Saturday, August 29, 2009

Kawasan Falls: Badian, Cebu

After spending the night in Moalboal, we drove off to nearby Badian to see what it offers. We headed straight to Badian Island Resort but got turned down by the guard who told us we needed a prior reservation. A day trip will cost P1,000 already, and we just wanted to see the place, and have a snack there. But we weren't allowed.

So we drove away, passing by some wonderful scenery, like the one in the picture above. It was a secluded cove, with a tiny island. The view was pretty inspiring, and I thought it would be a great location for a resort. Badian Island could be seen from here.

We drove back to the highway in search of Badian's top tourist's draw - the Kawasan Falls. Badian's coast looked magnificent as I sped along the cliffs.

We arrived in the entrance of the Kawasan Park, where you can park your car. A guide was offering his services to us, but we politely declined, knowing it would be an easy task to find the falls.

And it was easy. There's actually a clear pathway, and there are a lot of people making the 15 minute hike. The river was peaceful and very clear. The hike (more of a stroll actually) was relaxing, but you could feel the sweat break while the sound of the crash of water grew stronger and stronger.

You will even pass by this quaint handicraft stall along the way. It was unmanned at that time, so I don't know who owns it or who makes these lovely wooden works of art.

You will also go under a vintage looking stone bridge. It reminded me of a war movie set. Looking at the picture, I didn't know if the bridge was being used, since we passed under it.

And finally, the destination - beautiful and graceful Kawasan Falls. There are actually three falls, and this is the last one. It is also the biggest one, and where all the picnic huts and tourists are docked. You could get on a raft (for a fee) and go under the falls, which I think is dangerous. I recently saw a video of a sudden flash flood from a waterfall in Bohol, so please be very cautious about waterfalls, especially when there is a sudden downpour.

The journey to Kawasan Falls was an experience in itself. I love hiking short trails, and Kawasan was just that. The water was so inviting, I was so tempted to take a dip. But I wasn't in swim wear, so I just had to experience Kawasan from dry land. And from the looks of this picture, I thought it was well worth it.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Ravenala Beach Resort, Bas Daku, Moalboal: Moalboal Series

We didn't intend to stay in Panagsama Beach, which really doesn't have a beach. Again, think of Anilao. I was intent in staying in Bas Daku, a nearby beach, that was just like Panagsama before a typhoon changed its landscape. Bas Daku is around 6 km away via a narrow access road into the plain fields of Moalboal. Essentially, Panagsama and Bas Daku share one coastline. Coves and rocks separate them. But the difference between the two beaches are stark.

Bas Daku has a lot of beach front resorts, having a white sandy coastline that extends for about a kilometer. It has a shifting sandbar near the resort that I consider the most well-designed in the area. Though not the most popular and high-end (that goes to Serena Beach Resort, which I will talk about in my next posts), Ravenala Beach Resort is welcoming and charming.

I am a fan of resorts that blend well with nature. Beautifully landscaped and well-kept as well, Ravenala offers accommodation in comfortable nipa hut like cottages. They have 2 fan rooms facing the beach, which I strongly recommend for those who really don't care about A/C. We stayed however, in the more expensive (P3,000 published rate) A/C room which is good enough for 3 people. The rooms don't have a TV, but who really looks for the media when they're in a place like this.

At the center of the quaint resort is an open-air veranda, where they serve food. This is the best place to chill out in. I've been in Ravenala twice already in the past month, and we always feel we own the resort, since no one is is there (just only one or two quiet guests).

I highly recommend Ravenala, with its most friendly staff and relaxing ambience. And once you step out to the beach, a picturesque view of sand and sea awaits.

The sand is white, and if you've been to other white sand beaches in Cebu, it'll probably feel just like that. Bas Daku feels like a peaceful beach village, with a lot of people just enjoying themselves in a soothing environment. Bas Daku also has that stunning shade of blue hues that is consistent in most Cebu beaches.

There is a shifting sandbar in front of HK Resort beside Ravenala. I noticed this in my 2nd visit of course, when the sand bar became a strip of sand away from the main shoreline, from being an alluring sand mount at the end of the cove. There are no detached restaurants in the area, similar to Panagsama, so don't expect something similar. Moalboal has that Alona Beach of Bohol feel, without the night life (if you get what I mean).

Though there are a lot of people who visit Bas Daku, mostly locals from Cebu City, you can still find a spot on the beach where you can lay down your sarong or mat and let a morning pass with a book to read, or with an iPod to listen to. There's really nothing much to do here other than being a beach bum for a day.

(032) 4740075

Family room for 4 persons @ Ph4,000.00 a night
Standard rooms @Ph 3,000.00 a night.
Breakfast and taxes are included in the price

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Panagsama Beach: Moalboal Series

Moalboal is an easy and scenic two hour drive from Cebu City. You pass through the South Road (SRP) and head all the way to Carcar. You take a right at the junction in Carcar and go straight to the beautiful mountains of Barili. Just a side note, I think Barili has a great mountainous rural landscape that can become the next Ubud. After Barili, you pass through 4 other towns, before reaching the popular seaside destination that is Moalboal.

Moalboal is known for one thing: diving. The center of dive universe in Cebu is found here in Panagsama. The laid back community has a lot of dive centers. Moalboal is the Anilao of the Visayas. A lot of foreigners and locals have their dive lessons here.

Panagsama Beach in Moalboal doesn't really have a beach, so don't expect sandy shores. Instead, expect dead corals and rocks. The tide goes really high in this area, so during that time, there's even no beach.

Nearby Pescador Island is the highlight of diving. I don't really dive since I have no license (though I have tried it 3 times already in Malapascua and Camiguin). So I can't give much information on what can be seen underwater.

Because of the influx of tourists, there are a lot of accommodations in the area of Panagsama. It actually feels like Boracay in a way, with its laid back beach vibe.

There are a lot of foreigners. In fact, they outnumber local tourists significantly (probably because it wasn't Summer anymore). Some stay for a month in Moalboal, so cheap lodging is available especially for backpackers. I think Moalboal is a good side trip for backpackers to Cebu along with Malapascua.

There are also a lot of dining options, from roadside grills, beachside cafes, to authentic Italian restaurants, like this Marina which is part of the La Tegola Group found all over Cebu City.

Panagsama may cater more to divers, but the chill out and laid back ambience of the place makes it a perfect spot for one or a group of friends to relax as well. Stay in one of the several beachfront cottages, and spend a day without doing anything.

Panagsama Beach is still Moalboal's top draw, especially for foreigners, as it boasts of natural underwater wonders. And staying here is relatively cheap. So, make your way to Panagsama, and learn to dive for a weekend, or enjoy a soothing sunset scene while reading a book on a hammock in your rustic beachfront cottage.


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