Cebu is fast becoming the perfect haven for adrenaline-loving junkies. And something good thing has emerged from being an adventurer’s paradise. You see, many entities are now, in one way or another, supporting the passion of these free-spirited individuals. For instance, mountaineering organizations are now aplenty, offering opportunities for interested parties to learn and enjoy the adventure of the mountains. The extreme sport of rock climbing has steadily become popular in Cebu thanks to bloggers, media, and ordinary people who have come in droves to try out and promote the crag of Cantabaco. And local companies such as Habagat, Se7en, and Silangan Outdoors have manufactured, marketed, and sold high-quality products that rival those of international brands.
Prestigious real estate companies have joined the bandwagon in supporting the drive to make Cebu a world-class adventurer’s paradise. One of these companies is Aboitizland, the entity behind the development of the Persimmon, Cebu’s first urban village; The Outlets, a new and exciting shopping destination featuring top brands at discounted prices—a first in the VISMIN region; the West Cebu Industrial Park where huge ships are constructed, and many other properties. Just recently, Aboitizland opened another first—Canso X Mountain Adventure Park, a fully developed nature and adventure park in Cebu’s green highlands.
A few weeks ago, through the referral of fellow travel blogger Mustachio of Mustachioventures, we received an e-mail from Aboitizland through its event coordinator ASAP. We were invited to be part of a group of travel/adventure bloggers to join the soft opening of Canso X Mountain Adventure Park and document the features and activities being offered. Being adrenaline junkies that we are, we readily said yes to the invitation. This was also an honor for Team Sweetie; it was our first time an entity invited us to blog about their product.
Due to our excitement, we were actually the first of the invitees to arrive at the meeting venue, the high-tech office of Aboitizland in Banilad. We arrived half an hour earlier than scheduled!
Several minutes later, other invitees—bloggers and media personnel—arrived at the scene. Sweetie and I were really happy because we were able to finally meet, in person, the bloggers that we’ve followed and admired.
Half past seven, we were finally ascending the Cebu Transcentral Highway to Balamban where Canso X Mountain Adventure Park is located. While the surrounding views are mesmerizing, trying to fight inertia due to the sharply twisting highway is truly a test of everyone’s ability to stay on their two buttocks on the seat.
After more than an hour of fighting inertia, we finally reached Canso X Mountain Adventure Park at Barangay Cansomoroy in Balamban. We’ll tell you straight: we were not disappointed! You’ll see why as you read through this blog post.
The adventure park is on its soft opening; being invited to such an event was a great honor and privilege.
A very nice setup! You don’t need to walk far to ask information or make reservations because the administration office is just at the entrance, right beside the guard station.
A little farther back from the entrance is a spacious parking space, which has enough space for around 30 to 50 vehicles.
Signs that point to the many facilities of the park are easy to read and are placed at strategic points.
Information boards such as these impart the rules, regulations, tips, and proper etiquette that should be observed in the park. Abide by them: these are for everyone’s safety and enjoyment.
Brick paths provide good and safe footing. You don’t have to tread in the mud just to go around the park’s general facilities. As you walk along the paths, you can witness pretty, colorful gardens set in a backdrop of Cebu’s green mountains.
A few minutes after we arrived, the opening mass started. Held in the quiet highlands with nothing but mountains and forests around, the celebration was extremely solemn. You can actually feel spiritual rejuvenation here.
We listened to the mass at the other side of the venue. These huts invite tired hikers and bikers to have a break in the comforting shade. At 235 meters above sea level, Canso X is nestled comfortably between lofty mountains that form somewhat like protective walls. Cool air, warm sunshine, spectacular scenery, and peace and quiet bless this 12-hectare adventurer’s paradise.
While park officials prepared something special for us (more on that in a little while) after the mass, we checked out some of their facilities. Oh, look, kids! They have a really nice playground! Your children will definitely love playing here.
Release the child in you, something that Sweetie and fellow blogger and free diver Lakbay Diva did.
In a little while, Terrie Abad, Assistant Vice President for Aboitizland’s Industrial Business Unit, formally welcomed us to the soft opening of Canso X Mountain Adventure Park. She pointed out the park’s facilities and amenities as well as the several activities that were lined up for this event.
She also showed us this extremely cool AVP of what Canso X can offer. Team Sweetie and the other adventurous bloggers were inexorably drawn towards the adrenaline-pumping river trekking, canyoneering, and caving adventures. They were still not offered when we asked if we could try out such extreme activities, but Ms. Abad assured us that we will be able to try them very soon. We can’t wait!
After awhile, we were treated to one of the most awaited and exciting parts of any event—merienda!
Moron (glutinous rice cooked in coconut milk and wrapped in banana leaves), bibingka (oven-baked rice cakes made with coconut milk and eggs), sikwate (hot cocoa) and puto cheese were served. Simple, traditional, and oh-so-yummy!
