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Canyoneering Upstream in Badian: Exploring the Deep Dark Secrets of Matutinao River

Canyoneering at Badian

How well do you know Badian in the southern part of Cebu? Most of you would associate this third-class municipality of more than 37,000 people with the famous Kawasan Falls. You may associate Badian with Terra Manna, Badian Island, and other amazing white-sand resorts that seemingly beckon you to bask out in the tropical sun or swim out into aquamarine waters. Perhaps Badian is familiar to you due to its lively Banig Festival where expert local craftsmen weave and showcase beautiful native mats.

But we bet that only few of you know that the idyllic Badian is an extreme sports enthusiast’s haven. Deep within its lush jungles are deep, wet canyons that were gradually carved by rivers eons ago, canyons that hide dark secrets and wonders. Needless to say, exploring these canyons never fails to tickle the imagination of people who constantly need an adrenaline rush.

Exploration, traveling, and traversing canyons involve an extreme sport called canyoneering. In canyoneering, participants use various techniques that include several other outdoor activities such as hiking, scrambling, swimming, climbing, rapelling, and jumping. In many cases, ropework, technical skills and specialized gears are required to successfully traverse a canyon.

Together with our fellow adventurers, Apol, Mary Jane, Lenny, Choy and Halourd with the guidance of Sir Aldrin “Ya Man,” Sweetie and I had our first taste of canyoneering last March 9, 2014. Way before that date, we have unanimously decided to tackle a more challenging canyoneering activity than usual—going upstream against the river’s current and geological lay of the land.

As agreed, we met at the Cebu South Bus Terminal at 4:30 AM. We were able to board an air-conditioned bus bound for Moalboal at 5AM. It took us around 2.5 hours to reach the municipality of Moalboal where we took a hot, filling, and full Filipino breakfast; we need the energy for the activities lined up for the day.

Canyoneering at Badian

You might wonder why we had to stop in Moalboal even though the bus we rode actually goes as far as Badian. Well, Sir Ya Man actually lives here, just near the town’s church and plaza. It’s a good thing since we can just leave our stuff and prepare ourselves right in the safety and convenience of his home. Sir Ya Man is the guy in black dry-fit shirt; the lady in yellow is his very accommodating mom.

Canyoneering at Badian

This canyoneering activity also marks the first use of our brand-new personal flotation devices (PFDs) and AXA helmets (we still don’t have money to buy those expensive climbing helmets, so we’ll have to settle on these), which we will also use in our upcoming kayaking activities. Even though I am a strong swimmer (Sweetie can’t swim. Shhhh!), it is always better to be on the safe side by wearing a PFD.

Canyoneering at Badian

After an hour, we bade goodbye to Sir Ya Man’s mom, walked to the highway, and hailed a jeep that will take us to our entry point in Kawasan Falls in Barangay Matutinao. Oh yes, we had fun talking to an old lady who bombarded us with jokes. Ahhh, the fun of rural life!

Canyoneering at Badian

Half an hour later, we arrived at the entrance of Kawasan Falls where we paid P10 for the entrance fee. At this point, Sir Ya Man told us to hasten our pace. Hah! Blame it on the bus; no Badian-bound bus passed our way for 30 minutes. We had to settle on a much slower, smaller multicab.

Canyoneering at Badian

Do not worry if you do not have your own PFD. On the way to Kawasan Falls, there’s a small souvenir shop where you can rent a PFD at a very reasonable price. For safety, we recommend you rent a PFD even if you’re a strong and capable swimmer.

Canyoneering at Badian

After a few minutes, we reached the first and primary waterfall of Kawasan Falls. With the ugly huts and structures built right before the waterfalls demolished under the order of then Governor Gwen Garcia, Kawasan Falls looks more majestic than ever.

Canyoneering at Badian

After taking a few photos of one of Cebu’s most famous waterfalls, we warmed up by hiking uphill to Station 3, which is the actual jump-off for our upstream canyoneering activity. Along the way, we witnessed pristine streams, splashing waterfalls, verdant jungles, and clean trails, serenaded by cacophony of songs of forest birds.

Canyoneering at Badian

But we also saw sad and disconcerting evidences of man’s carelessness and cruelty to Mother Nature. These plastic bottles and cases are piled up together and will be properly disposed by the caretakers of the falls.  We should be mindful of our trash so we won’t make the place an ugly sight.

Canyoneering at Badian

After half an hour of brisk, easy hiking, we arrived at Station 3, purportedly the source of Kawasan Falls water. This is also the usual exit point for local mountaineers doing an Osmeña Peak-to-Kawasan Falls traverse. Check out the cool, clear, clean water. It’s impossible to resist jumping in it!

Canyoneering at Badian

Sir Ya Man briefed us on the route, the challenges that we expected to face, and techniques we needed to use. We also set our team and member positions and made a safety check on each other.

