Mention Oriental Mindoro travel and San Teodoro will most likely be overlooked, but it need not be, because just like its more famous neighbors – Puerto Galera and Calapan, it has its own tourist spots to flaunt. But only intrepid travelers who dare to explore its far-flung natural attractions will be rewarded. Perhaps the most significant attraction in this sleepy town is the tranquil Tukuran Falls.
TUKURAN FALLS HISTORY
The ruggedly enchanting Tukuran Falls is blissfully situated in a sleepy village called Sitio Ibuye in Brgy. Calsapa, San Teodoro, Oriental Mindoro. It is believed to have gotten its name “Tukuran” from the rocks sprinkled around its surroundings, locally known as “tukud-tukod”.
This waterfall actually reminds me of an underrated waterfalls in Kili, Abra. It may not be as tall or as striking as Tamaraw Falls or as green and mesmeric as the waterfalls at Infinity Farm Resort, but it definitely has its own beauty. Adding up to its drama is the quite adventurous journey going there – you head there either by riding a carabao-cart or if you are fairly fit, you can trek and wade through the rivers for about 30 minutes with a local guide.
We rode the carabao-cart, which can carry up to 5 passengers. It was a unique experience, because I’ve never ride a carabao going to a waterfall and it’s my first-time hearing about it. According to our carabao driver, he’s been doing this for about 30 years already. I was quite surprise because I never heard of Tukuran Falls until our recent trip. But upon checking with tour operators and touts at White Beach, it is indeed a popular tourist spot included in inland tour packages. It is even mentioned in the Lonely Planet book. Anyway, according to our carabao driver, since it’s an organization, they only get a portion of the ₱550 ($10 – €9) payment for the ride. They get about ₱300, ₱50 to the organization, and ₱150 to the members without carabaos.
But what I like most about Tukuran Falls is the rural scenery that you’ll witness along the way. Unassuming huts on modest gardens, ducks and carabaos swimming in the river, locals farming, and towering palm trees sprinkled along the road. The falls itself is clad in dense wilderness and the rushing waters from the mountain gushes into natural swimming pools, perfect for a quick dip. For your safety, you can rent life vest and lifebuoy for ₱50 ($1 – €0.82) and ₱100 ($1- €0.82), respectively. At the lowest part, you can even cliff dive, but just be careful of the surrounding limestone rocks.
It’s a good picnic spot if you ask me, bring some grilled fish or seafood. There are also available grills, in case you want to grill your food there. There are store selling snacks and drinks, and tables and chairs in case you plan on having lunch here.
You can do Tukuran Falls early in the morning before the crowd arrives or late in the afternoon when they’re gone. Most inland tour packages include Tukuran Falls in their itinerary, so better be early.
TUKURAN FALLS ENTRANCE FEE AND PRICES
- Carabao-cart ride: ₱500 ($10 – €9), maximum 5 passengers
- Entrance fee: ₱100 ($1- €0.82) for adult and ₱50 ($9 – €8) for children
- Tour Guide: ₱150 ($3- €2)
HOW TO GET TO TUKURAN FALLS (DIY TUKURAN FALLS TRAVEL GUIDE)
BY INLAND TOUR PACKAGES
It can be included in inland tour packages, which usually costs about ₱1, 500 ($27 – €24) to ₱1, 850 ($33 – €30) per person. But you still have to pay for the carabao-cart ride for ₱500 ($10 – €9), maximum 5 passengers, and entrance fee of ₱100 ($1- €0.82) for adult and ₱50 ($9 – €8) for children. You can also opt for a tour guide instead and hike to the waterfalls for about 30 minutes. Fee is typically ₱150 ($2) and they will ask you to buy souvenirs at the store.
TRAVEL TIP: Local guides at Tukuran Falls can be pretty aggressive, so make sure you agree on the price first before going for the trek. At the end of the tour, they might be very persistent on asking to buy souvenirs, you can say no if you are uncomfortable and you don’t really want to.
BY TRICYCLE TOUR
If coming from Puerto Galera, Tukuran Falls is about 1 hour away, you will even pass by Tamaraw Falls, the Mangrove Forest, and the White Beach overlooking along the way. You can hire a tricycle for about ₱1, 500 ($27 – €024), good for 3 persons, to take you to the jumping-off point of Tukuran Falls.
For bigger groups, you can rent a multi-cab or jeepney for about of ₱2,500 ($45- €41).
From the jumping-off point to Tukuran Falls, you can go on a carabao-cart ride for ₱500 ($10 – €9), maximum 5 passengers, and entrance fee of ₱100 ($1- €0.82) for adult and ₱50 ($9 – €8) for children. If you are adventurous enough to take a trek, you can do so by hiring a local guide. Fee is typically ₱150 ($2) and they will ask you to buy souvenirs at the store.
DIY TO TUKURAN FALLS
You can ride a jeepney to Calapan, but take not that this can be quite packed and uncomfortable. Fare is roughly ₱70 per person. First trip is at 6:00 AM and last trip going back to Puerto Galera is 11:00 AM. Tell the driver you are headed to Tukuran Falls. You will alight at the junction in San Teodoro. From there, take a tricycle to the jumping-off point to Tukuran Falls.
Pay the fees; carabao-cart ride for ₱500 ($10 – €9), maximum 5 passengers, and entrance fee of ₱100 ($1- €0.82) for adult and ₱50 ($9 – €8) for children. If you opt to just go trekking, hire a local guide.
WHERE TO STAY IN TUKURAN FALLS
As Tukuran Falls is accessible from Puerto Galera and Calapan, most tourists stay in Puerto Galera or Calapan and just go on a day trip to Tukuran Falls.
Here are the accommodations we used during our trip to Oriental Mindoro.
- Casa Estella Boutique Hotel and Cafe
- Location: Calapan, Oriental Mindoro
- CHECK RATES HERE
- Casa Marco Suites
- Location: White Beach, Puerto Galera
- CHECK RATES HERE
Travel Tip: Avoid the 3rd floor rooms in White Beach, as the water here are mostly pumped and can sometimes have a hard time reaching the comfort room located on the 3rd floor.
PUERTO GALERA TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS
- Register at registration.amazingpuertogalera.com
- Confirmed hotel booking