Cebu City, Philippines
What better way can I share its beauty? Of the million ways one can tell through there is definitely more that meets the eye.
You might take the special interest to know more about the places I’ve dared, conquered and ventured in the Philippines. Allow me to share this unique ‘Kalibutan’ story with you.
Chapter 1: All Hail the Queen City of the South
The 11th of January 2017
We stared at a gloomy day, a tropical typhoon was to make its way to enter the Queen City. We kept our hopes up on this tour that we would be able to end this day fulfilled with at least one activity completed, despite the weather.
From a 3-hour ride on the bus, we finally reached Matutinao Beach at Barili, Alegria. This beach resort fronts Cebu’s Kawasan Falls and is the ideal headquarters of the Cebu Canyoneering Team. Do read on, and you will find out why Matutinao Beach is considered definitely a pick.
We headed off to start with the resort’s island tour package which consisted of 3 activities: a tour to Pescador Island, The Sardine Run & Turtle Bay.
After a 30-minute ride to the municipality of Moalboal, we took a 5 minute walk to the shore line to hop on to the bangka (small boat). Having realized that we arrived at Pescador, we were ecstatic for the activities to begin.
We were staring at the island scene, a collage of ocean blue-green colors. And, despite the weather on that gloomy day, it continued to excite us.
We made friends with the locals who were to be our tour guides-cum-escorts, who we nicknamed Arnel Pineda and Jimmy Bondoc (Filipino artists, of whom they were fans).
First Stop: Pescador Island
It was a rock. A big rock sitting in the middle of the ocean adorned with different plants and small trees.
Underneath us, the sea was a fascinating kaleidoscope.
Corals decorated the island with schools of colorful fishes. The snorkeling spot will give you enough time to go around the rock and count the number of different fishes curiously swimming up to you or minding their own business.
Ever imagine what it’s like to live in their world?
Easy to fall into that musing in this island.
After a few minutes of snorkeling and swimming with the fishes, we set off to the 2nd spot.
Second Stop: The Sardine Run
This was definitely one for the books.
I swam deep down with my snorkel face mask gear on to get close to a school of sardine fishes.
The ripples created by their proud movements underwater, said to be their daily routine, was just an amazing scenario to behold. Abrupt movements might scare them away, but try slowly swimming alongside them and you might be able to be “considered” a part of the class.
For this, I suggest getting ready with your GoPro or any underwater camera device to get different shots of this enchanting scene.
Third Stop: Turtle Bay
Still on my adventure kicks I got into the water and went far to look for the ninja turtles underwater. I wasn’t able to find any of them, but the area had a beautiful reef. Ones that contain more colorful species of fishes and corals than those we encountered at the first stop at Pescador.
We only saw the turtles’ heads bobbing in the water from afar. We were told that they pop up and go swim down to hide from people. Most of the time, you’d think yourself lucky to actually get to see them swimming around.
The search for the turtles came to a stop after swimming into a smack of jellyfishes leaving me with their stings, which I call my ‘scars of the sea’. This is something that needs to be prepared for when touring the Philippines.
But despite that, we still adored ourselves swimming around the area.
After the end of the morning tour we went back to the beach resort to have late lunch. Due to the weather situation, our canyoneering activity had to be suspended. Since the resort was full with guests, they accommodated us in another resort.
Sun Xi Beach Resort had that spot that could give the most exhilarating view of the sunset. It was a perfect ending to a tiring day, hopeful for tomorrow’s next adventure.
The Next Day,
We got a go-signal from Matutinao for resuming canyoneering operations for the day. Despite frustration on cancelled earlier plans, I was eager to take the opportunity on to take on Cebu’s canyoneering activity.
Our tour guide, ‘Loloy’ was to be our accompany for the whole activity. After breakfast, we geared up and made our way to habal-habal (motorbikes) going to Badian, the canyoneering site.
It was a good 20-minute ride up to the fog-misted mountains, granting us the extra mile to gaze at Badian’s green pastures.
It was a bumpy ride up the rocky road, but it boosted our adrenaline rush even more.
Upon reaching the site, it was another 45-minute walk going down to the falls.
It was difficult because the road was not cemented and were were faced on stepping on rock holes and slippery stones.