Canyoneering at Badian

After a short prayer, we were all set and excited to start this extreme adventure. Just look at the smiles on our faces! By the way, the water here is so cold even if the surface temperature is sweltering; it’s as cold as your bottle of chilled water in your refrigerator. With such low temperature, you can easily get a cramp, which is why wearing a PFD is advisable.

Canyoneering at Badian

The first challenge of this adventure was what Sweetie dreads the most—swimming in deep water! She paled as her foot lost contact with the riverbed. But as soon as I held her hand and assured her that she’ll be okay (she’s wearing a PFD), she began to smile and laugh despite herself. The other members of the team were amused by the fact that Sweetie was amused about her inability to swim! We surfaced at the far end of the river.

Canyoneering at Badian

We crossed and waded through the tributaries that flow through the main river. Even if we were still near our starting point, we needed to be careful because the rocks, covered with moist moss, were very slippery. One wrong move and one may end up with scratches, bruises, sprains, or worse, broken bones.

Canyoneering at Badian

Just because we were following a flowing river doesn’t mean we won’t get to high ground. We also went inside the canopies of dense jungles. Even at this early in the adventure, we realized why canyoneering is such an exciting and fulfilling sport. Canyoneering encompasses every activity you do in the outdoors—trekking, swimming, climbing, scrambling, etc.

Canyoneering at Badian

One of the best things about being in the outdoors is that we get to see very interesting wildlife. We found this large, colorful lizard, locally known as tabili, hiding under a cluster of leaves. We kept a safe distance and refrained from disturbing although he didn’t seem to be bothered by our presence.

Canyoneering at Badian

Along the way, we also chanced upon this local contraption. Sir Ya Man told us that this is used to smoke coconuts to make copra. Pieces of coconut meat are placed on the bamboo “tray” while scraps of wood or coconut husks are burned below it to produce smoke. After being smoked and dried, coconut oil is extracted from the dried meat. That oil is then used as an ingredient for soap, shampoo, moisturizer, alternative fuel, herbicides, engine lubricant, and more. The dried meat is used for fertilizer and cattle feed.

Canyoneering at Badian

In some areas, the river is just shin-deep. In others, waist deep. But in others, we needed to swim.

Canyoneering at Badian

Finally, we arrived at a place where gigantic moss-filled walls of rock rose on both sides of the river. We arrived at the mouth of the Matutinao River canyon.

Canyoneering at Badian

Sweetie and Apol helped each other navigate this slippery section of the canyon entrance. Teamwork is definitely needed here both for safety and to complete the entire adventure. Up ahead, the fast-flowing river disappeared into the thick forest. We had this eerie feeling that we were the only people here, yet somebody…or something…was watching us.

Canyoneering at Badian

Further down the canyon are large basins of deep water. To move forward, we needed to fight against the current. At this point, the current was still relatively weak; but we can definitely feel it pushing us towards the canyon’s entrance as if the river does not want us to see her secrets. It was as if she’s saying, “You want to see my wonders? Then you have to fight for it.” That was what we just did.

Canyoneering at Badian

Sir Choy, another guide and our sweeper, made sure that everyone is all accounted for. That’s where we came from—the entrance of the canyon as seen from the inside. Gorgeous, isn’t it? Just check out that cool, clean water.

Canyoneering at Badian

But at the same time, we were dismayed at the presence of graffiti scratched into the delicate rocks. We couldn’t believe it; even in this remote, almost inaccessible part of the forest, irresponsible people still find the time and risk their lives just to make a statement for themselves. People who did this ought to be jailed and fined.

Canyoneering at Badian

After several minutes, we dipped and swam in a deep channel of water with a fast-flowing, really strong current. It’s so strong that trying to swim against it is futile; you can swim all day, and you still won’t move an inch. Complicating things was that there are no riverbanks here; it’s rock walls all the way!

Canyoneering at Badian

The only way to successfully pass through this section was to swim to the very edge of the river, right beside the rock walls. The current here isn’t as strong as that in the middle, but still, we had to put up a good fight. Our goal is to go through that hole in the distance under that wedged rock.

Canyoneering at Badian

The “weak” current is actually a misnomer; it is still immensely strong. We needed to hold on to stalactites, outcroppings, and pockets to avoid being swept away and to help us move ourselves forward. It required a lot of effort, but as you can see in the photo below, everyone seemed really happy to take this challenge.

Canyoneering at Badian

One by one, we went through the hole and witnessed the source of the current, a small but powerful waterfall.

Canyoneering at Badian

After everyone was through, it was my and Sir Choy’s turn to climb this waterfall.

Canyoneering at Badian

You can see in the photos below the fight that we have to undertake. We needed to climb against the waterfall itself, which took considerable chunks of our strength. It is difficult to hold or step on the slippery rocks and crevices while climbing against the strong current. That’s what we call a challenge!

