Cebu, Philippines – We had just parked the car after a lengthy drive from Cebu City, with my uncle at the wheel. We completed a road trip of over three hours, teetering on four, and all of us needed to stretch our tired bodies. My uncle owned a taxi cab in Cebu City, so he offered to take us for a day to wherever we wanted. I think he meant anywhere within the city, but I asked him to bring us out of the city and to Kasawan Falls. I did not think it was going to take almost four hours, everyone told me “a couple of hours”. I had to remember that I was talking to people who go by ‘Filipino time’.
Kasawan Falls is a series of water falls that come from Kabukalan Spring and passes through the Matutinao River and Tanon Strait. The falls are set along a tropical jungle pathway, which is peaceful and well maintained. Kasawan Falls is a relaxing place for those who are wanting to get out of the city for day or two. There are accomodations close by, as well as dining and canyoneering tours. We opted out of canyoneering and decided to take a relaxing stroll along the river bank. It made for a great multi-generational family day.
The Long, Long Drive
I am not going to sugar coat it, but the drive is very long and could be boring for most. I know that two of my other traveling companions, one being my then teen daughter, were catching up on sleep in the back seat. I on the other hand was fascinated by the drive, the towns we drove through and seeing daily life.
Wherever I have traveled, whether in my home country or abroad, I have always been fascinated on how others lived. If I can get out and walk around for awhile that is the best, but sometimes I have to settle on watching life go by while in a car. We had brought water and food for the trip, so it was fun snacking while people watching from my uncle’s yellow taxi cab.
We drove along jungle lined roads, under shaded tree tunnels and lush natural surroundings. We passed below town name signs, past roadside cemeteries and antiquated Spanish influenced buildings. Then there were the people who give these towns life. Some were leisurely pedestrians, others rode tricycles (motorbikes with sidecars) or inexpensive Chinese made motorcycles- both with crammed passengers wearing no helmets. For locals this was normal life and not a big deal, but for me their normal life was what intrigued me.
Once we had arrived to Kasawan Falls, I paid a parking attendant a few pesos to watch our vehicle. The security payment did not help because my uncle’s taxi got broken into anyways. When we got back to the car, the back seat door was ajar and I was livid. Me yelling at the parking attendant caused a scene and many on-lookers came around to look at nothing but me yelling. I suppose it gave them something to do while waiting for tourists to bring to the falls. Nothing was stolen because we carried all our belongings with us, but it was annoying. With that said, please make sure that you take ALL of your belongings with you, even if you lock your doors.
The entrance fee to Kawasan Falls is only ₱40 ($0.88) and there will be plenty of local guides, who you can bargain with to take you to the falls. It is not necessary really because the path is straight forward, but if you want to know more about the area having a guide is good. We did go with a local guide who was very knowledgeable. I walked with him round trip although my family did not, they went about and walked on their own.
One thing about my guide that bothered me a little was his non-filtered directness, which is what we call just being “Filipino”. It is something that my relatives do and being a Fil-Am, I have never gotten used to. We were walking slightly uphill and for some reason my guide thought I was struggling, I wasn’t’. He told me that I should go on a diet, exercise more and reduce because I was “Big”, as he motioned to his chest. When I told my cousin this, she got angry because she knew he meant my breast area. I am well-endowed and I was taller than him by 5 inches, so I understand why I may have seemed like a giant woman to him. I let it go because I knew that he was stating his opinions and being “Filipino”. This is just a heads up if you receive any comments such as these, just do not take it personally!
When the day was done and after we took a dip in the turquoise pools, it was time to take the long drive home again. This time around it seemed longer! On our drive home I started to feel bad for my uncle because he was starting to tire. There were a few times where he was dozing off and I loudly asked a question, so it would wake him up and initiate a random conversation. We made it back to Cebu City safely, had a family dinner, I gave my uncle some pera (money) and went back to the hotel. I have not seen my uncle since and from what I heard he is a private driver now, which I am happy about. We had a great excursion with the exception of some words being exchanged, well my words, but that seemed to be a theme with me while traveling through the Philippines!
- Take a 3-4 hour bus from Cebu South Bus Terminal to the Matutinao Church in Badian. From there, you can ask one of the many guides hanging out to bring you up to Kasawan Falls.
- Hire a private tour company in Cebu City who will take you round trip to the falls.
- Hire a private driver or have a family member drive you to Kasawan Falls.
We did the third option, we hired my uncle who owned a taxi cab to drive and spend a family day with us.
For more travel information, please visit – Kasawan Falls
Some call it an adventure, I call it my way of life
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