On the opposite side of Cebu Island from Oslob (about 2 1/2 hours drive), is a small town called Moalboal. This sleepy ocean side town is home to some of the most breathtaking canyons in the world and the locals are capitalizing by helping tourists jump, swim, and crawl their way through the beautiful maze of pools, cliffs, tunnels, slides, and waterfalls.
We got advice from our Oslob Airbnb host to go to the Canyoneering shop directly across the street from the town church – “they’re the best” she said. We parked in the church lot and avoided the local guys hassling us to join their tour. We headed straight across the street to the reputable company and got a good deal (1,200 pesos or $26 USD) per person for a 4 hour guided tour of the canyons. The fee included helmets, booties, life jackets, snacks/water, selfies, 17 year guides that you would never realize were that young, and a hot meal afterwards.
A canyoneering tour is the BEST way to see Kawasan Falls. These tours drive you via moto up to the top of the mountain (which is a little weird in your bathing suit at first) and you get to canyoneer your way through the maze of waterfalls down to the notorious Kawasan Falls. Most people just walk in from the bottom but this area is SUPER crowded and not as pretty as the canyons above. It should be noted though that due to a recent TV travel show about the spot, the word is out! There are dozens of tour companies providing the same canyoneering tour and most areas of the tour were quite crowded – we often had to wait several minutes to jump or slide down to reach the next area.
We met some awesome Filipinos from Manila during the orientation and we laughed and screamed together as the four of us and our two tour guides cruised the canyons for 4 hours. The guides were critical – they tell you when to jump, when to crawl, where the rocks are hiding beneath the water, and stop you from flying off a cliff when you (Jax) come careening down a slick concrete slide at 20 mph and almost lose your trunks in the process! (Definitely mooned everyone behind us!)
The trip would normally take about 3 hours but Filipinos love their selfies and group photos, so it can take 4-5 hours depending how much you push your way through these groups. The water temperature was pretty cold (~70 degrees) and the sunshine doesn’t make it’s way into the canyon so it gets pretty cold towards the end. However, when you do find the light, you get glorious photos like this!
Once you make it through the canyons, you come to the large waterfalls known as Kawasan Falls. There is a series of three large falls where you can leap off into the aqua blue water – Adam hucked all three cliffs, even the one that you run and jump off of!
After all the cliffs, you come to a large open pool where you can swim and soak in the sunshine with plenty of locals. They have big bamboo rafts that you can float along too. We paid the moto drivers a little extra to drive us out of the touristy area and back to the company office. They fed us a yummy hot meal of rice, chicken, and pasta and we were on the road again.For us, canyoneering was a major highlight of Cebu and it’s just a three hour drive from Cebu City – highly recommend it!
We will say that the actual town of that we stayed in does apparently have a TON of dive spots, it was a bit too hippy for us. Perhaps, if we had dived though, we would have liked it more.
Lesson Learned #33: The Philippines is made up of 7,000 islands and thus exploring one of them is a vacation for many of them as well. Lesson #34: Canyoneering outfits are sexy. (NOT!)
“You cannot always wait for the perfect time, sometimes you must dare to jump.” -Unknown