I reduced my speed to 50 as soon as I entered the town of Malabuyoc. It took me approximately 3 hours to get here from the city. Not sure about the exact address of Kabutongan Falls, I kept an eye out for any road-side signs which could help me locate it. Near the town center, I saw a couple of signs that pointed to a certain spring I definitely haven’t heard of before. It was called Aranaza. I got really curious. Kabutongan can wait.
Now, finding Aranaza wasn’t very easy. Truth be told, I made a total of four U-turns before I finally figured out where it was located exactly. If you’re interested, look for the only Western Union Money Transfer branch in town. There’s a road right next to that building. Keep driving for at least 1 minute until you see a fork. Instead of going straight, turn right and keep driving until you see a huge river.
I didn’t know what to expect, actually. But I thought that since this is a huge river, the spring must definitely be the ‘source’ that feeds it.
But the dirt road just abruptly ended near those tall coconut trees. That must mean I’d have to leave my bike and walk the rest of the way. Thankfully, before I could even get off my bike, another guy on a bike arrived and parked right next to where I was. He too was on his way to Aranaza to wash some clothes.
I asked him if it would take me an hour to get to the spring. He said no. Not even a minute. Because the spring was only 20 meters away — on the other side of the river.
“What do you mean?” I asked. He then explained that I’d simply have to cross the river to get to the spring – which was clearly visible from where we were standing.
THESE are the springs of Aranaza.
I admit, I was a little shocked. Unlike most springs that I’d visited in the past, this one is a little too different. But the guy who helped me find it later shared that they once had a small pool in the area. But due to the heavy flooding which hit Malabuyoc in the past, the pool got destroyed and reconstructing it never became a top priority. Now, people come to Aranaza to bathe, wash their clothes, and collect water to drink.
Fresh underground water meets river water in Aranaza.
A steady flow of fresh cold water is pumped out of the side of the mountain towards the river.
There are actually numerous ‘springs’ in the area. They’re easy to spot because the water from these springs is a lot clearer and a lot colder.
I initially didn’t want to stay longer than five minutes. But before I knew it, I was relaxing in the shallow waters of Aranaza while listening to local tales and high-spirited bantering. The hardest part was getting out of the water and saying goodbye to new friends. I’d spent a total of two hours in the water.
On my way home, I saw this. This is what remains of a foot bridge which people in the area once used to get to the other side. Notice that structure near the footpath on the other side of the river? That’s another spring where people bathe and wash their clothes. This one is located around a hundred meters from the other springs that I saw.
If you want a bit of local color and a little interaction with the friendly locals (while enjoying the soothing flow of cold underground water on your back, of course) do give Aranaza Springs a try. It doesn’t boast of deep pools and well-manicured foot paths. But it’s pretty and relaxing and definitely different from everything that you’ve already seen and experienced.