If you already visited Tibag, Tinagong, Kaldero and Kawa Falls and you want more of these beautiful cascades, try visiting Matnor Falls in Inagawan Sub-Colony. This waterfall is one of a kind. Tucked in the middle of the forest eight kilometer from the trailhead, this wonder will definitely make you awestruck – read on to learn more and plan your hike!
Our Matnor Experience
Our team of six (Ate Ems, Ariane, Arjay, Chicoi, Lud and I) excitedly began our weekend chasing waterfall adventure at 5:00 in the morning – sometimes it’s a wonder how I can get up so early for outdoors and not do it on weekdays for work. We drove south via Puerto Princesa South Road and had a quick stop at Acacia Tree Tunnel to take our breakfast.
We then took off again and turned right in one of the feeder road in Inagawan Sub-Colony (details below) past local communities, open fields and meadows of cute colorful flowers. We reached the trailhead at eight in the morning and began our three-hour trek to the waterfall at 8:30 passing by rice, kamote and vegetable farms.
We then went on a quite steep slope down to the river outlined and scattered with small and large rocks. We gradually pushed ourselves upstream following the flow of the river. Large looming trees, tall rattans, leptosporangiate and bird’s nest ferns, gingers, bamboos and mosses dot the trail. Imagine a river with an undisturbed tropical vibe; greens dominate the ambience, nipa like plants attached to the wall of rocks, swamp taros with large leaves near the brooks, the birds are singing and water is rustling – pure chill.
The wall of rocks framing some parts of the river seem to be magically piled on top of the other, creating surreal patterns of rectangles of small sizes looking like they were chopped and placed together again to make a puzzle of stairs.
Surrounded by nature, our team steadily trekked deeper into the forest until we reached Matnor Falls, a tall white curtain of waters falling at the side of the cliff, one of the highest falls in Palawan by far for me, mesmerizing, soft yet strong, mysterious in its way… a pure beauty.
We spent two hours at the foot of waterfall – ate lunch, took pictures, showered, laughed, shouted, whispered, chilled and took a nap. We left at two in the afternoon and by 5:30, with the sun setting behind Aborlan mountains, we drove thru the meadows…back to the highway, and eventually to the city’s bustle.
How to get there
The jump-off to Matnor Falls is located at the Puerto Princesa South Road, Inagawan Sub-Colony few kilometers from the famous Acacia Tree Tunnel. Commuting to this location (9°32’29.1″N 118°37’36.1″E) is an option but the best way to reach the trailhead, which is 30 to 40-minutes drive from the highway, is via a private vehicle (hire here), preferably SUVs and pick-ups – sedans and hatchbacks can do too. The feeder road that took us to the trailhead near the first river is quite confusing so it is advisable for you to have the guide (Kuya Randy – +639366765788) lead you from the highway. You may also contact Arjay Bundac (+639121207988) if you need a lead guide from Puerto Princesa. Guide fee will range from PHP 700 to PHP 800 for a day hike.
If you will commute, you may also ask the guide to organize a number of motorcycles, depending on how many you are, to take you to the trailhead – walking from the highway is not advisable; it is far…and hot.
The difficulty level of the trail is 4/9. This is mostly river crossing that ranges from toe to waist-deep. Although it is advisable for beginners, do not attempt to brave if it is raining hard.
What to wear and bring
It is suitable to wear a rubber or a hiking shoes that molds itself with the rocks to ensure that your steps are steady especially during the river crossing – it is preferred than outdoor sandals to make sure that your feet will be protected too. Outdoor pants or leggings, Dri-fit shirts and armbands are also recommended. Make sure to bring extra clothes to change into after the hike for you will surely get wet. Do not forget to bring a water in your water bottle, trail food, packed lunch and first aid kit.
This is a day hike, but if you want to spend more time in the waterfall, please make sure that you will be back at the trailhead before sunset – night trekking is not advisable since other hikers reported sighting of snakes along the trail. Water proof your stuff and please make sure that you do not travel in large groups to minimize your impact in the trail. Plan ahead and be prepared. During the hike, please leave flora and fauna as it is and observe wildlife from the distance. Bring all trash down and dispose it properly. Leave no trace and have a safe adventure!
Thank you, Ate Ems, Ariane, Arjay, Chicoi and Lud for the pictures and great weekend!