While visiting Cebu, most have Kawasan Falls on their list of places to visit. It's gorgeous! But why not pair it with the adventure of a lifetime? Canyoneering!
JJ, the owner of Le Village Hostel, told us about canyoneering ($30). It included transportation to/from, lunch, and a wicked adventure through the jungle, canyons, and ends at the gorgeous Kawasan Falls.
8am sharp, our tour guide Jimmy picked us up from our Hostel in a tricycle where we rode about 20-30 minutes to the office. Here, we strapped up with life jackets and helmets. They also provided water shoes and dry bags, if needed. I knew the conditions we were going to be in so all I brought was my GoPro and $2 (just in case I wanted to buy a snack somewhere). I wouldn't trust the dry bag with your electronics, just leave that stuff at your hostel. They have a little storage area if you want to leave anything with them at their office.
There was a total of seven of us (two guides: Jimmy and Jiffy, and four other guests besides me). After we got all of our safety equipment, we hopped on our motorcycle rides for another 20-30 minute ride down a very wet and slippery gravel road to the start of our trail.
We started the trail for about 15 minutes in lush jungle scenery until we reached our first glimpse of the bright teal water. GORGEOUS!
There were tons of other people and other tours going on. This is where people were rope swinging and cliff jumping. We continued along our tour upstream.
River crossings, boulder scrambling, cliff jumping, & wall scaling. This adventure was definitely not for the faint of hearts. Be ready for a workout!
The scenery just kept getting better and better. At first it looked a lot like Havasupai in Arizona. Then it started to look like Oneonta Gorge in Oregon. Both are two incredible places, put together was like a fairytale.
About two hours in, we were wading in the water down a canyon when it started to smell like some bomb ass BBQ. And bomb ass BBQ it was! In the middle of the canyon were several women cooking up a storm. We skipped past the food the first pass, on the way back we grabbed a bite to eat. I had thought it was going to be a loop, but it turned out to be an out and back trail. So after we reached our further study point, we rode the water downstream back the way we came.
Jimmy and Jiffy of Lucero Adventures were great guides, I'd highly recommend them! Both of them were very friendly and positive vibes during the entire tour. Even when we wanted to spend a bit more time in one spot to take more pictures. They made sure we were safe at all times and lended a helping hand when parts seemed slightly sketchy.
Although I would have liked to spend a bit more time at the falls, it would easily have to be another whole day at the falls alone (bc there are several waterfalls with tons of amazing photo ops). By the time we got to Kawasan Falls, I was already exhausted and ready to wrap up and take a shower. If you have time, I'd recommend to do the canyoneering one day, then come back again for the falls. The second day would be a more relaxing day. Leisure walk through to the different falls at your own pace and have lunch by the falls. Also, all I had was my GoPro. After hours of canyoneering, my battery was nearly dead. I would have loved to come back to the falls with my DSLR camera which would have taken way better pictures. If you come to Kawasan Falls from the bus, you can definitely bring your electronics bc you won't have to risk them getting wet.
On our way back to Moalboal, we passed an area of the road that had tons of cars and motorcycles parked on the side. I asked, "What's going on over there?" Jiffy said, "Cock fight!" Me and the Neatherland guys looked at each other in excitement and said, "Let's go!" Our tricyclist quickly made a U-turn where we all hopped out to attend the cock fight.
Now, let me just say that I do NOT suppose animal cruelty. This is why I did not bet. However, the experience of the cock fight was truly remarkable. Hundreds of Filipinos circled around the tarp where they were placing bets and yelling, "Stay?! Stay? STAY!" Apparently that's how you ask if you want to bet lol! Jimmy was telling us how they decide who to bet on. You take a look at the cock and you want one that is big and strong, you also take a look at the owner (I guess they all have reputations, some better than others) and their opponent. Naud, one of the Netherlands boys, bet $10 on one of the cocks and won! A round of beer and chicken sticks for everyone on Naud, YAH YOU!!!
Whoops, my review on Canyoneering with Lucero Adventures turned into a cock fight review lol! BUT, to tie it altogether, the whole day with Jimmy and Jiffy was totally worth the $30. From a guided tour to a spontaneous party with the locals. This is what it's about. This is travel.
***Update: After traveling for a few more months after this Canyoneering adventure, I now know that $30 is actually rather expensive of an activity and looking back on it, I'd rather not have spent $30 on the canyoneering. You can easily take a tricycle ride to Kawasan Falls and explore there for 20 cents usd. Nearly free and just as cool!