With its multi-tiered cascades and natural allure, it’s easy to see how Engkanto Falls got its name. The falls, named after creatures of local folklore usually characterized as forest spirits or elves, are believed to live in natural dwellings in the environment.
This waterfall located in Barangay Bikal, Libmanan is one of the lesser explored attractions in Camarines Sur. Unlike more accessible spots that are usually crowded with day-trippers or have become overdeveloped, Engkanto Falls remains relatively untouched and pristine. It still has that air of mystery. Even if you don’t believe in the supernatural, it’s the kind of place where creatures from folklore could exist.
After our action-packed rappelling experience at Nalalata Falls in Bula the previous day, we made our way to Libmanan for another waterfall trekking adventure, taking a 45-minute van ride from Naga City. We parked by the roadside at the jump-off point to Barangay Bikal, where we were joined by Roderick Fabor, head of Libmanan Tourism and a few other guests.
After a 15-minute hike through a muddy trail, passing by a native hut with a natural pool and several makeshift bamboo bridges, we arrived at a wide swimming area at the foot of the falls.
Engkanto Falls is actually a series of 20 cascades, with varying heights. What makes the destination interesting is that visitors have to trek on the stairway-like bed of the waterfall itself. Like cave rock surfaces, the surface of the path is not slippery and easy to step on and climb. What’s more challenging is going against the flow and the current.
We were told that swimming basins and streams of the falls were normally crystal clear, but because of a recent storm, a lot of debris, logs and branches jutted out from the waterways and blocked some of the paths. This made the water cloudier than usual, and made the trek more challenging.
While the water level was pretty shallow, we had to navigate around thickly forested trails and overgrown vegetation covered with plenty of small sharp rocks and gravel. In some portions, the rock surface was covered with slick moss, making it more slippery.
Since I left my slippers at the start of the trail, it took me a while to reach the main cascade walking barefoot while trying to protect my SLR. We regrouped at the widest basin for a quick swim and photo ops.
Photos above of Engkanto Cave taken by Outside Slacker who got to visit after participating in the Rainforest Enduro Challenge in CamSur.
Since the sky was already starting to get dark, we decided to head back down for another dip in the lowest basin. The afternoon was capped with a snack of fresh buko juice and toasted siopao. Just the simple pleasures of country life.
Engkanto Falls is located in Barangay Bikal, Libmanan, Camarines Sur, Bicol Region Philippines.
TRAVEL TIPS & USEFUL INFO:
- During our visit, there was no entrance fee to visit Engkanto Falls.
- It’s best to coordinate with the local tourism office to arrange visits and hire guides for Engkanto Falls. Get in touch with them via Facebook: LGU Libmanan
- For an Inland Ecotourism Tour at Engkanto Falls, contact Bibby Jimenez at 0947-8936712 or call (054) 511-8101. Or visit MPES – Mayor’s Office, Libmanan. [POSTER]
- Check out this post which details how to get to Brgy Bikal in Libmanan via public transportation from Naga City.
- What to wear: Swim gear/shorts (though it’s possible that you won’t get wet if you don’t want to swim because the water is shallow), footwear with straps suitable for hiking and getting wet (not rubber slippers)
- What to bring: Change of clothes, towel, waterproof camera (or dry bag/plastic bag for your camera), snacks, drinking water