Eating a hot, sweet, carbohydrate-and-sugar-rich merienda at 235 meters above sea level is a perfect preparation for an activity-filled Saturday. Enjoying the meal with us are award-winning Cebu bloggers (from left to right) Berniemack of Habagat Central; Mark of Cebu Fitness Blog; Christian of Bisdak Explorer; Edwin of Lakbay Diva; and Sheila, half of Team Sweetie of Adrenaline Romance. Not in the photo is Brennan of Baktin Corporation.
One more thing: we know that the mysterious Mustachio of Mustachioventures was here. However, he had a mutant power of invisibility, and we ended up asking everyone whom we perceived to be a blogger, “Hey, are you Mustachio?” hehe
Canso X’s main facility is the carefully laid-out bike trail which snakes through the entire park. The trail has everything adventure bikers can ask for—comfortable straights and challenging bends, slippery loose soil, firm compact soil, high ramps, and others. The trail offers bikers great views of the surrounding mountains.
Wooden ramps and bumps are embedded in the bike path to give bikers even greater challenges—and excitement.
That’s the bike trail as seen from below. The bowl-shaped depression allows bikers to “glide” effortlessly and rapidly through the trail. Colored tires serve as markers.
At 10:30 AM, we were ready for a short trek around the park. Mr. Rafael Usumo, Canso X’s camp director and guide, briefed us on the trek.
Always take note and follow the responsible trekker’s ethics.
Then it was time to start the trek. The trail starts right beside the parking lot and follows along the edge of the bike trail.
As the morning wore on, the sun rapidly scorched the land. Despite the heat, everyone seemed to be in high spirits in completing this more than an hour trek.
Who says Cebu’s mountains and valleys are not green? In this part of the island, the lands are either untouched or carefully preserved.
The hiking trail shares with the bike trail, so hikers, make sure that you stand aside when there’s a biker riding along the trail. Mr. Usumo said that the hiking trail is 2.5 kilometers long with three rest stations along the way.
The trail skirts along deep ravines that are covered in dense vegetation. Don’t worry though. As long as you stay on the established path, you won’t fall off the ravines.
From this viewpoint, it’s easy to see why Balamban has great potential as an outdoorsman’s haven. Just look at those mountains and valleys. They’re definitely worth exploring.
After 45 minutes of walking, the group rested for awhile under the shady canopy of this tree.
A few minutes of rest and everyone was ready to go back on the trail. It didn’t take long before we heard the familiar and calming wild song of a rushing river. Suddenly, the Cansomoroy River revealed itself.
Those who decided to explore the starting point of the canyoneering, river trekking, and caving adventure went down to the stream. The others stayed at the ridge. Of course, we wouldn’t want the opportunity of exploration to pass us by.
Those who wore slippers and sandals waded into the water. Poor those who wore shoes! Hehehe!
In a hot day like this, it is virtually impossible to resist the temptation of dipping your hot, tired, and aching feet in the cool, sparkling water of a clean river. Ahhhh! It was just so relaxing.
Beyond the river is a pathway to an even bigger adventure that we couldn’t wait to try out!
Sweetie and I decided to explore the mouth of the bend where we found two interesting looking red-stained boulders. The clean, clear, rushing water was surely wonderful and reminded us of our wild whitewater rafting adventure in Cagayan de Oro River.
No one followed us though.
That’s a tributary stream that connects to Cansomoroy River. We think this tributary is still unexplored.
We finally reached the red-stained boulders. Too bad it was not tall enough; if it was, it could be for bouldering.
Simply posing amidst Mother Nature’s gifts! It’s really awesome here!
When everyone had their fill of the rushing stream, we trekked back to the main receiving area. However, we made a detour to check out Canso X’s camping grounds.
The “backdoor” pathway to the camping ground requires an uphill climb for a few minutes. It would also be better if you wore trekking pants and arm guards to protect yourself from razor-sharp cogon grass blades and itchy plants on the trail.
Canso X’s spacious campsite is nestled at the shoulder of a hill, which means that campers are treated to wonderful, expansive views. Light woods surround the campsite like walls, protecting campers from strong gusts of wind that occasionally blow across the mountain. At night and during early morning, the temperature would drop down considerably, so campers are advised to take with them cold-weather gear.
The tents in the campsite are for display only, but Mr. Usumo said that Canso X will have tents for rent. We do hope that their rental tents would be good-quality double-skin varieties. Cheap single-skin tents will leave their occupants wet when rain pours; even when it’s not raining, the interior of cheap single-skin tents become moist due to the occupants’ breaths as the air condenses. Of course, you can bring your own tent; we just don’t know about the camp’s rules and rates if you go for this option.
The cooksets on display are not really what you want to use when camping in the wild. However, that is okay since you’re not actually in the wild anyway; you’re in an adventure park.
