A beauty in a form of water streaming out and down from lush green cliff walls joining the meandering Alamada River in the highlands of Cotabato – a simple description of a hidden gem in the town of Alamada, at the foot of the Blue Mountain that is Mt. Ragang or Mount Piapayungan to some. Asik-asik Falls, the pride of Cotabato, is a unique and beautiful curtain waterfalls tucked in a rift formed by the Alamada River.
Reaching the falls is quite a challenge. The town of Alamada is at least 230km from Davao City. Getting there from Davao City, you need to pass by the city of Kidapawan thru Digos or via Bukidnon-Arakan Valley Highway. Taking the Davao-Cotabato Road, you’ll pass by the towns of Kabacan, Pikit and Midsayap, turning right for Libungan-Alamada Road which takes you to the junction a few hundred meters after the Alamada Municipal Hall.
Left road at the fork
At the junction, take the Alamada-Dado Road which is a long stretch of alternate paved and rough road leading to the jump-off point of Asik-Asik Falls. For now, A 4×4 vehicle is highly recommended for this road, although most parts are already concrete, but the unpaved/non-concrete portion would be a challenge for cars or small vehicles.
The Alamada-Dado Road provides a scenic view of rolling hills and varying agri-fields of pineapples, corn and ricefields, with Mt. Piapayungan and Mt. Latukan, both active volcanoes as backdrop, the 21km trip to Asik-Asik Falls jump-off point is never a dull time.
There’s a slim chance that you’ll get lost on the road to Asik-Asik Falls. The jump-off point is at Upper Dado. An entrance fee of Php 30 per person is collected. Parking fee for vehicles is Php 15. Tour guide is optional since the trail is very defined. Some shops have hiking sticks for rent. I fully understood the use of the sticks and I highly recommend one when you go down the stairs towards the banks of Alamada River and finally to Asik-Asik Falls.
Speaking of the stairs. From the jump-off point, a trail of about a hundred meters will bring you to the steep flight of stairs. Some say its a total of 880 steps. I counted a little over 600 steps. Nevertheless, it’s a physical struggle down and up the stairs. But the reward is the curtain cascades itself. The physical struggle is nothing compared to the magic of Asik-Asik Falls. At the last step near the riverbank, a short hike will lead you to your reward. There it is.
It all begins with a single step
Alamada River approaching Asik-Asik Falls
A short hike towards the cascades
The gem of Alamada
credit to Akosimaxx
The cascades joined the Alamada River. The water is brown and murky because it rained a bit that day. Water from Asik-Asik is clear and potable. The locals say that it’s a spring water and that it is alkaline and clean due to natural filtration. The pools are not deep, visitors can go up and stand at the face of the cliff for the cool waters of Asik-Asik.
Asik-Asik is ticked off from my bucket list of amazing waterfalls in the Philippines. I am short of beautiful words to describe it. Magical? Enchanting? I think it’s more than that. Asik-Asik Falls is worth the long travel and the 880 steps.