Tag Archives: adventure

South Cebu itinerary: Osmeña Peak, Tumalog Falls, Cangcua-Ay Beach, and Aguinid Waterfalls

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.

The itinerary was quite pain-inducing: A good climb and descent to/from Osmena Peak; an uphill walk through the steep road from Tumalog Falls; the 200+ steps of Cangcua-Ay Private Beach; and the trek through the 5 levels of Aguinid Waterfalls. Continue reading South Cebu itinerary: Osmeña Peak, Tumalog Falls, Cangcua-Ay Beach, and Aguinid Waterfalls

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Lake Balanan, Siaton, Negros Oriental

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.

Lake Balanan

Continue reading Lake Balanan, Siaton, Negros Oriental

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This falls adventure is true in Samboan (Part 2: Aguinid Falls)

Enjoying the strong cascading current and the "spa" at the 2nd level of Aguinid Waterfalls.
Enjoying the strong cascading current and the “spa” at the 2nd level of Aguinid Waterfalls.

After accomplishing the trek to Dao Falls (Read: This falls adventure is true in Samboan (Part 1: Dao Falls) and a quick lunch at the Samboan town proper, we headed to Aguinid Falls hoping for a less tiring path.

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.

Multi-level photo op is an easy mission at the Aguinid Falls.
Multi-level photo op is an easy mission at the Aguinid Falls.

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.

Mini-dams to allow some pools to form downstream.
Mini-dams to allow some pools to form downstream.
Communing with Aguinid Falls
Sheila communing with Aguinid Falls

One can enjoy wet sauna with the strong cascading currents of the falls.

Meditation pose is a must. (Doing the wrong lotus pose)
Meditation pose is a must. (Doing the wrong lotus pose)
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This falls adventure is true in Samboan (Part 1: Dao / Dau 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.

The group originally intended to discover the three waterfalls of Samboan, Cebu but the long drive – 3 hours or more – plus getting lost along the way allowed us to just see two: Dao Falls and Aguinid Falls. (Read: This falls adventure is true in Samboan Part 2: Aguinid Falls)

First stop: Dao Falls

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.

Samboan, Cebu town proper. Not easy to miss with its rotunda.
Samboan, Cebu town proper. Not easy to miss with its rotunda. (Photo grabbed from Wikipedia. This image was originally posted to Flickr by bortescristian at http://flickr.com/photos/79653482@N00/4451139179)

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.)

Helemarie still a few meters from us.
Helemarie still a few meters from us.

After some minutes, our front guide, Helemarie, was far, far from us.

Helemarie, wait!
Helemarie, wait!

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.

Photo Op. Bamboo hanging bridge.
Photo Op. Bamboo hanging bridge.
More of hanging bridge.
More of hanging bridge.

After periods of rest to catch our breath, we’re midway!

Sheila posterizes our achievement.
Sheila posterizes our achievement.

Some more minutes and some bamboo ladders, Dao Falls awaits.

Kirby taking a time off for a photo with the ladders.
Kirby taking a time off for a photo with the ladders.

…and here’s Dao Falls!

Taking a dip. A tree branch sticks out of the waters where one can play a game of balance.
Taking a dip. A tree branch sticks out of the waters where one can play a game of balance.
Guides
Our guides, Reggie and Helemarie.
Enjoying the ice cold water on a summer. Our guides tell us that the waters act as a natural refrigerator for sodas and beer!
Enjoying the ice cold water on a summer. Our guides tell us that the waters act as a natural refrigerator for sodas and beer!

Sheila

Water near the falls itself ranges 5-6 feet deep.
Water near the falls itself ranges 5-6 feet deep.
Regie struts his diving skills.
Kirby attempts a dive after Reggie’s Olympic dive.
Photo op
Hello, Regie’s fingers!
Photo op
Me, pondering the meaning of life.

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Got to see Barili

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.

Tricycle mode
Tricycle mode
Mantayupan Falls
Bring your own food to Mantayupan Falls since food stalls are absent in the area.
Mantayupan Falls
Photo sessions for the vain.
The tall waterfall
The tall waterfall

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Sayaw Beach
Sayaw Beach
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The best island for your peso… Olango

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.

Olango Island
Giving up on paddling and resorting to pulling.

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Surfing with our multi-purpose kayak

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The obligatory ‘jump shot’

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Motorized boat to ferry us to Olango

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The birds enjoy the still waters of early morning

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Eating time! Don’t disturb the birdie

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Manong bangkero

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Island co-habitants

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