A short list for long weekend escapades
By Deneb R. Batucan and Patricia May P. Catan
IS YOUR body begging you for a trip away from the city? With two upcoming long weekends in August that are just pleading to be filled with adventure, there are no more excuses. And SunStar Weekend is giving you even more reason to pack up a bag and get moving with six must-go long weekend road trips to the northeast and southwest parts of Cebu that’s just a bus nap away. A quick escape from the daily grind could certainly do you well.
Danasan Eco Adventure Park
Danao City, Cebu
The long weekends ahead are the best time to tick off some items in your bucket list. If you’re looking for thrilling adventures and if you’re up for a little challenge, then Danasan Eco Adventure Park is the right place to kick off your escapade up North. This park marries the true essence of exploration and serene nature with a lot of activities in store for adrenaline junkies like you.
Adventures at Danasan aren’t quite like your ordinary adventure park. It pushes you to your limits and tests your fears as Mother Nature brings out your adventurous side. With several exciting adventures lined up for you, you’re left with no choice but to face your fears head on and conquer them. Danasan Eco Adventure Park dares you to live on the edge and with that, let go of all anxiety and let live.
1. You can either take a bus or ride a private vehicle when heading to Danasan Eco Adventure Park. It takes about one hour and forty-five minutes to get there from Cebu City proper. If going by bus, take the ride bound for Danao City at North Bus Terminal. If by private vehicle, it only takes an hour to Danasan Eco Adventure Park from City Hall.
2. If you’re going there by bus, make sure to get off Central Nautical Highway and take a habal-habal up to Danasan.
3. Danasan Eco Adventure Park also offers shuttle services from Parkmall in Mandaue City or Danao City fish port to Danasan. For inquiries, you may call them at +6332 239 5654 or +63917 301 3171 or +63922 865 5779 or +63925 500 7803.
Durano Eco Farm Resort
Your nature adventure continues at Durano Eco Farm Resort in Carmen, Cebu. Indeed, long weekends are the perfect excuse to sit back, relax and enjoy what nature has to offer. Undeniably the most famous tourist attraction of Carmen, the resort boasts of its natural farm that proudly promotes it as an ecotourism destination. From the extreme adventure in Danasan, Durano Eco Farm Resort gives you the chance to recharge and just soak in its wonders.
Freshen up at the resort’s clean, clear and cool natural spring pools with various depths each while immersing yourself with the view of the creek surrounded by lush greens and pretty flowers. If that’s not a sight to behold, a section of the farm is planted with dragon fruits and another portion has been developed as an ornamental plant nursery. Witnessing such grandeur that preserves the beauty of the earth is a major accomplishment for adventure lovers and nature lovers alike.
1. Getting to Durano Eco Farm Resort isn’t that complicated because the resort is easy to find. If by bus, take the route bound for Carmen. It takes about an hour’s drive if going by private vehicle.
2. When you’re going by bus, ask the driver to drop you off at the Poblacion where you can take a habal-habal to the farm with a minimum fare of P30. If by private vehicle, from Carmen market go straight ahead until you reach Carmen National High School then drive left for about four kilometers until you see a big mango tree where the resort’s billboard is posted.
3. For more information, you may contact them through these numbers 0917 506 8335 or 0915 560 0572. You may also visit Danasan Eco Adventure Park on Facebook for bookings and inquiries.
Arguably one of the most beautiful places in the country, the Camotes Islands are nestled between the larger islands of Cebu and Leyte, although it’s geographically closer to our Eastern Visayan neighbors. Camotes comprises three bigger islands: Poro, Pacijan and Ponson. The most popular and more popular destinations for tourists are Poro and Pacijan, which are connected by a bridge that cuts through a vast mangrove forest.
Largely rural with a quaint, laid back feel, the islands are lined with long stretches of white sandy beach and dotted with cave pools. Tucked in the southern part of Pacijan Island, beautiful Santiago Bay with its fine white sand can get inundated with local and foreign beachgoers, so if you wish to avoid the crowd, you can head further north to the more secluded Bakhaw Beach, where you can rent a cottage, pitch a tent, or just book a room in one of the no-frills accommodations.
The crown jewel of Camotes, though, has to be Lake Danao, a pristine body of water close to 700 hectares. You should spend at least an afternoon in the lake, where you can safely kayak or ride foot paddle boats across its serene waters while waiting for the magnificent sunset.
The main mode of transportation in Camotes is the habal-habal, or motorcycle-for-hire, although you can arrange a tour around the island aboard a multi-cab jeepney.
1. From Cebu City, you can take an Ocean Jet fastcraft, which plies the Pier 1 to Poro route twice a day at 6 a.m. and 3 p.m. The trip, which costs P500, takes an hour and a half. Another option is to depart from Lapu-Lapu City via Jomalia Shipping’s fastcraft, which plies the Mactan Wharf to Consuelo Port route twice a day on weekdays and thrice daily Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The P350 trip lasts less than an hour and a half.
2. When you arrive at Poro wharf, walk a few meters to the entrance, where habal-habal motorcycles are parked. Rates may vary depending on your destination, but getting around is fairly easy as most of the islands are flat with few hilly areas.