Fire rings are provided for those who want to light up a campfire. Never build a campfire outside a fire ring because the dead leaves on the ground are flammable. This could turn your nice, warm campfire into an uncontrollable inferno.
Log seats are provided in some areas so you can gather your friends around a campfire after dinner. Then you can chat, laugh, drink mulled wine, and have fun underneath the stars on top of a mountain. How cool is that!
At the end of the campsite is an outhouse where campers can conveniently take a shower or answer the call of nature.
After visiting the campsite, we walked back to the main receiving area where the bike demonstration was about to start.
Just look at those awesome top-of-the-line mountain bikes! Sweetie, we should add mountain biking to our cache of adventure activities. Hehehe! These cool guys and daredevil bikers are members of the Cebu Mountain Bike Adventure Club.
We were simply amazed as the bikers performed stunts and tricks with their rugged machines on Canso X’s bike trail.
Biking is not just an excellent way to travel and explore faraway places. It’s an excellent exercise, an environmentally friendly mode of transportation, and an effective way to save money. Finally, just like any sport or activity, biking readily provides you with an avenue to meet sportsmen and friends.
Biking knows no age, and just because you’re a child or a senior citizen is no excuse for taking up the sport. There are strong bikers on the other side of 40.
And there are young bikers who show endless energy and enthusiasm of the sport.
Just check out that nice, green biking trail. We wouldn’t be surprised if Canso X soon draws bikers all over the country.
While the bikers of Cebu Mountain Bike Adventure Club showed off their talent, some ladies practiced their hoop routines. They were expected to perform a hooping demonstration in the afternoon.
That’s Canso X’s in-house restaurant, which offers a lovely view of the entire park, Tañon Strait, the nearby Negros Island, West Cebu Industrial Park, and the surrounding mountains. The restaurant has not published its menu yet, but after tasting the superb merienda we have earlier this morning, we’re pretty sure that their food will tickle everyone’s palate.
Together with bloggers and friends, we capped our day with a simple but sumptuous native lunch courtesy of Aboitizland at the restaurant.
We went back to the city an hour after eating lunch. Thus, we missed out the yoga, hooping, parkour, and capoeira exhibitions which were held in the afternoon. (Photo courtesy of Canso X Mountain Adventure Park)
Team Sweetie would like to thank Aboitizland and ASAP Advertising for inviting us. It was truly an honor being invited by some of the most prestigious companies in the country. Special thanks to Mustachio for referring us to Aboitizland and ASAP.
We would like to thank the friendly caretakers who diligently keep the park clean.
Of course, we would like to give special thanks to Canso X’s park rangers who ensure that visitors are safe and secure within the park.
1. Use the following contact details to get in touch with Canso X Mountain Adventure Park for inquiries and reservations:
- Address: 510 Barangay Cansomoroy, Balamban, Cebu, Philippines
- Landline: (032) 411 1600 loc. 1472
- Mobile phone: 0923-9787640 (Sun) or 0915-3455661 (Globe)
- Facebook Page: Canso X Facebook Page
2. Canso X is still in its soft opening, so they have not published the rates of some of their amenities and activities yet. However, they do have finalized the entrance fee as well as the biking and camping facilities.
As of the moment, if you want to inquire about the rates of other activities, services, and amenities, you need to contact them.
3. The biggest problem that faces Canso X (as a business) and visitors is the transportation since the adventure park is situated in the mountains. Going there is relatively easy; just take a Balamban-bound v-hire at the Ayala Center Cebu terminal and ask the driver to drop you off at Canso X at Barangay Cansomoroy. The gate is just at the left of the highway (if you’re going to Balamban).
It’s going back that will give you headaches. As far as we observed, there are rarely any public transportation (e.g. habal-habals, jeepneys, etc.) that pass by the area. V-hires that do pass by Canso X are already full of passengers who boarded the vehicle in Balamban. We didn’t have any problem in transportation because Aboitizland had a shuttle for us.
Canso X is still working on this. Thus, we recommend you call Canso X for recommendations or transportation arrangements. Or you can bring your own private vehicle; that should eliminate the problem.
4. Mobile phone signal in the park is sporadic, regardless of network. However, there are places in the park such as the administration office where mobile phone signals can be obtained. Ask the park personnel where you can get a signal.
5. Canso X is yet to be fully operational until its grand opening sometime this summer. As such, do not expect full service, a comprehensive restaurant menu, bikes and equipment for rent, etc. if you visit the park before the opening. For the moment, bring your own bikes, camping, and hiking equipment.
6. Hiking on the standard trail is easy and can be done without specialized equipment. However, do bring the following when visiting the park:
- water (at least 2 liters)
- dry-fit, comfortable clothes
- trekking shorts or trekking pants
- trekking shoes or sandals
- umbrella, hat, or scarf
- face towel
- rain gear (in case of bad weather)
- extra money for emergencies
- medications (if any)