As we had beautifully sunny skies at the beach in Hamburg yesterday, it made me think of The Philippines – making it a perfect time to throw back to our crazy adventure with Kawasan Canyoneering thanks to 2020 Adventures!
Before we started the trek though, we stopped for a lunch break to gather our strength after the excitement of swimming with the whale sharks. We were spoiled with some delicious home cooked Filipino dishes and an amazing view as we enjoyed some down time before our second adventure of the day.
Canyoneering is when you use any means of crossing through bodies of water. Usually this means going downstream, however before we started our guides informed us that the current was too strong. As a result we had to take a different route so we could go upstream instead.
We trekked through a fairly dense forested area, requiring us to clamour close to some steep slopes. As it was the beginning of the rainy season, much of the terrain was fairly slippery. The guides were awesome in keeping us on track and making sure we were able to climb safely around the steep edges.
However, this is definitely not for the faint of heart as we then had to repel down the side of an extremely steep cliff to get access to the river below. Unfortunately for me I get some crazy vertigo with heights like this, making the climb down that much more difficult. To clarify, I’m fine with heights if I’m looking outwards (like a lookout in a city for example) but as soon as I look down (like over the edge of a bridge) my stomach goes crazy and I often get weak at the knees… not good for climbing!!
Our guide team was absolutely awesome as they secured me to the repelling rope with a makeshift belay rope to help keep me sturdy. Although this wasn’t like a typical belay where someone is letting you down slowly from the base of the line, but rather they were lowering me slowly from the top of the cliff. I had to stifle my panic as I tried to concentrate while making my way downwards, with one of the crazy guides eventually taking me on his shoulders to bring me down the rest of the way. Now when I say crazy I mean this in a good way – he was a bloody ninja!! He hopped from rock face to ledge to anything he could get his hands on. I only wish I had a fraction of the skills (and courage) he had, it would have made the climb so much easier!
With shaky knees I managed to get to the bottom and onto the next part, climbing through the water. This was my favourite! It was super refreshing after dying in the sweltering Filipino heat, and it also meant all the terrible red ants drowned. They seemed to find their way all around my body – even under my clothes, the buggers! Now it was the fun part, going upstream!
We had a blast making our way through the rushing waters, climbing from rock to rock. At times we squeezed through tight passages, climbed through caves, and even a few spots where we could cliff dive (a little bit of déjà vu?). Along the way there were tons of beautiful areas that were worth a short stop to admire. Unfortunately I was only prepared with my phone in a waterproof case, but next time I’ll definitely have a Go Pro in my hand!
A few times I lost Robin as he insisted on being behind me in case I needed help. At one point in particular he was way behind, and I was on the brink of a heart attack when a guide popped up and waved to signal they were alive. Once I saw the photo they had taken though, there was no way I could be mad. Let’s just say I think I found my motivation for the gym since I want to be able to do this next time!
After about 2 hours of upstream clamouring, slips, being dragged through the water, and lots of laughter, we made it back to our starting point. The group hopped back in the truck as we enjoyed some ‘gatorade’ and waved to all the local kids along the way. We were greeted with hot coffee and some delicious Tasty Bread (this is actually a brand, I’m not making this up) before calling it a day and heading back to Cebu City.
Despite the fact that parts of the day were trying, this is definitely an excursion you should not miss while on the island of Cebu. Make sure you come prepared though: aqua shoes or hiking boots that can handle water, swimsuit and shorts, and a determined attitude! If you’re looking for something to get your adrenaline pumping, then this is definitely for you!