Three seconds. That’s the suggested time for you to decide. Don’t take too much time standing on the edge having second thoughts whether to jump or not. I constrained myself on that rule, that if I will try Kawasan Canyoneering in Badian, I need to jump after the count of three.
“Usa, duha, tulo, ambak!” (one, two, three, jump!). One of our guides was really determined in convincing us to jump because according to him, it was a one of a kind experience. He was also used to motivate tourists if they are being succumbed by panic and anxiety in conquering their fear of heights.
When I started working in Cebu, my travel blogger circle already planned for this activity yet we can’t set a schedule since most of us have numerous out-of-town trips and busy on our personal stuff. Earlier this year, my workmates tried the adventure but I wasn’t able to join them. It was until Marx of Marxtermind visited Cebu and tagged us on his plan of trying the must activity in Cebu.
Everyone agreed to meet in South Bus Terminal around 2 in the morning and boarded a bus bound for Bato Port via Barili. I only had a 4-hour sleep since we went to Nalusuan Island a day prior to the schedule. I fought to sleep on the entire trip to energize my body for the arduous activity we were set to try. After three wobbly hours, we arrived in Matutinao Beach Resort, the headquarters of Kawasan Canyoneering, a trusted tour operator for the canyoneering.
It was an early Sunday morning and our group was the first one to arrive. Breakfast is not part of the package being offered by Kawasan Canyoneering but Matutinao Beach Resort has affordable breakfast meals served with coffee. A tip from the guides, don’t eat a lot for you not to throw up during the activity.
After the fulfilling breakfast, the operator notified us to prepare for us to start early and not to join the large crowd. Kawasan Canyoneering ensures the safety of their guests by providing quality body fit life-vest with two thigh straps, as well as headgear. The trail food; muffin and bottled water, were placed inside the pouch on the vest. If by chance you forget to bring floaters for your action cameras, the ERUF-licensed tour guides will tie empty bottles of mineral water or soda to serve as your floater.
Habal-habal ride to the jump-off point is already included in the package and the first minutes will bring you to Alegria Tourism Office for registration. The tourism office accommodates tourists from 6AM up to 2PM. After logging our names, we continued the bike ride to Kanlaob River, where the first tier of cascading waters was waiting for us.
Before the first jump, the guides gave a short briefing on what to expect and also providing tips and some precautions to remember. We also had a short prayer asking for His guidance before we finally queued to take our first leap. We were seven in the group and we decided to have a game to identify the minority who will go first. Luckily, I was part of the majority.
I always recall my rule, to jump after the count of three. When it was my turn, the 15-feet high seemed too high from my view, but instead of thinking the things that might happen, I bent my knees, took a leap and after some moments, I felt my vest pulling me out to the surface of the water. It was the first jump, and I enjoyed it.
After the first jump, a short walk brought us to a scenic part of the river, where people were again queuing for the “slide”. Here, tourists are encouraged to glide on a smooth part of the rocks that will throw you into the clear waters of the river. After the slide, everyone in the group was told to go inside the mini-cave, just below the rock. If doing the slide is too simple for you, the other option is to climb the other side of the canyon and brave for another jump.
Next thing, the witty guides instructed us some funny actions and poses for photo opportunities. To get out of the cave, they told us to hold each other side by side with our feet touching the wall while floating and moving out to the lagoon area. We were like kids scrambling and laughing out loud following instructions from them. Photos with tourists forming circles, flowers as they insisted, are a must shot to take during the activity. With our pushy guides, we joined the craze. They also let us float on the water and lean on the legs of the person before us to form a train where the first person being pulled by the guide.
Apart from the exhilarating and hilarious moments, it was also great to see the Kanlaob River and appreciate the curves and narrow passages of the canyons. The clear and turquoise water will entice you to jump and be with it. There are mini cascades of waterfalls along the way and finding a place in them is a therapeutic massage for free.
