The human heart was—and remains—a mystery to me. But I’m learning. I have to. —Anthony Bourdain

The first time: Canyoneering in Badian, Cebu

When was the last time you did something for the first time? For people my age, it’s not a question answered lightly. At this age, people have typically been working for almost a decade. We’ve set routines, gone through the early quarter life crisis (hitting 25 and thinking it was a big deal), and thinking we know what we want. It now takes some convincing to take us out of our comfort zones, and as this age is also the beginning of when we feel the body slowing down, it’s also the time when we think we should slow down in life as well.

Recently I crossed off a lot of firsts, and packed in a span of several days, it feels like quite a blur, that if you told last year me, I would not have believed it.
You see, I am a chicken. I don’t do roller coasters. I’m not a fan of ziplines. My adrenaline rush usually comes in biking up and down mountains (or when I see a plate of food that smells great that I’ve never tried before). Heights make my knees shake. I don’t even like going to viewpoints. So when my friends said we were going canyoneering in Cebu and mentioned jumps in our messaging group, I deliberately did not look it up, nervous that if I did, I would scare myself out of going.
I’m glad I didn’t, because when we got there, even the motorcycle ride to the jump off point was scary. The ground was wet and the rocks loose, the hills were steep and the fall, quite high. I was convinced we overloaded that tiny motorcycle by having three people in it. I climbed off the bike vibrating and I wasn’t the only one. We were all nervously walking down the steps to the jump off point.

And then we got to the beginning of the 4 (we had a leisurely pace, so for us, 5) hour day of jumping off 15 feet, 10 feet, five feet rocks into water, sliding down rapids, and swimming down falls. The water was always running so everything felt fresh, even if it was shooting up our noses after unprepared jumps. The water was cold and I was shaking for half the trip. My friends were better prepared, with long sleeved rashguards, leggings and shorts on top of it.

It was an adrenaline rush different from what I’ve ever experienced. As you can imagine, we weren’t exactly thrill seekers, but this was definitely half a day of rush. To start the trip was a 15 foot jump into running water, and I almost didn’t go, but as I heard my friend and her husband laughing in the water below, I knew I couldn’t back out. Five women who hardly do sports, have trouble just walking, going to extremes for our wills. So that was our day. Holding on for dear life to our vests as we jumped, slid, climbed down. Laughing at ourselves so much we almost slipped down. Joking with our two guides so often that the quite grueling trek we didn’t feel until we went back to our hotel room and all the rush wore off. One of my friends even discovered a map of bruises that looked like she went through fraternity hazing. The rest of us could hardly lift our arms the day after, limping and waddling around.

It was a great experience mostly because I knew I was in good company. People in the same physicality and almost the same weenieness as me (I swear I am top 2 if not the top weenie). People I’ve known since we were in kindergarten that we could reminisce and laugh at ourselves because five years ago the most active thing we did was helmet diving in Boracay. Women I love and I could totally be comfortable with, who I’ve grown up with, and now, grown our limits together. It was also a great way to bond with my best friend’s husband, who we spent the whole day with, and used as our barometer on what we were able to do.

There is one regret I am holding now, as I see videos after the trip, is that I chickened out of a 25 foot jump. I overthought it, and was yelled at (very lovingly but in a really hurried, there is a long line of people behind you way) by our guide. Because I heard people land very loudly and cursing all the way down, I scared myself out of it. Most every person in our group did it, except for me and a friend after me, that after I chickened out, walked with me down instead of jumping.

This experience wouldn’t be the same without our guides, Kuya Randy and Kuya Noli, with their jokes, their pickup lines, their jumping from rock to rock and making us gasp every single time, telling us “Come to me and hold me” as they held out their hands as they guided us through tricky corners. I highly recommend them for a truly FUN time for even the most weenie of weenies. They are with Highland Adventures found here.

Maybe if we go back I can do it. And the 50 foot one as well.

Ask me again in a year.





One response to “The first time: Canyoneering in Badian, Cebu”

  1. […] also went to the Aguinid falls (see tripadvisor link here) as an alternative to the now banned canyoneering in Badian. We thought we were just going to trek up a few minutes to look at beautiful  falls. […]

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