Just a few days ago Cebu registered a high 44.1 degrees heat index according to PAG-ASA Mactan. According to the said local state weather bureau, the heat index (also called human discomfort index) is the actual temperature felt by the body based on air temperature, humidity, and the surrounding environment. Quite a number of people on my FB feed shouted their discomfort with a slew of posts ranging from how polar caps are melting to comparisons of heat felt to the fires of hell reiterating how HOT this summer is becoming.
When it is this HOT, you can’t helped but think of the many places you’d rather want to be than stay at your sauna-like home. Luckily, the Philippines is blessed with a lot of wonderful places offering escape from the summer heat. As an archipelago, our country literally abounds with bodies of water that will refresh you!!! Here are a few outside of Cebu that I was fortunate enough to have visited over the years. I believe these will give you reason to hop on a ferry or book your next flight out of the city!
The UP Cebu Department of Computer Science, a CHED Center of Excellence grantee, went to Pinamungajan, Cebu last April 24-26 to conduct an ICT skills enhancement training for government workers and teachers of the 3rd congressional district.
The ICT training covered topics in office productivity applications such as word processing, spreadsheets, slide presentations, and basic computer operations and troubleshooting.
I was designated to discuss effective slide presentations. To provide a “local feel” to my talk, I made a quick research on Pinamungajan and Toledo City since most of our audience came from the two places.
While scouring the net, I got amazed that Pinamungajan actually has a lot of destinations to please different types of tourists. From their local government website, http://www.pinamungajan.gov.ph, here are the town’s top attractions:
1. Hidden Valley Mountain Resort
We were fortunately given a free tour by the staff of the local government after our Friday session and got to experience what the town website says as: “an adventure in itself as the road winds its way up over scenic rice fields and mountains.” The night time ride allowed us to view the field of stars usually hidden by Cebu City’s lights.
We skipped swimming in their cold pools and instead sang a videoke song or two.
2. Twin falls: Udlom and Sinungkulan Falls
Would have wanted to take a view and a dip into these beauty but we didn’t have time to spare. Sinungkulan is said to be visible when you’re at Hidden Valley Mountain Resort, as both are located in Barangay Lamac, but the night’s darkness also prevented us a view.
3. Tajao Public Beach
We were billeted at Park Place Resort and had Tajao’s public beach as our backyard. The beach has black sand and sports very clean waters. Morning strolls give you a glimpse of the fishing community.
Pinamungajan, being a midwest town, has a spectacular view of the sunset. Their local website describes the sunset experience as: “Whether from a bench in the municipal plaza or from the beaches in Tajao, the spectacular view never fails to refresh a weary soul.”
On our way to the training venue from our accommodation, we get to pass by the ever growing mangroves of Pinamungajan. Would have wanted to ride a banca to cruise along the river which is lined by a mangrove forest quite similar to Bojo River of Aloguinsan town.
Felt fulfilled by the three-day ICT skills training as I can clearly see the participants’ keen interest to our discussions. Hopefully, the training would help them in delivering better public service and that they will be able to pass on the knowledge to others.
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.