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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 Habagat 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)
  • P 350 – Guide fee (8 pax and up)
  • P 500 – Guide fee (less than 8 pax)

* 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.

Tips

1. Contact Aldrin a.k.a. Ya Man at 0932-9256545, Choy Daruca at 0922-4444083, or Halourd at 0933-6292925 as guides. They are very friendly and professional. They will ensure that your adventure is pleasant and memorable.

(Update 1: Aldrin perished in an accident last July 26, 2014. In honor of our beloved guide, we are not deleting his contact number. You can still contact Choy and Halourd to guide you)

(Update 2: Canyoneering in Alegria/Badian is temporarily suspended pending investigation of the accident and implementation of safety guidelines, procedures, and logistics)

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

  1. Gikulbaan man ko kita sa mga photos. Thrilling kaayo! Station 3 ra jud ko kutob kadtong pag anha nko diha… good job :)

    • Hi Dada Longlegs,

      Thanks for taking time to read our blog post. Oh yes, the thrill, excitement, and adrenaline rush of canyoneering are just beyond words. Overwhelming, actually!

      Oh, by the way, you have a very nice music blog. We should hang out with each other sometime and jam (I know how to play the guitar). :)

  2. Looks arduous but fun, thrilling and fulfilling at the same time. Thanks for sharing your experience with us. :-)

  3. love your blog bai…keep it up!

  4. Sounds fabulous and looks idyllic. A question, though – you’ve warned us it’s a strenuous activity (as if the pictures and descriptions didn’t give us that idea already!). Just wondered if your guide can put together a “lite” version, which involves a shorter trip and less jumping from heights! Swimming and scrambling upriver sounds like a great activity if we can find a river more at our level. Or is that not called “canyonning” any more? :)

    • Hi Brownwyn Joy,

      Oh yes, it is. In fact, we were mesmerized at just how beautiful, eerie, and wild this place was.

      Regarding your question, we recommend you try canyoneering downstream. It’s less strenuous than going upstream and all you need to do is just to go with the river’s current and flow. No need to climb something. There might be a bit of diving involved, but that’s okay; it’s all water down there.

      We’ll ask our guide if he knows other shorter canyons in Cebu. Then we can make a blog about it. :)

  5. Your best post yet, Gian. The meticulously detailed narration of the adventure makes it a thrilling, albeit vicarious, experience for the rest of us. Thank you!

  6. Hi!

    Your post are so helpful. I like it so much and we are so thankful!

    There are the two of us planning to get this adventure in April. And hoping for a possibility of joining other groups for more fun and excitement.
    Thanks for the info!

    • Hi Khai,

      Thank you so much. We’re glad that this post was able to help you. April would be a great month for canyoneering…mostly sunny and calm.

      Canyoneering is best enjoyed with small groups of 5 to 8 pax, maximum. For safety and efficiency, it is not advisable to engage in this adventure with a large group.

    • Hi, Khai!

      You and Rico joined us for the downstream canyoneering! Glad to meet you.
      Watch out for the blogpost this week on that fun adventure. :-)

  7. Are kids allowed? My son is 9 yrs old. Can he cope up with this kinda adventure?

    • Hi Jona,

      Thanks for taking time to read our blog.

      Regarding your question, although there are no hard-and-fast rules regarding children joining this kind of adventure, we wouldn’t encourage you to take your child along. This is for safety’s sake even if he knows how to swim. The slippery boulders, deep water, and cold temperature all pose danger to kids. Even local kids rarely venture out here.

      However, we can offer an alternative. If you have someone else with you—a friend, sibling, parent, relative, etc., you can let your child stay and enjoy in Kawasan Falls (under supervision, of course) while you do the canyoneering (if this is your first time, we recommend going downstream instead of upstream). When going downstream, we start at Alegria then follow the river’s current to Kawasan. Thus, after the adventure, you end up back on the waterfalls with your kid. :)

      Hope this helps.

  8. hello,
    how much ang guide fee nabayran ninyo para sa 8 persons?

    • Hi Chen,

      Thank you for checking out this blog post. Canyoneering is indeed an activity that fully injects you with a fresh dose of adrenaline.

      Regarding your question, you’d have to negotiate with Sir Ya Man on that. You see, no money was exchanged between us because we had an ex-deal of services.

      Since he is an independent, freelance guide, he does not have a fixed rate. Please contact him and negotiate your rate. Thank you!

