BY ROEL AMAZONA – PNA | 29 AUGUST 2019
CALBIGA, Samar — Residents living near Lulugayan Falls in this town are confident that the improvements done on their tourism asset will unlock economic opportunities in their community.
Recently, Lulugayan Falls was reopened to visitors with basic facilities meant for the convenience of tourists visiting Samar’s most famous waterfalls.
“More visitors mean more income for us. We will be more financially capable to support our children’s college education,” said Bella Malubay, president of Literon Women’s Association.
For several months, Lulugayan Falls was closed to the public due to improvement activities that were implemented and capability training for local service providers from Literon village.
The project is in partnership with Samar provincial government, Department of Tourism (DOT), and Bantay Kalikasan founded by late Gina Lopez.
Lulugayan, dubbed as the mini-Niagara Falls, is Samar’s most popular waterfalls. It is located 14 kilometres from the town centre.
The road leading to the waterfalls is now concreted through funding from the DOT. However, tourists are not allowed to use cars from the village centre to the waterfalls to preserve its natural environment. Cars must be stationed at the parking area, which is located at the tourism eco-lodge near the community.
From Literon village, a tourist has to hike the 740-meter trail, passing upland rice plantation and a local organic farm.
“It’s easy to identify what projects will be implemented, but the difficult process is to select where this will be implemented,” Vice Governor Michael Tan said.
Lulugayan Falls spans about 50 meters in width, making it one of the widest waterfalls in the country. Its highest drop is about 30 meters.
The water that flow at the falls starts at Lake Kalidongan, which has more than 100 waterfall cascades on its 14 kilometres rapids before it reaches Lulugayan and drains in Calbiga River.
Guests who will visit the waterfalls will see many pools that provide the perfect respite from the heat.
For those who do not want to swim, there is an area where one can take a picnic or hang-out within the view of the waterfalls.
A treehouse was also built near the function hall, connected by a hanging bridge, giving guests a better panoramic view of the waterfalls and its cascades.
Unlike in previous years where guests can swim in any part of the waterfalls, this time there are areas designated for swimming and off-limits for guests as a safety measure.
Only 150 tourists are allowed to explore Lulugayan Falls on a daily basis.
Guests who are interested to visit the eco-tourism site are advised to inform the local tourism office of Calbiga.