Canyoneering at Badian

Everyone was all smiles knowing that they just battled a waterfall. We can never win against nature; we can only attempt to meet her challenges and survive. Oh, and we realized one thing: canyoneering is extremely fun and challenging!

Canyoneering at Badian

But the challenges were just starting. Just a few minutes away from that powerful waterfall is another deep channel which we have to swim through. To escape an even stronger current, we stayed at the edges of the canyon under that rock overhang.

Canyoneering at Badian

Check out the photo below to have an idea of what we saw in that canyon. That water is many fathoms deep; say goodbye to whatever you drop here. The echoes of the rushing water from the nearby waterfall seemed very eerie in this place.

Canyoneering at Badian

You can see from the photo below that Sweetie was having fun despite swimming against the current. Also, check out the other adventurers; they had to stay at the edge of the canyon to avoid the strong current from sweeping them off.

Canyoneering at Badian

Yes, we came all the way from there and left Station 3 far away. As you can probably see, if we went downstream, there’s no other way to go than to jump through these waterfalls! Awesome!

Canyoneering at Badian

Sometimes, huge trees from above the canyon fall into the river. In time, they get overgrown with moss. Be careful because they may look solid, but they’re actually rotten inside.

Canyoneering at Badian

More scrambling over another of Matutinao River’s beautiful flowing waterfalls! Mother Nature is simply amazing—it is both serene and powerful at the same time. Navigating through this incredibly beautiful canyon made us feel tiny and insignificant; we were totally exposed and vulnerable to Mother Nature’s whims. However, we also felt the waters wash away the doubts, sadness, confusion, and stresses that we have harbored in our souls.

Canyoneering at Badian

It was all worth the fight and effort. We were rewarded with the most amazing vistas deep inside the bowels of Badian.

Canyoneering at Badian

This is one of the trickiest challenges of the canyon, which is why a rope was laid out. You see, that waterfall is quite strong and the underwater ledges are quite low. That means water punches us right in the face! Complicating this section is the fact that the slope where the guide is stabilizing himself is quite slippery and sloping. Finally, you need to swim across that lagoon to the waterfall; the water is quite deep.

Canyoneering at Badian

“I got you!” Teamwork is essential to successfully accomplish this challenge.

Canyoneering at Badian

You can probably tell from the photo below what we have to contend with—a very strong curtain of water channeled through a deep lagoon through slippery rocks with almost no handholds or footholds.

Canyoneering at Badian

The video below shows you how we helped each other and negotiated this difficult part of the canyon. Oh, in case you want a spoiler: this is actually a blooper. Hehehe!

We spent a few minutes catching our breath only to find out that just several minutes away was another series of waterfalls that we have to scramble on. Go, go, go! We still have plenty of fight left in us. We seemed to run on a great amount of energy coming from the fun, excitement, and determination to successfully come out of this adventure alive.

Canyoneering at Badian

We walked for quite sometime until we came to an area littered with huge boulders that fell from above the canyon. At first, we thought this was the ugly scar of a man-made excavation.

Canyoneering at Badian

Just check out how big those boulders are, judging from the photo below. Even a glancing blow from a considerable sized falling boulder can actually kill a person.

Canyoneering at Badian

Well, those boulders are the remnants of a massive landslide that was triggered during the 7.2 magnitude Bohol earthquake, which occurred last October 2013. The sad thing was that the landslide covered the entrance of an immense cave that features a cathedral, rendering the cave inaccessible. According to Sir Ya Man, the cave also had a stream and a small lagoon supplied by the river’s water.

Canyoneering at Badian

Just beyond the landslide is this deep channel of water. According to our knowledgeable guide, the water here was once just thigh-deep. Now, people need to swim across it as the boulders from the landslide have plugged the water’s normal flow.

Canyoneering at Badian

We had a considerably long swim ahead of us, which gave us ample time to simply relax and float on the water. Along the way, we witnessed numerous large stalactites that line up the underside of the canyon. Stalactites are formed when deposits of calcium carbonate and other minerals, which are suspended in drops of water, harden as they drip down. In time, the deposits harden, causing stalactites to form.

Canyoneering at Badian

We also had to inch through slippery, moss-covered cliffs to go forward. Since the cliffs have very few handholds, Sir Ya Man established a line that people can use as a safety rail.

Canyoneering at Badian

That’s what the side of the cliff looks like. It’s a bit slanted so it’s relatively easy to traverse. Just watch out for the slippery sections.

Canyoneering at Badian

Lunchtime! We ate a simple lunch under a canopy of rock that Sir Ya Man aptly called “The Cafeteria.” Strangely, the draft here is quite cool, and we were actually shivering in the cold air despite the hot summer day.

