Bugang River: Take a Dip in One of the Philippines' Cleanest Waters
Belle Piccio | Aug 22, 2014
Let's cut to the meat of the story: Bugang River is known to be one of the cleanest rivers in the Philippines.
And where's the proof? Well, Bugang was awarded the “Gawad Pangulo sa Kapaligiran” (Presidential Environment Award) as the cleanest river of the country, and was previously ranked #1 for several times as the “cleanest inland body of water” in the Western Visayas Region.
The river has received other awards in the previous years. To name a few:
- 2005: Winner of the “Dangal ng Ilog” Award during the First National Summit on the State of Philippine Rivers
- 2006: Gold Winner in the International Green Apple Environment for Environmental Best Practice, Local Authorities and Ecotourism category in London
- 2006: First Runner-Up during the “Hiyas ng Turismo 2006” Nationwide Search
Aside from being the municipality’s major source of water, the river is Pandan's major tourist attraction, and rightly so because of its cool, fresh, and clean waters. It's simply a relaxing and peaceful place to chill that's enjoyed by both local visitors and foreign tourists.
The river is supported by several springs. It passes through several of Pandan's barangays and is around 6 kilometers long.
The Bugang Community Based Eco-Tourism Organization offers a Bugang River Nature, Cultural, and Adventure Tour to travelers. The tour aims to exhibit Pandan's beautiful sites, and at the same time showcase the cultural heritage of the community and environment. It is composed of 3 aspects:
- Nature – to appreciate the beauty of nature by viewing the scenic spots in the Bugang area;
- Culture – to facilitate a better understanding of the local customs, traditions, practices, and beliefs of the community; and
- Adventure – to experience a real sense of adventure on the river such as rafting, boating, and trekking.
To swim in the waters of the river without fearing the current, you can visit its Malumpati Health Spring and Tourist Resort.
The entrance fee is around Php 10 per head. If you bring your own transportation or ride one, expect to pay around Php 30 for jeepney/truck, Php 15 for tricycle, and Php 5 for motorcycle. You can also rent a cottage for the day for as low as Php 25. (Please note that the rates may subject to change without prior notice.)
The Malumpati Resort is an ideal place for those who'd like to be in solitude and to commune with nature, especially during the summer. Nature trippers will surely enjoy the place as it's bounded by lush green vegetation.
A favorite picnic place by the locals and visitors, the resort has a natural swimming pool which sources its crystal-clear, free-flowing, and icy cool water from the Bugang River's various springs.
You can also do spelunking in a nearby cave, which features an altar on which supernatural beings pray -- or so some townfolk believe. Visitors can explore the stream by bamboo rafting or paddle boating.
If you plan to visit the Bugang River in groups, it's best to contact the Tourism Office or the Municipality of Pandan at telephone number +63 (36) 278-9128.
How to Get There
From Manila, you can fly to Iloilo (estimated cost of Php3,000++, round trip, one hour). You can also opt for a bus trip (estimated cost of Php875++ per head, air-conditioned bus and boat fare, 17 hours plus).
From Iloilo City you can take a bus or van (Php250 per head) to Pandan at San Pedro, Molo Terminal. Then from Pandan town proper, you need to ride a tricycle (Php50 per head) to reach Malumpati.
If you came from Kalibo, Aklan going to Pandan will take you more than an hour of land travel. If from Caticlan, Aklan it will only take you around 45 minutes land travel going to Pandan.