When Super Typhoon Pablo ravaged Cateel in December 2012, Aliwagwag Falls was not spared. The horrifying winds brought by Pablo severely destroyed its vast rainforests and century-old trees. The mossy forest was left balding. Wild flowers and orchids were gone. Waters overflowed. For barely three hours on that horrific morning of December 4, 2012, the majestic beauty of Aliwagwag Falls was spoiled.
Long before Typhoon Pablo hard-hit our beautiful town, Aliwagwag Falls is considered as the crown cascading jewel not only of Cateel and the Province of Davao Oriental but the whole Davao Region. As a matter of fact, it is considered as one of most beautiful waterfalls in the Philippines enchanting tourists from different parts of the country and the world to travel down south to see and wonder at this nature’s greatest gift to our town. And when Super Typhoon Pablo molested and ravaged the unequal beauty of this prized attraction, all Cateeleños from all the globe mourn for its devastation. Everyone prayed, including myself, that Aliwagwag Falls will regain and regrow back to her natural shape. Like our homes destroyed by the monstrous typhoon, we all hoped to see Aliwagwag Falls back to her unparalleled beauty again. Gladly, prayers are answered.
Where there’s water, there’s life. Two years after that unforgettable day, the precious jewel of Cateel is back to her majestic shape again – even grander and more amusing. The forest surrounding it are filled greens again. Waters are abundant and the multi-tiered falls looks stunningly like a stairway to heaven. In fact, it looks like it didn’t go through an unimaginable devastation from the ST Pablo. So to speak, much as nature is a serial killer, nature is such an amazing healer.
And so today, this prized possession of my hometown is ready for the world. And I bet 2015 will be the year for Aliwagwag Falls to be the cornerstone of tourism not only in Davao Oriental but in the whole Davao Region. An on-going Aliwagwag Development Program surrounding the falls is underway now to conveniently receive thousands of tourists expected to flock in the coming months. This remarkable development plan is spearheaded by no less than the Davao Oriental Governor Corazon Malanyaon who is also a proud daughter of Cateel whose top priorities include tourism development in the Province. In the coming days upon the completion of this project, Aliwagwag Falls is ready for the world. Everyone in our town including myself is excited!
Super Typhoon Pablo was a monstrous disaster Cateelenos will never forget for the rest of our lives. Pablo may be a monstrous destroyer of our homes and all the gifts of nature we have in our town but somehow it taught us that everyone can survive and surpass even the strongest storms of our lives if we only believe in the “power of love” – love for our hometown, care for our nature and compassion for fellowmen. Aliwagwag Falls is great reminder for every Cateeleno and perhaps every Filipino that whatever struggles we face in our lives, we have to remember that “we can get through all storms of our lives”. Believe and strive hard to get up, move forward and start anew. And with the right and compassionate leaders we have in the town and the province, we are certainly on the right path – building back a better Cateel. The regrowth of Aliwagwag Falls is a great proof that our hometown and its resilient people can rise above the darkest days our lives – proof that we are moving forward, braver enough to get up and get through super typhoons of our lives.
I have been around many places and have seen numbers of waterfalls. Yes, each of these waterfalls possesses different charm, different splendor but Aliwagwag Falls is different. I may sound bias because I come from this place but for me the striking beauty of the Aliwagwag Falls is still without equal – still unmatched. Its mesmeric grandeur is like no other. Even right now as I am writing this, my mind is wandering thinking about unrivaled majestic beauty, cotton-like cascades and refreshing waters! If you haven’t been there, come and see it for yourself and you’ll definitely understand why I call this jewel – Her Majesty Queen Aliwagwag Falls.
For arranged trip or group tour to Aliwagwag Falls, you can call or text The Travel Teller at 0939-342-3939. The Travel Teller hails from Cateel, Davao Oriental.