  9. Hi gian! This is tina. Thanks for putting up this post, it’s very detailed! I hope i could go there before the month ends. Does sir ya man accommodate a little group like just 3 or 4? And is it really that hard that you wouldnt recommend outdoor first timers to try this? Im planning to bring some friends here.

    • Hello Tina,

      Thank you very much for taking time to visit the blog. And thank you so much for the compliment too.

      Regarding your first question, yes, he can accommodate a small group. Just arrange it with him.

      Regarding your second question, no, it’s not really that difficult. As long as you can dive, swim, and walk, you can definitely try canyoneering.

      However, for first-timers, we would strongly suggest having a bit of experience outdoors to get a feel of what to expect in canyoneering and, most importantly, to be safer. Remember, canyoneering involves a lot of activities (e.g., trekking, swimming, diving, etc.) related to the outdoors. You will enjoy the activity if you have a little experience in outdoor activities.

      We would also recommend going downstream rather than going upstream if this will be your first time canyoneering. Going downstream is enjoyable, relatively relaxing, and safer. Going upstream (like what we’re doing here), on the other hand, is much harder and requires more time and effort because you have to swim and fight the current, climb waterfalls, trek uphill.

      Hope this helps. Thank you!

  10. This is nice. I’ll share this in my fb. :)

  11. Amazing! Saw in a youtube video of Drew (Byahero) that it would cost about 2K. quite expensive. Is Sir Aldrin a.k.a. Ya Man connected to a tour agency or something?

    • Hi Laaganyola,

      Indeed, it is! Canyoneering is a great challenge. However, you’ll be treated with mesmerizing views, great company, and a sense of fulfillment.

      Regarding your question, Sir Ya Man is not connected to a tour agency. He’s a freelance, independent canyoneering guide. That’s why you can enjoy a significantly cheaper rate from him.

      Indeed, the 2K rate is too expensive; it’s probably quoted by an agency to foreign tourists who are perceived to be moneyed. The price usually includes transfers, meals, etc.

      We knew about canyoneering a few years before, but we had to hold off trying out the experience due to the extremely steep price. It was only when we knew Sir Ya Man that we had the chance to experience this exciting adventure without breaking our financial backbone.

      • Thanks Gian and Sheila! amazing info. My friends and I are planning, and there might be about more than 10 of us. amazing photos and great story-telling, you must have had a way of taking notes to have such a detailed sequence of events in your blog.

      • Hi Laaganyola,

        You’re welcome, and thank you too for the compliment. We do carry a small notebook and pen whenever we go adventuring so we can record details. In case that is somehow impractical, we simply help each other remember the details of the journey/adventure.

        Since your party is projected to consist of more than 10 people, please contact Sir Ya Man, Sir Halourd, or Sir Choy so they can arrange a middle person and a sweeper.

  12. 2years na ni nako wish. wala pa gyud game mokuyog nako :)

    • Hey, Jassy!

      You can contact sir Ya Man and ask him about his schedules. He will be very glad to accommodate you and let you join in one of the groups. You won’t regret it, trust me. :-)

    • Hi Jassy,

      As what Sheila said, contact Sir Ya Man, Sir Halourd, or Sir Choy; their numbers are posted in Number 1 in the Tips section of this blog post. Their rates are very affordable, so now is the perfect time for you to have your wish granted. :)

  13. Pila bayad nnyu ana?

    • Hi Kien,

      We have a special arrangement with the guides, so our rates, terms, and conditions do not apply to other canyoneering participants.

      Please contact Sir Ya Man, Sir Halourd, or Sir Choy for the rate. Thank you.

  14. Me and my group of friends are planning to do the same tomorrow. And reading your post makes me wanna back out. Hahah. But I don’t wanna miss the fun and thrill and excitement of this activity. Thanks anyways for sharing your experience and tips. Really helpful. :)

    • Hi Bebang,

      Thank you for visiting! We’re sure that you’re going to love upstream canyoneering, but expect to spend more effort as you’ll be fighting the current and going against the lay of the river.

      But we assure you, it’s all worth the effort.

      Be careful out there, and take care!

  15. Hi! Though you mentioned that the rates depend on the guide, can you at least give us an idea approximately how much per head will be? Perhaps what you paid per head just for a basis. Thanks!

