Limpapa, a barangay in the west coast of Zamboanga City experienced an increase in tourist visits last year because of an iconic orange bridge. Yup, we do not have a lot of orange bridges here in Zamboanga and the symmetry of the bars are perfect for selfies. Cottages and food stalls sprawled near the bridge in just a few months which benefitted the nearby community. Also located a couple of kilometers away is the Labuan lighthouse which also attracts a lot of tourists. But not everyone knows that somewhere in between the lighthouse and the bridge is Limpapa Falls.
Neo, my new travel buddy is not new to adventures and weekend getaways. He is a member of an instagram community called BrokeButLaagan who describe themselves as “20-something Bisaya in Manila who are constantly broke but hungry for adventure”. Xavier, a childhood buddy of Neo who never saw a waterfall in his entire life tagged along with us. Limpapa is more or less 40 kilometers away from the city and the weather condition might be different. It might be sunny in the city and raining near the lighthouse which unfortunately experienced during our trip. Good thing that we brought along the Trail 30L backpack from Tactics Water Gear to keep our things dry. With its capacity of 30 liters, two small non-waterproof backpacks of my companions fitted inside which saved their day. The thirty-minute drive was also back breaking for us who drove motorcycles but the padded strap and back of the Trek made it comfortable for our riders who had to carry our things.
We jumped off at around 7 in the morning to avoid the scorching heat of the midday sun and the crowd that would flock the spots. Our first stop was the Limpapa Bridge which is noticeable from afar because of its eye-popping orange color. The ride may be far but the scene on the countryside was relaxing in a way. As we got nearer, we noticed the shift in the air, from the gasoline smelling atmosphere of the city, the temperature dropped a bit with the crisp and clean breeze of the rural area. We got there with just a few people on the bridge and a car parked on the bridge despite the “No Parking” sign posted nearby. I politely talked to the car owner and gently reminded them of the no parking policy. It is easy for people to bend the rules especially when nobody is watching but that should not be the case.
We drove back a few kilometers to Latap Bridge, the jump-off point to the waterfall. It is a small bridge near the uphill road and we missed it twice! We barely noticed it because it’s smaller than Limpapa Bridge, it is white which is a bit ordinary compared to Limpapa standards, and the view around it is breathtakingly distracting. We asked the locals several times before we were able to see it, huwag mahihiyang magtanong!
A couple of kids were playing on the river below the bridge and they offered to take us to the falls. The kids were friendly and charming just like the adults who we met along the fifteen-minute pabebe trek. My Tactics Water Gear Trail Backpack is definitely made for all kinds of treks. It kept my camera, clothes, and other stuff dry inside it. The padded mesh straps rested comfortably on my shoulders, my action camera hung securely on the bungee cord, and a bottle of water was securely fitted in the side compartment. We followed the flow of water upstream and occasionally dipped our feet into the cold water. As we got nearer, we climbed some big boulders but my Trail Backpack securely hugged by body thanks to the chest and waist straps. It wasn’t long before we can hear the gushing of the water from the falls serenading us as we behold its beauty right in front of us.
I’m not really good at describing waterfalls so I’ll leave that to the photos I took. The basin is only knee-deep and the water from above falls like a meter-wide curtain at the side.We stayed for a while and took photos, hundreds of photos! Aside from the 40-minute drive, there was nothing challenging along the way to the falls. It is very accessible and the people in the community would willingly guide tourists.
There is no standard rate yet for guide fees and the children just told us to give them whatever we can afford. I asked them if they go to school on weekdays and they shyly answered yes. We gave them a little extra so that they can have additional baon for school. I have nothing against children giving guide services as long as they don’t do it during class hours and it does not affect their studies. At some point, they also offered to carry some of our things but we refused to let them do so. We were happy at the end of our trip and the children treated us as friends rather than tourists.
You don’t need a lot of courage to travel Zamboanga and make new friends, you just need an open mind and a reliable #LimitlessTactics Trail Backpack.
How to get there using public transportation:
From the city proper, ride a bus going to Barangay Labuan (35.00 pesos). Habal-habal drivers can be found near the covered court and they shall take you to the bridge for 50.00 pesos each. Try to negotiate how much it would cost if you will hire them to get to the bridge, lighthouse and waterfalls. Please be considerate of your payment specially if you will make them wait.
Thanks to Dave Gramatica– Zamboanga’s tourism trailblazer for giving us directions. Follow him on instatgam: @byahenideyb
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