I have been afraid of heights and depths and to face and conquer fears is something out of sheer necessity to finish it. I thought I was up for chasing waterfalls with nature as my playground but I retreated and feel jittery at the sight of jumping a 20 foot waterfall as a threat of my self preservation. An Adelle’s song about giving up or chasing pavements would best fit the feeling the day I took up the Canyoneering challenge last February 6 in Kanlaob River in Badian-Alegria Cebu.
The initial adrenaline kicked in but was soon overpowered by the sight of waters several feet below. Imagining myself enveloped by the gush of waters and the reality that I could not swim already weakened my feet. The space and gravity scare the hell out of me.There was no easy passage going to the exit but to go through each trail and finish the course up to Kawasan. With this, I could not get decent pictures taking my first glide and jump because of my unpredictable fights and surrenders. Gladly, we came out in one piece.
My companions agree that we will meet at 4:00 am at Cebu Bus Terminal. Normally, the travel time from Cebu City takes more than 3 hours including the traffic and bus stops to wait and load for passengers. We arrived at our final destination around 8 in the morning at Sangi Road in Alegria where we meet our tour guide Chris.
We rode a “habal habal” a local term for a motorcycle that can carry up to 2 passengers making it 3 including the drive to get us to the main jump off point where a lot of touring groups met with their adventurous clients. We had our safety briefing and geared up with our safety equipment such as helmet and life vest so our canyoneering experience is enjoyable and worry free.
But once you get to jump one waterfall at a time, it becomes scary and rewarding at the same time. My first attempt was the longest hours of my life as I need to decide right there and then if I need to push for this or not. But who would’ve thought, I was already in the space for few seconds and afterwards entangled in the depths of the waters.For me it was always been a challenge since I don’t know how to swim. This requires endurance to walk for more than 3 hours and leg strength to resist the surge of downstream waters. As we move further towards the middle of the lagoon, the course becomes tricky and challenging. There were caves to crawl, stalagmites to be avoided, narrow paths to ensure that you will not slide and fall. There were low waterfalls but the surge of water is so strong. The fear of knowing you will never to surface again after the jump is bothering me every moment. So everything has to rest with my guts and willingness to do it. But doing it alone will never be easy without the help of your trusting companions.
It was an enjoyable experience as it was my first time traversing a long stretch of river that spans from Alegria to Badian. In this activity, one must secure a tight grip footwear that can withstand slippery rocks and mossy paths; comfortable wear to avoids cuts; and of course presence of mind. Even if you’re an adrenaline junkie, you have to obey and trust your guide. Being cautious in the surrounding helps everyone to be on top of your own safety. Before taking on this challenge, I read blog posts relating to some accidents happened in this area. That’s why I was bit wary on having my first canyoneering but luckily we managed to finish unscathed.
The reward with every jumps and the scares of drowning is the refreshing waters. I had the grandest chance of just relaxing in the real green lagoon tucked inside the foliage of trees and branches and the towering cliffs above. It was a magnificent sight to look at.
It was roughly 4 hour combination of shouts, jumps, floating, crawling, glide and walk our way out from Alegria to Kawasan having this feeling of an Olympian. For now I don’t have plans of going back again. I just have to leave the mystery of the firsts and remain it on my memory that sometime I have the brave heart and the courage to outwit my fears and cowardice.