If you’ve ever been caught in a cloudburst, when huge drops of rain suddenly fall on you, multiply that feeling a thousand times and you know what it’s like to stand under Kawasan Falls in Cebu, Philippines.
The tallest of the seven Kawasan Falls is just the right height and has just enough volume to allow visitors to stand under the falling water without it being too painful.
Enterprising locals rent out sturdy rafts made of bamboo for only P300 and ferry groups to cruise under two waterfalls that flow down beside each other.
They tell you that the P300 is for your whole group and for as many times as you want. They probably know from experience that groups only want to go under the water once and only a few ever choose to take a second turn.
Kawasan Falls shower
Local guides brought maneuvered our raft to the smaller of the two waterfalls, probably to get us used to the pounding water.
You think you know how it would feel but nothing prepares you for that great rush of water falling on you. It’s like something solid and heavy has fallen on you, only it does not bounce away but continues down.
It forces your head down. The water is so thick as it falls you must hold your breath or take in water. You stagger to get away but take it from me, you’ll soon get used to it. You will even get to like it.
The good thing about the raft is it’s big so you get to step away. We had children with us and soon they were shouting their enjoyment, standing again and again under the water. My 10-year-old son Lennon likened the waterfall shower to as many as 500 water bullets falling down on you at once.
From the small waterfall, we proceeded on to the bigger one. Our raft approached from behind the waterfall and the only way out was to go through it.
This second waterfall is much bigger and stronger and the pounding water really hurts when it hits you. So when the raft goes through it to get to the other side, it will hit all of you. There’s no stepping away this time.
If there are children in your group, the guides can shield them from much of the water.
Their advise is for all of you to lie face down on the raft when it goes through the falls. That way, the water does not hit your face and falls evenly all over like a massage. A very hard one, though.
Children or people in your group who can’t swim must wear life vests. It’s easy to fall from the raft into the water which is deep at the foot of the falls. Vests are being rented out for P50 each.
The two tallest Kawasan Falls are part of seven formed by the Matutinao river system in the town of Badian in Cebu as it makes its way to the sea.
From the main road, the first two falls are 1.3 kilometers away. If you’re bringing a vehicle, you will have to leave it at a parking area in front of the barangay church. Parking fee is P100.
If you’re just visiting for the day, entrance fee to the falls is P10 for each person, from seven years up. At the waterfall area, you can rent a table for the whole day at only P300.
Staying overnight is possible since there are air-conditioned and fan rooms that can accommodate from two to 15 people and cost 1,000 to 3,500 pesos. Kawasan Falls room rates and contact numbers listed here.
If you don’t want to bring a vehicle, commuting to Kawasan Falls in Badian, which is about 100 kilometers from Cebu City, is easy. Buses regularly leave for the town daily from the South Bus Terminal in Cebu City.
The journey on an air-conditioned Ceres bus is comfortable. Passengers are charged 5 pesos each as terminal fee.