I will never forget this day as long as I live...
Cebu Travel Blog› entry 5 of 5 › view all entries
Things started off well and good as my 3 friends and I began our 3 hours + journey to Kawasan Falls. Upon reaching there, we walked along a path thru the greenery and woods. After about 10 mins walk, the beautiful cascading waters at the first level greeted us. I requested to climb up to the next level of the falls, and we settled down to have our lunch which we had bought earlier. The water at this level was much smaller than the previous. There were just a few other persons around. The sky was overcast then and started to drizzle soon after. Soon after, the drizzle stopped and again, I was the one who wanted to go down to the one which was larger. And so we began our descent to the 1st level falls.
Well, a guide told me that 2 'drivers' for the raft would cost 300 pesos each but i tried to negotiate saying that one would be enough.
We had a 'cold' and enjoyable time beneath the gush of water and after a few mins.. ... It happened... The water that hit onto the raft was suddenly about twice to thrice the intensity and volume! The raft tilted badly and we all fell into the water! I can still remember the frantic look on my friend's fiance's face.
As for me, I was tracking water (paddling with my hands and kicking my legs) frantically to keep my head above the surging waters while trying to swim to the inside of the cave (it was not possible for me to try to swim out then).
It was at this time that my guide shouted into the cave (just like the way it is in an earthquake) asking if we were in there. Thank God that my guide wore 2 life vests and half swam, half gripping the rope by the side, made his way towards us. I made my way out a bit and met him halfway. He threw one of the life vests to me. Wearing that, I caught hold of his vest, the rope and some dangling 'roots' and struggled, at last the rest managed to pull me out of the water. My friend was crying when she saw me. I was told I was as pale as a ghost then and i vomitted repeatedly.
That was not the end of our ordeal yet as we are still required to scale the falls to go by a very long route as the way which we came by earlier would have been flooded by then. We had to evacuate to higher grounds as the entire area would be flooding sooner or later, judging from the situation. After I had vomitted all that i had eaten, all of us with a couple of locals began to climb up the falls. With one arm over my guide's shoulder, he helped me up. As we passed the falls at the 2nd level, I saw the ferocity of water gushing down and till this day, I still remember it vividly.
We had to make it fast then as we had to bear in mind the little time we had then before sunset.
I gave 2500 pesos, which was nearly all that I had in my wallet then, to the men who helped us out, who saved our lives. Without whom, my friends and I would not have survived. After the incident I had become more claustrophobic as well. As we parted, my guide told me that he told himself (while i was still in the cave) that he had to save me... Because of one thought, one conviction: that he was my guide and he had the duty to save me. Thus he risked his life to do so.
The scariest part of this episode is perhaps not the experience itself but the fact that i was told this is the 1st time ever that flooding occured under such conditions. Flooding happened before of course, but not in almost clear weather conditions where everything was unexpected! In the past, no acitivity was allowed if flooding was expected. So the men there acted to save us without any prior experience at all!