at Pueblo de Panay, Roxas, Capiz, Philippines. Facebook: Las Islas Travel & Tours, Instagram: @LasIslasTravelandTours, Email: email@example.com