A sudden stop woke me up. My legs twinged and my elbow pained. I probably pressed them unconsciously against hard surfaces when I was asleep. My neck also hurt a bit. Having it tilted for hours might had strained the tissues. After few stretches and twists, I was back to my inured self.
Traveling with Stangers: Not a new thing
I peeked outside and immediately recognized that we were close [to our destination]. I did a quick fix; wiped facial oil traces and checked if my stuff were intact.
I looked around the bus to inspect if the team is doing well. I was seated in the front while the rest were scattered at the back. Earlier at Cebu South Bus Terminal, we competed with other passengers to get a seat for the 5AM trip. We did not find vacant, adjacent seats, thus we took separate positions.[Related Article: Beyond the Canyons and Waterfalls; Cebu Canyoning / Canyoneering]
It was my first time to join a CBS (Cebu Bloggers Society) activity. But not my first time with a group of strangers, nonetheless. My first trip in Sagada was with group of people I just met, while my two-day beach camp in Fortune Island was also with individuals I hadn’t known prior. Hence, I was pretty confident that I’m good at making friends. Perhaps, that would later be my second canyoneering experience, a good gut booster.
Meeting our Canyoneering Contact
Anyway, back to the bus, we alighted in front of La Playa Resort, exactly where our contact promised to pick us up. At first, we thought we could beach bum at the resort. It turned out that it was a mere rendezvous.
Sir Isau, the man behind Kawasan Nature Park Multi-Purpose Cooperative welcomed us at his humble abode. He served us breakfast and then briefed us the background and the challenges of the canyoneering business. Setting up an umbrella org for guides and operators was on his pipeline, but the balls of chains were just too heavy to shatter. We wished we could do something.
We also met Chevy of iCanyon Cebu Canyoneering Group. She was also optimistic of the plan [Sir Isau’s] but believed that having it realized needs operators’ will and government backing. Canyoneering covers two adjoining municipalities, Alegria and Badian, so a memorandum of agreement between the two LGUs must be first established.
Getting Ready for the First Jump
We headed to Barangay Canloab in Alegria after breakfast to start our canyoneering. There were minor misunderstandings that happened along the way. The Alegria side implemented new guidelines and fees and these were not properly communicated to the other side, Badian. We smoothly passed when Sir Isau stood for clarifications.
It was odd when the sky suddenly turned gloomy when we were ready for our first jump. The wind gust chilled and intensified the throbbing. I could understand why there was a long queue towards the ledge – many were reluctant to jump. People were counting and cheering to entice every single member of the group to take the leap. Notwithstanding all the efforts, some were utterly hard to persuade.
When it was our turn, we wasted no time for hesitation. There was no excuse for us since our guide chose a lower ledge. Though Ly spent a longer time contemplating.
I was a bit disappointed at first when we were instructed to jump from the lower portion. But later, I realized that it was another adrenaline experience. Plunging directly below the waterfall was entirely awesome.
We Had an Awesome Time
Eventually, things happened really fast, despite the fact that we spent almost four hours to finish the course. We did bouldering, jumping, trekking, swimming, waterfalling, and sliding.
We were tired but we never gave up. We were pained but we never complained. We were stunned but we were never shocked.
Following the guides’ instructions at all times was our secret to safety. They sure knew where we must land and what path to take. Not to mention, one tourist [not part of CBS group] almost had a mishap due to overconfidence.
After completing the canyoneering stretch, we feasted the lunch prepared by Kawasan Nature Park Multi-Purpose Cooperative. We had chicken tinola, grilled pork chop, bam-i, veggies, and my favourite, humba. I believe it was standard for every canyoneering package, that if, you booked it with them.
Before parting ways, Sir Isau and Chevy extended their hospitality. They allowed us to use their showers for us to freshen up.
We left around 4PM and boarded a bus to Cebu.
Kawasan Nature Park Multi-Purpose Cooperative
Contact #: +63 927 582 1183
Contact person: Isauro Belarmino
Rates: ₱1,500/head for a group of 5 and below | ₱1,000/head for 6 and above
Inclusions: Use of helmet, life vest, tour and entrance fees, guides, and set meal.