Canyoneering at Badian

After lunch, we had more trekking and scrambling up huge, mossy, and slippery boulders.

Canyoneering at Badian

We had more sections of the pristine river to traverse and swim through.

Canyoneering at Badian

And we had more mighty waterfalls to climb.

Canyoneering at Badian

We came upon this boulder-strewn section of the canyon where the water was so clear that you can actually make out individual boulders under the water.

Canyoneering at Badian

Sweetie’s first jump off a rock and into a river! Sweetie can climb immensely high cliffs, ascend tall mountains, crawl through dark caves, or trek through kilometers of rough trails. However, she’s always deathly afraid of water. In fact, she was very hesitant to jump even though she was wearing a PFD; I had to hold her hand and jump with her.

Which makes you wonder: Sweetie’s okay with scuba diving several feet below the sea but is wholly afraid of jumping and swimming in a river even if she has a PFD on?

Canyoneering at Badian

Navigating through this gate of boulders required us to be vigilant of where we step on. That’s because the large rocks are super slippery, and one wrong, careless move can seriously injure any of us. However, the constant element of danger is what makes exploring the wilderness full of thrill and excitement.

Canyoneering at Badian

That forest of large boulders was definitely a gateway. For beyond that, we saw this magnificent green lagoon surrounded by protective walls of rock. We were almost done with this crazy adventure!

Canyoneering at Badian

While floating peacefully in the lagoon, we saw this footbridge high above the canyon. It signifies that human habitation is not far away.

Canyoneering at Badian

Hello there, little gecko! Thank you for letting us explore your astounding home in the wild.

Canyoneering at Badian

Don’t you just want to simply dip, dive, and swim in these aquamarine waters? That would be a very welcome balm to a hot summer day. This lagoon is called “The Dead End” and it marks the exit point of the canyon (or the entrance of the canyon if you’re going downstream).

Canyoneering at Badian

High diving is definitely the activity of the day here! We climbed that slippery cliff, holding on to the roots that trail on the cliff’s walls. After reaching the top, it was time to simply jump, enjoy the fall, and scream in exhilaration.

Canyoneering at Badian

As a final challenge, we climbed a tall and mighty waterfall that offers almost no handholds. In every step, we felt that the powerful flow of water is constantly, mercilessly trying to sweep us off our feet.

Canyoneering at Badian

That’s the view from above the waterfall. As you can see from the photo below, the powerful flow of water feeds the lagoon. Yes, we know what you’re thinking and you’re right: it’s a lovely secret pool right there. If The Fountain of Youth or the Pool of Bathsheba was real, then it would definitely be this unbelievably beautiful place.

Canyoneering at Badian

Beyond the waterfall is another powerful waterfall which is considered as the true source of Matutinao River and Kawasan Falls.

Canyoneering at Badian

After spending an hour frolicking in the chilly, clear water, it was time to go home. A steep trail from the bottom of the canyon goes up several meters to normal ground level.

Canyoneering at Badian

Here’s one final look at the exquisite, well-kept secret paradise we just left. For sure, this will NOT be the last as we are planning another canyoneering adventure—this time, going downstream.

Canyoneering at Badian

The presence of a bamboo tube which supplies locals with fresh water from a spring signals the end of our incredible adventure and marks the welcome to Barangay Canlaob in Alegria—and civilization.

Canyoneering at Badian

That’s my valuable souvenir for this adventure. Yes, expect bruises, scrapes, and cuts if you’re flat-footed like me.

Canyoneering at Badian

What an awesome canyoneering team! Thank you so much to Sirs Ya Man, Halourd, and Choy as well as to Ma’ams Apol, Mary Jane, and Lenny for bringing us here. Truly, canyoneering through the ravines of Badian was one of the best, most intense, most exciting, and most adrenaline-pumping adventures we’ve ever had. We should do this again, guys and gals!

Canyoneering at Badian

Suggested Itinerary

4:00 AM – meet up at Cebu South Bus Terminal
5:00 AM – ETD Cebu South Bus Terminal, going to Moalboal
7:30 AM – stop at Moalboal, breakfast, buy packed lunch
8:00 AM – walk to Sir Ya Man’s house, leave unnecessary stuff, prepare gears
8:30 AM – ride bus/multicab to Kawasan Falls at Barangay Matutinao, Badian
9:30 AM – start trek to jumpoff, rent life jacket
10:00 AM – arrival at Station 3, briefing, last-minute checks.
10:15 AM – start canyoneering adventure
1:00 PM – lunch at “The Cafeteria”
1:30 PM – resume canyoneering adventure
3:30 PM – finish canyoneering adventure, exit at Barangay Canlaob in Alegria
4:00 PM – ride habal-habal from Barangay Canlaob to highway
4:15 PM – ride bus from highway to Moalboal
4:45 PM – arrive at Moalboal, go to Sir Ya Man’s house, freshen up, get things
5:15 PM – walk to highway, wait for bus or ride a V-hire to Cebu
5:30 PM – ETD Moalboal, going to Cebu South Bus Terminal