We continued the canyoneering experience with some short jumps and spelunking that brought us to the second slide, the famous vertical drop slide. Guides will let you prepare first on a tub of water before pushing you with the gushing waters and dropping vertically into the water. This is where I drunk a lot of water from the river. Short floatings led us to a rock where they let us jump for another jump-shot photo.
The next part involved trekking and spelunking. Some parts of the river are bottle necks for all the tourists especially those parts where everyone needs to pass through tight holes and passages. The guides will also allow you to stop for breaks, just inform them that you need to take some rest. A great place for some stop is a wall full of rock formations. One member of the group even climbed a rock for the formations at the wall be included in her photo.
Believe it or not, there are barbecue stalls midway where you can munch grilled pork meat and sausages. If you forgot to bring any cash, just asked them to write your name and the tour operator whom you availed your canyoneering experience and they will collect it afterward. But since I already inform you about this, bring cash with you just in case. You can secure it in plastics and put it in your vest’s pouch.
The short meal stop was then followed by the best jump on the course. The 30-feet high jump will test how great you are in calibration. Calibration in the sense that you need to properly calculate the force you will be exerting on your jump for you not to hit the other side of the narrow passage. After the thrilling jump, another short jump was waiting for me. This jump led us to a canopy of stalactites that sparkle with the reflection of light from the clear surface of the river.
**Please keep in mind that you might touch them unintentionally so be cautious about its presence.
From that point, we trekked for few minutes until we reached the third tier of Kawasan Falls. This is the point for the next jump which is 35-feet high with a twist of running before taking a leap. Everyone is being asked to run because you need to land on the water few meters from the take-off point because you’ll hit some rocks if you’ll be doing the normal way of dropping. Another option is to climb the tree, which will give you a higher point of 40-feet.
People crowd the last jumps, around 50-feet high, on the second tier of Kawasan Falls so we didn’t bother anymore to queue and wait for our turn. We were contented with the jumps, glides, and swims we did so we went directly to Matutinao Beach Resort for our lunch, which was part of the package.
Lunch set includes roasted chicken legs, fried shanghai rolls, stir-fry noodles, and hefty platters of rice, the best way to cap five long hours of jumping, trekking, and swimming along Kanlaob River. After lunch, we also got the chance to talk to the owner of Matutinao Beach Resort who is also a barangay official in the area. She shared her story of how she joined the local group before in exploring the river for them to promote it as an extreme adventure destination in Cebu. What we tried is downstream canyoneering but the old lady confessed to us that she also had the chance to try upstream which is more arduous and demanding.
Canyoneering in Kawasan, Badian is indeed not for the faint-hearted but once you conquer these jumps, it will be one of your memorable travel moments. Doing the stint with like-minded and adventure-freak friends will also encourage you to experience every bit of the activity. It is also important to follow and respect your guides as they’re the ones who are familiar with the place. We were glad that we tried canyoneering via Kawasan Canyoneering that aside from the funny and superb guiding, all their guides are well-trained and ERUF licensed, and also conducts monthly clean-up on the river.
**During our canyoneering activity, there were talks between Alegria and Badian in regard to imposing regulations on the said adventure activity. It was mentioned that the number of guests will be limited to 75 from Tuesday and Friday, 150 on weekends and holidays, and Mondays will be the rest day for the river. With this, it’s better to contact Kawasan Canyoneering beforehand for your desired schedule.
Kawasan Canyoneering offers canyoneering packages starting from PHP 1,500 per person (regardless of nationality). This includes life-vest, safety helmet, all government fee, aqua shoes, one-way motorbike ride to jump off, lite snacks, guide fees, bamboo rafting in Kawasan Falls, and recovery lunch.
6021 Badian, Cebu
Contact Nos.: (63)918 654-4111; (63)905 333-2623
Disclosure: Kawasan Canyoneering sponsored our downstream canyoneering in Kanlaob River in Alegria/Badian. Experience shared on this post was raw experience of the blogger and not influenced by the brand and/or the people behind it.