Monday, 7 October 2013

River Climbing, Canyoning, and Hot Springs Soaking in Cebu, Philippines

I am battered, bruised, stiff, sore, and scraped after two back-to-back days of adventure tours with "Planet Action Adventure", a tour company based out of Moalboal.  Despite my superficial "injuries" I thoroughly enjoyed both tours, saw some amazing scenery, got my heartrate up, spiked my adrenaline, and had a blast!

The first tour that I did on October 6th was River Climbing at Matutinao River.  The tour started at the base of the beautiful Kawasan waterfalls and then we followed the river upstream to a canyon where we entered the water in the shadows of the tall cliffs, swam through clear blue pools, fought against rapids, and climbed many small (and not so small!) waterfalls.  There were a couple opportunities to climb up the cliff walls, and jump back into the water from up to about 7m above.  The tour culminated with a BBQ lunch at the edge of the jungle.  Two young Canadian guys from Toronto; Jeff and Kevin, were on the tour and we had tons of fun!

Matutinao River

 Kawasan Falls
Kawasan Falls

Me Jane
Mario and Jimmy, our guides at the top of a little waterfall that was ridiculously hard to climb.  I made it to where Jimmy is standing and then slipped and fell back down and had to climb it all over again.  When I got to the top again.  I slipped and nearly repeated all over but I was dragged unceremoniously out before I could slide all the way down again.
I scraped my knees... still smiling though ;)

I'm staying at the Moalboal Backpackers Lodge in a private double room (shared bathroom) for 480 Pesos ($11.50 CAD) per night.  There is also a dorm with bunks (250 pesos/night = $6 CAD) or private rooms with private bathrooms for 580 pesos ($14/night).  It's a social place with beer and cards out on the upstairs bamboo patio/hangout area or out in front each evening and the second night I was here they celebrated having their 3333'th guest by hosting a free feast of local Philippine dishes with Chicken Adobo, BBQ Bangus Fish (national fish - milkfish, bony but delicious), noodles with prawns, Mongo bean soup (more like stew and delicious!  It was like lentils cooked in coconut milk with other seasonings), Mixed vegetables, BBQ pork, chicken, satay skewers, and free beer or pop!  Really nice of them and one of the best meals I've had in Asia so far!
Tilson, the owner in front of the sign and some of the guests in the foreground.

The next tour, which I did on October 7th was Canyoning at Montaneza Falls.  The Montaneza river threads it's way through a narrow canyon.  We climbed to the top of the canyon, had a quick lesson in rapelling and then we set off to the top of the river and spent the next 4 hours climbing and jumping down rapids and rapelling (absailing?) down a series of 5 waterfalls.  One of the waterfalls was 30m high and almost the last 15m were under an overhang so you had to dangle by your harness and let yourself down using the rope.  At the end of the tour, we walked out of the ravine into a riverbed where a natural hot spring, Mainit Hot Springs, entered the river and three pools were build beside/in the river to collect the spring water.  The hottest pool was a scalding 50 degrees Celsius!  We were able to have a soak on the way out to another delicious BBQ lunch and I snuck a very peaceful soak in my own private pool after lunch since there was only one local man and two others from the tour in the water and there are three pools.  I used my soak to reflect on the beauty of the canyon surrounded by lush jungle vegetation (some enormous leaves near the water were over 10 feet tall!), the sound of the waterfalls and rapids, a few raindrops falling, and some large and lazy butterflies fluttering by.  Kevin and Jeff did this tour too and we were joined by Max and Izzie, a young couple from Germany.  I liked this tour even more than the first one I did!
Volcanic peaks of Cebu

Philippines national animal, Water Buffalo

Izzie absailing the first waterfall

The crew from left; Kevin, Jeff, Izzie, Max, Me

Jimmy, one of our guides

Jeff about to absail one of the waterfalls

natural massage!

this photo is taken from above looking down on the waterfall featured in the next photo

Yup, I rapelled down that waterfall.  See the rope on the left side of the falls?

As a geologist I couldn't resist this photo op.

Such amazing scenery

Jeff taking a leap

Kevin's leap

I LOVED these hot springs... wonderful!

still smiling :)

50 degree C natural hot springs with alleged healing waters.  We will see if my skinned knees succumb to the power of the healing waters.


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