Sunday, February 20, 2011

[ARGAO] Wet By the Falls, Wet in the Cave

The same habal-habal driver picked us up and we then began our trip to the falls. On the way, we found a little house with two pretty ponds with water lilies on them. My friend could not help but take pictures, which the resident baby did not like at all. She cried, probably thinking my friend was a kidnapper or something. Or maybe the kid is just possessive. After a lot of mud, rocks, and lack of cemented paths, we reached the falls at last. Wearing jeans is not a good idea if you are planning to cross the stream unless your idea of fun is parading your dripping pants around town later on.

I was able to capture some of the action on video although I almost dropped my phone too many times. Aside from the slippery stream bed and raging current, you will have to endure a five-minute hike in a mini forest to reach the other side of the plateau where you'll see the falls in all its glory. I actually did all that barefoot. Fortunately, I only got one negligible bruise after the ordeal. Lady luck was on my side. Anyway, it's possible to jump if your tour guide brings some rope. He told us that people actually do that. We did not dare. The sight of the falls and rapids down below was similar to that of a giant toilet, but getting flushed is not my idea of fun, not to mention where I would end up if the water decides to bring me home with them?

Agta Cave was next. Sandals would work best in this situation. As I realized way too late, wearing shoes made of material that is not waterproof is a very big mistake. My flip-flops were of no use either since they broke even before we reached the cave entrance. The path to Agta is an adventure in itself. Halfway through there is a very thin path that you have to cross with a special technique if you do not want to end up sliding down the rocky ravine. Seeing the mouth of the cave is not the end of it. To get to the entrance itself, you will have to be hinged to a rope as insurance because the mouth of the cave is also the starting point of a mini waterfall which joins Bugasok falls downstream. So Indiana Jones!

Of course it is dark inside the cave. The bats forgot to settle their Meralco bill. There is only one portion halfway which receives enough sunlight. There you get to see a lot of bats. Beware their poop! We were lucky that the locals we saw a while ago at the falls were also there at the cave when we arrived. We just tagged along because we didn't have flashlights. Sad to say, you won't be able to enjoy the cave if you don't have flashlights or emergency lights. It's very dark inside and there are a lot of mini puddles waiting for you. Don't go there without sufficient illumination unless you have a death wish. The end of the cave is a dead end but there's an opening high above the ground that might be accessible via rappelling from the other side, which doesn't make sense because rappelling means going down, not up, and you are already down. WTF. It is time to unleash your inner Peter Parker.

My shoes and jeans were drenched but we made it out of the cave alive. My friend even decided to trip herself at the entrance to get a nasty kneecap bruise as a souvenir, and all that in broad daylight. Good thing the girl scout had a whole Mercury Drug branch in her backpack. After disinfecting her wounds we headed back to our habal-habal to get back to the town center. We made a stop-over at the Riverstone Castle to take pictures. It's not a real castle, by the way. A European castle in the Philippines doesn't make a lot of sense. I'm not sure if it was the mayor who had that accommodation made. Nonetheless, it has been one of the popular tourist attractions in the area. After a quick meal at Carmen’s, we decided to drop by the church and check out the surrounding area.

Be sure not to miss St. Michael the Archangel Church and its vicinity. The Hall of Justice and two other colonial buildings surround the church. A peaceful plaza lies in between with a statue of Rizal, a well, and three cannons. Go farther in and you reach the Puerta Marina facing the sea. After that, it was back to Cebu City for us.

The interesting thing is that the trip didn't bore me at all. The sun was shining, the breeze was strong. Nothing beats an open air bus as long as the weather is tolerable. When we disembarked at the South Bus Terminal in Cebu, my jeans were already dry. Since I was able to repair my flip-flops at Carmen’s, I was good to go. Argao was worth it and I'm just glad my friend discovered it. I highly recommend the place if ever you decide to visit Cebu some day.

2 creature(s) gave a damn:

Anna Velasco said...

As a young man who sparingly travels, I haven't really heard of Argao. Reading through your entry and noting of the activities in between lakes and ravines, I've decided to make plans on going there. Good thing I spotted your blog!

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ihcahieh said...

@Anna Velasco - Good luck with your future travels! I'm glad that my blog has been helpful to some extent. =)

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