3. Camotes is a generally peaceful place with locals who are ready to help. However, be mindful of the weather as the seasons can get unpredictable these days. Boat trips can get cancelled due to rough seas. However, an extra day in Camotes can be a good thing.
Fantasy Lodge, Samboan
This romantic nature getaway is home to arguably the first kawa hot bath in Cebu, if not the country’s prettiest. One of the premier attractions at Fantasy Lodge is their Talisay Spa, which features the kawa hot bath — a big kettle formerly used at sugar mills and now used as big hot tubs.
Guests can soak into the warm water — the heat is regulated at about 40 °C at all times and is powered by firewood — that is filled with pretty flowers and leaves. A choice of essential oils are presented which are then poured into the kawa along with virgin coconut oil, creating a relaxing aroma. The kawa hot bath can be enjoyed up to 45 minutes.
After the bath is a massage to get you even more relaxed. The therapists give a soothing and aromatic massage, guaranteeing a deep sleep afterwards. Nothing like a great long weekend full of pampering and relaxation.
Aside from the kawa hot bath, Fantasy Lodge prides itself as an eco-friendly resort and is surrounded by tropical gardens. They also have tour packages to neighboring towns like Oslob, Badian and even Sumilon Island.
1. From Cebu City, it takes about four hours to go to Dalahican, Samboan. If going by bus, take the Bato via Barili route. If by private vehicle, take a turn from Carcar City and drive through the southwestern towns of Cebu.
2. Fantasy Lodge is by the road, so look out for the big wooden sign. But if you’re riding a bus, make sure to tell the conductor where you will go down ahead of time.
3. Fantasy Lodge also has shuttle services that could fetch you at the airport or seaport. For inquiries, contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 09177006027.
Inambakan, Kampael and Bugnawan Falls, Ginatilan
The municipality of Ginatilan has a so much natural adventure attractions, but the Inambakan Falls is said to be the gateway to plenty of beautiful waterfalls and even a mountain trek. The jump off going down to Inambakan is around 20 to 30 minutes away from the main road and about a 10-minute walk down to the waterfalls.
Inambakan Falls is a tall beauty, around 100 feet high, with a wide basin — the deepest parts could go to eight feet depending on the flow of the water. It’s such a serene sight as the majestic waterfalls greet you with its cool waters, perfect for a hot day.
If this was a grand mansion, Inambakan Falls would be the lavish main entrance with high ceilings. A mansion has so much more outstanding rooms on the upper levels. And just above Inambakan, going up some steep trails, are two more waterfalls: Kampael and Bugnawan.
Kampael is a small waterfall at 15 meters with a narrow basin. Above it is
Bugnawan Falls, which is about 20 meters high with a larger basin that could go as deep as eight feet.
Admittedly a steep trek for the latter waterfalls, adventure seekers would love to explore them for sure. It’s a nice way to spend a lovely day and a freshwater break from the usual pristine beaches in the southern part of Cebu.
1. You can go to Ginatilan either by bus or private vehicle. If by bus, catch the Bato via Barili. If by private vehicle, pass through Carcar City and onto the southwestern towns to get to Ginatilan, which is the third from the last town in the southern tip.
2. From the main road, Inambakan Falls is 3.9 kilometers away. You can ride a habal-habal going up, which could be around P80 to P100 pesos roundtrip, or use a private vehicle. The drive up is precipitous but the roads aren’t too bad for the car and there is also parking spaces at the jump off site.
3. Be prepared for a short trek towards the catch basin of Inambakan Falls. Half of the trail is cemented but most of the trails are natural walkways, so always be careful.
Pescador Island, Moalboal
Pescador Island is a known diving spot for its picturesque coral reef formations and tranquil marine life. Scuba diving or free diving would be the best way to see the wonders beneath the island, but if you’re unable to dive, snorkeling at the surface could give you a bird’s-eye-view of the beauty under the sea.
The name of the island came from the numerous fishermen who frequent the place because of its rich bounty. Pescador in Spanish means “fisherman.”
To get to Pescador Island, you need to go to Panagsama Beach, which is one of the main beaches in Moalboal. There are many diving centers and boatmen there who can accommodate you for the gear you need to get to the island. In about 15 to 20 minutes, you will get to the uninhabited island of Pescador.
Many boatmen would say that occasionally, dolphins would be seen swimming near Pescador. There are also some sea turtles around the area. But aside from the majestic dolphins and sea turtles, there is also a spot where thousands of sardines reside. It’s a wonderful sight to see a wall of sardines seemingly dancing in tune of the waves, light cascading through their scales making a silver hue amid the blue sea.
1. Pescador Island is a few kilometers off the coast of Panagsama Beach, Moalboal. To get to Moalboal by bus, catch a ride on a Bato via Barili route. By private vehicle, go through the municipalities at the southwest of Cebu starting from Barili. Moalboal is the town before Badian and after Alcantara.
2. Panagsama Beach is about three to four kilometers from the main road. Tricyles or motorcycles can bring you any of your preferred resorts at Panagsama.
3. From there, you rent a boat to get to Pescador, which costs around P1,800 to P2,000, but you can always haggle with the boatmen.