After hiking back from Buntot-Palos Falls to the jumpoff point, we hopped on our van and proceeded, after a heavy lunch, to the Panguil River Eco-Park a short drive away.
After the muddy ordeal that the first hike was, I thought that the hike to the second falls would be relaxing and anti-climactic. Entering the very touristy area of the Eco-Park, with its several pools, huts, and picnic-goers, the situation didn't look promising. However, when we met our local guide, he firmly discouraged us from bringing non-waterproof backpacks and any unnecessary gear. I was wondering what the big deal was, since it was just going to be, they said, a 30-minute maximum hike. But since they were insistent, and required us all to wear life vests, I put my camera in my drybag and left my backpack at the souvenir shop.
The first ten minutes of the hike is an uneventful walk on a paved path through a tourist area. However, we soon reached our first river crossing, and that's when I realized it was about to get serious: the options were to tiptoe around rocks, or wade in and cross in a straight line. Not knowing what I was getting into, I waded and soon found myself waist deep in the cold (but refreshing water). So the adventure began.
What followed was a series of short river crossings, first to be done on foot, then the next on a series of bamboo rafts that the local guide pulled by ropes across the river. It turns out the "hike" was more of a training-wheels canyoneering experience! I wasn't expecting it, but it was a fun mini-adventure. YOU WILL GET WET. Not just wet, but probably submerged, haha. Pack accordingly.
As you get further down the river, the canyon walls close in and the scenery becomes quite lovely. I would love to go back in the summer to see the water crystal clear!
The last part gets a little more exciting as there's a tiny bit of scrambling up small waterfalls to do, but as is usually the case with local guides, they're strong enough to pull you through safely. Finally, we take a couple more rafts and arrive at Ambon-Ambon Falls.
While not large and imposing like Buntot-Palos Falls, I was taken by the beauty of Ambon-Ambon because of its unique location and shape, being wedged in a narrow canyon, which naturally gave it dramatic lighting. Don't think I've ever seen a waterfall like this before. Once again, like the first part of the trip, worth the unexpectedly exciting hike in.
It's actually quite challenging to take photos here, however, as there is only one relatively small dry rock to stand on that you will most likely share with a dozen other people. If you're not afraid to wade in chest-deep with your camera, you can walk over to the falls like the people here, but I wasn't ready to risk it myself yet haha. Besides, there were plenty of views to be taken sitting on this rock:
And naturally, there was fun to be had in the water.
And when finally everyone else had left, I took one last photo of the falls for good measure: