Saturday, July 18, 2015

Things To Do In South Cebu

I fell in love with South Cebu
Tumalog Waterfalls, Aguinid Falls, Kawasan Falls, Oslob Beach,Cangcuaay Beach, Oslob Whaleshark Watching

I felt the sudden need to travel.  I was longing for the beach and a lot of trekking. I was packing my things with one destination in mind : South Cebu.
I've been living in the wonderful island of Cebu, my second home where I spent most of my time after college graduation. It would be a shame that I won't be able to explore this paradise before I die. Together with Mark, along with his brother Mario and girlfriend Lica, we are about to find out what South Cebu has in store for us. 

From the South Bus Terminal, an air-conditioned Ceres bus will take you to Oslob. The plan was to stay for a night at Sascha's Resort and experience the lined-up activity the next day. 
Sascha's Resort 

The owners were accommodating that we felt we were just at home. Sascha's got a pool, a viewing deck overlooking the beach, a complimentary breakfast by the beach and a comfortable room to sleep in. They also cater arranged tour for the guests using the family's own car.  The initial plan was to experience Canyoneering (I'm using this video from GMA Public Affairs as reference). But unfortunately, it's been raining since we got there and a tropical storm had just entered the country. Mario's contacted guide had to cancel the scheduled canyoning since it was not safe. We instead arranged a tour to experience the famous tourist attractions of South  Cebu. 
First Stop : Whaleshark Watching, Oslob 
Whaleshark Watching,Tan-awan Oslob Cebu 

So I've been dreaming of swimming with the gentle giants of the sea. I didn't expect it to be this early. Our driver, Kuya Boyet dropped us at the whaleshark watching site. It was a typical early Sunday morning and tourists are beginning to flock the area. The whale shark's highest visibility time is from 7am to 9am so I recommend to put this activity on top of your itinerary. Interactions are up only until 12:30pm every day. Tourists are briefed at a briefing area. We put on our gears and local fishermen got us into a small banca to the diving site. I swear my heart was beating faster but as I plunged myself in the water, damn, the feeling was incredible. I've seen not just one whaleshark but three, as in three! I swear I panicked when someone shouted, "he's behind you!" and when you turn around, behold, a whale shark with its opened mouth was a few feet away from you. Of course he was harmless, he was just catching some krills fed by the fishermen to keep them in the area. With its wide mouth as wide as your two-arms stretched, they were quite cute. It was a wonderful experience that I'd remember until the day I'd die.

Second Stop : Tan-awan Cangcua-ay Beach, Oslob 

I came across a beautiful photo on Instagram a few days back and thought of visiting this place when the right time comes. Getting to the stone-clad beach was  tiring, enduring a 200+ steps on the way from the entrance gate.  By the time you reach the beach area, you're gasping for air but amazed by the big boulders of rock by the beach. It was a bit cloudy when we got there so not much of a blue-sky picturesque view was happening. We took some photos, documenting our arrival there and off we went to our next stop. 

Third Stop : Tumalog Waterfalls, Oslob 

It was an uphill ride from the highway to Tumalog Waterfalls. From the drop-off point, travelers have an option to either ride  a habal-habal or hike for about 10 to 15 minutes to the waterfall.  The sound of waterfall gives me a different kind of excitement. Its soft icy mists kisses your cheeks. Unlike the other falls, Tumalog Waterfalls is wide (and extremely high) with mini moss-covered umbrella-like bedrock  where the cold fine strands of water cascades from the top. As high as about a hundred meters, the cascade waters that falls in a rain-like fashion is not strong enough to hurt you. It actually provides a relaxing massage to weary travelers. The clear shallow basin below the falls is soothing. Its diaphanous dress of pale green creates a majestic view. The thick bamboo grooves and surrounding forest acts like a guardian overseeing Tumalog Waterfalls like a scene from a movie. 

Fourth Stop : Aguinid Falls, Tangbo, Samboan 

After about an hour  car-ride from Tumalog Waterfalls, we reached Aguinid Falls. Frustrated with the cancelled canyoning, we opted to conquer Aguinid Falls.  Aguinid means to "slide" down .   The falls itself is a five-tiered waterfalls which means you have to climb a few rock walls , rock boulders or even huge trees to reach the main falls. It is  recommended to always follow your guide when trekking and climbing the rock walls. The rocks are  made of limestone so it's not that slippery but there are some areas where your guide would tell you not to step in. Remember, the whole stretch of the hike is  made up of water streaming, hard rocks and high walls  without a  rope for a guide or support. No need to rush too, the guide will tell you to climb up slowly  and enjoy every moment of your little victories. The first two tiers is exciting enough to make your heart beat faster. Your knees begins to feel your weight as you climb the water-streamed walls of the third and fourth tier, where you can swim on its clear basin of icy water. The last tier was the amazing one. You can climb up to the sides of it and let the strong waterfalls provide you massage and relaxation. 

Fifth Stop : Kawasan Falls, Badian 

Our last stop for the day is Kawasan Falls of Badian. From the main highway, you can rent a habal-habal on the way to the waterfall or hike for about 15 to 20 minutes. From the riverside trail hike, you can see the simple life at Badian; villagers on the side of the river  are washing their clothes, some old men carrying some sacks of firewood and a mother carrying her child with an umbrella walking with us. Passing an old-age stone bridge and a hydro-power electric plant, its little forest on the way to the falls is a bit creepy, at least for me. Kawasan Falls is  like a strong woman gushing a strong flow of water from the top when we reached her. Her splash is so loud it creates a loud music to my ears. The waterfall is located at the foot of Mantalungon mountain range, the last stop of the canyoneering adventure which starts at Alegria town. Its wide deep basin's water overflowed from the man-made concrete barrier at that time due to heavy rain the night before.  We climbed up to the top thru a man-made staircase on the side of its walls. A mini-falls were on top of it. There was something enchanting about Kawasan Falls. I've heard stories that a person dies every two years or so at the falls. Not cool though, but nothing can stop us from experiencing Kawasan Falls. 

To sum up, the experience was exhilarating. My encounter with the gentle giants of the sea was my most precious moment. I can finally tell my future grandchildren of the vivid memories I had with the three huge whale sharks.  South Cebu has the best beaches, rich culture and wonderful people. I wish the government will take care of their natural resources and preserve the beauty of nature.  There are lots of places I  missed to explore on South Cebu, but I promised to list those on my travel goals this year. 
Budget is one of the essential part of the trip. Let me list down our expenses incurred during our two-day trip. 

1. Air-conditioned Ceres bus ride from Cebu South terminal to Oslob (about 4 to 5 hours travel time) - about P150
2. Overnight stay at Sascha's Resort  (with complimentary breakfast) - P1,300 (twin beds) 
3. Car rental via Sascha's Resort (for the whole day activity) - P2,500 
4. Whaleshark watching (complete with gears, guide and banca for 30 minutes) - P500/head
5. Cangcuay Beach Resort entrance - P100 per head 
6.  Tumalog Waterfalls - P20 per head
7. Aguinid Falls - P100 per head (I suggest to give tips to your guide, they are way too accommodating and kind. They could even bring your belongings like camera and cellular phones without getting wet. They could be also be your photographer too). 
8. Kawasan Falls - P10 per head (cottages for rent - P1500 to P2500, rented raft - P300) 

You might want to discover the rest of Cebu by clicking the links below : 

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