Being an adventure-seeker that we are, we followed his suggestion and went out to search this fabled waterfalls, where a golden bell is said to be hidden beneath its depths. After a long, slow travel on a winding road, we finally stopped on this seemingly unnoticeable road sign that says Welcome to Bantayan Waterfalls and Caves.
|The simple tarpaulin signage along the road.|
My senses kicked with excitement to reach it. After all, we badly wanted to take a swim on a refreshing freshwater! After a short talk with the locals, we began our journey not knowing that it will take us almost forever to reach our destination.
No one knew the walk would be that far! Well, as we all know, when a local says "it's just near... it's just there", don't believe him right away. They have a different sense of distance and measurement. Trust me!
|Great view of the mountain ranges.|
On the first few minutes of our walk on this winding, narrow and steep trails, I enjoyed the view and the experience initially. But, as minutes turned into hours, heat and exhaustion finally began to take its toll. Since we were not really prepared for this long walk, no one in the group brought a bottle of water and almost all of us were just wearing slippers. The locals (and our guide) never told us that it will take more than 3 hours of walking to reach the falls! As you would imagine, we were cursing and panting, and even considered going back instead of moving on. But, we were at the point of no return. We must continue walking and see this freakin' waterfalls!
|Steep and narrow path, but filled with lush vegetation! Not bad, after all.|
|My poor slippers who had to withstand|
the gruelling walk. And yes, I needed to use a walking stick
to guide me along the steep trails. And it was helpful, indeed! The stick is
also best for shooing away snakes, in case they suddenly show up!
Finally, after more than 3 hours of walking, we reached this so-called Bantayan Waterfalls and Caves! It was a refreshing sight and I can't wait to take a dip in this cold and clean waters. When our guide told us it was safe to swim, I didn't have second thoughts of jumping into the water!
|Legend has it that during the war, the locals threw their golden bell (from the church tower) |
in this falls to keep it safe from the marauding Japanese soldiers.
|Unfortunately, no one really knew how deep the pool is and they never|
recovered the bell anymore. Again, this story is just a legend!
For a brief moment, all the exhaustion and body pains (especially, on our legs) were gone! The cold waters were just too refreshing and surprisingly clean! Unfortunately, for non-swimmers in the group, they did not get to experience and enjoy the falls at all. They had to be content with dipping their feet in the water and taking pictures.
|The flow of water wasn't that strong during our visit. Our guide said that it |
becomes strong and dangerous during the rainy season.
|Yes, the water is deep and extremely cool!|
After a brief swim, we climbed further up the mountain wall (thank heavens, there's a rope) to reach a freshwater spring said to be the source of the drinking water of the communities below. I don't have a sensitive stomach, so I tried it! Ahhhh... it's better than the bottled waters we buy from the supermarkets! It was indeed the tastiest spring water I've ever drank!
|More falls in the vicinity.|
|The freshest, coolest and tastiest spring water!|
But our enjoyment deep in this mountain must come to an end. The thought of walking for another 3 hours or more just to reach our van is once again enervating us all. This time, though, I just enjoyed the view and the experience, knowing that we'll eventually reach our car after 3 hours.
Knowing where you are heading and how you will get there are enough assurance to help us take everything our journeys have in store for us. But sometimes, it is the sense of getting lost and the adventure of uncertainty that make our travels more exciting and memorable.
|On our way back, my eyes were more open to appreciate |
life and beauty along the way.