One of the many natural attractions in Apolong and probably it's most popular visitor site is the Casaroro Falls. Unfortunately, at time of writing (March 2012) it is not accessible due to the effects of the typhoon and subsequent flooding that hit here in late 2011.
I visited here with VT member Buena and we had a vague plan to visit the falls. To get there you need to follow the road through Apolong from Valencia and take the left at the fork (look for a small signpost). After a while the road becomes unpaved. As we were two up on a small 125 road bike, I didn't fancy riding up there. I had visited before and knew the conditions.
We walked up the road maybe one kilometre past some pleasant houses, many of which were advertising flowers and plants for sale. To go to the falls, keep walking until the road stops completely, you wil know when that is. You then need to go down the 336 steps (I counted them!) which are pretty steep and slippery in parts. I would suggest that at least training shoes would be required. We were both shod in flip-flops (thongs) which were OK but more of that later.
Having made your way to the bottom you are confronted by the river and what was obviously a shelter and toilet block. Really, do not even look in the toilet, it is pretty unsavoury. The whole thing was more or less wiped out in the flood. The same is unfortunately true of the path which leads to the right from the bottom of the stairs. Currently you can go a few yards and then the path is cmpletely washed away. I reckon it would be possible to do a bit of canyoning here with decent shoes but as I mentioned before we were not suitably attired so it was a non-starter. You can see the washed away path in one of the photos.
After a few photos we started the ascent back up, whch was fairly tiring in the heat of the day, I would suggest bringing water would be a good idea. I have no idea when the path will be repaired although I have friends in the area so I will try to keep readers posted of any developments.
Update 5th April, 2012.
I promised readers I would try to keep them updated if I learned any more about the situation in Casaroro so here it is.
I was speaking yesterday to a long-term overseas resident who knows the falls well in addition to being friendly with many local people. I mentioned the possibility of canyoning up as I mentioned initially and he said he had had a look at it (he is a pretty adventurous sort) and it is a complete non-starter. He reckons it is potentially still pretty dangerous at least without specialist equipment and knowledge. He also does not know any local person who has visited the falls since the typhoon and flood so there is no local knowledge to be had there. I fully understand this as it is only a few months and the people of this region have far more important things to worry about.
I therefore regrettably have to suggest that the falls are out of bounds for the foreseeable future although I will leave this tip up to assist anyone who may have been considering a trip there.
On the slopes of Maount Talinis in the barangay (settlement) of Apolong in the Valencia watershed area stands a monument to the Philippino, American and Japanese soldiers who perished here during the liberation of the country from Japanese occupation in the Second World War. At least, that is what I have been told because I have never seen it and I never write tips about things I have not seen.
Why then, am I writing this? Basically to save the reader a wasted journey. Late 2011 saw a devestating typhoon and subsequent flood hit Negros Oriental and much of the infrastructure remains damaged at time of writing (March 2012) This is the case with the road leading to the shrine. What used to be a viable road bridge is now replaced with the bamboo pedestrian structure you see in the main picture. Believe me, it was every bit as precarious as it looks, especially as I was scrambling over it in a pair of VT flip-flops (thongs). These have many excellent qualities but rough country hiking is not amongst them.
If you are really determined to see the shrine now, you have two options. My Filipina friend spoke to some local guys and ascertained that if you cross the bridge it is about a two hour brisk walk to it, just follow the road on the far side. The other option is to stop before you get to go to the place whose sign I have included. A climb of 374 steps will apparently give you a view of it. Lack of time prevented us doing this but I will attempt to do it soon and update this tip.
Here are directions to get to both places. Follow the Apolong Road from Valencia right through the village until it forks. To get to the bridge, turn right and it is about 500 yards along. To get to the camp, take the left fork, park your bike at the place where the road stos being paved and it is about 500 yards on the right. I believe it may be accessible from Barnagay Sagbang but I have not explored this yet.
I will try to update soon.