Pulangbato Falls, Red Rock Hot Spring — a Warm and Cool Treat from Valencia, Negros Oriental

We have gone thirty minutes from Casaroro Falls when I perceived an unpleasant smell as if somebody released that mighty gas. But nobody farted. The undesirable odor apparently emanates from a hill that perpetually gives off a great deal of vapor. Clouds of sulfuric fumes steams toward the sky, fortunately not blanketing the paved road that cuts through the smokey hill as our habal-habal passed by. It was an instant attraction, worthy of a few snaps.

Sulfuric steams from a hill in Valencia
 PHOTO: Courtesy of Eledee Camingawan

Past the smelly vicinity, road signs point to Pulangbato Falls and Red Rock Hot Spring. We drove uphill, following the instruction to turn right, along of a series of alternating cemented and unpaved portions of the road until we arrived at the hot spring. Fresh from a daring feat at Casaroro, the sweltering spring didn't seem ideal for our pumped-up limbs; thus moving on, heading to the waterfalls supposing it offers a stimulating dip.

READ ALSO: Casaroro Falls of Valencia, Negros Oriental — "She's magical"

A Cool Treat from Pulangbato Falls

Barangay Malabo's twin cascade demands no struggle unlike Casaroro. The twin nestles within a fenced facility surrounded with well-maintained resort amenities and lush greenery. I could hear the soothing sound of gushing waters upon entering the gate. It has been her way of telling she's just around the corner, waiting for everyone to witness her unique elegance.

Smaller waterfall of Pulangbato Twin Falls

Past some thatched cabana and a cemented swimming pool that doesn't seem inviting, the twin falls reveal themselves. The first cataract streams through a dark grayish limestone wall, down to a pebbly, riprapped basin that is generally brown in color. A mini dam controls the volume of its basin whose water torrents down near the other waterfall when released. That moment, the dam was open; the basin has only a puddle to dive into.

Larger falls of Pulangbato Twin Falls
 PHOTO: Courtesy of Eledee Camingawan

The other cascade sits down the slope, exuding its unearthly beauty. Its water flows down a moss green swimming hole; a part of its wall, the edge of its semi-circular basin, and the rocks positioned at where the water streams through are in distinctive red and orange hue. "Pulang bato" means "red rock" in Filipino, hence the name. The water's sulfur content dyes rocks turning them into orange-red.

Pulangbato Falls
Orange-red rocks of Pulangbato Falls

Cemented, hand-railed steps and a sturdy bamboo bridge brought us closer to the falls' otherworldly presence. The water is cold despite its Chemistry-ish feature; cool enough to soak and relax my legs. Her mist enchanted me to swoop in but the chill of a gloomy late afternoon prompted me to spare it for the warm dip.

At the cascade of Pulangbato Falls

The Warmth of Red Rock Hot Spring

Smoke rising up from the folds of rocks indicates that Valencia sits near an active volcano. When there is such, chances are, there will be places where warm water springs from the ground.

Red Rock Hot Spring
 PHOTO: Courtesy of Eledee Camingawan

Red Rock Hot Spring (RRHS) boasts itself as a relaxing sanctuary amidst the cool temperature of Valencia. According to a signage that welcomes the visitors upon entry, the water comes from a naturally occurring spring that spouts through an opening by the pool. The owner built that pool around the natural stream to accommodate more members of their family. When people started enjoying the waters of the pool, the family opened it officially for public use.

A warm bath at Red Rock Hot Spring
 PHOTO: Courtesy of Eledee Camingawan

We shed our clothes off. Slowly, we stuck our feet in the tolerably warm water until our bodies were totally submerged. For less than an hour, the above-thirty-seven-degree waters of Red Rock Hot Spring capped off our day of nature wallowing.

Fast Facts

  • Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) classifies Mount Talinis or Cuernos de Negros, located southwest of Valencia, as a potentially active volcano. Blame it for the fart-like fumes.
  • Because of the town's big source of geothermal energy, Valencia is home to a certain geothermal power station that generates electricity and supplies the needs of Negros, Panay, Guimaras and a portion of Cebu island.

Getting there from Dumaguete

  • Hop on a PUJ bound for Valencia and alight at the terminal. Fare: Around 15 Pesos; Travel time:  15-20 minutes;
  • Ride a habal-habal (motorcycle) going to Pulangbato Falls. Fare: 200 Pesos, round trip; Travel time: 15-20 minutes; Expect to shed an extra amount to include Casaroro Falls on your trip.
  • Alternative: Rent a habal-habal in Dumaguete downtown and motorcycle it your way. Fee: 450 Pesos for motorcycle rental and gas; [source: AWanderfulSole.com]
  • Yet another alternative (how we made it): Visit Balinsasayao Twin Lakes prior to Casaroro and charter the same habal-habal that would take you to the lakes. Haggle skillfully yet with a heart. Fare: 800 Pesos per motorcycle, good for two persons; Inclusions: Casaroro Falls, Pulangbato Falls, Red Rock Hot Spring and your hotel in Dumaguete; Pros: Saves commuting time, gives enough moment enjoying the marvels of Valencia; added comfort since they would bring you back to your hostel; chance to befriend your local drivers.

Our habal-habal drivers for the whole day
 Our friends behind the wheel.

Trip Notes

  • Pulangbato Falls entrance fee: 25 Pesos (adult); 10 Pesos (child)
  • Pulangbato Falls rentals: 100 Pesos (table with chairs); 200 Pesos (small cottage); 300 Pesos (big cottage); 1500 Pesos (guesthouse, overnight)
  • RRHS entrance fee: 30 Pesos (adult); for other fees including cottage rentals and other information, visit their Facebook page
  • Pulangbato's cold waters may stain your clothes. Wear clothes of dark shades.

Rocks of Pulangbato Falls
 PHOTO: Courtesy of Eledee Camingawan

Pulangbato Falls (Pinoy Travelogue Itinerary)

  • 8:00 AM : Breakfast at Dumaguete Market — those budbod and puto maya are a must-try!
  • 8:30 AM : Shop for some snacks
  • 9:00 AM : Bound for twin lakes; travel via easyride to San Jose — we had to wait until it gets full
  • 10:00 AM : Habal-habal ride to Balinsasayao twin lakes
  • 11:00 AM : Lake activities
  • 1:00 PM : En route to Valencia — we hired the same habal-habal guys in twin lakes for a special trip
  • 2:30 PM : Arduous trek to see Casaroro Falls
  • 3:45 PM : En route Pulangbato Falls
  • 4:30 PM : Marvel at the twin falls of Pulangbato
  • 5:00 PM : Cap off the day at Red Rock Hot Springs
  • 5:45 PM : Back to Dumaguete

READ ALSO: Local Delights : Dumaguete's Must-try Dishes and Restaurants

Pinoy Travelogue in Valencia, Negros Oriental: 
Balinsasayao, Danao — the Twin Lakes of Sibulan, Negros Oriental
Casaroro Falls of Valencia, Negros Oriental - "She's magical"
Pulangbato Falls, Red Rock Hot Spring — a Warm and Cool Treat


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