December 2016

Norjha (a former colleague and a good friend) is getting married! This is one  of the greatest news any friend would love to hear from their friends. When we heard our friend was settling down, we were ecstatic, we didn’t hesitate confirming our attendance. Without ado, we booked tickets to Cebu City, where the wedding is to take place. As it was an out of town trip, we opted to extend our stay and explore some of the famed spots in the province of Cebu.

I wanted that we go to the north part of the island as I have been to the south part already. However, my companions were too insistent that we experience Kawasan canyoneering (again for me) and to interact with the whale sharks of Oslob. As it was practically four against one (the other one was neutral), I had to relent. So yes, I went back to South Cebu to experience Badian/Alegria canyoneering (again).

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I had great memories of Kawasan. It was just that I didn’t expect I’d be back that soon! Haha

Don’t get me wrong. I loved the experience in 2015 but I wasn’t looking forward to experiencing it again that soon. But anyway, have I got a choice?

Unlike the previous year, however, our adventure started in the Badian. There are two starting points for the canyoneering – one is in Alegria municipality while the other one is in Badian. To get to the starting point, we had to ride a habal-habal. 30 minutes later, we were at the registration area. After registering, we had to endure a long walk of about 30 minutes to reach the river.

While at the registration area, I have noted the new regulations being imposed by the local government units concerned. These were instituted after an accident happened at the river. Amongst the new regulations being imposed are:

  • Each LGU (Badian and Alegira) is allotted a fixed number of visitors per day; and
  • No permit, no adventure.

As you cannot go to the adventure without prior permit from the LGU concerned, it is advisable to hire a local travel agency for your canyoneering. They will arrange the necessary groundworks prior to your date of adventure. Less hassle, too.

Back to our adventure. After traversing slippery and narrow pathways, we reached the river. The strong gush of water became more audible as we drew closer to the river. As it rained the day before our visit, the flow is palpably stronger than when I took part of the adventure in late 2015. Moreover, the starting point for the Badian leg is located at a lower part of the river. The Alegria leg starts upstream.

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We tried this last year. I guess, the more, the easier to do the formation? Haha.
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The stunning landscape is one of the top drawers to the canyoneering course.

As I was the one who have experience it already, I was the one expected to lead. Read my lips: sacrificial lamb. Haha! I was the proverbial lamb as well the last time I was here. I’m kind of used to it, being the first one to muster the courage to do these outdoorsy and challenging stuff. Oh well.

So jump I did. Without reservations, without second thoughts, I dived from the big rock to the rushing waters. Our guide went first and was waiting for us, ready to capture every moment with the GoPro we rented just for this sole purpose. The more courageous ones followed suit – JM, Jen, Santi and Precious. Darena and Lea, it seems, are going to be the liability (haha). In spite of the life vests, they were scared to jump into the water. It took some convincing and going down the smaller rock to sway them to jump. Whew. That took 10 minutes!

Darena and Lea are afraid of the water but the adventure progressed without untoward incidents. There were vestiges of development, but the area remained virginal, bereft of the artifice that the urbanites are used to. As the water was stronger than last year, we skipped some of the more “adventurous” parts of the canyoneering, opting to be on the safer side. I can also sense our guide’s tension. We shared the same sentiment – we didn’t want to wait for the rain which could cause flash floods.

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No one is going to rain on our parade!
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Just another day out of the office.
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For her boundless energy, she made the trip all the more fun.

In spite of the rush, we were nevertheless able to take decent pictures and enjoy the adventure. We took it all in stride, having fun and bonding while surrounded by the beauty of mother nature. The water was a bit murky but we didn’t mind as the thrill was still there (if not more). Having a GoPro also allowed us to experiment with our posing.

Most of the course remained unchanged. However, I did notice some changes made on the canyoneering course. The most drastic change can be found at the last part before going down to Kawasan Falls. a new jumping area was made. At a height of around 40 feet, thrill seekers can have a mini-experience of the Kawasan water fall jump.

As it was something new, I didn’t back down from the challenge. JM didn’t need that much persuasion; she jumped right in shortly after me. A Tarzan swing, reminiscent of the one in Siquijor’s Cambugahay Falls, was also installed in the area. It is a great addition for those who are not faint of heart. The mountain spring at the area was expanded and has been transformed into an idyllic spot.

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Look how clear that water is.
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What can I say, we’re simply having fun. Wet, wild and fun. 

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Our adventure drew to a close at the Kawasan Falls. The last time I was here, I opted not to jump at the falls, but promising myself to do the jump once I return. The opportunity has presented itself. I must seize it. Seize it, I did.

Without second thoughts, I jumped. I didn’t look down to see how high I am jumping from. Through the years, I have learned to take a leap of faith, to just believe in myself, and in Him who looks after me from above. I jumped, unimpeded, unconcerned by the stresses around me. I jumped, without haste, without fear. I jumped because I can. I jumped because I know who is with me.

It was a liberating experience to finally jump from approximately 65 feet into the rushing waters of the falls. It was invigorating – the sudden rush of adrenaline and the cold splash of water on the bare skin. Adventure and fun are elevated to a whole new level.

Did I mention that the even more fearless JM was the only other one from my group to join me in the jump? She did end up with some bruises but, man, is she fearless.

From Badian, we rented a small jeep to take us to Oslob, at the other side of the island. Restless, that was how we called it a day on that fateful December day.

Lest I forget, I want to remind everyone. Before traveling, please do your own research first, not just on the place you are going to but also on the activities you are going to do. If you are unsure, never be afraid to ask. Traveling is good. Adventure is good. But unnecessarily endangering your own safety is not cool.

For other notes and reminders, you may refer on my 2015 Canyoneering post: South Cebu 2015: Canyoneering

 

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Quench that thirst after a physically taxing adventure.
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Until the next adventure!

 

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According to local lore, the waterfalls is a sacrosanct ground guarded by a fairy.

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