Let’s be honest, climbing Shotgun in San Mateo is not the most fun thing in the world. A root canal operation is less agonizing. This infamous destination in Mt. Maarat rises nearly 430 meters in less than 5 kilometers. That’s like climbing the steepest part of Kennon road. The fact that there’s hardly any shade on Shotgun, just makes the whole endeavour more excruciating. You don’t climb Shotgun for fun, you climb it to test your fitness and prove you can climb it.
But with the arrival of the rainy season, Shotgun reveals a treat for bikers and runners who dare to make the painful ascent—a waterfalls. Yup, just right after the last tindahan where you can buy Gatorade and rest your weary legs, there’s a waterfalls.
I’ve climbed Shotgun several times before on wheels and on foot, but never during the middle of the rainy season. So it was a pleasant surprise when during the final grind to the guard house I heard something like the sound of crashing water. I initially thought my brain had become too dehydrated and I was hallucinating from all the fluids that were leeched out of my body. But I looked around and lo and behold—there’s actually water pouring forth from the side of a cliff and crashing into ground below.
I had heard stories about the mythical Shotgun waterfalls before. But I dismissed them as legends from the early days of San Mateo when the hills were still thickly forested and elves, dwarves and malignos roamed the land. To see the waterfalls for myself was … cool, to use a term from the 90s.
So if you fancy chasing a waterfalls this weekend on your bike, and Kinabuan or Palo Alto or Puray are too far away for you, consider visiting Shotgun. And remember, it’s okay to dismount and rest if it’s your first time to go up this killer climb. Locals say you can bathe in the water because its clean.
Just a reminder though, the waterfalls is inside private property. It’s even fenced off. If you want to take a closer look, ask permission first from the tindahan near it. As I understand, they are the caretakers of the property. Otherwise you may find out why they call this place Shotgun ;)