Canyoneering in Kawasan Falls
One of the unique things you can do in Cebu, Philippines is canyoneering (also known as canyoning to the locals). Kawasan Falls is a pretty awesome place to do this. Located 3.5 to 4 hours from Cebu City, you can either book a trip through a tour company, hire a car and leave at 4am, take a bus from Cebu’s south terminal, or spend the night at nearby Moalboal so you don’t have to deal with traveling before the crack of dawn to beat traffic.
I coupled this trip with a visit to Oslob to see the whalesharks. We arrived at Kawasan Falls around 10am and were easily able to book a guide once we parked, so no need to reserve anything in advance. The total amount for the trip cost PHP1500, which is the price mandated by the government and includes a helmet, life jacket, and water shoes. Some guides may try and charge more, and if they do, you’re getting ripped off.
For those who aren’t into the adrenaline pumping activity that is canyoneering, Kawasan has three waterfalls that are open to the public for a 40 peso admission fee. It gets a bit crowded in the afternoon, though, so the earlier you can go, the better.
How to go Canyoneering at Kawasan Falls
What is canyoneering? It’s trekking through the trails of Badian, forging through the clear canyon waters, scrambling up and sometimes rappelling down limestone formations, and jumping off cliffs into the water.
The cool thing about it is that you don’t need to be an expert to do any of this. All you need is a sense of adventure and to be in somewhat good physical condition. If you’re able to hike 6 km and you’re not afraid of water, you should be fine. All cliff diving is optional. While a few people wore swimsuits to canyoneer, I’d actually recommend wearing clothes you’d be comfortable going in and out of the water under the shade in. It can get a little cold depending on where you are. Also, bring a waterproof dive bag for your things because you WILL get wet.
You’re placed in a group ranging from 4 people to as many as 20 (usually the larger groups came together, so if you’re a smaller group, you will get your own guide. I was by myself so I got placed with a trio from Taiwan).
The tours have multiple routes and entrance points, so ask the guides beforehand which route they’ll be taking if you have a preference in mind. We took a 15 minute scooter ride up the mountain to the trail’s entrance point, then hiked for another 20 minutes before reaching water.
Once you’re in the water, the adventure starts. The cliffs range from 4m to 13m, with waterslides and rope swings in between.
At the halfway point, you get to take a short lunch break, so bring money! Lunch cost about PHP150-200, depending on how much you eat. Barbecue, rice, fruit, and soft drinks are all available for purchase.
The total tour took about 4 hours and was 6km long. I personally had a blast and was sad that my camera died before we got to all of the good jumps, but I’d for sure do it all over again! The tour ends at Kawasan’s second level waterfall, which is where the 13m jump is, so if you visited with friends who were afraid to take the tour, you can easily meet up with them afterwards at the Level 2 falls!