Sicao Falls Trekking Guide: Things You Need To Know Before Going To This Wonderful Attraction

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If you are planning for a one-day visit to Sicao Falls then read on as this guide is for you. This is aimed at providing useful information so that your trek becomes a lot easier or, at least, this can help for you to manage your expectations.
 
So, here we go…

THE TREK


1. Start early

                  

If you are like me who discovered my love for hiking just recently (in other words, newbie) then you must start early with your trek. You should be there at the jumping-off point (the corner of the street in Tamayong leading to Sicao Village) as early as 5 AM. The whole trek to Sicao Falls and back takes about 12 hours for beginners. That means, when you start at around 5 AM, you should be back before darkness blankets the trail.

2. Steep ascent begins right after the jumping-off point

Sicao Falls trail, Tamayong, Calinan, Davao City
Steep trail going to Sicao Village
Sicao Falls trek, Tamayong, Calinan, Davao City
Another shot of the trail going to Sicao Village
Yes, this trek is definitely not a walk in the park. Right at the start, you immediately get a taste of what it is like to hike Sicao Falls. Though you will climb up on the paved road at the beginning, the rest will be unpaved, uneven, rough, winding road in the middle of a wide banana plantation before you reach Sicao Village.

3. You need to register at Sicao Village

Sicao Falls Registration Center, Tamayong, Davao City
My fellow trekker, Mitch, owner of I Wander Philippines blog, and  I were at the Sicao Village center in this photo for the registration.
After an hour or two ascent, and if you follow the correct road, you will reach Sicao Village where the registration is done. Yes, registration is required when you visit Sicao Falls. Going there without registering is a violation that merits penalty. It is also for monitoring purposes. A kind of manifesto.
 
The registration fee is Php 220
 
Note: Before, visitors needed to register two times – in Sicao Village as well as in Sitio Utan. As of this writing, however, they have unified it; there is only one registration now.

4. You will undergo some briefing

Sicao Falls trek orientation
Our team while having a briefing at Sicao Village’s registration center.
You will undergo some sort of orientation before you can continue with your trek. You will learn more about the place, the people living in the community, and mainly, the terrain, the trail leading to Sicao Falls.

5. Start your trek from Sicao Village to the Sicao Falls

Sicao Falls trail, Tamayong, Calinan, Davao City
Our team climbing up the trail from Sicao Village going to Sicao Falls, which started at around 7 AM.
Sicao Falls trail, Tamayong, Calinan, Davao City
Taking some rest before I continued to move down the trail covered by a dense foliage.
The trek from Sicao Village to Sicao Falls and back takes about 8 hours (that includes some rest and selfies along the way). However, a pro can take it with just 6 hours or even a little less than that.
 
You will cross 9 rivers, climb up and down across 7 hills (actually, I lost counts in the number of hills), and trudge along an uneven, physically-challenging terrain (some of them are verticals that you need to take grips on protruding roots) before you reach the site.
 
While some parts of the trail may be considered unfriendly, you will be surprised to see lots of awesome sites along the way such as this…
Sicao Falls trail, Tamayong, Calinan, Davao City
Flowers in bloom along the trail from Sicao Village going to Sicao Falls
and this…
The trail of Sicao Falls, Tamayong, Calinan, Davao City
Stop by another bunch of colorful flowers along the way.
and more flowers in an array of colors…
The trail of Sicao Falls, Tamayong, Calinan, Davao City
The trail of Sicao Falls, Tamayong, Calinan, Davao City
And how about this…
Sicao Falls, Tamayong, Calinan, Davao City
Wild berries along the trail going to Sicao Falls
And this one…
River along the trail going to Sicao Falls, Tamayong, Calinan, Davao City
One of the 9 rivers that we needed to cross as we continued our trek to Sicao Falls
And another one…
River along the trail going to Sicao Falls, Tamayong, Calinan, Davao City
Taking some rest again along this river that lies across the trail going to Sicao Falls
Another capture of that river…
The trail of Sicao Falls, Tamayong, Calinan, Davao City
Appreciating the river, which stream flows down a ridge.
And here’s another one…
The trail of Sicao Falls, Tamayong, Calinan, Davao City
Giant trees such as this one are plenty along the trail.
Indeed, the trail is an attraction in itself for you to behold.

6. The final descent before reaching Sicao Falls is unforgiving

The trail of Sicao Falls, Tamayong, Calinan, Davao City
My fellow trekker and I were taking our final descent down the trail going to Sicao Falls.
The final descent to Sicao Falls can be liken to the climax of an action-packed story we read. You will be climbing down the most difficult verticals in this part of the trail, wherein you will be holding roots and grapple to protruding stones. Truly, you need to go through this hostile trail before you reach the amazing Sicao Falls.

7. You reach the majestic Sicao Falls

Sicao Falls, Tamayong, Calinan, Davao City
The majestic Sicao Falls from afar.
Sicao Falls, Tamayong, Calinan, Davao City
Standing so small (and in awe) before this amazing waterfall.

Behold as finally, after trudging through that ‘hellish’ terrain, you will see the majestic Sicao Falls looming before you. The sound of its falling water and the cool mists it creates will invigorate your senses. Taking a dip in its cold and crystal clear water will sooth your aching body from the trek.

8. Sidetrip to Daragdag Falls

Daragdag Falls, Tamayong, Calinan, Davao City
Daragdag Falls from afar.
Your Sicao Falls trek will not be complete without taking a side trip to Daragdag Falls, which is just about 15 minutes river trek away. It is composed of three different falls, hence, it is also called ‘Tres Marias’ by some trekkers.These falls lined up side by side with each other, creating a unique, amazing view for visitors to appreciate. And, just like that of Sicao Falls, the water of Daragdag Falls is so clean that you will probably be wanting to linger more.

9. Going back

After enjoying these natural attractions, you will be going back to Sicao Village using the same trail, bringing the memories and the images of these amazing gifts of nature. And, of course, apart from the beautiful memories, bring back with you your trash from food and other items you brought to the site.
 
If you depart from Sicao Falls at 2 PM, you will be back at Sicao Village before sunset. You can take a bath or change clothes there, and relax a bit before you head back to the jumping off point and seek home.

HOW TO GET THERE


  1. From Davao City Proper, take an L300 van ride at Calinan Passenger Terminal in Bankerohan (or you can just ride a jeepney plying along Roxas Avenue, Quirino Avenue, or any point along MacArthur Highway with “Calinan” sign board)
  2. Hop off the van at Buyzone Store, located at the corner of the street where you can see a habal-habal (motorbike) terminal and where you can find one that could ferry you to Purok 6 in Tamayong, the jumping-off point of your trek.
  3. From the jumpimg-off point in Purok 6, start your trek going to Sicao Village, which could take an hour or two (alternatively, you can take a habal-habal ride again to reach Sicao Village)
  4. Register at Sicao Village before you continue your trek.
  5. After registration, start your guided trek to Sicao Falls, which takes about 4 hours for beginners.

SAMPLE BUDGET (PER PERSON)


Fare:

  • Davao City Proper – Calinan Proper: PHP 40.00 x 2 = PHP 80.00
  • Calinan Proper – Purok 6, Tamayong = PHP 60.00 per person
  • Purok 6, Tamayong – Calinan Proper = 100 per person
  • Purok 6 – Sicao Village = PHP 100 x 2 = PHP 200 (that is, if you take a ride and dare to ply the rough road leading to the village)
 
Registration Fee: PHP 220
Local Tour Guide Fee (also required, per 5 trekkers and below): PHP 500 / 5 = PHP 100
 
Food:
Breakfast, lunch, dinner = PHP 300
Snacks (e.g. bread, candies that could fill your stomach while on the trail) = PHP 100
Water (preferably 2 liters) = PHP 40
 
TOTAL: PHP 1200
 
Tips: If you want to further reduce your expenses, here are some things you can do:
  • Get rid of riding from the jumping off point to Sicao Village and back (you save 200 pesos)
  • Instead of buying a bottled water, just fill your empty container at home (you save about 40)
  • Come along with 5 friends because, aside from it is more enjoyable to share the adventure with them, you pay less in tour guide fee (you will still be paying 500 pesos if you come alone)
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