So we went canyoneering at the Kanlaob River from Alegria to Badian twice in a week (because once just doesn’t cut it 😉 ). Some tips for those looking to give it a go:
Check the weather.
You want it dry and sunny. The first time we went, the forecast was chances of thunderstorms. Right after the first jump where there’s no turning back, it rained. Our guide advised to pick up our pace in case the water level rose and the current became rabid. The second time, the weather still wasn’t optimal but at least we saw sun. The river was clearer and you could see the rocks while wading through, water level was lower, the current tamer. Plus, photos and videos were prettier, too, as it was brighter and the water bluer.
Eat a good breakfast.
It’s a thoroughly physical activity swimming, trekking on uneven grounds, climbing on rocks, crouching through caves, jumping into cliffs. You want enough steam to enjoy the experience so have a hearty meal beforehand.
Dress for the occasion.
Although some (mostly foreign tourists) got away with wearing bikinis(!), rash guards and leggings are still advisable. You could avoid minor scrapes/scratches from rocks and brambles. Aqua shoes or trekking sandals work best to have a better grip on wet rocks. Also, your toes won’t turn to prunes from being soaked in the water absorbed by foamy shoes. You could also bring your own gear (life vests, helmets, ropes) but guides usually provide for these.
Bring as few things as you can.
A small dry bag is ideal so you won’t be tempted to put in a lot of things that you won’t need anyway and be saddled with a huge bag. Sneak in a chamois for wiping the inside of your camera’s waterproof case if it moistens on the inside. A few small bills could come in handy, too. You might want some hot dogs from the makeshift food stand right in the middle of the canyon! And, don’t forget your camera and extra batteries of course. 🙂
All the way to Kawasan Falls versus the detour.
The first time, we went all the way to Kawasan Falls. The second, we took a “shortcut” and went back up the main highway.
You still get the whole canyoneering experience in both routes which takes about two hours – more or less depending on the group’s pace. After the final jump comes the crossroads. For those who would go all the way to Kawasan Falls, they continue to follow the river downstream. It’s an additional one and a half to two hours walk but it’s an easy trek. There’s a proper path and involves crossing shallow portions of the river once in a while until you get to the third level of the Kawasan Falls where you can swim without the usual crowd. From there, it’s a quick walk down to the second and first level of the falls and out to the Matutinao Church beside the highway where most vehicles are parked.
For those taking the detour, it’s an uphill climb after the last jump. It’s a twenty to thirty minute hike up the steep mountainside and it’s quite literally breathtaking, especially to those who do not have proper cardio training (like me). You go all the way back up to where you started and then take a motorcycle ride on the main highway back down to Matutinao Church. I personally prefer going all the way but many go for this route because they could get to their lunch sooner. It’s thirty minutes compared to two hours after all.
Don’t ever forget to just sit quiet, look around, and admire the scenery while you’re there. Pictures don’t do justice. The place is beautiful.
If you’ve got any questions feel free to sound them off in the comments section. 🙂