ORIENTAL MINDORO | Tukuran Falls, Off the Beach and Pubs of Puerto Galera

Tukuran Falls

I had never heard of Tukuran Falls until I set foot for the first time in Puerto Galera. I did not spend time googling before embarking on that two-night trip to White Beach. After all, going there just for the beach-side nightlife did not need that much planning. Finding, however, that it could be dull to wait all day by the beach or within the confines of the hotel room before the pubs open at nightfall, we went beyond Galera's seaside.

On the night we arrived in White Beach, right after we checked in, we settled a one-day tour around town with Ate Joy, a middle-aged tourist guide who approached us as soon as we disembarked from the shuttle that transferred us from Muelle Port. I learned about Tukuran from her, from the card she apparently bears wherever she go. It was a laminated bond paper that, from side to side, has photos of Puerto Galera's tourist spots grouped into several tour packages that she offer. From that, Ate Joy let us select where to go for the next day. Most tour guides roaming and hawking their services around White Beach carry this kind of cardboard.

READ ALSO: Puerto Galera's White Beach and Two Nights of Mindoro Sling

I tried to haggle so we could cover all places in one day but to no avail. Ate Joy asserted that some sites were that far and would be out-of-the-way with other destinations. Tukuran Falls was the farthest, she said, among the spots in the package we chose. We went to Puerto Galera with the sole plan of swilling booze but that Tukuran is far from the lax beach and party vibes of White Beach could mean adventure, nature trip, trekking and all difference it entails. So off we went.

At the water curtain of Tukuran Falls

Off to Tukuran Falls

The next morning, we hop on the multicab that Ate Joy provided for the day's road trip. Tukuran Falls being the farthest was the first stop. It took almost an hour before we reached the trailhead where the environs was far from the touristy White Beach. It seemed that we're the only group at the vicinity that day. Few people mostly locals, a modest souvenir shop, carabaos (water buffaloes) and coachmen in a peaceful rural setting. We're asked to choose whether to hit the trail for the falls by foot or by a carabao-drawn cart that they call kartel. We could walk across the jungle but we opted the one we don't get a chance to do everyday. So the coachman prepared Maria, the carabao, and her carriage.

Aboard the carabao cart, coconut tree plantations along the trail
Aboard the carabao cart crossing rivers en route Tukuran Falls

Aboard Maria's carriage, we passed along the trail flanked by hundreds of coconut trees and dotted with knee-deep rivers and streams. It took half an hour to reach the spot where trekking would begin, where Maria could not go further as it already requires scaling some boulders. We trekked and in a few minutes, Tukuran Falls showed herself.

Where trekking starts
Trekking upon boulders
Tukuran Falls' river system
Tukuran Falls

Though only about ten feet high, Tukuran Falls gushes down violently to its shallow, rocky basin. It is torrential and shallow that under its water curtains makes perfect spot for a natural hydro massage. It is the falls' main draw and the selling point of the tour guides in White Beach. Waters of Tukuran Falls stream down to deeper, wider swimming holes that are a bit far from the rumbling cascade; a spot good enough for those who prefer a more serene cold dip.

Waterfalls massage
Waterfall massage
Swimming at wide river basin

Tukuran's not as grand and stunning as other waterfalls in town. But when in a party and night-life destination like Puerto Galera, the far-flung jungles like that of Tukuran Falls is a breather. And being transported by a carabao is quite an experience.

How to Get to Tukuran Falls

In downtown Puerto Galera, take a jeepney or hire a van that would take you straight to the trailhead. Or, like we did, get the services of tour guides in White Beach and they'll prepare everything for you. Just try to haggle and do some research because some tour guides tend to take advantage of tourists.

Fees: Carabao ride PHP 500 / Environmental fee PHP 50


DJ Rivera is an I.T. professional, entrepreneur, travel blogger, writer and the online publisher of PinoyTravelogue.com based in Rizal province, Philippines. Click here to know more.

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