    • Hi Maegan,

      We asked the guide for fixed rates. They gave us the rates below, which we reflected in the Budget (per person) section of this blog post:

      * P350 per pax (for a minimum of 8 pax and up)
      * P500 per pax (less than 8 pax)

      Hope this helps. Thanks.

  16. Hi sir, such a great adventure you had and thank you for sharing this to us it really help us with our ideas which is lack of information. I just want to ask if they allows a group to have their own canyoneering experience without any guide? Well I know it is more safer to have a good well-experienced guide but I am considering with the budget we had, and im just trying to make some options anyway. whether it’s allowed or not it’s totally fine sir, and my second question is, if our group can join another group, is the budget with the guide fees can be lessen too? or just the same according with your suggestive fees? Thank you in advance sir. Have a nice day! :)

    • Hi Ysa,

      Thank you for visiting our blog. Sorry for not replying right away; Sweetie and I went to Palawan and had a 5-day adventure there. We just came back this afternoon.

      Regarding your first question, you need to have a guide. Even if hiring a guide is somehow optional, WE STRONGLY DISCOURAGE you to do canyoneering yourself without a guide. Canyoneering is dangerous, and without a guide, you wouldn’t know where the deep or shallow parts of the river is, how strong is the current, how to traverse cliffs, which trail to take, etc. Remember, you are going deep inside the jungle in a fast-flowing river bordered by high ravines.

      NEVER ever sacrifice your and your team’s safety just to save a few bucks!

      Regarding your second question, we’re not sure about discounts; the prices in our rate sheet above were given by the guides. You can ask the guides for discounts. But honestly, you are already getting an extremely good deal at P350 or P500. Just to give you a reference, a corporate canyoneering outfitter can charge you with P2.5K per person!

  17. Hi Sir, I just want to share this some great adventure I just saw although its not summer season anymore. You might like it or love it! http://travelerscouch.blogspot.com/2012/05/funtastic-gibitngil-island-medellin.html :) oh and by the way thank you for the great advice, I will assure you that we will having our canyoneering adventure with the guidance of them. Thank you! ^_^

  18. Hi,

    Is this safe for an average person? Me and my friends are planning to try this out. Some of them are not that kind of “adventurous” thing but they are interested. :)

    btw, love your blog! keep it up!

    Thank you

    • Hi Yar,

      Thank you for visiting our blog, and thank you for the compliment. Readers like you continuously inspire us to indulge in trying out more adventures and visiting more places.

      Regarding your query, yes, canyoneering is quite safe if 1) you have a guide, 2) you have the right safety equipment, and 3) you’re careful.

      If you and your friends plan to go canyoneering for the first time, we suggest you go downstream canyoneering first before going upstream.

      Hope this helps!

  19. […] I told my dad about it and we decided to give it a shot. I searched the internet and found this blog about their Canyoneering experience where it has the contact number of the guide and everything […]

  20. Hi Sir, Do you have news until when the suspension is? we are actually planning to do canyoneering sometime in November.

    • Hi Katherine,

      Not yet, but we talked to Choy, Halourd, and some rescuers during Sir Ya Man’s wake. They said the suspension may last around 3 weeks to a month to survey the area and impose strict safety guidelines.

      When we’ll receive news that the suspension is lifted, we’ll let you know.

  21. hai sir! mka buang mn ang inyong adventure uie…tagbaw sad tag higob og hangin samtang nag lantaw sa mga pictures ninyo….

    • Hi Oniell,

      Hehe! You should try out canyoneering once the suspension has been lifted. It’s definitely an adrenaline-rushing adventure.

      However, we strongly suggest you adhere to the following:

      1) have a bit of outdoor experience first such as trekking, scrambling, mountaineering, snorkeling, etc.
      2) do downstream canyoneering first before going upstream
      3) make sure you have the right safety gear
      4) do your canyoneering adventure during summer when the weather is good.
      5) limit your team to 7 people (5 participants, 1 guide, 1 sweeper). Absolute maximum should be 10 participants INCLUDING the guides.

  22. Elo

    Suspended pati ang downstrem?? Planning for a downstream canyoneering this december.

    • Hi Alfred,

      Yes, sir, all canyoneering activities are presently temporarily suspended. However, we believe that the suspension will be lifted soon, not later than December.

      Don’t worry. As soon as the suspension is lifted, we will update the blog. Also, you may want to send us your email so we can inform you once canyoneering is allowed again.

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