Philippines Day 5: Kawasan Falls Tour

Day 5, another Island, another Epic Day. This was the only day tour we pre-booked before our trip: Canyoneering Kawasan Falls and hiking Osmena Peak. There was a fair amount of mis communication leading up to it as far as pick up time since initially they had said pick up at 6:30 but then the night before when I e-mailed to confirm, they said 8-8:30… well ok so the next morning around 8 we started watching for the van and it got there just before 8:30 but I noticed later he tried to change it back to 6:30… oops we were already passed out though. So 8:30 it was. We had a comfortable private van for the almost 90 minute journey to the Canyoneering outfitter. There we finished paying for our tour, selected our lunch options, and were fitted for helmets, life jackets, and water shoes (if you wanted… I just used mine that I know I like) 


The outfitters before we hopped on the motorbikes



After getting all fitted up, we had a VERY thrilling ride on motorbikes to the start of the canyoneering trail (about 10 minutes) with 2 of us behind one driver on a bike… I honestly think this may have been my first motorcyle experience and being on the back of 2 people was pretty terrifying haha I was never sure if I was supposed to lean or not to lean or what on turns. Thankfully we made it there alive and the scariest part of the day was over. *whew! 
At the start of the trail, you register at a guest book with your guide, throw your stuff in a dry bag, and head out for a nice walk. It takes anywhere from 20-30 minutes to actually walk to the canyon but the path is paved for the most part and the views over the island are really great. (lots of palm trees) There are some really steep jungle path stairs down to the water but then you’re ready to start your swim! 

What part of the long hot walk looks like. You start out on a nice path with great views of palm trees and in general, the island, before descending some scary jungle stairs to the water. 

 About the Tour
I researched a few companies for canyoneering Kawasan Falls before settling on Highland Adventures. They were very responsive and helpful in planning and were one of the few companies that I saw combined a tour between Canyoneering Kawasan Falls AND hiking to Osmena Peak. Since these were 2 very high on my lists things that seemed like they would be more difficult to book once there, we decided to spend a bit more for the security of knowing we’d get to do it. Plus since our hotel was far from the falls, we didn’t think we’d have too many other day of deals.
The tour is all day with 2 different iteneraries with pick ups around 6-8 AM and getting back a little after 5. It includes the gear you need, a private tour guide, entrance fees, all transportation, and lunch at the falls.
There are 2 canyoneering routes Badian and Algerian. Since there were many more tours offered and information about Badian, that was the one we choose. There is also this page to compare them if you are interested in the jump heights.

What the area looks like at the beginning. SO COOL
Once at the water, we did our last minute sorting, our guide took over my water camera, and we headed out. The first couple of jumps are maybe 4 feet and really easy. The caves surrounding the water are so cool and the water color felt great after the walk to get there. (Our guide took videos of almost every “jump” even the little 3 foot ones which are honestly just embarassing to watch. haha)

Getting ready for my all too exciting first “jump” 
Rockin and rollin!
There were a couple of fun “slides” and one slide to 4 foot fall that you lay on your back and went “head first” over just to switch things up. 

After about an hour we got to the meat stick spot where if you are hungry, you can buy pork/ chicken?/ etc kebabs for 40 pisos. This is also the site of the first “big” jump about 20 feet. It looked like you could walk a little further to a smaller jumping spot but where is the fun in that?

 Am I good?

20 foot jump – the warm up
The cool cave area under the jump!


Once you jump, you can see the caves under the cliffs you were just standing on and they are full of stalactites and fun formations. Then it’s another hour or so of adventure with the jumps getting bigger and bigger. 

 Every bend was scenic and cool! I loved every bit of it! 
 Our guide took a lot of photos for us…. 
 Floating on down the river. We were walking quite a bit, but swimming a lot as well! 
 Waterfalls constantly

 Sorry, not sorry. There’s a LOT of photos from our guide. haha 

 


We passed a beautiful DAM waterfall and did a few smaller jumps before reaching an optional 30 foot jump off a suspended bamboo walkway. This is the EASIEST 30 foot jump. No pushing off necessary, so your form for hitting the water is a lot better (for me at least) making this my favorite jump of the day. 

We survived a 30 foot jump! 
A bit more hiking along 


A little more walking and wading through water, and you get to the last jump of the day: and it just so happens to be right into a waterfall. Again it’s about 30 feet but if you could do the last one, you can do this one right? RIGHT! This one requires a little bit of a shove off meaning my form wasn’t great, my land not pleasant, but hey it was still exhilerating and awesome and I regret none of it!

