One of the most exciting activity I had in my entire life: Canyoneering in Badian. The thought of doing those crazy jumps was enough to keep me thrilled and hesitant at the same time. But I guess, the adventurer in me pushed myself to the limits and ultimately conquered my greatest fear: Cliff Jumping.
I should say that I already considered this experience as an extreme adventure. The activity includes amazing combination of adrenaline-pumping and death defying activities like jumping from a cliff and relaxing activity like swimming and a little trekking.
We arrived in Badian exactly 8 in the morning. As instructed, the guides met us at 7-11 store in Badian, We did a short briefing, signing of the waivers, and get suited for the activity. We were given vests and helmets to keep us protected. From our guide's house, we were transported to the registration and jump off area.
There are two types of canyoneering you can do here. The upstream and the downstream. Of course, the upstream are for the more physically fit and advanced people. In our case, we did the downstream which was just fitted for beginners like us. Typical canyoneering will run for three to fours hours, depending on your speed. Based on local tourism rules, the earliest you can do canyoneering is 6 AM and the latest would be 3PM.
It was a bit of a struggle when we started trekking from the registration area to the start of the canyoneering itself. The road is muddy and slippery. Every step needs to be well taken cared of, otherwise you'll slide down. We did almost an hour walking until we reached the river.
We were filled with excitement the moment we heard the gushing sound of the water plus the shouting of the people jumping, "This is it, no more turning back."
THE FIRST JUMP
The opening salvo of the canyoneering is a required jump from an approximately 15-20 feet falls. This is a must as there's no other way to enter the canyon but through this.
From our group, Cholo was the first jumper by default since he already had an experience doing canyoneering in the past. Second to jump was Ace. It took her a few minutes before she finally decided to jump. Peer pressure? I guess it helped a lot. I remembered even shouting at Cholo to call Ace and motivate her to jump :) Our guide told me when I was about to take my turn, "Ma'am pag sinabi pong talon, talon na agad. Huwag nang patagalin, kasi mas lalo kayong kakabahan. (Ma'am if I say, jump, go ahead and jump. You'll be more scared if you prolong it.) I took that word literally and when it's my turn to jump at the count of three, I found myself flying for few seconds followed by a big splash. It was a splash of Victory! Whew!!! That feeling was awesome! I was finally able to conquer my fear.
There were few more slides, and heart stopping jumps that followed though not as high as the first one. The activity can make you really tired and hungry. I even remembered asking our guide,"Are we there yet?" (referring to the finish line, hehehe!)The excitement of jumping off a waterfall was best captured by the video
Indeed, it was an exhilarating experience. For me, it's a test of courage and willpower. The first fall may not look high, but trust me, it is higher than you think. Once you're up there, you'll start to ask yourself, "What am I doing?" I'm guilty of that statement. hehehe!
The canyoneering experience may look easy but it was still quite a challenge. One has to be very careful as some rocks were slippery and some parts of the river were concealed by sediments. Not all parts of course involve swimming, sliding and jumping, others will require you to even crawl.
As we continue with our canyoneering, I can't help but be amazed by some of the rock formations and stalactites hanging up. There were also various spots with small waterfalls and some pools to relax and just float.
After an approximately three hours of canyoneering, we reached the final place in the canyon. It's a sight to behold, FOOOOD! Finally! I've been waiting for this. We took our lunch and a have a short break here. I just ate pork barbeque and hotdog plus puso (rice wrapped in coconut leaves)
This high rock platform where foods were sold is much higher than it appeared. At approximate height of 30 feet or more, a perfect spot for high diving. Monica didn't hesitate and challenge herself to step on the ledge, screamed her lungs out, and went all out. She's such a brave girl :) Amazing!
After half an hour of lunch break, we continue with the activity. The restart began by jumping over a short but fast flowing, cascading waterfalls and swimming in a cool lagoon again. I didn't want to stop because it started to get colder if I am not moving.
The experience was awesome and I definitely had the time of my life as we let the current drift us to the end of the canyon and resume the trekking.
KAWASAN FALLS LEVEL 3
The final part of this extreme adventure was the Kawasan Falls which took us almost an hour to reach crossing boulders and wooded areas to Level 3. Here, a more daring and death defying jump is offered to fearless souls. Monica lined herself up and jump while the five of us content ourselves floating on the deep and cool lagoon with gorgeous small waterfall.
KAWASAN FALLS LEVEL 2
After a few minutes of swimming at this part of the river, we went ahead for the second tier of the waterfalls. The station 2 offered another diving spot which was approximately 35-40 feet high. Another fearless jump from Monica.
The level 2 waterfall doesn't appear that high but you should see it for yourself and judge. There were bamboo rafts as well that you can use to go near the falls. It's a bit crowded so we didn't stay that long.
KAWASAN FALLS LEVEL 1
This is the last destination of our trip, the Kawasan Falls Level 1. This is the largest of the three falls and the most crowded, of course! Bamboo rafts are available for rent to get near and under the waterfalls. It comes with a price, but for us, it's already included in the package.
Another great experience going under the waterfalls after that tiring day to get a full body massage. The strong water flowing down will serve as your massagers to relieve all the fatigue and pain you've had from jumping, sliding and long walks.
THINGS TO REMEMBER:
GET YOURSELF A GUIDE: (this is mandatory). There are agencies offering tours for Canyoneering and we highly recommend Raymund Sande Cebu Adventures. We have very nice, caring and fun to be with guides. The trek, slides and jumps were made possible because of the support and motivation we received from them. Rate is Php 1,500/person which includes guide fees, transportation, helmets, vests, entrance fees, lunch and even our Bamboo Rafting at Kawasan Falls.
For more information, you may reach Kuya Raymund via Facebook: Raymund Gaudiano Sande
Contact Numbers: Raymund - 09151392249 or Ivy - 09972148381 / 09326079016
WHAT TO WEAR: A durable clothing is necessary. One that will not easily tear when you slide. Long sleeve rashguard will be a big help to protect your arms from scratches. It is also very important to use the right footwear: Trekking Sandals, Aqua Shoes or Rubber Shoes (no slippers) one that will not easily slide off your feet, soles that can hold you when it's slippery, and most especially something that can easily drain the water.
SNACKS AND WATER: Just eat right, enough to have energy for trekking and jumping. Don't forget to bring water and power bars if you can.
ACTION CAMERA: This is very important (wink) You might want to bring your waterproof camera with you. Just a tip, attached a floater in your camera. Our guide just used an empty pet bottle for the camera of my friend. Better if you have some hand strap for your camera to make sure that you won’t lose it while you are in action.
Nice things to remember: Treat your guide for lunch. Give a tip.
HOW TO GET TO BADIAN:
Badian is a Municipality of the Province of Cebu. Nearest Airport is Cebu and Dumaguete.
For those that will be coming from Cebu, Badian can be reached by bus from the South Bus Terminal. Take the bus bound for Bato via Barili and not Oslob as this will not pass by Badian.
In our case, since we came from Dumaguete, we load our van to the ferry bound for Santander (Sibulan - Liloan) you can also use Tampi - Bato port. Then drove our way to Badian for roughly 2 hrs. For those who will be taking public transport from Dumaguete, there are buses going to Cebu City via Bato Port. Once you get to Bato Terminal, just ask around which bus can bring you to Badian.