Budget (per person)*

  • P 110 – Non-aircon bus fare from CSBT to Moalboal (P 130 for aircon bus)
  • P 25 – Multicab fare from Moalboal to Kawasan Falls
  • P 10 – entrance fee to Kawasan Falls
  • P 50 – Life jacket rental
  • P 25 – Habal-habal fare from Barangay Canlaob, Alegria to Highway
  • P 25 – Bus fare from Alegria to Moalboal
  • P 110 – Non-aircon bus fare from Moalboal to CSBT (P 130 for aircon bus, 100 for V-hire)

* We did not include our expenses for meals, snacks, souvenirs, tips, and other fees in this rate sheet as you may have different needs, preferences, itineraries, miscellaneous transportation, and sharing scheme from us. Note that all figures are subject to change without prior notice.

Updates

Newest Update as of 11/20/2014: Sir Choy sent us an update. This is translated from Visaya to English: “We talked with Sir Joel regarding canyoneering. Sir Joel said that we could resume canyoneering activities, but we need to exercise caution to avoid untoward accidents.”

So there you go, guys and gals. You can now contact Sir Choy (contact details below) to schedule your canyoneering activities.

Update as of 10/7/2014: One of our friends sent us this valuable update: “Good evening, Sir Gian, I have information in Alegria regarding the status of canyoneering there. I went there last week to search for documents for my thesis and was able to talk to the tourism officer. She mentioned that the canyoneering activity in Alegria is still on hold. They are still finalizing the proper guidelines in the activity and as well as the training of the future guides for canyoneering. They are hoping to have the training of the local guides this November. The slow actions of the halted activity is due to the unavailability of the trainers who will be conducting WASAR who are from Manila who are only available in November. I hope this will help. Thank you!”

Update 8/14: Canyoneering in Alegria/Badian is temporarily suspended pending investigation of the accident and implementation of safety guidelines, procedures, and logistics.

Tips

1. Contact Choy Daruca at 0910-2359786 or Halourd diay ko Pangan at 0933-6292925 as guides. They are very friendly and professional. They will ensure that your adventure is pleasant and memorable.

Since they are freelance guides, please negotiate the guide fee with them

(Aldrin perished in an accident last July 26, 2014. In honor of our beloved guide, we are not deleting his contact number 0932-9256545. You can still contact Choy and Halourd to guide you)

2. Always check the weather a few days before your canyoneering activity. Never attempt to push on with your canyoneering adventure if the weather is bad! Even the slightest rain can generate flashfloods and extremely strong water currents that are life-threatening.

3. For safety, limit the number of participants in your team. Ideally, for beginners, there should only be 5 participants, 1 guide, and 1 sweeper in a group. 10 people in a group is the recommended absolute maximum.

4. For safety, wear a PFD (personal flotation device) or life jacket. Many parts of the river are deep and you’ll be constantly battling the current (if you’re going upstream). Thus, there is always a constant danger of drowning. Never underestimate the river even if you’re a strong swimmer and always be on the side of safety. Also, the water in the river is quite cold, which can make you more susceptible to leg cramps. That’s another reason why you should wear a life jacket.

If you don’t have your own personal PFD, rent one in Kawasan for P50.

5. For safety, it is highly recommended that you wear a helmet. You’ll be climbing boulders, swimming under rock outcroppings, and jumping from heights. You need something to protect your head. A skateboarding or open-face motorcycle helmet will do just fine if you don’t have a proper climbing or caving helmet.

6. Going upstream is physically and mentally challenging since you have to hike uphill, climb waterfalls, and swim against the current. If this is your first time canyoneering, we recommend going downstream where you will go with the canyon’s lay and the river’s flow. In that case, you will start in Alegria rather than in Kawasan.

Read our blog post regarding canyoneering downstream.

7. For safety, if this is your first time engaging in ANY outdoor adventure, we recommend not to engage in canyoneering, especially going upstream. The sport is demanding and technical, and you may end up with regrets and frustration after realizing that a lot is required of you. Also, you don’t want your team to be constantly on the lookout for you; they are also working hard to tend to themselves. Finally, in canyoneering, you may be following a tight itinerary, and if you lag behind or if you constantly need supervision, then you’ll delay your schedule (this becomes dangerous if darkness begins to set in).

Thus, we highly recommend spending a bit of time gaining experience in other outdoor activities such as bouldering, mountaineering, and snorkeling. All of these activities are related to canyoneering.

8. For safety, don’t make high dives no matter how tempting the water is without asking your guide’s permission.

9. It is strongly recommended that you know how to swim, even simple dog paddle or freestyle. If you don’t know how to swim, it is imperative that you wear a PFD.