Getting ready for the jump! 

After the last jump you’re in the first picnic area and it’s lunch time! We got 2 choices of meat with rice and coke to drink. We soaked up a bit more sun and hung around the area though we could tell our guide was kind of ready to go.

 Hanging around in the post jump swimming area
 Lots of dogs hanging around the lunch area asking for handouts 

 Very important food shot with a view

 We started to head now to the parking area where we passed the ACTUAL Kawasan Falls and things clicked into place a bit more. The waterfall we jumped was still an upper fall and we had further to go before getting to the main recreation area. It was a lot more crowded and a bit shady so we didn’t stay and swim more but it was a beautiful area and if we’d done the earlier itinerary in the day, this would’ve been a fun place to be in the afternoon sun. It was another 5-10 minutes from Kawasan Fall to the parking lot where our van was waiting.

 Perfectly tropical places to hang out
 Havasupai, is that you?
 Pretty waterfalls DO exist in other places! 

 Looking back at the falls from our walk 
More beautiful views on our walk to the parking lot. 

Next up we took our van up to:

Osmeña Peak

The ride took almost an hour from Kawasan Falls and seemed to go on forever. Just as we thought we couldn’t get any higher in the mountain ranges, we’d dip down for a bit, and continue on up. The scenery on the drive was stunning. The mountain road up was bumpy at times, and VERY windy.. If you are prone to motion sickness, you’ll definitely want to pop some Dramamine. Finally we were parked and had a short climb ahead of us. While you don’t need to hire a guide to hike to the peak, you DO have to stop in at the entrance to pay a 30 piso fee if doing it on your own (our fee AND guide were included in our tour).

Trail stats
Distance: ALMOST 1 miles RT
Elevation gain: 400 feet
Time:15-20 minutes up, 15 minutes down
A photo spot our guide showed us! I totally would’ve missed it otherwise, and it was so cool! 

There are a couple photo spots to stop at on the way but once you are at the top, that’s when the real view starts.

 Made it! 

Osmeña Peak is the tallest peak on Cebu standing at 3,323 feet above sea level. You have incredible views of the small and large peaks surrounding like little hills on the mountain, as well as the island coast line. 

 On top of the world

Bustin a move 

 Word to the wise, the peak is often CLOUDY in the morning so better schedule your trip to the peak in the afternoon for best results.

 Summit selfie

There were a few other people at the peak (some wearing fashion sandals… cue eye roll) but for the most part we were able to hang around and enjoy the peak without feeling too crowded. There was even a cat lazying around at the top!

Not sure why the cat is chilling up there.. but maybe it likes a view as well
Following our local guide back down the trail

After we hiked back down, we had another hour van ride down to the mountain side and back to Oslob. Our driver wasn’t the most talkative but he really lit up when we pointed out a buff looking chicken and then preceded to regal us with facts and stories about Cock fighting on the island. Oh boy.

 Festive little mountain towns! 
Some picture perfect lettuce heads in the lettuce capital of the Philippines. 

We also found out the city of Mantalongon (that we drove through on the mountain) is the capital of lettuce production in the Philippines. There were giant heads of lettuce everywhere! That was an fun thing to learn about. Our drive dropped us off in Oslob town (a bit from our resort) and recommended a restaurant and food stands to try for dinner. With that our tour was over and our dinner adventure began.

 BBQ pork that wasn’t as good as Coron but still good (and don’t worry, totally cooked despite the color) 
All the various street vendors and eating areas 
delicious smoothie in a bottle

We again tested the small town ATM, but were once again denied funds. I’m serious people, get yo money out at the airport. So with that in mind, we economically chose the food stands. Tippe tried some squid (which hadn’t been cleaned out at all so fair warning.. prepare for some blackened fingers if you try this) and I just got more BBQ’d pork. I mean 3 sticks and a soda only cost $0.85! Then I got a fun fruit smoothie in a water bottle and some bakery snacks for dessert. Our hotel was an easy 5ish minute walk from the street vendors and we happily settled in for another early night in preparation for another early morning.

Day 5 Costs: 
Skipped Breakfast
Kawasan Fall Canyoneering Tour $75 
Street Food Dinner: $0.85
Street fruit smoothies: $1.00
Bakery breads for snack and next morning: $0.50
Water: $0.40

Lodging:
Sascha’s Resort Oslob: $9.50 pp 

Total Day 5 Costs: $87.25

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