Entirely blissed out after swimming with whale sharks, we get back in the car and Rodi says, “ma’am, sirs, you would like to see a waterfall now?” The answer is an obvious yes. I saw a sign for a waterfall as we drove into Oslob and I remembered reading on Trip Advisor about some nearby falls that could round out a day trip itinerary to Oslob from Cebu City. I didn’t remember the pictures being particularly impressive, but I am never one to turn down waterfalls.
A few minutes down the road I realize we have turned and are driving away from the falls. Suddenly I am very, very excited. I ask Rodi if we are going to the falls with the bamboo mats, he nods. Doing a bit of trip research on Pinterest I came across an image of Kawasan Falls. Situated on the opposite side of the island from where we are staying, I write it off as something that isn’t going to happen on this trip. Our time for leisure is short and the priority is whale shark spotting. Rodi notifies us that it is nearly two hours away, but he doesn’t mind driving.
We open packages of dried mango and coconut and pass them back and forth. Time passes easily as we wind our way up the coast through the vibrant green landscape. We pull into a church parking lot, pay 100 pesos to park and are immediately swarmed by “guides.” Rode says that he will be our guide and we proceed to walk down a trail for about a kilometer. The trail was a horticulturists dream. As a fern lover I could not believe what I was seeing. It was like strolling through the tropical plant section of my local nursery: maidenhair ferns, croton, bougainvillea, birds of paradise, palms. A bridge crosses the water and a few little boys are playing on a rope swing.
We arrive at the falls and they are utterly surreal. The water is an almost milky blue and there is a large bamboo mat empty and waiting for us. We pay 300 pesos to rent the raft and three men use ropes tied across the pool to pull us into, under and behind the falls. The water is freezing cold – I mean take your breath away cold. We lie down on our bellies and the water pours down on our backs. The pressure is intense, like a human car wash and I come out on the other side feeling slightly battered with hair covering and plastered to my face. We laugh and do it again.
We get back to shore and are harassed for an additional 300 pesos for each of the men who were “guiding” us on the raft. We are all vaguely irritated, but hand over the cash utterly disinterested in engaging any further with the fact that we are getting taken advantage of. The day had just been too good to worry about getting ripped off for $5.