Jumping Jack Flash – Canyoning Fun at Kawasan

24-01-18

This morning we woke up to a great breakfast at the Blue Orchid. This resort is on White Beach in MoalBoal, the quiet and prettier sister to Panagsama beach and it’s a lovely place. We felt justified in ordering big omelettes because we had a day of energetic canyoning at nearby Kawasan Falls ahead of us.

We actually ended up surrendering half of our plate to Captain, the adorable 8 week old puppy at the resort.

She was found abandoned on the dirt track road on the way to town and picked up by one of the dive instructors. The staff were anxiously awaiting the general manager’s return to see if she was allowed to stay. She was adorable and hugely popular with guests who were all fawning over her.

Our guides came to pick us up in the infamous ‘party bus’ and we joined 2 other couples from The Blue Orchid who would be our group for the day. After just a few minutes of conversation it was clear that we were all going to get on really well. Roxanne and Erik were from LA and Jordan and Charity were from Toronto and they were all great fun with a similar sense of humour and an awesome thirst for adventure.

Arriving at the HQ for the Falls, (which was essentially the front room of this family enterprise) we were kitted out with crash helmets and life vests.

We were then ushered onto motorbikes to take us on the 10min uphill drive to the start of the canyoning experience. Bikes are not my favourite, so I was particularly twitchy to discover that both Gary and I were being ushered onto the same bike, with a driver already revving up. Three is a tight squeeze and being the bread in this motorbike sandwich was thrilling yet terrifying in equal measures. The parting advice provided by the instructor was to sit still but no worries there – I was successfully paralysed into submission.

I was clinging on to Gary’s shoulders with such force as we hooned it up the steep, windy hills that I left indentations on his skin. The rest of the day would be a breeze in comparison to that.

Once at the top, we were required to sign in. This seems to happen everywhere in the Philippines and it’s generally a pointless exercise. No matter where we are going or what activity we are doing we are usually requested to log our names and nationalities on some make shift paper form. At first we assumed it was a safety process, but it’s become a bit of an ongoing joke that we arbitrarily sign in everywhere but are never required to sign out when we complete an activity. So we could easily get left behind in the darkest depths of the waterfalls without recognition. In addition, every single place we go to, whether it be an island or a beach or a snorkelling trip requires a small fee and it’s own ticket issued by its own office. We end up with so many random slips of paper and logs of our name. No sense of official process or useful info.

Anyway, I digressed. We embarked upon a 20minute walk in the gorgeous countryside to reach the start of the water. The scenery was beautiful and our first glimpse of the fast-flowing stream was incredible. The water was such a wonderful colour; an incredibly inviting milky aqua.

The guides eased us in with a small jump into a lagoon like area and once we’d all completed this the fun began. We spent the next three hours clambering, climbing and jumping as we made our way down towards the main falls. Our guides were amazing at showing us how to jump and where to aim for to guarantee the deepest, safest water. They’d encourage us to lift our legs up when jumping into shallow pools and point out big underwater rocks to avoid when we were swimming.

The scenery made such an epic backdrop to the activity. Huge gorges lined with lush, green tropical vegetation. Butterflies dancing along the water’s edge and wonderfully vivid blue pools and lagoons. It felt like something out of Avatar.

The streams would occasionally pick up force to create mini waterfalls and propel you with speed and strength over rocks and at other times you could lay back and enjoy the lazy river experience as you were gently propelled along. The whole team absolutely loved it.

There were about 4 big jumps along the way, ranging in height from 4 to 15 meters. They weren’t compulsory and anyone who didn’t fancy it could opt out and scramble down the rocks. We had such a lovely group that helped and encouraged each other when we were wavering on jumps. I am generally a complete wuss when it comes to these types of activities but I really wanted to accomplish as much as I could on this trip so I braved a couple of the big jumps. I didn’t want to linger for too long on the edge and give myself time to back out, so as soon as I was told I was up I’d make the jump. What an amazing feeling.

The higher jump a little later was scarier because a run up was required in order to clear some rocks jutting out. I am not the most graceful of people and immediately, visions of me stacking it just on the run up poured into my mind. Our guide was very prescriptive about where our footing should be. Close enough to the edge to give yourself the best chance of clearing the rocks but not so close to the edge that it crumbles beneath your foot…..ok great. Gary went first and aced it. I went second. I had put so much emphasis on getting my footwork right that I hadn’t been concentrating on preparing my body for entering the water. You see others jumping and holding themselves straight and streamlined. I was more of a sprawling mass hurtling towards the water with my face leaning forwards to take to brunt of the impact. Definitely not the most graceful but I was chuffed I did it. With a little bit of coaxing from Gary (who climbed back up to do the jump a further 2 more times – maniac) both Jordan and Eric also nailed it.

Needless to say that Gary was a pro when it came to this activity and you could tell he was in his element, leaping off every jump and doing back flips.

A hint of danger to give him that rush of adrenalin he needs and this was the perfect activity.

He was the only one out of our group to brave the final jump. We’d been told that it was the same height as the previous one we all did, but as we approached its edge and looked down we realised it was at least a couple of meters higher. To add to the fear factor, a waterfall fed into the landing pool where you needed to jump. I did get a vid of Gary doing the jump but the camera angle is so wide that he looks like a tiny dot.

We emerged out of the canyoning activity to the third largest of the Kawasan Falls. We had an awesome BBQ lunch right at the water’s edge before walking on to the highest of Kawasan Falls. A spectacular, powerhouse plunging 20meters into the bluest of pools.

What a reward for the day’s work. We had a swim before heading back to resort, all in high spirits.

We arrived back at the Blue Orchid just in time for Happy Hour and the whole group sat there in our wet clothes for the next 3-4 hours drinking, eating and chatting.

A great day.

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