Day Trip to Kawasan Falls
Trip Start Jan 15, 2010
20Trip End Feb 02, 2010
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Where I stayed
I had originally considered renting a car for this day, as the falls are three hours from Cebu City. However, after much consideration and observation, I decided it probably wise that I not attempt to drive here. Anyone who has read the book "Mote in God's Eye" will get this reference: drivers of all vehicles here seem to behave like the "moties" from that book -- driving with almost telepathic awareness of what everyone else is doing and what their intentions are. They also drive a lot slower than I'm used to (and I'm not sure most of the vehicles are capable of accelerating quickly or moving all that fast)
The Kawasan River is incredibly clear and clean. While I did not, others drank straight from the river. Often, the river appeared shimmering turquoise, it was very beautiful.
It was a short hike to the first falls. On the way, we passed several very nice homes built along the trail. The guide mentioned some of them were available for rent at the incredibly low price of about $500 for the month. It would be nice place to flee civilization for awhile, but there really isn't much in the way of city comfort for a good long way. It did, however, give me cause to consider that perhaps on my next trip, renting a house or condo would be an inexpensive alternative to a hotel
The Philippines are good for sneaking in fees where ever they think they can get them. First, of course, the falls had a parking fee and an entrance fee (our driver was admitted for free, and joined us for the hike). The guide was a friendly local who was completely reliant on tips to feed his two kids (cue the violins). He did offer to carry my backpack, however, and was treated well at the end. A restaurant with several tables and bamboo rafts in the water greeted us at the first falls. There was a 300p fee to sit at a table. Another 300p gained use of a raft, by which you can actually go under a rock and behind the falls. Zel wasn't ready to get wet just yet, so we just opted for a table. Lunch consisted of fish soup, grilled giant squid, rice, chop suey, and pancit. Even with the help of the driver and the guide, we couldn't quite finish it all.
We didn't spend much time at the second falls, moving on to the third falls, and the source of the river. Water roared from the underground spring in a cascade of fairly short waterfalls, surrounded by pools. This time, we did get wet. First crossing the river to get some pictures among the falls, then we went into the pools. The guide used my camera to take pictures of us. Zel wanted to wash her hair in the falls, so I went back across the river via a bridge made of bamboo stalks and a railing that kept sinking lower and lower
Our return route, at the guide's suggestion, went higher up and over the mountain, giving some spectacular views.
As we headed back to Cebu City, the driver suggested a short detour to Mantayupan Falls. This time, we really were greeted by a monkey, this one actually posing for pictures once I got the camera out. The falls themselves are much higher than Kawasan. Some children played in the pool at the base. Two falls were at Mantayupan, the larger of the two nearly 200' in height.
That night we dined at Hola Espana, a Spanish restaurant at the mall. We tried some garlic soup, shrimp tapas, and a seafood pasta for the main course, washed down with some freshly made sangria. Zel was getting a headache though, so we cut things short and skipped dessert.