Canyoneering in Kawasan, Philippines.
For thrill-seekers and nature lovers, Kawasan Canyoneering (or Canyoning) in Badian, Cebu is a must. You will jump from one waterfall to another (or slide your way down), scramble through big rocks, walk through a jungle, swim in unbelievably turquoise-hued fresh water, have snacks in the middle of the canyon, and end up in one of the most beautiful waterfalls you’ll ever see and treat yourself to a waterfall massage. Definitely, Kawasan canyoneering should be part of your South Cebu travel itinerary.
How to get there
Kawasan canyoneering is a good day trip from Moalboal. Badian town is just a 15-minute drive from Moalboal on a motorbike. We rented a motorbike from Moalboal (400/day) and drove ourselves there. There are many travel agencies in Moalboal that will offer packages that include transfer from Moalboal to Badian.
From Cebu City
Take a bus going the Bato-Barili route in South Cebu Terminal. Then tell the driver to drop you off Kawasan. It takes about 4 hours at most from Cebu City to Badian.
No one is allowed to do canyoneering on his or her own. The first thing we did, therefore, is look for trained guides to take us canyoneering. I highly recommend doing this with Kawasan Canyoneering, yes, that’s the convenient name of their guide group. Their office is located in front of the big sign going to Kawasan Falls. There’s also a big church fronting their office.
Fees: we paid 1500 pesos per person, which already includes the helmets, life jackets, snacks, and big lunch at the end of the activity. You can leave your important stuff in their office.
We chose to do downstream canyoneering, which starts from Kanlaob river in Algeria and ends in Kawasan in Badian. A motorbike took us up a high mountain then down to the beginning of the canyon.
The canyoneering usually lasts 3-4 hours depending on the size of the group and of course, if you are ready to take the plunge quickly. The activity starts with a jump off of 25 feet. Once you jumped, there’s no turning back, by then you’ll have to finish the track which will lead you to more waterfalls that can be as low as 5 feet to as high as 35 feet.
The rocks are big. Sometimes, you have to climb up huge boulders, other times you have to crawl beneath them, hence the helmet.
In the middle of the canyon, you will find a few foodstalls selling hotdogs and other snacks. They had brought down their stalls from above the canyon using a rope. And just in front of the stalls is a cliff beside a waterfall that is 25 feet high. You can choose to jump off from here or walk your way down.
The end of the canyoneering is the famed Kawasan Falls. The color of the water is stunning. Swim and get yourself on a raft that will take you to where the falls drop and help yourself to a waterfall massage.
Things to Remember
Wear good water- or hiking shoes
Since you will be scrambling through big rocks, you will need to have good shoes that won’t let you slip. The guides already know where to step and not to but it pays to be safe than sorry.
Bring a floater for your fully charged Go Pro
A lot of times, tourists lose their Go Pro after losing grip while jumping. Losing your moments in that Go Pro sure is unpleasant.
Always follow what your guide says
Some of the rocks are slippery, the pressure from the waterfalls is strong, or there are big rocks underwater. Your guide will tell you exactly where to step, where to jump, and all things important that will save your life.
Go early on a good weather
We went as early 7:30 am. There were still not a lot of tourists then. We ended just in time for lunch and we were quite early driving back home in Moalboal. It is also usually sunny in the morning than in the afternoon when it sometimes it rains. A bad weather for canyoneering would not be advisable since the pressure in the waterfalls become very strong, and the rocks become even more slippery.
Take time to marvel nature
After the jump, take the time to feel the cool, and fresh turquoise water, float on your back and marvel at the towering canyon, the trees that grow on each side, the birds, etc. You can walk slowly and check out the river while walking.
Kawasan Canyoneering perhaps is one of the best activities I ever did in the Philippines. You don’t have to be super fit to do it. Just show up, listen to your guide and enjoy nature at its finest.
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Text by Jen Yap, photos by Martien Janssen