BY RICKY MONTECILLO
August 01, 2019
Mapita Falls in Aguilar, Pangasinan can be reached via its newly built roads up in the mountains of Aguilar. However, not all the portions are already done and there are some dirt and muddy parts.
When we got to the foot of the hills of Aguilar, in Labrador Pangasinan, we rode the muddy portions at the start. It was already in the afternoon and the rains had started to pour. We were riding our big and heavy adventure bikes and some of the guys were hesitant to proceed.
Owing to prudence, and in consideration of the other riders, we decided to turn back and re-sked our ride to Mapita Falls for the following day.
We were already a bit tired and famished after riding from Manila which is more than 300 kilometers away.
Weeks before, The Long Riders head Restie Renia surveyed the area and found the Olana Bed and breakfast in Labrador, which is a seaside resort. Olana Bed and Breakfast is owned by Nelda D. Mari and her British husband, who bought the resort from its former foreigner owners.
They spruced it up and made some improvements. It’s a nice and quaint place to stay when in Labrador, Pangasinan. It has four rooms and it is clean and the staff are very friendly and helpful. We met Nelda herself and she is very accommodating and hospitable.
There were 11 of us who checked-in and we had a pleasant evening of booze and banter. Laughter is really the best medicine coupled with Black Label and cheap Alfonso I. The riders are Restie Renia, Randy Ypon, Brando Rosales, Wern Asprec, Glenn Peñafiel and his sons Miguel and Pax. Capt. Tin Nolasco and Kuya Bong De Leon, and new comer Luis Morelos. Almost forgot, me, Ricky.
Glenn and his group left early morning the following day for Manila to catch a flight and so we were down to 6 riders.
The roads to Mapita Falls were better the following day. The sun was out and it looked friendlier. Actually the roads were friendly and not technical at all. It went up to the mountains of Aguilar and gave us spectacular views of the mountains and the bird’s eye view of Pangasinan and Mangatarem.
There is a view deck at the top of the roads, which we had to hike. But Brando Rosales outdid us all and expertly rode his brand-less 500 cc. GS look alike up to the top!
Before we trekked to the Mapita Falls, we went down to a small barrio to giveaway the toys and goodies for the children, something we always do when we ride. It’s The Long Riders’ signature gesture of goodwill to bring smiles to the little ones. Sometimes we also do Dental Missions.
We parked our bikes afterwards near the jump-off point to Mapita, in a small rest house of a friend.
The trekk to Mapita was not so hard, less than an hour actually. But the locals can easily do it in 20 minutes. The hike was also pleasant as the weather was a bit cloudy.
Upon reaching Mapita Falls, we were happy to have conquered once more a hidden treasure up in an off-the-beaten-path destination. It’s always a joy to experience the adventure of riding, trekking and finally witnessing the wonders of nature.
Mapita Falls has two layers and each layer offers a small lagoon for dipping and swimming. Sadly, the lagoon have become shallow and muddy due to erosion from nearby road construction. Hopefully, the local government will do something about this and restore its former beauty. Still, it is a good place to visit.
After the Mapita falls trip, we decided to stay another night in a pension, dormitory type hostel in Alaminos, Pangasinan. It is the jump-off point to the island-hopping trips to the famed 100 islands.
The following day, we rode some 35 kilometers to Anda, Pangasinan, near the more popular Bolinao.
I’ve been there several years ago and I knew Tondol Beach in Anda is a beautiful white sand beach cove. It is like a sandbar which connects to a smaller island. There are several resorts and even on a Sunday, it was not crowded. Visitors from Manila and nearby provinces go there and the children playing on its shallow waters, frolicking in the sun and sand was just a perfect sight to relax.
On our way back to Manila that Sunday, we found this small restaurant in Sual by the road side, Sual Salakot. The food is very good and the place has good ambience, overlooking Pangasinan. You’d be surprised what you discover on such adventure rides.
We were “home safe” before 9pm in time to rest and re-charge for Mondays work. I guess we all slept with big smiles on our faces that night after a weekend of good ole’ adventure riding!