10. For safety, do not stray away from the group. Keep them and yourself in visual range.

11. Take time and effort to check your footing and your handholds. Many of the natural features that you’re going to use are slippery and unstable. A wrong move can lead to injuries.

12. Use the webbing/rope that the guide provides. It’s there for your own safety and ease of traversing.

13. Do not disturb, handle, capture, or kill wildlife. Doing so violates both Municipal Ordinance 2009-01 and Republic Act 9147 (Wildlife Protection and Protection Act.

Canyoneering at Badian

Canyoneering at Badian

Remember to practice the Leave No Trace principles. Do not throw your garbage anywhere to protect and preserve the pristine beauty of the canyon.

14. Pack light but do bring the following:

  • Water (at least a liter)
  • Trekking sandals or aqua shoes with an aggressive tread
  • Rashguard
  • Cycling shorts, board shorts
  • PFD
  • Helmet
  • Snacks (store in waterproof container)
  • Packed lunch (store in waterproof container)
  • Dry bag (to store your valuables and lunch)
  • Extra dry clothes (you’ll leave them at the guide’s house)
  • Extra money for emergencies (stored in waterproof container)

Your guide will provide the technical requirements such as ropes, webbing, and carabiners.

15. Obviously, you need to waterproof everything. But since you’ll be jumping, swimming, and getting splashed around by strong curtains of water, you need much more than just the usual Ziplock sandwich bag or plastic bag. We recommend putting your valuables, batteries, and money in a Ziplock bag then put that bag inside a watertight box (or something equivalent). You can purchase watertight boxes and cases in outdoor shops like ROX Ayala, Habagat, or Cris Sports.

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143 comments on “Canyoneering Upstream in Badian: Exploring the Deep Dark Secrets of Matutinao River

  1. hello po, I just want to ask if how much did you pay po for the guide?thanks

  2. hello sir , unsa,on contact siSir Aldrin “Ya Man? thanks

  3. na amazed ko sa Creator while viewing the photos, ang thrill ug ang tugnaw na feel pud nako asta ang katinaw sa tubig, libre ang mineral water…. station 3 ra gyud ko kaabot so far every time mo adto kawasan, abi nako mao ra to naa paman diay… salamat ani .. hoping maka try mi ani…downstream lang guro sa…

  4. Your post is so helpful. We love to try it so much and we are so thankful for your infos.

    Actually, there are  5 of us planning to get this adventure on October but 2 of my friends dont know how to swim,can they still go with this kind of adventure?

    Thank you so much!

    • Hi Cherry Ann,

      Thank you for visiting our blog. Regarding your question, yes, they can undertake the adventure. However, they have to keep their PFDs on them at all times. Your friends who know how to swim should also keep a close watch on the non-swimmers.

      In general, canyoneering is safer and more enjoyable if you know how to swim.

  5. hello there. how much is the money needed. we are 10

    • Hi Dale,

      Thank you for getting in touch with us. Please contact Choy Daruca, our guide. His contact details are in this post.

      For the rate, please check out the Budget Per Person section of the blog. For the guide fee, please negotiate with Choy. Ours was free of charge because we had an ex deal.

  6. Helo, i just want to know whether ngresume n ung canyoneering activities ?i will be visiting cebu this january..

  7. Nice blog! Looking forward to go there,
    But the thing is I always travel alone :( Hopefully they have some kind of a “joiners” tour.

    By the way, is someone else carrying the bag with the supplies in your team? Or it’s the sweeper who is carrying it?

    • Hello Cresanne,

      We’re not really sure if there’s a “joiners” tour there. In most cases, most clients are groups of friends or colleagues. We’re sure they’ll be happy to let you tag along.

      During our adventure, we left most of our stuff in our guide’s home, which was just one town away. So we just brought along some light food and emergency money. We waterproofed and packed these in our PFDs, which feature pockets.

      As a standard, our friend guides usually bring waterproof bags to carry the supplies of their clients.

  8. Kay wa jud ko kabalo uns ng canyoneering nagsearch ko unsa na and found this… di ta ko muuban ako friends but na excite ko uy. Thanks ani na inganyo jud ko na musulay.. NAA BITAW LIFE JACKET hahaha

    Thank you ani

    • Hi Inspirit,

      Thank you very much for visiting our blog. Yes, canyoning is relatively safe as long as you follow your guide’s instructions and you follow safety protocols such as wearing helmet and life jacket.

      Do try the activity. It’s really amazing! You may want to go canyoneering downstream first as it requires less effort.

