Cebu is where you gain the license to binge on both chicharon and lechon every single day. But it is also a lot more than that. It has Sinulog. It has Sumilon, Bantayan, Malapascua, and Camotes. It has migratory birds in Olango and whalesharks in Oslob. Heck, it has Lapu-Lapu, both the man and the fish.
But there’s also one other thing that Cebu has, and it’s right in its capital: Cebu City has rivers you can trek to or else traverse on horseback. It has hills high enough for a zipline. It also has limestone caves to explore. In short, Cebu has adventure. For this entry, let me take you river trekking.
Location: Masaba River, Sitio Masaba, Barangay Tagba-o, Cebu City
How do you trek a river? Do you trek on it, in it, through it? Apparently you would have to walk through shallow streams and pebbles first, make your way around bigger rocks and considerably more water next, and then finally try not to die as you hop from one 10-meter boulder to another. At this point, the waters flowing between the boulders have become too strong it could carry you away to oblivion with a single misstep.
That’s exactly what we did during the trek through the Masaba River, located deep within forested area somewhere in the mountains of Cebu City (as its Vice Mayor had informed us the day before, Cebu City is 70% mountains, thus these outdoor activities). The 45-minute one-way trek was no easy feat, but it took me a pair of trusty Hello Kitty Crocs to survive it (I didn’t come prepared. I was also wearing the kind of shorts you wear to the mall).
Stopping to rest under another limestone formation (that’s AsianTraveler’s Assoc Ed Jen Balboa on the left and me on the right. Photo by our guide Kuya Bogart—the guy with the blue backpack on the rightmost photo)
But surprisingly, I enjoyed it, even when I had to trail behind the group so I could take photos of them while trying to balance myself (plus another camera and a tripod) on top of a boulder.
It wasn’t as simple as it looked at all. I was doing the trek for an AsianTraveler assignment, and since I had to take photos, I had to risk life and limb to do three things all at the same time: take as much photos, keep my gadgets dry, and keep myself alive (how exactly I managed to do that is beyond my understanding).
(L) I had to tie pigtails to each of my feet so the water won’t carry my shoes away. I was ill-prepared just like that. (R) I had to go down that rock and into where the other two were standing at the farther end. In hindsight, this photo makes me swell with pride. LOL
There’s a waterfall at the end of the trek, although I’ve seen more gorgeous cascades elsewhere. Still, in this case, the destination didn’t matter as much as the journey.
Tips for those who want to try (trust me, it’s worth it!):
1. Never go unguided unless you’re Superman, in which case this activity isn’t challenging enough.
Once you’re at the river, you would have nothing else to step on except boulders and the waters. The river is surrounded by towering slopes, so unless you have the uncanny ability to swing between vines or fly, you’re stuck to the boulders.
Water could be anywhere between ankle-deep to way past your height. Factor in the current, and the fact that you’re in the middle of the forest without a mobile phone signal, and your chances of getting on that impulsive solo adventure go down to nil. Go with experienced hikers, including those who know their first aid.
2. Be in full battle gear.
I could not emphasize this enough, because once you’re there, you’re going to be at the mercy of nature. Always wear your helmets and PFDs, if not for your sake then for your mother’s peace of mind.
If I weren’t wearing mine, I would have gone home with a swollen head and a broken hip (come to think about it, I’d be lucky enough to go home at all if that was the case). On the way back, the strong current carried me down a very steep slope of rocks, and I landed head-first on another bed of rocks before hitting my hip against the river bed. If not for my skilled guide who managed to pull me to a more placid part, I would have gone further down the river.
Invest in a good pair of trekking shoes too, as running shoes will be no good. From my experience though, a pair of Crocs could satisfactorily live up to the challenge as well. It had a fantastic grip on the rocks, plus it’s as waterproof as you could possibly hope for, so you won’t have to worry about drying it up after.
Get a drybag to keep your things dry as well. I got a 20-liter bag after this trek (before this, I didn’t know what a drybag was and what it did, let alone how to seal it). And though it’s such a pain to use, it has never left my backpack ever since.
3. Trek towards the summer months.
Water will obviously be less manageable when you trek around this time, but January to May should be ideal (we did ours in February).
This pair has been through a lot, including endless kilometers of concrete during festivals and the very dusty 70 kilometers from Coron to Calauit.
Our trek was organized by Adventyurista Concepts & Solutions. They could provide you with trained guides, gear, as well as transportation to any of the outdoor tourism sites identified under the Adventure Cebu tourism program of the city government. You may find them on Facebook or contact them through the following:
Adventyurista Concepts & Services
Tel. No.: +63 929 777 9574 /
+63 922 825 5332
The Cebu City Tourism website also lists other suppliers here.
Adventure Cebu Map [in rectangle is the Masaba River in Bgy. Tagba-o where we did the trek]:
Click here for the original map from Cebu City Tourism office.
You may visit the Cebu City Tourism Website for more info.
This is my entry to Pinoy Travel Bloggers’ September Blog Carnival: The Visayas Roundup (my first entry to the carnival too!).
This month’s carnival is hosted by Ding Fuellos of The Pinoy Explorer:
Click here to view past PTB Blog Carnivals: