My friends and I made a quick trip to Cebu once again last month for yet another adventure and this time, we chose to trek our way to a majestic tourist destination in the middle of a jungle — The KAWASAN FALLS.
The short hike towards Kawasan Falls was mostly through a narrow paved road along the river. Rightfully so, the river was our guide.
The pristine, clear water was so inviting; such a huge respite from the midday heat we had to endure before the jungle swallowed us whole. Suddenly it was a medley of turquoise and greens around us.
Kawasan Falls is a feast of natural spring water cascading down the mountains of Barangay Matutinao in Badian.
From the entrance, we had to trudge uphill for about 1.5 km to get to the first waterfall. It was the biggest and the most crowded of all the waterfalls in the area. Despite that I would’ve preferred a more serene setting, I couldn’t complain, especially after putting on my life vest and started floating, to my delight.
That was the first time in my life that I got to absolutely enjoy being in a body of water as deep as I couldn’t feel anything below me anymore. I later learned that it was 10-20 ft. deep near the riverbanks and approximately 45 ft. deep in the middle. Holy macaroni! For someone who can’t swim, it was pure horror.
It freaked me out upon realizing I was swimming in deep waters so, for the life of me, I struggled to waddle my way through the nearest rocks where I desperately clung for safety. But there were spectators and fellow tourists who were so encouraging to coax me into the water again, persuading me to just trust the vest with my life. They even taught me how to wear the vest properly (I didn’t know I had to fasten the belts from between my fat thighs to secure it.) Thank God for friendly people, they’re aplenty in Kawasan!
We rode the balsa (raft) for P300, and I have to say it was the best decision we ever did on that trip. (Whoever among my friends Carol, ate Carina, Abby, Luchie, and Marvin paid for it is heaven-sent!)
If you ever go to Kawasan, be sure to ride the balsa. That would easily be the highlight of your adventures there!
Important: The water cascading from the 45-ft. high cliff is so powerful, make sure your swimwear is not prone to wardrobe malfunction once you get under the waterfalls. One tourist had the misfortune of getting stripped down by the cascading water while on the balsa. You don’t want that to happen.
And don’t forget to bring your GoPro camera or your smartphone sealed in a waterproof holder so you can merrily snap away photos of your adventures.
Tips to maximize your Kawasan Experience:
1. Swim across the river. There are ropes for you to grab onto so you wouldn’t get swept away by the strong current. My friend Mars and I did just that, wearing our precious life vests, and it felt like a major feat for us non-swimmers, lol! One of our friends, Abby, boldly did too…without a life vest! (Don’t do the Abby way if you’re not a good swimmer. She swims like a shark.)
2. Hire a local tour guide and explore the smaller waterfalls in the area. (Yes, it pays to have one, so hire one!)
3. Bring food. Although there are food vendors and a restaurant in the area, it would be a good call to feast on your group’s baon in one of the tables there while marvelling on the majestic view of the falls. Promise, less hassle.
4. Rent life vests along the way, or buy trinkets and other souvenir items as you navigate your way to the falls for about 15 to 20 minutes from the highway.
5. There are waterproof phone holders being sold along the trail. They come in handy if you plan on taking photos in the water. Buy one!
6. Assign someone to watch over your things. It’s a no-brainer to NOT leave your things unattended but sometimes we, mortals, forget. It pays to be cautious.
7. Again, ride the balsa. Thank me later.
Credits to my #DavaoSisterhood friends:
- Photos — Carina Manansala and Abby Fuentes
- Hosts — Luchie Calalo and Rheb
- Trip leader and major financier — Carol Yao
- Instagramer, my swimming buddy and hairdresser — Marvin Gil
- Sabit — me 😛