  9. […] How well do you know Badian in the southern part of Cebu? Most of you would associate this third-class municipality of more than 37,000 people with the famous Kawasan Falls. You may associate Badia…  […]

  10. Hi Gian. Albert here. We worked together for a few months in Xlibris as CEs back in 2008 methinks. It’s been a long time, huh? Anyway, I literally just came across Matulinao river right now and googled it since I”ll be in Cebu around the last three weeks of January next year for work and I’m looking for some sidetrips. And your blog was on top of the search list!

    Funny thing is that I didn’t realize it was you until midway through the article and I finally noticed the guy writing and taking pics looked very familiar.

    Anyhow, this looks great! And you’re blog, based on this article alone, seems fantastic. Good job! I’d really love to check this river out? But how far is it from Cebu City? And will a daytrip (from Cebu City and back) fit in? If not, do you have any recommendations that are nearer, more doable in a day, or two days max? Also, any recommended canyoneering footwear? I climb mountains ocassionally (maybe 4-5x a year). Will my trusty sandugo sandals handle the slips well? Or something more specialized?

    Thanks! :)

    • Hi Albert!

      Hey, how are you? Oh, yes, I still remember you during our stint in Xlibris. How time flies, and how amazing it is that we encountered again online! Hahaah!

      Regarding your question, yes, it can be done in one day. Generally, downstream canyoneering can be done in about 3 to 4 hours. Going upstream, however, will take more as it involves going against the current. We recommend you go downstream first.

      The canyoneering venue is about 3 hours from Cebu City.

      Your Sandugo sandals, as long as the treads are not yet worn off, will do. Wear one with straps and buckles, not the flip-flop design ones.

      • Hey Gian!

        What a quick reply! Yeah, it is amazing indeed to Just a question, if you don’t mind: Are you blogging full-time now? For how long? I’m just curious because I’ve always wanted to start one, although just on the side.

        And about Matulinao, I was thinking of going downstream ”cause I’d really like all the cliff jumping parts, not to mention it’s better for us with time constraints. And yeah, I think my sandugo sandals will still do (not slippers).

        Again, thanks for replying. Cheers!

      • Hi Albert,

        Well, I’m not exactly sure what you mean by “blogging full-time.” You mean if this is a business or if we’re earning money from this? Frankly, nope. This is all about passion.

        We do have a regular schedule to keep Adrenaline Romance updated. I’m not sure if that is what you mean. We’ve been blogging for 3 years.

        Yes, we recommend that you go downstream first. It’s also less strenuous.

  11. Hi Gian,

    Yeah, sorry, I wasn’t clear. I just meant if this serves as a full-time job for you, from which you make a living/get your main source of income. Travel blogging has always fascinated me, and I am inspired by people who can turn their passion to something that sustains them and blesses the world. :)

    Anyhow, I’ve looked around and it seems your blog’s well recognized, even winning awards. Keep the adventures coming (and the awards piling). I’ll be sure to check back especially when I’m Cebu-bound and need some new ideas on where to go. Cebu will always be my second home.

    Cheers and God bless!

    Albert

  12. Wow, going against the flow should be so challenging and exciting. I would love to do this next time coz I missed some jumping sites and photo-worthy spots. Great adventure guys! :D
    MJ | http://www.emjaefotos.com

  13. Hello,
    Thank you very very much for such an amazing blog. everything is so clearly mentioned that we dont need to ask any questions.I cannot tell how useful this information is.
    My husband and I are planning a tour to Philippines especially to do advance open water scuba diving course along with some more dives and canyonrrring.
    We are planning our visit in March, is that the right season for scuba diving and the river adventure?

    is tubbataha reef worth going for a dive or is it hyped? if we want to save money and try to experience most, should we only stay at cebu? or palawan is a must visit?

    thank you

    • Hello Priyanka,

      Happy new year! Thank you so much for the compliment. Readers like you inspire us to travel more.

      Regarding your concerns:

      1) Are you certified Open Water Divers? If not, you need to take the PADI Open Water Diver course (or similar courses) first before enrolling in advanced courses. Virtually all diving courses are offered here in the Philippines.

      2) Yes, March is a great season for outdoor activities. That’s the start of the summer season in the country.

      3) We haven’t been to Tubbataha reef yet because we can’t afford it. If we remember correctly, Tubbataha Reef if almost always a part of a dive safari as it’s very remote.

      4) Cebu is a beautiful island where everything—mountains, city life, beaches, etc.—are all within reach. So, in a way, yes, you can stay in Cebu and experience a lot of adventures at reasonable rates. It really depends on your preferences; if you stay in a luxury hotel, for example, you would definitely spend a lot.

      We also recommend that you visit other places outside Cebu. Cebu is a transport and business hub, so visiting other islands in the Philippines is not a problem.

      5) Palawan is a very beautiful place. We strongly recommend you plan a visit there.

      Hope we answered your questions. Thank you!

