Baga, is lungs for Tagalog and Filipino. This is the name of the falls that spent the air inside my lungs. It’s harder to float and swim in fresh water than in salty water. Once I get tired in the water and start to sink, I can’t afford to panic. To survive in the deep water of Pilar beach long time ago, I dipped my head in the water, paddle my hands and feet very hard. Once I started moving forward, I could raise my head out of the water and breathe through my mouth. Remebering this trick, I survived Baga Falls’ basin crossing twice. Once when I went near the falling water and tried to climb its walls to no avail, and second, when I returned to where I came from.This is Baga Falls in Poblacion, Sapang Dalaga, Misamis Occidental. This is in the province next to Zamboanga del Norte where Dipolog is. It’s more than an hour habal-habal ride through an almost empty and paved highway.
Halfway to Baga Falls, there was a police checkpoint apprehending motorcycle riders for not wearing a helmet. We had to go back and look for an alternative route that looked like a climbers’ trail, crossed a hanging bridge, a mini dam, pay P5 tax for using a barangay road, and back again to the highway far from the policemen.Across Sapang Dalaga Public Market, we turned right to Baga Falls. After ten minutes, in an unpaved road, we were at the entrance of the falls.
There were three cottages on concrete flooring right next to the basin. There was a wooden bridge to cross the river to the function hall. At the other end of the function hall were the toilets.
The carabao grass that carpeted the area was well groomed. The place was clean. The water was cold but not clear. Small fish joined me in the swim.
On my fifth time in Dipolog, I asked about the places I could go to. Locals told me about Linabo Peak, this Baga Falls in the next province, and a white powdery sand-beach farther in Misamis Occidental.Not all men are created equal. I was not one of those men who could rock climb the wall and dive from one-third the height of the falls. Of course I tried. But I could not climb high enough because the water from the falls blinded me and prevented me from breathing. That’s my first excuse. My second excuse, I was so tired riding the habal-habal for more than an hour. My third excuse, I meant to go to the beach.
The only consolation I had was seeing that not all five of them could climb the wall. So, although not all men were created equal, there was still equality in men. Equal in a sense that both couldn’t climb the falls. He that fell and I that did not even try as hard as he did.
So, after watching one of them tumble down and all the four who made it jump into the water, I rode the habal-habal again farther into Misamis Occidental to a beach resort that claims itself as a paradise. The white and powdery sand, the clear waters were to die for.