THROWBACK THURSDAY: My first adventure (Sama-Samar Together: Canyoneering Adventure)

A few years ago, I got a taste of my first outdoor slash extreme adventure. And it was jumping off water falls. Today, I stumbled upon my old blog and re-read my article… and all of the same exhilarating feelings came back as if it happened yesterday. I even got teary eyed from reading the lessons I took home with me from that trip. Important lessons I already forgot today! So reading it again reminded me how documenting your feelings and thoughts in every situation may be a great thing because it serves as a constant reminder to your present self — that one time in your life you were blessed with the gift of realization and discernment; and that you were happy!

Here’s my blog article, which I did not change a bit 🙂

Sama-Samar Together: Canyoneering Adventure

There’s always a first time for everything. As for me and my friends, it’s our first time in Catbalogan, Samar and our first time to do something as extreme as jumping off waterfalls.

NO ONE TOLD ME IT’S MORE THAN JUST JUMP!
When I first found out we were going to jump off waterfalls I was like “OH MY GOSH THAT IS SO FUN!”. In my mind, “tatalon lang pala eh!”. But NO ONE will ever tell you that jumping waterfalls, or in its more technical term – CANYONEERING, would be a test of one’s wits, eye-hand-foot-brains coordination, strength, stamina, fears and adrenalin! It’s a combination of outdoor physical activities such walking, climbing, crawling, rappelling, jumping and swimming to be able to successfully traverse a canyon. 
NOT POPULAR MUCH
As per our guide Kuya Joni, Canyoneering is not much popular in the Philippines unlike in the States or in other countries where it is considered a more common hobby. Only Samar and Cebu opens canyoneering activities in the country. (Feel free to update this info when you know of other places)
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 14, EARLY RISE
We spent the whole day yesterday Spelunking Jiabong Lobo cave so our muscles were sore this day! But of course, we won’t give up on this challenge! We had to start by 5:30 AM so we can catch out 5:00 PM flight to Manila on this same day 🙂
BREAKFAST – PACK YOURSELVES WITH ENERGY!!
We went straight to Kuya Joni’s Store-House where a hearty breakfast awaited us. Everyone was quieter today.. quietly anticipating the new adventure lying ahead. But still, the food was delicious!

Meals are part of the package 🙂
START TREK
So in the morning, the trail’s wet! I was just in my slippers so it was difficult.. I slipped on my butt once. (And several times on the river. hehe)
 We’re glad to have a guide who understands our hobby of picture taking lol
We were able to pass by one of the falls we’re about to jump
CHANGE OUTFIT! 
We can’t jump off waterfalls without the proper gear. This time, we need life vests, helmets, gloves and the right river-trekking shoes. (plugging in: best shoes for canyoneering is a 5.10 canyoneer. Not sure if it’s available in the Phils.)

Haha bagay ba 😛
My trekking style. Sit down first and let the butt do the work. lol

WE DIDN’T JUMP JUST ONE. BUT EIGHT! 

Bangon Falls is an EIGHT-LAYERED falls and is one of the most beautiful in Samar. I CANNOT TELL YOU IN WORDS HOW BEAUTIFUL IT IS. And until now, I still can’t figure out why Filipinos have not gone to this amazing wonder. Only pictures can best describe it. Better, go there yourself to spark an awakening — like a connection with nature. 🙂

THE RIVER IS SO PRETTY. OMG I AM AT LOSS FOR WORDS.

I couldn’t remember the last time I’ve been to a river. I used to think it’s murky and full of fish but this particular river is very refreshing — the water is cool to the body and due to a good sunny weather, it’s flowing in it’s natural calm.
BUT THE EXTRA CHALLENGE
However, there is one challenge in trekking rivers — the big and uneven rocks. If you’re not careful enough, you can lose your balance and fall off one your butt or knees — leading to bruises. 🙂

Rocky road!
 LET THE CANYONEERING BEGIN!!!
Remember, we are to jump eight (8) falls that are about 7 meters high! Just the thought of it already gave us goosebumps.

Walking to the first falls. Just want to show you the landscape
Just also wanted to show you the strong gush of water
FIRST LAYER
At first glance it is like a water slide! Without a guide, you’d think it would be safe to just slide your way through it. But it’s very risky. This is my first ever attempt to rappel so I really didn’t know how my body form should look like. First timers have the tendency to lean forward – but the correct form should be, leaning backwards.
Picture muna siyempre!

It’s very hard to rappel down a gushing falls you know! WHY? well the current is just too strong!! Have you been to Ace Water Spa and tried the waterfalls feature there? It’s like that but much stronger! You’re going to have to hold on tighter to the rope and hope that you won’t slip.
Everyone’s able to jump the first one yey!