      • Hello,

        Thank you very much for your precious reply. You both indeed have inspired us to travel more and explore better. I feel like I have founf treasure after getting to know about adrenaline romance :-)

        You have already replied to me at length, but I still have some more information to gain from you.

        # we’d like to treat this as the only visit to Philippines so want to explore it as much as possible.

        # we are not looking at luxuries at all. Home stays, hostels would be great. We would opt for cheapest accommodations but clean and good quality. It will be great if you could suggest us places.

        # Our main aim is scuba dive, badian downstream river adventure (we have been on treks, but have never done anything like this before, neither are we rock climbers) and FOOD. We are foodohilics :-). We have done discover scuba dive in Maritius with Padi in 2013. So now we want first do open water and then 1 or dives followed by advance scuba dive. And then Tubbataha reef only if that is really worth the expenditure. How will this work- one course at Cebu and dives, and one course at Palawan.

        Can you please suggest us the right companies for joining these course?

        # we intend to come to Philippines from India by 18 th of March and stay for 15 days. is that a really really good time for dives and.the river adventure??

        We need to book our tickets. Can.you help mum’s out plan our journey?

        What all is a must do at Cebu and palawan?

        A forest trail and stay over in the tent in.the forest will be lovely.

        Would love to join you on something if you are doing something on those days

      • Hi Priyanka,

        Regarding your concerns,

        * the extent of your exploration and travel in the Philippines depends on your itinerary, schedule, and budget of your trip here. Remember, the Philippines is a big country, and there are so many things to see. You can’t witness it all in one trip; we are residents in the country, but we have barely scratched the surface.

        We suggest you scan through this blog and pick out the adventures and places you want to experience when planning your itinerary.

        * with regards to budget accommodations, there are a lot. Each place you visit most likely will have a budget accommodation.

        We’re assuming you are planning to stay in Moalboal or Badian since you mentioned you want to dive and do canyoneering. There are lots of budget accommodations in Moalboal and Badian.

        * There are plenty of PADI-affiliated scuba dive operators in Moalboal (and Cebu island and the Philippines in general). So, no problem in getting your PADI licenses.

        We would suggest though to skip Tubbataha Reef for now. It’s very expensive to go there. There are plenty of great dive sites in Moalboal, Apo Island, Mactan Island, Bohol, etc. Check out our Scuba Diving tab.

        * March to June is a great time for outdoor adventures here in the Philippines as these are the summer months. So, yes, your schedule is perfect.

        * Uhmm…we do not book tickets.

        * Click on the Cebu and Palawan tabs at the bottom of the blog’s page. You can check out the destinations and adventures that might interest you.

        Hope this helps. Thank you!

      • Hello,
        Thank you again for your time.
        Hahahah… not expecting you to book tickets :)

        You have answered me, we needed to know where to stay and where to start from.

        And yes, definitely we cannot cover everything.

        Thank you very much for your help.
        it means a lot :)

      • You’re welcome. We hope you’ll have a great time here in the Philippines. :)

      • http://www.savedra.com/divesafari_philippines.html

        Hello, can you please tell if this is a good deal? Should we opt for this?

      • That’s a good, standard deal.

      • Also may I have Choy Darua’s e mail address as its difficult to make internationa calls always. i am not able to get through to his number at the moment.

        Thank you#

      • Hi Priyanka,

        We don’t have his email address. But you can contact Choy through Facebook. Search “Choy Daruca” in Facebook.

      • Thank you :)

    • https://www.facebook.com/choy.daruca?fref=ts – Is that the correct person ? :)

      I am very sorry to bother you so much, but we are travelling so far, so just trying make sure everything falls into place.

      For now we have planned, From India to Cebu trhough manila, but no stay in Manila. OW and AOW course with Savedra,

      Then one day for badian river adventure.

      Then travel to Palawan, take El nido to Coron Tao expdition. probably take fun dive at Coron and travel back to India.

      Does that sound like a good plan ?

      1) Is Tao expedition worth attending?

      • No need to apologize. Yes, that’s him.

        Your itinerary sounds good. But note that there is no flight from Coron to India. You have to fly back to Manila (fortunately, there are flights from Coron to Manila).

        We’re not really familiar with Tao expedition, but we have heard of them.

  14. I can’t find the place in your blog where you mentioned Sir Ya Man died.

    • Hi Jam,

      We were not present when Sir Ya Man perished; this adventure happened several months before his untimely demise. We weren’t there when the accident happened, so we can’t really answer you on where exactly Ya Man died.

      We didn’t mention his death here out of respect to him. We only placed an update. We did write a dedication to him in our 2015 welcome blog post.

  15. Hi,

    Thank you for your very informative blog! Me and my friends will be here in a few weeks. Btw, do you have any suggestion on what season/months are best for canyoneering tour here? Also, are helmets available for rent?

    Thanks and kind regards,
    Ienne

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