After the mass-tourism experience that was the whale-shark watching and visiting a near-by island, that left us a tat underwhelmed as we, the Magnificent Seven, were so terribly spoilt after our Tao expedition, we were driven to our hotel in Badian. Badian is an hour-and-a-bit drive away on the west side of Cebu island and once we reached our hotel, we chilled for the rest of the afternoon and evening. The next day we had another water activity planned namely, canyoning in the natural water park of Kawasan Falls.
Kawasan Falls Water Adventure
Dressed again in swimming gear and a life vest and this time around also a helmet, we were driven to a spot close by, away from the main road. We walked the remaining bit to the beginning of the water track in the natural park of Kawasan Falls. For a few hours we waded, floated, glided and jumped in and through the water, that runs through a narrow canyon and the whole event turned out to be another highlight of our trip. At several points along the track, you could jump of rocks into the water. As I have a certain fear of depths, I gave most jumps a miss. The first one was from a height of around 5 metres, or 16 feet, from which I did make the jump, but already found quite scary and there was risk of injury, as the natural pool was quite shallow at some places. Rick filmed that particular jump and on screen it didn’t seem that high at all. There were other points where other members of the Magnificent Seven bravely jumped into the water, while I gave it miss and just walked down whenever that was possible. After a few hours of wading and floating and an opportunity to sling like Tarzan over the water, we came to the end and the piece de la resistance of the track, which was a jump into a large pool with clear water from a height of 10 metres or 32 feet. It looked terribly scary and I didn’t see an alternative path to take me down. It helped that I was the first in line of our group and our guide told a ‘white lie’, that there was no other way down. So I jumped, which I consider a small victory. After the jump and a swim across the pool, we reached a seating and eating area, which was absolutely packed with people. As it was a Sunday many families treated themselves to a pleasant day out at the beautiful and cooling Kawasan Falls. After lunch we walked back to the car through the park, which was another 20 minutes, but no wading in water was needed and we could stick to unpaved paths. In the Philippines food is never far away and when we walked back to the van, several members of the Magnificent Seven were tempted by all sorts of treats vendors had on offer along the track, despite just having had lunch. Once we reached the car, we got rid of our protective gear and made a short drive to the hotel, where we had 30 minutes to get our stuff and check-out, so we could be driven back to Cebu City.
Back in Cebu City
The van took about four hours to get back to the apartment complex, where we spent a few hours before we went on our whale-shark watching trip, as there was a fair amount of traffic on the road. As we were stuck in traffic near Carcar City, Louis took the opportunity to buy Buko pie, that was being sold at the side of the road. Buko pie is a traditional Filipino sweet dish filled with young coconut, that is consumed across the country. It would be the last night with the complete Magnificent Seven, as we split up the next day.
The following morning Lara, boyfriend Jason and paternal cousin Melody left in the morning to have another adventure on another island. Cherry left for her own adventurous action, although we did catch her at the airport. Rick, Louis and I also returned to airport in the afternoon to catch a plane- again with the budget carrier Cebu Pacific – back to Manilla, which was our last port of call before returning to Europe via Doha.
Captured by the Mall
We spent a couple of days in Manilla, where the boys mainly went shopping at the very nearby Robinson Mall and I mostly worked as I finally could make use of a solid and reliable wifi- connection. I have therefor not seen much of Manilla, except the mall and the road from the airport to the hotel. The city doesn’t seem particularly pretty, but it is very lively and an event seems to occur on every street corner. The mall, which is massive to my Lowlands- Country standards, is an attraction for Filipinos of all ages and income brackets. Kids play truant to hang in the mall, as that is considered far more interesting, than being stuck in a class room. The place offers relief on very hot days as it’s fully air-conditioned. The affluent can shop western brands, that are far more expensive than in their native countries and the less affluent can window-shop. The mall also has a large food court, which is accessible to everyone as food is inexpensive.
On the third day, the time had come to return to Europe. We left for the airport on a heavily air-conditioned bus and spent too much time at a very uninspiring terminal of Ninoy Aquino International Airport. At around midnight we boarded a Qatar Airways flight to Doha, where we were to arrive in the early morning for another long stopover.
top image by Koen F Smit- Amor
Buko pie image courtesy of burble.com