When we say summer, we often think about a myriad of things. Like dipping into the cool blue sea or traveling far from the city into the heart of nature. We do everything we can to give ourselves the break we deserve.
Speaking of break – how about we bend the concept of spending summer one place at a time? Can you dare going to the beach, a hot spring, a waterfall, a river, and a cold spring in just one day without spending much money?
My friends and I decided to do just that as we hit the southwest of Cebu. We wanted to chill out from work, but at the same time experience the thrill of summer.
We only had Sunday for our mini vacation, so we went to the South Bus Terminal on Saturday night. After about two hours of lining up for the bus, we were on our way. It was a 4-hour drive. The perfect chance to take a nap in preparation for our long day. We reached our destination three hours before sunrise. We decided to play cards and stay up to watch the sunrise from the resort.
We stayed in Bantaaw Beach Resort located in the boundary of Malabuyoc and Ginatilan. The place was perfect for simple country living. If we wanted to, we could spend the whole day sleeping in the attic under a nipa roof or sitting in a wooden bench while watching the waves kiss the shore.
However, we chose to get wet. As the sun rose, we had the resort’s boat. We had a brief moment with the sea and got to appreciate the beauty of underwater from the boat—the sight of corals and other sea creatures living far from pollution.
After breakfast, we traveled to Mainit Springs in Malabuyoc. Known for their waterfall and the three springs with different levels of heat, it was going to be an adventure. A cheap adventure with only a 20 peso entrance fee.
First stop was the waterfalls in the heart of Mainit. Reaching the last level of waterfall was manageable; although we had to jump from one rock to another, hold on to the wooden handrail so as not to slip and walk through a dark little passage between big rocks.
Upon reaching the last waterfall, my friends climbed on top of the big rock at the center of the falls. Holding on to the nearby rocks, they stood with their backs under the falling water for a free massage. Of course, the whole experience isn’t complete without a plunge to the water.
Second part of the Mainit experience was the dip. We rested in the second not-so-hot spring. A dip inside brought relaxation to our muscles. Enough to want us to close our eyes and take a nap. It was like having a de-stressing hot bath. One of my friends, RJ, tried the extreme and hottest spring. She plunged her legs inside the more than 40-degree Celsius spring.
We drove back to Ginatilan to chill. Yeah, chill in the Inambakan Falls. The falls are a few kilometers away from the national highway so a habal-habal with a 30-peso-per-person fare was needed.
The walk to Inambakan Falls was effortless except for the long stairway. With a 10-peso entrance fee, we plunged into the cool waters of Inambakan Falls.
Again, it was a good way to de-stress, the cool way. Chilling there, we forgot the summer heat. All we could feel was the cold of the water, the freshness of the wind, the rhythm of the waterfall and the warmth of the sun. We stay long in this part of the falls as we fell in love with this combination.
The Climb: Dare the Thrill
Our last adventure for that day was to go to Kabutongan Falls and Springs. It has five levels of deep springs/falls. It was nature at its best because it wasn’t developed yet.
The only way to get to the place was to walk. It turned out not to be just a walk. More like walk, glide, jump and cling. In the first level, we trekked through knee level water. But as we got deeper into the mountain, it turned to a legit riverside trekking.
There was a portion we could not pass easily because it was already high tide. We had to cling for any support on the side of the river. We held on hard to roots, bushes, rocks and branches. As we looked down, we could see the deep river and big rocks. Up, there were high rock formations and tall trees. In easier passes, we had to carefully jump from one rock to another.
Our primary goal was to reach the last level. Indeed, we reached it after two hours of struggling not to fall. In the last level, we only got to clean our clothes and rest a bit. We did not stay long because it was late and the water was high.
That night, we went back to the beach resort with body aches and smiling faces. We enjoyed everything. It was the perfect combination of chill and the thrill packed in one day.
More than what we needed for summer.