The Stories Behind Mount Romelo plus Buruwisan, Lanzonez and Batya-batya Falls in Siniloan, Laguna

“I’m a free spirit who never had the balls to be free.”Cheryl Strayed

Our day started at two hundred hours. On board a van with Hello Kitty accents, together with fifteen other millennials looking for a natural high, literally high in elevation. We cruised the zigzag of Rizal province, pass four in the morning we reached our starting point. After a quick breakfast, off we went to chase waterfalls.

Siniloan, Laguna

Most people usually refer to Famy, as the town that has the jurisdiction of Mount Romelo however, it is really Siniloan. It is probably due to the road leading to the jump-off point, the Siniloan-Famy-Real-Infanta road. The registration office is at barangay Macatad, Siniloan, Laguna. Like a lot of places here in the Philippines, Siniloan got its name from miscommunication between the Spanish and natives.

Guiling-guiling was the first ever written name of the town. It means milling rice which was the known activity of the natives when colonizers came. Then in 1604, a Spanish priest asked how the place was divided by three fishermen brothers in the names of Juan Pili, Juan Puhawan and Juan Puno whom settled along the riverbanks and prospered. They answered, “sinluluang” means equally, which became Siniloan.

Photo captured using Papershoot Camera.

Mount Romelo

Mt. Romelo is part of Sierra Madre mountain range and a popular go-to for mountain climbers. It is three hundred meters above sea level, with two out of nine difficulty rating and first-class trail.

At five fifteen a.m.  we started our climb. It rained the night before, so it was one hell of a muddy climb, which I did not anticipate again. And my infamous Airwalk sneakers made its appearance for the second time! Then around forty-five minutes into climbing, one of us, kind of fainted. So much for the things that were not anticipated, lack of sleep, no warm up and stretching. We would take five every now and then, and at shacks that are small stores up in a mountain, yep I know. An hour and a half later, in the middle of grassland, a sighting of a single coconut tree, meant we reached the top!

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No No no no way!

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Now, to chase waterfalls. Lucky me, I was bitten by a small limatik or leech. So I became more paranoid about anything that touched my skin. Then we came across a farmer with a horse carrying coconuts. Hello fresh coconuts! However, one of us, could not take it anymore. Needed some help, so off he rode a horse going to the campsite. Yes, in the middle of nowhere one can find a ride with the best horsepower. One of us even jokingly said, “You got a premium Uber ride!” There is always that one that can certainly light up every situation.

Buruwisan Falls

Dubbed as an excellent training ground for neophyte mountain climbers. This one hundred and eighty feet cascading waterfall got its name from a variety of hardwood that used to grow in the area locally called Buruwisan. This is also the most accessible from the campsite. But then again it ain’t easy to reach, what is the reputation all about anyway!
Photo captured using Papershoot Camera.

We left our bags at a store shack to go down to the falls. Then we started descending, like a scene from Avatar, holding on to vines, old tree roots and rocks. Oh man, my fear of heights crept in. There is another way though, to rappel down the falls but no thank you. I’d stick with Avatar.

Lanzonez Falls

Lanzonez falls got its name from fruit-bearing trees found along the riverbanks going to the waterfall, which is commonly known as Lanzonez tree. But I did not notice a single fruit, maybe locals already harvested and sold them.

This waterfall is seventy feet in height. And the pool of water at the foot of the falls is way smaller than Buruwisan, but the current was stronger when we were there.

Lanzonez Falls, Mt. Romelo, Buruwisan Falls
Photo captured using Papershoot Camera.

Batya-batya Falls

Batya means basin in English. Locals called the pool of water batya since it is like a catch basin of the cascading waters. Still wondering why redundant? Because there are two levels, thus Batya-batya. The first level is said to be eighteen feet high with a small but deep pool of water.

Upstream from the campsite, we had to crisscross the Romelo river or Rio Romelo to reach Batya-batya. And another Avatar moment. Or swim a deep part of the river. Fine, sticking with Avatar.

Batya-batya Falls
Photo captured using Papershoot Camera.

My take away.

I have said that mountain climbing is not my favorite activity since I am afraid of heights. Yet I decided to go and support a cause. Then I realized a lot of things, I was afraid to fall, I was scared to be hurt, and I was merely living. I confine myself to what I think is a safe zone. However, life is supposed to be lived outdoors, not just in a four-cornered space. And living involves falling, being hurt and experiencing the ups and the downs.Then a line from the book Wild resonated with me,

I’m a free spirit who never had the balls to be free.”Cheryl Strayed

So true. I find liberty in traveling, yet I let it intimidate me. Then, I chance upon my people. Traveling solo is my thing but it doesn’t hurt to hang out with like-minded people, Tripkada. In anything that we are passionate about, it really helps to be surrounded by your people.

‘Til the next climb.

Disclaimer: My visit was sponsored by the said company. All views and opinions are my own.


Published by generosepomelo

Filipina travel agent turn travel writer / blogger / photographer.

15 thoughts on “The Stories Behind Mount Romelo plus Buruwisan, Lanzonez and Batya-batya Falls in Siniloan, Laguna

  1. This is such a wonderful experience with Tripkada. I wanted to try traveling with them too. Hopefully, next year. OMG! The experience of being bitten by a small leech. Good thing you immediately noticed it. I want to swim in Batya Falls btw.

    Liked by 1 person

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