Travel Diary: Canyoneering, Island Hopping, and Hiking in Cebu

Last year, I decided to take on a travel mission. Coincidentally, my Japanese friends came to visit us in the Philippines and I wanted to take the opportunity to take them around my country. My SSEAYP cabinmate, Kana, came a week earlier than the others so we decided to go to Cebu. I coordinated with my friend and she helped us make reservations. Kana and I were in Cebu for approximately four days. Below are the activities that we did during our exciting visit in Cebu.

Canyoneering in Badian

Cebu

I have been to Cebu countless of times but I never got the chance to try Canyoneering. I’ve heard about it before but I couldn’t find any buddy or group willing to try it with me. I met up with Kana and our guide at the South Bus Terminal. I was not able to get the schedule of the trips. The bus ride to Badian took about three hours and we alighted at the headquarters of our guide where we were accommodated nicely. We changed our clothes, chose our shoes, put on our helmets, and off we went. Fair warning, the shoes that we wore have been used by others so if you’re worried about hygiene, you can wear your own water-friendly pair.

On a motorcycle, our guide drove us up the mountain where he paid the dues. The standard rate for canyoneering is PHP 1,500 which includes all the gears, lunch, and transfers to and from the HQ and the canyoneering site. We took a short hike for about 15 minutes then our guide gave us a quick orientation.

Cebu

The whole experience, for me, was challenging. I never thought I had a growing fear of heights when jumping off cliffs. I took about 20 minutes to jump off of the second highest boulder! I was so scared and embarrassed and at the moment, all I could think of were all the wrong decisions I made in my life. Haha! What a perfect time to reflect about my path. In the end, I made a reference about not giving up on the challenges in life, about taking risks, taking a leap of faith, and the next thing I know, I was reunited with Kana down the water where she waited patiently for me.

We ended our canyoneering experience at Kawasan Falls. It was, overall, a really fun experience and I was happy to share it with a friend. Kana, who is stronger than she looks, jumped the highest peak, the one that I couldn’t stomach. As much as I wanted to overcome that fear, I decided I would retreat and come back again next time with more courage.

Island Hopping in Moalboal

Cebu

To make the most out of our South Cebu expedition, we opted to hop on and off islands and spend the night in Moalboal. From Badian, we took a bus along the highway to Moalboal and hired a tricycle to take us to the white beach where our boat would pick us up the next day. We took a small hut for our accommodation overnight, ate dinner, and spent the evening by the shore, under the stars, over conversations about life, career decisions, and a little bit about love. It was Kana’s first time to take a bath using a pail and dipper, two common “tools” we use for bathing in the Philippines.

The next day, our boat picked us up at around 8:00 AM. We made about three stops, the order of which I could not remember. I remember stopping close to Pescador Island where we snorkelled and saw beautifully coloured fish. The other stop was to see wild turtles, where we ended up seeing only one. The last stop, which was the most memorable was to see the famous Sardine Run. It was magical and breathtaking. I was so fascinated by the schools of fish harmoniously floating underwater. I took my time free diving and taking photos.

Later that day, Kana and I packed up and headed back to Cebu City where we met up with my friends. We then planned for our trip the next day to Osmeña Peak.

Hiking in Osmeña Peak

Cebu

One of our friends has a car so we were lucky enough to save on transportation cost plus we were more comfortable. The gang was composed of myself, Kana, Sheina and four of her workmates Migs, Arvs, Ron and Hernan, and Ron’s Chinese friend Eva.

Except for Eva, Kana, and I, the rest of our company have already been to the peak so we did not have much trouble locating our stop. The drive to Dalaguete took about 2 to 3 hours. We stopped at the registration area and paid PHP 30. From there, we only made a very short 15-minute hike to the actual peak. The place was crowded and the view was cloudy. When the clouds disappeared, we made quick photo ops. The hike was not as challenging as other peaks, I would assume. But the view was breathtaking.

Cebu
Eva and her salbabida!

On our way back, we wanted to exit through Kawasan Falls. Unfortunately, we were misdirected and we went through the wrong route where we got stuck in mud for a few minutes. Okay I know this is a proud moment, but I helped drive the car out of the mud. Later that evening, we had a satisfying dinner at the Sugbo Mercado in SRP.

Side Visits

While I was in Cebu, I went to meet two friends I met through Gawad Kalinga. Yen, who now works and manages Kapel, asked me a favour if I could perform a set on the cafe’s acoustic night. I obliged and invited the Osmeña Peak gang. I had fun playing and singing some of my favourite songs and meeting new people who were frequent customers at Kapel. I also met up with Ate Maymay who is now based in Cebu. We had a quick conversation about content management, writing, career, and life in general. I also had a few drinks with my Runggi batchmates to which I have no photo of except for the one where I was found on the floor. Don’t ask.

Expenses

PARTICULARS PRICE FOR 1 PAX (PHP) NOTES
Canyoneering fee 1,500.00 Includes lunch, guide from terminal, rounDtrip transfers from HQ to drop off, gears
Transportation, van 150.00 Tacloban to Baybay, Leyte
Transportation, Roble Baybay, Leyte to Cebu
Transportation, bus 146.00 Cebu City to Badian
Transportation, bus 115.00 Moalboal to Cebu City
Transportation, bus 30.00 Badian to Moalboal
Transportation, tricycle 50.00 Highway to Moalboal beach
Island hopping boat 1,000.00
Transportation, Roble 400.00 Cebu to Baybay, Leyte
Transportation, van 120.00 Baybay, Leyte to Tacloban
Accommodation 500.00 Room close to the beach in Moalboal
TOTAL 4,391.00

*We saved on accommodation cost because we crashed at a friend’s apartment.

Although I spent a lot in Cebu mainly because I had to shop for swimwear and a duffel bag, I truly enjoyed our adventure and I am extremely grateful for my company. Cebu was the first stop of my spontaneous sojourning this year and I could not ask for a better start.

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