To maximize what remains of the holiday break for another adventure, off I went with friends to visit Cebu’s popular southern tourist destinations. On our itinerary were: Osmeña Peak in Mantalongon, Dalaguete; Tumalog Falls in Oslob; Cangcua-Ay Private Beach in Tan-awan, Oslob; and Aguinid Waterfalls in Tangbo, Samboan.
Nestled in Siaton, Negros Oriental, Lake Balanan is a recommended retreat for those visiting Dumaguete City.
The lush greens and cool waters of Lake Balanan natural reserve give a perfect setting for adventure activities such as trekking, swimming (at the pools only), kayaking, boating, ziplining, and meditation. I would love for Cebu City to have this kind sanctuary for weekend trips. Would be my go-to itinerary, if ever.
With a scenery perfect for picture-taking, make sure you have a fully-charged camera and/or a spare battery.
The store attendant whom we asked for directions told us that Aguinid Falls is three bridges (taytayan) away south of the rotunda. But, two bridges after, we felt that we have gone too far to still be looking for the third bridge. We then asked for directions from a nipa seller and realized that we had to go back a kilometer plus –just before the bridge at Barangay Tangbo, Samboan.
This time, we immediately saw the signage pointing to Dao Falls and parked the car in front of the barangay basketball court. Paid local entrance fees of Php 10.00/pax. Asked why the lone signage is just facing south, the fee collector explained that most tourists take the eastern highway via Oslob and seldom do they come from the “longer” Barili route.
Aguinid Falls is for the explorer who shies away from lots of walking and climbing. The waterfalls is just a 200-meter walk from the basketball court. If you don’t intend to scale the 3rd and 4th levels of Aguinid Falls, a guide won’t be needed to find the falls.
During weekends and, especially, during the Lenten period, crowds of tourists flock the waterfalls. Luckily, only one barkada was there ahead of us and we got to enjoy the falls minus the crowd.
We would have wanted to climb the 3rd and 4th levels which are said to be a bit difficult. But, rain clouds were overhead so we took caution against a possible water surge. So, we contented ourselves with the first two levels.
One can enjoy wet sauna with the strong cascading currents of the falls.
The toxic last few weeks of the semester called for some unwinding and a road trip turned pathfinding to the southernmost part of Cebu –Samboan.
Scouring through different travel blogs, the waterfalls of Samboan seem the best place for de-stressing. Texted some ten or so friends but, we ended to be just a party of three (3) for this southern trip.
From Fuente Osmeña, we started our drive at 6:50AM and sped through the southern towns of Cebu via Barili. Arrived at almost 10AM at the Samboan town proper to ask around for directions to Dao and Aguinid Waterfalls.
As per advice from locals, we drove back to the Samboan border near Ginatilan. (Habal-habal drivers are also around to get you to the “staging point” of the Dao trek.)
The absence of a signage pointing to Dao Waterfalls, however, cost us a lot of minutes asking locals along the way where to find the corner to Dao Falls.
General instructions would just lead you to hints such as go to the corner near Sunrays Bus, take the road and you’ll find a house where young guides will just approach you. After missing the Dao road many times, we realized that the place where Sunrays Buses park is not necessarily a terminal but just a roadside bus stop. It’s easy to miss especially if a bus is not parked.
Going your way to Dao Falls “staging point”, you have to pass a mix of paved and rough road. The slope is gradual so it’s not difficult to conquer the elevated terrain but NOT advisable to use a car during the rainy season. Car would easily get trapped to the likely muddy path). Just course through the path until young guides SUDDENLY appear and approach your vehicle.
Regie and Helemarie were our guides for the trek –roughly 1 kilometer of hilly terrain. (Better exercise before deciding to go on this trek.)
After some minutes, our front guide, Helemarie, was far, far from us.
We got to pass a creaking hanging bridge made out of bamboo and metal wires. For the adventurous, the bridge can be a makeshift swing.
After periods of rest to catch our breath, we’re midway!
Some more minutes and some bamboo ladders, Dao Falls awaits.
Except for my family’s hometown of Balamban, I never had the chance to discover the western portion of Cebu. So off I went to Barili with my friends for my first adventure to Cebu’s west side. It was also perfect to forget momentarily the malicious cases leveled against me and my colleagues.
The group’s plan was to stay overnight at Mantayupan then proceed to Sayaw Beach the next day.
Mantayupan Falls is a sight to behold. It’s elevation is higher than all of the few waterfalls I have seen. Bring along your snack or lunch pack as there are no food stalls in the area. There’s a free grilling area though and your bottled drinks can be chilled by the cool waters.
Going for an overnight stay is not recommended since all you have there is the cool night chill. The place’s single karaoke was not working and the establishment about 200 meters away charges payment to almost everything from entrance, tables, chairs, etc.
The white sands of Sayaw Beach and the unusual bermuda grass there are perfect for those who avoid the crowded beaches of Mactan. Entrance is just Php 15.
For those wanting a relaxed beach experience this summer, you should try Olango Island, Cebu. An island just about 30 minutes away from Mactan, Lapu-Lapu City. Olango offers adventurers an inexpensive vacation different from the crowded beaches of Mactan.
Armed with ready-to-grill meat, drinks and snacks, we ventured to this small island in the summer of 2009. We rented a kayak for just 100 pesos good for the whole day. The unli-kayak allowed us to see and paddle through mangroves and off to deeper waters relying mainly on our instincts to go left, right, forward and against the strong currents.
For those who want to mingle with the fishes and spy on the migratory birds, there are also boats which service island-hopping trips for around 1700 pesos.