From the the slippery and rocky path, we entered into a ‘forest-like’ setting. Giving us the challenge to climb up and down the trail.
Going down to the falls takes time because the path was not walker-friendly.
We found ourselves rappelling down the terrain with the rocks made visible by the rain.
When we reached the bottom, we were nervous and excited for the events about to happen. The sounds of water splashing, the flow of the rapids and squeals of excitement from other participants spurred us to eagerly get into the water.
There were other teams from different tours, so we had to stick to tour guide, Loloy. After a short briefing & prayer, we were ready for another bout of thrills
The thrill was on, we had to concentrate on getting pass the current, swimming to the other side and taking the plunge of jumping down to the bottom.
We always had that thought of sticking together and extend our help to other participants to make it through. The most important part was listening to Loloy to avoid any accidents.
It was like a maze, we had to go under caves, slipping through falls and getting drifted by the current. Loloy, wanted to give us the adventurous trail to make the most of the activity.
There were times that jumping down was the only way out, but these were safe spots tested by the guides. There were also some points were rock diving could be possible.
Upon reaching the middle of the trek, locals were happy to fill our stomachs with hotdog and barbecue. The typical food needed for ‘energy’. Little did we know, Loloy brought snacks and bottled water for our team. Make sure to bring a little amount of money, else your tour guides may have to pay.
The good thing about tour guides is that they made the most out of our experience by taking the GoPro and snapping shots and videos.
Back on track, we came across walking a path of stones and passing by rivers to get to the other trail. It was a different adventure where nature paved its way for us to discover.
We reached the first level of the falls, we were faced with the challenge to cliff dive to the easier way to get to the 2nd level. Those who could not take the jump had to continue trekking. Hesitant participants lined up with cheers from different teams.
We decided to take the jump.
It was another trek to the falls, but it was worth it. We pictured ourselves walking into a museum of waterfalls in nature’s landscape, where you could find yourself almost ‘lost’ in the forest.
After a few minutes of walking down, we made it to the end of the trek and the site of the Kawasan Falls.
I pictured it to be smaller in scale, than my previous visits to waterfalls, but it remained majestic having pristine cool waters. There was a bamboo raft where you could get on it for P300.00 + another P300.00 for guides to pull you near the falls. We enjoyed the view from the side and swam for a few minutes.
We hiked back to the main road and found ourselves back at Matutinao Resort, at last came to the end of the canyoneering activity.
Either you are in search of sardine fishes, exploring virgin islands or trying out Canyoneering, Cebu City will leave you with memories beyond your wildest adventure. It takes an openness to nature to appreciate trials and leaves an impression of importance to watch out for each other. Nevertheless, the tour is perfect for daredevils like me who aspire to take the adrenaline rush or regain themselves worthy to conquer the tour with no regrets!
The Storyteller’s recommendation:
Here’s are recommended tips for you to enjoy your own story
- Leave early for Badian: If you’re coming from Cebu city proper. The trip will be approximately 3 hours and this will get the group better prepared for the whole day activity;
- Gear up and be prepared well: While the helmet & life jacket are provided, be sure to bring GoPros/water proof cameras, aqua sandals/shoes, and other necessary equipment needed for this wet adventure. I suggest taking a waterproof bag as well;
- Wear something light & visible: Not that there would be a possibility of getting drifted away, but to maintain a close distance with the group. This is to avoid confusion with mixing with other participants along the way as well;
- Listen to your tour guide: This will probably be the most important advice since all of them are trained to be familiar with the trail, plus they know when and where to take pictures;
- Have the best of fun: To make the most out of your story, take the plunge and dare yourself to enjoy the rest of the activities. You will definitely be amazed of what this country could possibly give.
I bid you the best of luck on taking Canyoneering safely and seriously. There may have been other spots in the Philippine ( that I have yet to adventure) that could be possible for Canyoneering, those that are yet to be discovered. It is something to be proud about especially on increasing the Philippine tourism in Cebu.
This year will be filled with endless wonders and travels, and I will be more than happy to help you create them. Share your inquiries and stories with me and I’ll keep my thoughts open.
Let’s create more memories until the next,