Dumayaka Falls is Ibaan’s tourism prospect

 

IBAAN, BATANGAS—Photographs of a pristine waterfalls here, made majestic by unique, stairs-like rock formations, had spread the cyberspace universe.

This hidden wonder in Ibaan called the Dumayaka Falls trended on social networking sites, prompting actions by the local government to promote the area as a tourism destination. Photo by Taga Ibaan Ako on Facebook

This hidden wonder in Ibaan called the Dumayaka Falls trended on social networking sites, prompting actions by the local government to promote the area as a tourism destination.
Photo by Taga Ibaan Ako on Facebook

 

Offline, or should we say at the foot of the Dumayaka Falls itself, this hidden eco-tourism destination here in Batangas is also trending.

And in this age of climate change, the Dumayaka Falls (found in Brgy. Coliat I) has been one of those places current-day Filipino nature lovers can still do things at natural wonders such as these falls, like fishing, swimming, and nature trekking.

Hey, says local resident and eatery owner Chonita Alday, the Dumayaka Falls “can be one of the most beautiful places in the country.”

These falls (previously known as the Badong Falls until the municipality changed its name to Dumayaka only last year) found in a vast agricultural land here in Ibaan trended when the grand prize of a photo contest of the recent Ala Eh Festival of the provincial government were shots of these falls. Quietly in previous months, university students in this province had been staging tree-plating activities there, or even biological research.

The Dumayaka Falls has remained hidden to tourists or even Batangueños since tourists are just passing by Ibaan and truly head for San Juan town or Batangas City. Not even the abundance of Dumayaka Trees (arenga tremula) and their leaves, which are being used in landscaping parks and schools, can hide the splendor of the water that flows from those rock formations.

Water flowing in these falls comes from a number of water springs, then they all go to one path leading to a stream of waterfalls. The Dumayaka Falls is not connected with any other rivers, “making it real, pure and clean source of life,” wrote a description of these falls at the Ibaan municipal government website.

But now that the beauty of these falls cannot be hidden anymore, public policy is slowly stepping in amid the reported absence of funds to promote Dumayaka Falls as a tourist destination, or even provide economic opportunities there.

The municipal council is currently drafting an ordinance requiring an entrance fee to visitors, such as entrance fees (P5 for 7-14 year-olds and P10 for those aged 14-and-above), rental fees for cottages (P150) and tables (P100), or even photography fees to the tune of P300. The draft ordinance also provides that residents living within the sitio where the falls are found are exempted.

Anticipating possible solid wastes left behind in the falls, the draft ordinance will prohibit tourists from bringing liquor there, and there are corresponding fines (P100 for the first offense, P200 for the second offense, and P300 for a third offense).

And since Ibaan now has a no-plastics ordinance, Dumayaka Falls is also covered by this law.

There must even be a fee for those wanting to swim at the falls, says sari-sari store owner Emma Dimaanadal. “I think payment by those visiting the falls should depend on what they intend to do there.”

Accumulated fees and fines will then be used to main and develop further the falls. As well, some town councilors are lobbying to declare Dumayaka Falls as a protected area.

Local officials were also quoted in newspaper reports as saying that seedlings of fishes were spread across the area of the falls some months ago so that fishing activities can continue. Tree-planting activities by local schools, in cooperation with the Municipal Agriculture Office, continue, as the sturdy strings of the Dumayaka leaves can be used as broom sticks.

So for now, says Ibaan’s tourism officer Myla Soriano, there are plans to set up some more cottages there.

And since the Dumayaka Falls trended online and by word-of-mouth, these modes of promoting the falls won’t abet, Soriano adds.

About KRISTINE JOY ECAYAN