Day 2 was our official first day of adventure as a complete group! Call time was 4:30am at the hotel lobby. Mission for the day: Canyoneering at Kanlaob, Alegria!
I have seen Canyoneering featured in a local travel show (Biyahe ni Drew) and I was eager I'd do it the next time I'd find myself in Cebu.
Unknowingly, this is also what my friends had in mind. I was ecstatic when I first found out about our itinerary. We availed of a group package tour with Let's Go Tours Cebu and paid P3,100.00 per head.
It included: Transportation (Roundtrip - 2 days, travel time: 2 - 3 hours per way), Gears/Helmet and Vests, Tour Guides, Entrance Fees and Habal-Habal Ride. The fee also included the Whale Watching Fee in Oslob which we did the next day.
Being the cheapskate that I am, I see to it that I spend my money wisely. The biggest chunk of the package fee perhaps goes to the car, fuel and driver. But it was all worth it. One of the advantages of renting a car is that you can stop by amazing views which Cebu has no shortage of.
Case in point:
Kuya Sonny, our tour guide/driver stopped by this amazing view in Barili, Cebu while we were on our way. Grand, isn't it?
Okay, back to canyoneering. Perhaps this activity is still not familiar with others. When I first told my Mom about canyoneering, she thought I'd be put inside a cannon (canyon in vernacular) and will be launched somewhere far off. Hahaha.
Close enough but canyoneering is basically: you go to a canyon (think Grand Canyon) and you engage in activities such as cliff jumping, rappelling, trekking, hiking, sliding, swimming, shivering, cussing, picture taking... :D
This is by far the most extreme activity I've tried and felt the most chicken.
At the starting point, you need to jump approximately 15 feet and plunge into the fresh water. I've tried cliff jumping four times but this just felt different. The previous times I've cliff jumped, what was in front of me was the vast, infinite sea while in canyoneering, what was in front (and below) were rocks and boulders. It was kind of...scary.
Hesitation was all over me and it took me OA moments before I jumped. Haha. Kuya Stewart, our tour guide commented later on that he really felt my hesitation and wondered if I'll push through. But my friend Elver put it this way: "Yung nakakatakot pero gusto mong gawin"
You genuinely feel fear but at the same time there's the adrenaline. "Joyfear".
I guess they call it "joyfear".
YOU JUST DO IT. You just jump and that's it, you're alive.
After the first jump, the fear was manageable already (more jumps to gooo!). All five of us even decided to jump the 30 feet cliff. It was optional. You could still go on with the trek without doing the 30 feet jump but everyone was feeling daredevil and nobody was KJ so, JUMP WE ALL DID!
We witnessed a proposal on this boulder!(And no, it's not #Kamay07 haha #insidejoke).
BUT LET ME JUST SAY THIS: the place was so beautiful, magnificent, amazing, grand, lahat na! I took the time to just float on my back and take it all in. The way the sunlight lit up the whole place made me speechless (made me thankful I'm on Vacation Leave haha). Every turn will make you gasp and utter "Wowwww". I shared the same sentiment of adoration with the other tourists to whom some are foreigners. Even if the trek was so long (it'll take 3 to 4 hours) the scene around makes it all worth it.
Imagine two cliffs, a river with crystal blue water in between then add the stellar rock formations and the lush trees swaying above. Mannn, you can't help but marvel deeply with awe at God's creation. Nature at its best, finest. Only in the Philippines! No photo could justify and capture its beauty. It's something to see in person, something to see for yourself.
This photo could've been a favorite except it's blurry. Haha.
But on the more practical side of things, if you want to try canyoneering, we advise you wear rash guard with long sleeves and leggings that would really cover your entire legs. Aside from protecting your legs from the rough rocks, the leggings will help in fighting the ice-bucket coldness of the water. It is superrr cold I tell you. Hypothermia talaga ang labas.
Buy aqua shoes too because you don't want to risk getting your sneakers wet. I didn't buy any aqua shoes and decided to use my sneakers but as I contemplated I think it wouldn't be a smart choice. So I rented shoes instead for P50.00 (good thing something fit me). But for sanitary purposes, I don't advise you do the same thing. Invest in aqua shoes. :)
Also bring a dry good bag so you can bring money because the trek is really long. All the jumping, swimming, sliding, trekking will consume your energy. Why money? Because at the end of the trek you will find...a treasure. A treasure that comes in ladies selling barbecue and other food. The smell of barbecue is actually what will keep you going. Haha.
Yes, you read it right. Sorry to spoil it to you.
I have a mixed feeling towards it. Whoever thought of it, it is so enterprising of them, I mean barbecue/food at the end of a long, tiring trek? Why not??? But I just feel that the commercial vibe of selling slightly marred the natural appeal of the place. Anyway.
Looks like we made it! WHAT. AN. EXPERIENCE!
You have two options to end canyoneering. First is to go downstream and that is to continue trekking until Kawasan Falls or second is to go upstream and that is to hike up a stiff cliff for 15 minutes and walk back towards the starting point. We chose to go upstream but Kawasan Falls is still on the itinerary.
We had our late lunch and then went to Kawasan Falls!
Look at the unique shade of blue of the water...amazing.
Hoo, nevermind my lovehandles...este salba bida just to be safe :)))
Hoo, nevermind my lovehandles...este salba bida just to be safe :)))
Those faces! Hahaha. We had the best massage ever! The pressure of the cascading waterfalls was so intense, just what we exactly needed to soothe all the tired muscles from the trekking and hiking from canyoneering! Perfect. Thank you Kawasan Falls!
On the way back to the city, we stopped by Carcar to buy their famed chicharon for pasalubong (another advantage of renting a car instead of taking the bus). We changed clothes at the hotel and had dinner at Kusina Uno which Kuya Sonny recommended.
No exaggeration but I have to use the adjective best again! Really, the Best Pochero/Bulalo! A whole big bowl costs P475.00 but could feed 4 to 5 persons. If you want, the lutong bahay (home-cooked) meal type, Kusina Uno is worth trying!
We capped the long day off at La Vie Parisienne. Not a trip to La Vie goes without a photo at their Instagram famous wine cellar:
We ordered their Shanpelino Wine in Grapes and salami and cheese. The wine and salami were good, the cheese...I guess my taste has to widen a little more.
What better way to end a loooooong day but with a toast, cheers to more adventures! :)