Speak of Cebu and images of the Sto. Niño , the province’s patron, come to mind. And so does the valiant Lapu-Lapu, sweet mangoes, the famous lechon, guitars and beaches. But it is more than that. Cebu is a special and beautiful place. It is also my home.
I prefer undeveloped spaces or if there should be development of tourist areas, I would like that it should not be such that it becomes yet another generic touristy place and, as much as possible, I steer clear of such places. But there are some, like Kawasan Falls in Matutinao, Badian, Cebu, that despite being one of the top natural attractions of the island province and me being a Cebuano, haven’t really gone up to see this cascade in all of my 30+ years. Not until last week when I went down south and made a short detour.
The jump off point is at the Matutinao church, a modern structure that seems incongruous with the otherwise bucolic surroundings. Right then and there, guides will call on you or come close to offer there services but really, you don’t need any guide to go there as the dirt path leading to the attraction is well maintained. However, from the highway, it’s still around 20 to 30 minutes walk with a 10 peso entrance fee.
What I do like about this leisurely walk is that the path is shaded. There are beautiful rock formations as well as cool rock walls (but alas, graffiti mars such a scenery) overgrown with vegetation that gives a feeling of being somewhere untamed (well, sort of). What surprised me most, however, was the very clear river at the left. It’s not muddied or strewn with garbage.
However, that feeling of wildness doesn’t linger long as one comes closer to the waterfalls. Houses, a wide clearing, a stone bridge, a small hydroelectric dam and other structures start to crop up that I can’t help but think to myself, not again.
The first tier of Kawasan Falls is actually spectacular: large but not necessarily tall and gushes water with the largest volume among the three cascades. Its aquamarine water is stunning unlike other drab colored ones found in other places. The waterfall is hemmed in by a soaring limestone cliff.
Unfortunately, such beauty is marred with the man-made structures of the resort that owns it. Ugly looking cement blocks that pass off as accommodations for overpriced overnight stays as well as cement tables and seats right at the edge of the water is just horrible.
A narrow and slippery path leads one to the upper tiers. I was expecting much thinking that these would be a little bit pristine and uncommercialized. When I reached the twin cascades, one is much taller than the first but less in volume (topmost photo), that expectation just burst. It’s no different. Cement structures are also built right at the water’s edge and using the tables/cottages will set you P300.
Well, so much for my Kawasan Falls experience. But maybe, my expectations were too high. But the waters are real cool and refreshing though.