There’s been a lot of buzz about locations which were once backpacker gems—as local travel has become more accessible, these locations are becoming popular destinations with more tourists as a welcome change from the usual party beaches. One of my favorite experiences off the beaten track, in particular, was canyoneering to Kawasan Falls in Cebu. Canyoneering involves traversing through canyons with a variety of activities—from your sedate walking to high-adrenaline rappelling and swimming. I first tried this in 2012—though our group of 11 was big, we were the only ones tackling the canyons that day. Not being a known activity, we were charged more, but it was exhilarating nonetheless.
My more recent experience should shed some light for you guys. The fees were lower this time—we contacted Iconyoneering on Instagram, and were offered rates of Php 1000 for a group of 6, inclusive of food, and Php 800 without food. The tour guide also provided dry bags for our belongings and aquashoes to ensure we wouldn’t slip. I still recommend that you avoid bringing gadgets unless they’re waterproof, though.
I think I enjoyed canyoneering this time just as much as my first. I knew as soon as we had to begin by jumping off a 15 foot cliff that this was the kind of trip for me! The beautiful gorges involved plenty of jumping, swimming and sliding down after climbs. Be careful while you swim though—some parts are quite deep or shallow, but rocky!
There is a halfway stop where you can buy food like hotdogs and barbecue for Php 15-30—highly recommended as you will definitely be hungry. We started the second half of the trek by jumping off a high cliff—good thing we had that 15 ft jump as a warm-up! We were thankful for the assistance of our tour guide, Kuya JR, who was well-trained and very reassuring whenever we got to some more daunting parts, so we felt safe. He also knew where to take great photos and readily offered to take our pictures—I hope he’ll assist you guys if you decide to make the trip.
Our soujourn ended with a thrilling 45 m drop off the waterfalls—the second level of Kawasan Falls. Not everyone in our group was as much of a thrillseeker as I am. My cousin was afraid of heights, but she enjoyed herself so much and went through all the jumps with minimal fuss. The only downside of its sudden popularity is that there are more people around, so it felt like there were some long lines before the jumps. When we were canyoneering, we were with a big group of Korean tourists—22 in all! It made the 3-4 hour trek to Kawasan Falls feel longer. I was grateful my first experience wasn’t as crowded. We capped off our adventurous trek with the incredible sight of the majestic Kawasan Falls, where we enjoyed our lunch—a reward after an exciting trek. It was definitely worth it.