SECOND LAYER

Here, I have realized that I really hate rappelling. Perhaps because I have low self efficacy during this time because of my shoes. I have slipped a lot of times on these shoes and rappelling down a wet waterfall gives me an impression I might slip flat on my face.
Smile pa rin!
Careful step. My heart was beating fast here. I was like “Saan po susunod na tatapak?”
 At the top it looks too big and high. DO NOT be intimidated 🙂
You have to get a balance on the rock I’m now standing at in this photo.
Then once you’ve found a stable ground.. JUMP!!!!

My knees were shaking here. This is the ultimate test to your willingness to finish all 8 layers!


WHAT’S FUNNY
What’s funny here is that you will hear your friends saying “Yung flight niyo 5:00 PM! Tumalon ka na! ” What a cool way to motivate one’s self huh?

THIRD LAYER

Third!
Beautiful but slippery
Jumpers 😀 Third layer in the background!
FOURTH LAYER
Getting excited
Beautiful right? We jumped this.
FIFTH LAYER
PERHAPS THIS IS THE HIGHEST CLIFF WE’VE JUMPED IN THE WHOLE BANGON FALLS
It took us a long time to jump this since it’s too high and second, we’re seeing rocks below. We’re scared of hitting it. Best way to jump is in standing position = feet first into the water.

WHAT’S FUNNY 
At this point we are hearing ourselves saying “Next time nga mag-beach nalang muna tayo ulit!!!”

SIXTH LAYER
I jumped this!!!!
Good rappelling angle huh? 🙂 I’d suggest you guys buy your own knee pads
when trying out an outdoor activity like this
SEVENTH LAYER
By this time, you think the sinking feeling in the tummy will wear off whenever you jump? No. It won’t.
jump!
Calm, clean and clear water. Connect with nature!
What I also like about jumping off is that you can just float around the calm waters and admire the beauty of everything above – the sky and the trees. It;s a relaxing weekend all of a sudden! haha

EIGHTH LAYER

Starting our trek to the last waterfall!!! Will we make it??
You have to rappel to that one singular spot she’s standing on before you can jump 🙂
Beautiful rock formation!
Beautiful rock formation!
\

Mesmerizing view! You’d want to embrace the water so bad

After jumping the eighth and last waterfall, we were just left amazed and ecstatic! Imagine us hugging and congratulating each other for doing such a great job and for not backing out! I never knew I could do something like this, I mean I have always wanted to try it out but have also been scared of heights. I am glad and thankful to God mostly for giving me and my friends the guts and the energy. This experience has led me to understand the “saying” — NO GUTS NO GLORY!
Imagine, if I backed out on this… I wouldn’t be able to know how it feels to just release and let go. That awesome feeling of being on air and landing excitedly onto the refreshing waters of the river. And finally… that cool feeling of just floating on water watching the leaves of the trees kiss each other or the blue skies smile upon you. It makes you feel that there is something more to life. That it doesn’t have to be stressful at all. That.. at that moment, you are peaceful and nothing can bother you. NOTHING COMPARES to the sense of fulfillment I tell you.

HOW TO JUMP A WATERFALL (my own realization from this trip)

1. You must constantly psyche yourself.
– We went out thinking that the uneasy and scary feeling would wear off as we go from one falls to the next. But it didn’t. It won’t. So you better learn how to just put your mind in the mood for a jump

2. Focus on a spot you want to fall into
Yes. There are big rocks below and it is one major reason why most of us got scared of jumping. We wouldnt want anyone hitting the rocks. But we’re just going to have to look beyond the obstacles and focus on the space further.

3. Scream if you must
Release the tension!!

4. Listen to your friends’ shout of support!
I was the last to jump each time. And it felt like a good thing since my friends can cheer me on. They can even give advise on my posture since they can watch me clearly. Like “lean over” or “put the rope behind you”

WATER FALLS VS. REAL LIFE PROBLEMS
One thing I have also learned is the element of perspectives. See, when you are standing on top of the cliff or the waterfalls, and look down.. you feel that it’s too high and it therefore makes your fear sink in. But when finally you’ve decided to jump off and look back, you’ll see that it’s not that high after all.. and it can maybe even make you feel stupid for not taking the plunge earlier. Maybe we can relate this to our personal struggles — when we’re faced with a difficult situation or problem.. we tend to get intimidated or scared thinking that it’s so huge and fear or frustration will start to consume us. But once we overcome our fears and just jump over it, we can look back and realize that it wasn’t that big after all.
After our adventure we trekked back to town where we rode a jeep to our hotel

I truly learned a lot from this trip. I loved everything about our experiences and I wish my blog would be enough to entice all of you who may consider trying this activity.

Lastly, let me just refer you to that one person who has been too kind, accommodating and supportive of us during the trip, our canyoneering guide!
Pogi! Mabait yan 🙂
Joni A. Bonifacio (Tel:063-055-2512301,
 Cell: 0919-2943865; trexplore@yahoo.com;
Abesamis Store,Allen Ave)
You can also see his youtube videos on Spelunking and Canyoneering.

Stay adventurous hotties!!!

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