Exploring Bucari Pine Forest

Bucari is situated in the mountains of Leon, Iloilo, an hour away from the city. It is known as the ‘little Baguio’ for its cool climate and views. Initially, we planned to hike Mt. Agua Colonia but as it’s just relatively newly opened to the public, we were unsure of our itinerary. All I knew was that we needed to get to Leon.

We rode a jeep (₱6.50) going to Jaro Cathedral then walked to the terminal. The jeepney going to Leon left at around 8:30am and costed ₱30. We got to Leon at 9:30am, rode a tricycle to Bucari (₱10), and then hired habal-habals going to and from Bucari Pine Forest (₱300).

Habal-habal ride with Francia
Habal-habal ride with Francia
The dirt road starts here
The dirt road starts here

The road to Bucari Pine Forest is mostly unpaved. Expect it to be really dusty during sunny days and muddy when rainy. It’s very far from where the jeepney dropped us off so I really think ₱150(one way) was worth it, considering it would take you all afternoon for the tours.

Rice fields we passed by otw to Bucari Pine Forest
Rice fields we passed by otw to Bucari Pine Forest

We were really surprised when we got there as we were expecting to see the jump-off to Mt. Agua Colonia but since there was nothing more we could do, we just settled for it.

Bucari Pine Forest
Bucari Pine Forest

There are lots of picnic sheds for those who would like to just enjoy the cool environment. You could hire a jeepney to get here with your things. It would cost you ₱2000-₱3000.

It rained hard so we only opted for the viewing deck and waterfalls. One of the habal-habal drivers guided us to the viewing deck. It took us around 30 minutes, not a tiring trek at all.

Gem using a Gabi-gabihan as an umbrella
Gem using a Gabi-gabihan as an umbrella
Mansiga View Deck
Mansiga View Deck

We were welcomed by this view of Mt. Agua Colonia, complemented by beautiful flowers around the area.

Mt. Agua Colonia

A photo posted by Janella Salcedo (@janellamarey) on

A popular tourist spot here is this lying pine tree, perfect for selfies but not for the faint-hearted. There are makeshift rails made of bamboo but the tree itself is still very slippery. One wrong step would send you falling down the fields.

Bianca
Bianca

The other side of the deck leads to Bato Puti, also known as White Stone Panoramic Cliff. It’s just a 5-min walk from the deck.

to Bato Puti
to Bato Puti

Ang ganda, promise. This took me back to the time I went to Mt. Sipit Ulang–breathtaking limestone formations.

Missed hiking so bad đŸ“· @bianzeyl

A photo posted by Janella Salcedo (@janellamarey) on

After spending about an hour atop, we headed for the waterfalls. The drivers asked for another ₱100 because according to them, it was too far. At first, we were hesitant but we learned that not only was it really far, the road was also harder to traverse–muddier and rougher.

otw to waterfalls
otw to waterfalls

We even had to cross bridges to get there. This was the first.

Bridge#1
Bridge#1

We reached the jump-off to Tacumong Falls by 1:30pm. We were charged ₱20 each for the entrance, then we traveled by foot.

Here are bridges #2 and #3:

Bridge #2
Bridge #2
Bridge #3
Bridge #3

Nearing the falls, we were asked to leave our shoes and bags since we would be crossing the water and it would be very slippery. Tiwala lang. The pebbles hurt. hahaha.

barefoot

We reached the falls after about 20 minutes. Because of the previous rain, the water fell into the basin rather heavily. It was slightly underwhelming, since the basin itself was small and deep, which did not allow for much swimming. It was still a beautiful sight. We just really wanted to swim, that’s all.

chasing waterfalls
chasing waterfalls

We got back to the terminal by 4pm and ended the day with a heavy dinner at Tatoy’s Manukan.

Tatoy's
Tatoy’s

Summary of Expenses:

ETA  CHECKPOINT  ACTIVITY  COST/HEAD 
Oct. 5, Wednesday
8:00 AM Ong Bun Jeep to Jaro Cathedral  6.50 PHP
8:25 AM Terminal Jeep to Leon  30.00 PHP
9:25 AM Leon Terminal Trike to Bucari 10.00 PHP
9:30 AM Habal-habal stop Habal-habal to Bucari Pine Forest 150.00 PHP
1:00 PM Bucari Pine Forest Habal-habal to Falls 100.00 PHP
1:30 PM Entrance to Tacumong Falls  20.00 PHP
3:00 PM Tacumong Falls Habal-habal to Leon (100 for waterfalls, 160 back to Leon) 260.00 PHP
4:00 PM Leon Jeep to Jaro 30.00 PHP
4:30 PM Jaro Taxi to Tatoy’s manukan 40.00 PHP
5:00 PM Tatoy’s Manukan dinner 170.00 PHP
TOTAL 816.50 PHP

Note: For food, we only bought light snacks at the sari-sari store in the pine forest. That’s why we were already very hungry when we got to Tatoy’s. hehe.

Although we really didn’t plan on visiting Bucari Pine Forest, accompanied by an unfavorable weather, I’d say we still had a good time. Next time, maybe we could visit the actual Mt. Agua Colonia. hahaha. Cheers!



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