Bagsit River: Palauig's Very Own Enchanted River

Bagsit River Palauig Zambales

My hometown, Palauig, might be the sleepiest town in Zambales but it does sure packs a punch when it comes to natural wonders and breathtaking sceneries—Magalawa Island, Mount Tapulao, the beaches of Locloc and San Juan, to name a few. If only for these, I can say that Palauig, Zambales is an underrated gem. 

Last summer, I finally made my way to another treasure that makes me truly proud to be a Palauigueña. I’m talking about Bagsit River. 

Bagsit is a river stream nestled right at the heart of a lush forest in Sitio Dampay, Brgy. Salaza, Palauig, Zambales. Some people visit Bagsit as a side trip to Mt. Tapulao. I have to warn you now—it’s far from civilization. 

Bagsit River Palauig Zambales

I first got wind of this river when I saw social media posts from friends, frolicking in what seemed to be the purest and cleanest stream, amidst a backdrop of verdant greens and giant boulders. 

Saan ‘to? (Where is this?)” I asked. 
Sa Palauig (In Palauig),” they said. 
My jaw dropped: “may ganito sa Palauig?! (there is something like this in Palauig?!)” 

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. 

It was then that I realized that even after spending more than 20 years in this humble town, I haven’t explored much of my hometown yet. 

So, together with my sisters and some friends, off we trooped to Bagsit River on a hot summer day… 

How to go to Bagsit River

Bagsit River Palauig Zambales

If you are coming from Manila:

1. Head to the Victory Liner Bus terminal in Pasay, Caloocan, or Sampaloc and take a bus going to Sta. Cruz Zambales. 

2. Alternatively, you can also take a Victory Liner bus bound to Olongapo or Iba, and then transfer to a bus going to Sta. Cruz once you arrive at the Olongapo or Iba terminal.

3. Alight at the town of Palauig. You may choose to be dropped off at two jump-off points:

  • If you already have a tricycle contact and you want to buy food (there’s a 7-11), alight at PALAUIG BAYAN BUS STOP 
  • If you’re going DIY or even if you already have a trike contact and you just want a shorter travel time going to Bagsit, alight at PALAUIG ZAMECO INTERSECTION

Bagsit River Palauig Zambales

4. From your chosen drop-off point, ride tricycle to Sitio Dampay, where the hike going to Bagsit River starts. A tricycle can carry 2-3 passengers comfortably and a roundtrip charter will cost Php800 per tricycle. There are tricycles at the Palauig Zameco intersection (which is also the jump-off point for Mt. Tapulao). You may also contact the following before your trip: 

  • Kuya Juancho: 09508562267 
  • Kuya Jay: 09507838385 

5. From the Zameco intersection, the trike ride will take around 15 – 20 minutes. You will be dropped off at the start of the trail. The trail is a dirt path—just follow it and it will lead you to Bagsit River.

6. One of our companions have already been to Bagsit River several times we didn’t need a guide. For first-timers, I suggest getting a guide from Sitio Dampay or you may drop by the Palauig Tourism Office at the Municipal Hall to ask for recommendations.  

Bagsit River Palauig Zambales

Bagsit River Palauig Zambales

The Journey: What to Expect Going to Bagsit River  

The journey going to Bagsit River is not for the faint of heart. 

The ride started on a smooth pavement but midway through it, it got bumpy as the road transitioned into a rough and rocky lane. We passed by the residential area of the sitio

Bagsit River Palauig Zambales

The trail begins near a small Aeta community. From the beginning of the trail, it will take around 1 hour and 30 minutes to finally reach Bagsit River. And I tell you, it’s not an easy-peasy hike. 

I can’t remember how many times I asked my companions, “Malayo pa ba? Ilang minuto pa? (Is it still far? How many more minutes?)” as sticky sweat streamed through my glands.

The trek started in a flatland but the harsh rays of the sun made it almost unbearable. A few minutes after, we were on a graveled path then to a rocky and bushy terrain, which was more like a rock made into a trail rather than a trail with rocks. During the whole time, I was concentrating so hard on not toppling down. 

At the last bend of the rocky trail, we pushed aside a lanky grass and there was my hope—a shallow, clean river flowing quietly and gracefully. I swear I heard angels singing! I was about to scream with joy, “Yes, we are finally here!” but our companion was quick to say that it wasn’t the spot yet. 

Bagsit River Palauig Zambales

From the stream, the way going to Bagsit River still continues—this time, it was like playing a mash-up game of patintero and langit lupa with mammoth, gigantic boulders. The boulders look fancy for the ‘gram but in real life, traversing through them gave me an intense body pain afterwards. There are also agoho trees along the way. 

Bagsit River Palauig Zambales

Finally, Bagsit River!

The picturesque view that was waiting for us at the end of the trail was worth the agonizing hike. Imagine a lagoon-river with crystal clean, cool, and refreshing turquoise water, surrounded by barely-touched landscape of nature. Bagsit River is surreal and mesmerizing! The chirping of the birds and the sound of the gushing water added to the enchanting setting, which reminds me a bit of Coto Kidz Pool in the neighboring town of Masinloc, Zambales. 

Bagsit River Palauig Zambales

Bagsit River Palauig Zambales

Bagsit River Palauig Zambales

Bagsit River is the kind of place that will make you believe in deities or diwata, in Tagalog. If there is a place where deities reside, this could be it—no soul was in sight, we were enclaved in nature’s best greens and blues, and there was the deep lagoon-river that added to the mystic charm of this river realm. It’s like being entangled in a dream! 

While Siargao’s Enchanted River is grand in its deep blue goodness, Bagsit River is strikingly simple in its blue green beauty. 

The magical, seemingly endless river beckons anyone, almost like a sorcery of nature. But don’t be fooled, it you don’t know how to swim, don’t jump into the waters And if you do, take extra care—my sister almost drowned here. 

Bagsit River Palauig Zambales

Bagsit River Palauig Zambales

Bagsit River Palauig Zambales

Bagsit River Palauig Zambales

We camped by a huge boulder to relax and eat. We also enjoyed swimming at the small whirlpools around the main river. I would recommend this for anyone who’s looking to meditate, get away from it all, and have a downtime. 

Bagsit River’s simplicity can be underwhelming at first but the vibe—along with nature’s amazing colors that envelop the whole place—can grow on anyone. It sure did on me and I couldn’t be happier that this place is in my own sleepy town. 

Bagsit River Palauig Zambales

Bagsit River Palauig Zambales

Travel Responsibly: Tips When Visiting Bagsit River 

  • As I always remind, please leave no trace. Do not litter and do not vandalize the boulders, please. When we went there, there were some trash along the way. Please take with you whatever trash you have or see, and dispose them properly. 
  • Prepare for a long and bumpy ride and hike. Bring water, food, and extra clothes. You will be wet with water and sweat.
  • Rest along the way, if you must. 
  • Wear sun protection and bring an umbrella.
  • In general, take extra care when going to Bagsit River, as you would in any place that you visit. It’s remote and far from the main highway. 
  • Enjoy but don’t forget to be mindful of your surroundings at all times. 
  • Some visitors climb through the boulders and dive into the deep river. There is no lifeguard so if you are inclined to do this, make sure to take extra care. 
  • Tricycle contacts: Kuya Juancho: 09508562267 and Kuya Jay: 09507838385

Bagsit River Palauig Zambales

Have you recently discovered a new place or spot in your hometown? What do you love most about your hometown? Leave your insights on the comment box below. :)  

Follow my adventure on InstagramTwitter, and Facebook by searching for the hashtag #GirlChasingSunshine. Thank you for dropping by! :)

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