From afar, Merloquet Falls looked like a white curtain pinned to a lush forest wall just flowing in the wind. Up close, the waterfalls was even more dramatic and grander than it looked. I kept the photo-taking short, as I wanted to join the locals who were relaxing under the cascades.
The path on the side of the falls was a bit slippery while most of the rock surface on the foot of the falls was carpeted with a layer of furry moss. As I peeked through the veil of water I saw that the droplets left rainbows dancing in the distance. It was pure bliss to sit with my back against the falls and get a natural massage.
Zamboanga City is most often associated with historic and cultural attractions in the city like Fort Pilar, the museum and colorful vintas. Before this trip, I had never even heard of Merloquet Falls. But the local government is now developing the area as an eco-tourism attraction.
This scenic waterfall is a rising destination located in the interiors of barangay Sibulao, some 78 kilometers east of the city. If you have a day to spare in Zamboanga City and are into nature hikes and outdoor activities, this should definitely be on your must-do list.
Merloquet Falls actually has two tiers. The lower level is the more dramatic one with a height of ten meters. Climbing up the side of this falls using tree roots and a thick rope will reward you with a view of the fall’s upper tier. You can even look down the first falls.
The upper tier is a series of interesting jagged rock formations which are sloped diagonally and roughly five meters high.
Merloquet Falls in Zamboanga City is one of the more scenic waterfalls I’ve visited in the country. Because of its isolation, the area remains pristine and there are a lot of strategic vantage points for photography. It’s good to note that people are not allowed to eat or drink at the waterfalls. If you do stop by, be sure to bring trash bags with you and leave the place as beautiful as you found it.
How to get to Merloquet Falls:
- According to tourism officials, the best way for large groups to get to Merloquet Falls is to hire a private van or rent a jeep for the day to take you all the way there.
- Visitors can also take either a bus or van to Vitali (fare is about P70-120+ depending on vehicle and if aircon/non-aircon) from the city proper (1.5 – 2hrs away).
- Get down at the Vitali checkpoint along the highway and hire a habal-habal from the junction to the falls.
- The road from Vitali has been cleared so hiking time is much shorter than it used to be. Follow the path until you reach a shed to pay entrance fees.
- The 500-meter downhill hike to the falls will take about 10-15 minutes
- Entrance Fees: P5.00 per person. Parking Fees: P10/per motorcycle and P20/for cars and other vehicles.
- If you leave early and don’t stay too long it’s possible to do this trip in half a day. However, it’s best to allot a whole day due to travel time and so you have ample time for photography.
- Bring extra clothes and wear proper footwear for hiking. I recommend hiking shoes for going down the steps. You can leave your shoes in the cottages before you take a dip.
- On rainy days, vehicles may have a hard time passing up the path leading to the falls.
- You may want to bring a tripod to take photos.
- There are no stores yet selling food at the falls, so day-trippers should bring their own packed lunch and drinks.
- There are sacks there hanging on trees for garbage, but visitors are requested to take their trash back with them. Leave nothing but footprints!
UPDATE: For more things to do in Zamboanga City, please check out the Zamboanga City trip highlights on my Facebook page.