It was on March 22, 2012 after the graduation ceremony when I had a chance to talk with Auntie Carmen. We talked as if there was no tomorrow.
Because I skipped breakfast that morning, I got this sick feeling in my stomach. I told Auntie Carmen that we set another time to continue where we left off. Toward the end of our chat she asked me, “Where do we spend summer this April?”
I always have 101 reasons to NOT spend on vacation…yet. However, my family wanted to relax and unwind even for a little time (get off the daily routine once in a while.)
Like my kids, Auntie Carmen wants to relax after braving all types of weather selling “siomai” (also called pork dumplings.) I told my children about this and they smiled with a twinkle in their eyes: perfect for a book cover.
With so many destinations on file, we had a hard time choosing where to go. Not that we were choosy, but it’s the cash that counts.
My children were eager to spend summer outside our home. I assumed they have a bee in their bonnet. But how do I handle the expenses without burning a hole in my pocket?
Kawasan: a Hidden Paradise in the South
“Let’s go to Kawasan!” said Jennifer (the youngest daughter of my auntie.) In my years of stay in Cebu, I haven’t gone to Kawasan. So, we shortened the list (actually, there was no list - we don’t have the luxury to spend. It’s just a product of our imagination.)
Kawasan is one of Cebu’s prides, a haven for waterfalls of natural spring water lovers. This clear as crystal waterfall is located in the mountains of Barangay Matutinao, Badian, 130 kilometers southwest of Cebu City – a three hour bus drive.
We rented an eighteen seater multicab (a multi van.) Take note, the multivan can carry eighteen passengers…eighteen SLIM passengers to be clear.
And since we have with us some extras…(shhh...some honest stored fats) do you think we can give our legs a break during the four hour ride?
It’s a tough ride, but the different jaw-dropping vistas somehow ease our leg cramps.
As we set foot in Barangay Matutinao, we were as free as a bird. I gawked and took photos whatever take my fancy – nature formed hilly rocks; clean water runs on and flows like snake; picturesque trees; chairs; nipa huts; local and foreign tourists who I believe love and enjoy outdoor adventure; birds; children eating bananas and a lot more.
A Round of Leg Cramps
We won’t be able to get to the waterfalls unless we hike. This is the rule. So, hiking all the way to the waterfalls was another round of leg cramps.
We gently stretch our muscles and leisurely and slowly begin hiking. This long walk, I believe, is by itself our path to weight loss.
Remember, we have to bid goodbye to unwanted fats. I felt that I lose 60 percent of the muscles of my face (how I wish it was 100 %.)
My mother-in-law who is on her 70’s had enough of it. Halfway before the entrance to another long walk going to the waterfalls, she can no longer set off on another step.She was not sure if she could walk another mile. Instead, she settled in a small cottage (still a few hundred meters away from the waterfalls.)
We arrived at the site, at last! Yahooo!
Gladly, my mother-in-law endured the trek. How did she do that? My husband’s insistence did the trick.
The waterfalls were so awesome: an epitome of picture perfect paradise. I took photos I considered masterpiece: my children diving like wounded eagles, great pose and sorry for the wacky pose. Whatever tickled us pink is a gem photo for keeps.
Kawasan waterfalls were continually spilling waters over the edges of mountains. I learned that there were other waterfalls here.
Further up the strenuous track was the second waterfall, which was a smaller version of the first stage. The third phase was another small version of multiple overflowing waterfalls.
What was more staggering was the 4th stage. It’s not a waterfall but natural Jacuzzi pools of a river. It’s like a hot tub framed by a natural spring.
The water was so refreshing that you could make money by bottling and selling them (NOT allowed, of course.) You can freely drink the crystal clear water without worrying about water-borne germs.
Hiking Boots Vs. My Two Inches Sandals
But before we get into the 4th stage of this snake like paradise, we have to watch our steps to endure the strength-sapping, treacherous wet trail. We have to brave a narrow bamboo bridge, large boulders, and steep steps.
Have I known the trail conditions early, I should have worn my hiking sandals. Whoa, I have with me a pair of two inches sandals perfect for a shopping mall escapade.
My kids were happy splashing around in the water in the fourth phase of the thrill. I want to get there (also my sis and my auntie.) However, we can't get there in a flash. We have to traverse the same steep, treacherous trail.
Along the way we had to negotiate some perilous ascending path up to the natural Jacuzzi proudly wearing my two inches sandals.
When my steps slipped and nearly lose my foot hold, I’ve decided there was no point wearing my sandals back on…I rather walk barefoot. The mud colored my feet brown, but I managed to rinse them under running water.
The hike was so grueling but well worth it. When we arrived at the fourth phase for our hike, we were surprised to see lots of people swimming, and enjoying the natural Jacuzzi.
I took photos of my children, sister and friends enjoying the free flowing water. Now, it’s my turn to feel the water massaging my body.
I was hesitant at first because I am not a huge fan of cold water. But not experiencing it is another story. So, I brave the cold, capture and finished every detail of comforting free-flowing waters.
The cool natural Jacuzzi has a forceful flow that gives me free massage while enjoying nature.
A Court Order Needed
Looking at my kids enjoying the water, I think I need a court order to force them to stop. After the words of agreement, we began again that treacherous trek back to the first stage.
As we walk through the nature trails at the beautiful Kawasan, we were laughing at my uncle Donk’s antics. He made us laugh while providing valuable information on how we can go all the way up and come down without the danger of slipping.
As soon as we arrived at the first stage waterfalls, armed with our life jackets, we again rode the bamboo raft maneuvered manually by two men using two long big ropes that took us directly to the waterfalls. The falls massage our bodies.
When the clock strikes one in the afternoon, we returned the life jackets, paid the bill amounting to 1,900.00 (400.00 for the labor fee and 1,500 for the raft, cottage, and life jackets.)
We packed our things; cleaned the area, and musing about the long walk back to the parking lot. As expected, my mother-in-law was unable to walk. The multicab fetched her though.
Time for a long travel back home: another four hours of uncomfortable ride? Not anymore. We very much enjoyed our Kawasan escapade and with my uncle and children’s antics, four hours riding time was not a bad ride at all.