Merloquet Falls is one of Zamboanga City’s most visited tourist attraction. Located in Barangay Sibulao, Zamboanga City, the three tiered waterfalls can be accessed by a two hour bus/van ride and a thirty minute habal-habal ride. A short walk down a concrete staircase of 334 steps will take you to the façade of its curtain-like cascade where you can see its first two tiers.
A few months ago, a solo backpacker sent me a direct message on my instagram account. Kiko, an accountant from Aklan who is currently based in Manila had a handful of questions about Zamboanga. He has never been on this part of the country, and all the negative publicity regarding the security situation of the Zamboanga Peninsula is not very helpful to convince him to visit. But Kiko wants to be part of the list of people who toured all the 81 provinces of the Philippines. I made him read my previous articles to convince him to visit Zamboanga City and assure him that our city is not as bad as he heard from the news which is often sensationalized. After two days, Kiko was able to book his ticket for a 3D2N stay in Zamboanga City with a side trip to Isabela, Basilan. I agreed to take Kiko to Merloquet Falls because I haven’t been there for a while and I can’t wait to take more photos with my Fuji X-A2 camera. (Tip: I also did some back ground check on Kiko’s social media accounts and from other acquaintances. Although it is advised to be extra friendly, a security/background check should be done to new acquaintances because safety is always a priority. Do it as a standard and non-offensive procedure.)
Kiko arrived in Zamboanga a little after 7 in the morning. We had breakfast at a famous Satti house and toured around the butterfly garden in Pasonanca Park before heading to Melroquet Falls. What I like about Merloquet Falls is its accessibility which can easily fit in a backpacker’s tight itinerary. Entrance to the waterfalls is allowed until 4 o’clock in the afternoon. You can choose to leave early in the morning or leave a little bit late and you will still be able to see the waterfalls. The curtain like cascades of the waterfall will surely take your breath away.
How to get there:
The usual route is to ride a bus from the bus terminal going to Barangay Vitali. TheIntegrated Bus Terminal (IBT) was recently transferred to Barangay Divisoria which is more than 30 minutes away from the city proper. Although the transfer of the bus terminal is a very much welcomed change because of it’s facilities, the new location is a bit far from the city proper. Going to the bus terminal consumes additional time and could be affect the itinerary of buzzer beaters. However, there is a local van that goes the same route and it is conveniently located in the center of the city. The more convenient route is taking a van to from Gateway Mall. The two hour trip to Barangay Vitali costs 100.00 pesos. You can ask your van driver to drop you to the habal-habal terminal where you can take a ride going to Barangay Sibulao.
It was lunch time when we got there so we grabbed a quick lunch at a local carenderia. It is advisable to bring take out or home cooked food especially if you are a large group. There is a small sari-sari store at the drop off point in Merloquet Falls where you can buy some refreshment and junk foods. The thirty minute habal-habal ride to the waterfalls costs 70 pesos per way. Each habal-habal can accommodate 2-3 persons depending on the type of motorcycle. Once you reach the drop off point, you will need to log-in and pay the 5 peso entrance fee. Make arrangements with your driver for your return trip, most of them will just wait for you if you are not staying long in the area. A short walk down a concrete staircase of 334 steps will take you to the breathtaking Merloquet Falls. For your return trip, ask your habal-habal driver to drop you at the van terminal. (Additional tip: to best enjoy the waterfalls, wear non-slip sandals or slippers. You will need it when you climb to the third tier and when you bathe under the curtain like cascades in the second tier.