In my effort to expose my son, Aqui, to the great outdoors, I always see to it that he goes with me on any of my spontaneous nature trips, as long as it's safe of course. I'm doing this because I don't want him to spend majority of his childhood in front of the computer playing video games, or by the television watching cartoons all day. I want him to grow up with a memory of how beautiful the great outdoors is and how amazing Cebu is, if only people would take better care of it.
THE Road trip
One fine #SaBeerday, after knocking out of the office, my travel buddies (Kaye, Jen, Tabian, and Bulingit) decided to set off on a spontaneous road trip. Without any specific plan in mind, we hopped on Kaye's multicab and set off South of Cebu. Initially, we thought of dropping by random beach fronts but we decided that was far too mainstream. We had 2 choices with respect to bringing a minor - either to river trek or beach bum. It was like choosing between 2 favorite flavors of ice cream, which to me is a very difficult decision. In the end, we called the shots to go on both activities; a win-win decision, I thought.
Setting off with no supplies nor food was kind of the challenge. But, no biggie. A quick stop over at Carcar Public Market was the most immediate solution. Plus, it gave me an excuse to munch on their famous chicharon and lechon.
Cholesterol overload! nom nom.
|St. Augustine Parish, Alcantara, Cebu|
For most parents, traveling on the road with a kid would be, kind of, challenging. Probably the worst would be when one's child decided to get his bladder emptied, or his stomach filled in. But I guess, it would only be such if a parent has not anticipated these scenarios. I, however, was a Boy Scout so I am always prepared. :) And luckily, Aqui has been, sort of, conditioned to long travels. No single complain nor demand was heard from him during the duration of the trip. I did temp checks once in a while to see if he was enjoying himself. A big smile with a frequent 'what's-that-dad' was more than enough for me to say that he was having a spankin' good time. The difficult part was answering the questions and the follow-up questions (and more follow-up questions).
|Drop off point: Sto Tomas De Villanueva Parish, Matutinao, Badian|
THE nature walk up the Matutinao River System
After a 3-hour drive, we found ourselves parking right infront of Sto. Tomas De Villanueva Parish, Matutinao, Badian. This was going to be our jump off point as we trek our way up the river system, and finally to the infamous Kawasan Falls.
|Some souvenir items available along the trail to Kawasan Falls|
The good thing about this trek was that there's an existing well-established trail. One would never get lost even if he has no idea where the falls were. (Not unless you literally wander off the beaten path or trail)
A bit of rock formation, although not too impressive, booming greens on either side of the trail, buzzed up tourists and locals walking by, were just a few of the sights you see on this nature walk. We also saw some small falls (fallets? #jokeEpicFail) along the way with gentle songs from birds happily co-habitating with locals; a proof that the spot has been well-taken cared of.
|..a clear example of sustainable energy through water power seen along the trail.|
As earlier mentioned, it would be a clear sign that you are on the right trail if you see small falls on your way to the main Kawasan Falls.
|See how 'excited' Aqui looks? He did look stoked, didn't he? Or more like, exhausted maybe? ^___^|
Badian, Cebu houses the most famous Kawasan Falls, a series of water drop. The multi-level Kawasan Falls is also considered the most popular tourist destination in the province. It is located about 97.6 km southwest of Cebu City.
A well-loved attraction by both foreign and local tourists, the majestic Kawasan Falls offer a refreshing quench on a hot summer. The trek to the falls itself is a treat as one can see the (Kawasan or Matutinao) river system and lush greens along the way. A quick dip on its cool water or a good book read over the gushing water in the background are just among a few of the things one can do.
There are cottages and newly-constructed nipa huts to accommodate overnighters but recently, the Province of Cebu government has set a motion to have them removed as it disrupts the natural feel of the place.
For most tourists, they would settle at the first level of the Kawasan Falls and river system as they feel like that's all there was to it. But since we're adventure junkies like that, we decided to trek onward and go to the main falls or source of the water.
Because a taking a dip at the 1st and 2nd level of the Kawasan Falls was, to us, so overrated, we moved on.
We had to take extra precautions since the trail to the main falls or source was a bit slippery. We had to hurdle over make-shift bamboo bridges, slippery wet boulders, and mossy trails. These were the factors why we were very careful with our steps as Aqui, the youngest member of our team, didn't have a helmet on, and were wearing regular slippers.
|Badian Dam found along the trail; the landmark for the main water source.|
Alas, the MAIN WATER SOURCE.
|Random guy swimming.|
It was a reward seeing the look at Aqui's face when I told him that we finally reached our destination. He wasn't as eager to swim as I initially expected. He has so many questions which made me happy because it meant that he wasn't passive about the trip. It meant that it sparked an interest . I suppose the long trek exhausted him as he didn't feel like swimming. But the fact that a smile flashed when asked how he was made it all worth it to me.
It was already pitch dark when we decided to go back. Good thing we brought 1 headlamp plus 3 cellphones with flashlights. We weren't really planning to stay overnight as we haven't got any tents with us. Instead, we went on to a hidden beauty nearby - Lambug Beach.
..to be continued.
How to get to Kawasan Falls?
- From any part of Cebu, find your way to the Cebu South Bus Terminal (CSBT).
- From Cebu South Bus Terminal (CSBT), look for a bus liner [Librando, Ceres, or Rough Rider] bound for either Badian, Alegria, Malabuyoc, Ginatilan, or Samboan. Air-conditioned buses are also available for those who seek comfort on the road. For road trippers, be sure to bring a map with you so as not to get lost; although one can always stop and ask for directions.
Estimated Fare: 120.00 pesos
Estimated Travel time: 2-4 hours depending on the traffic and how fast the bus goes.
- If you're not too sure where to stop, ask the bus conductor to drop you off at Matutinao Church Badian or the drop off point for Kawasan Falls. You might miss it but the good thing is it's just along the road (roadside).
- At Matutinao Church, a road right beside it with big 'Kawasan Falls' sign will greet you and mark the beginning of the nature trek to the multi-leveled falls. Do not fret as the trail is pretty much established so one can go without a guide.
Entrance/Environmental Fee: 10.00 pesos
Whacky* Tip: Travel light but bring all your supplies (ie food, water, headlamp only if you decide to go back when it's dusk) as the food at the restaurant costs thrice as the regular price.
Visual Treat! There are old houses along Carcar, scenic mountain and vistas along Pinamungajan and Aloguinsan, and relaxing views of the sea/beach along Barili, Dumanjug, and Moalboal.
Food = 100.00 each
Petrol/Gas for transportation = 300.00 each
Entrance Fee = 10.00 each
Aqui's Snacks = 85.00
Parenting, to me, is the hardest job that I've ever had. I feel like I always have to go out of my way and comfort zone to ensure that my son sees the goodness in everything, and learn from his experiences. I do this to make him understand that one doesn't need to be rich to be happy; that one can find true happiness within. I want him to see for himself the beauty of nature, and realize how important our role is as stewards of mother earth. In that way, I, not only contributed to nature's preservation but also brings up a responsible individual. \m'