When in doubt, make a fool of yourself. There is a microscopically thin line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot on earth. So what the hell, leap. - Cynthia Heimel

About two weeks ago I spent a six-day vacation in San Juan, La Union. Most of my past vacation leaves have been spent doing nothing but this year was different. I've caught the travel bug and I'm making the most out of it. My vacation was peppered with surfing lessons (complete with jellyfish-stinging episodes and water-coming-out-of-your-nose-even-hours-after-getting-out-of-the-water scenes) and topped with a trip to the famous Tangadan Falls in San Gabriel, La Union. Although the trip to the waterfalls was unplanned it quickly turned into a decision that I will never regret.

The following scene greeted us at the start of the hour-long trek to the first jumping spot

For my vacation I chose to stay at The Circle Hostel La Union which I now consider a second home. Aside from surfing lessons, they also offer a Waterfalls Tour for three hundred fifty pesos (Php 350) per person with a minimum of seven people per trip. On the third day of my stay a lot of guests came to the hostel and most of them wanted to go, too. All in all, there were thirteen of us who took the trip. Since it was almost noon when we made the deal, we had to start the trip at one o'clock in the afternoon. A jeepney picked us up and took us to San Gabriel, La Union.

The trek to the first jumping spot started off as an easy walk that immediately turned into a grueling trek through thick vegetation, rugged terrains, and large boulders. Add the heat of the afternoon sun and you have a group of sweaty people occasionally asking the guides how many minutes more till they reach the destination.

The scenes that we saw during the trek were pretty picturesque and we took our fair share of awe at nature's beauty (while cursing the searing heat of the sun). About an hour after we started walking, we finally reached the first jumping point. Though it was still about an hour away from the actual falls, it was, in every sense, a truly remarkable place.

Me praying to the gods before jumping

I mentioned on my previous post that the new skills that I acquired helped me go farther in my travels. This trip was a testament of such. Before taking the trip I had already read some blog entries about the place and the idea of me jumping from a 25 foot cliff was quite scary. I was also not confident about my water treading skills but, once there, the thrill and peer-pressure was enough to make me jump and regret midway as evidenced by the outstretched arms and legs.

Sadly, when we arrived at Tangadan Falls, the rain poured so hard that I couldn't take any pictures with my camera. Still, the lack of selfies didn't prevent me from enjoying the dip on the cold water with the sound of the thundering falls and the pouring rain. The place is good enough to warrant another attempt in the future and I'll make sure that I come prepared with a large drybag and a waterproof camera.

I think it's because of unexpected trips and events like this that makes traveling special. I may have started the trip with strangers (most of them) and I will eventually forget their names and faces but the laughter and experience that we shared that day was genuine. It is a memory that I would fondly remember with a big smile on my face.

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