A few weeks ago, Punky, who was one of my travel buddies in Cotabato, invited me and other friends to see Agta Cave and Bugasok Falls in Argao in Cebu. Since I didn’t have a major trip on April 26, I said yes with some reservations. I was able to confirm I was joining a few days before the trip.
This, by the way, got me thinking that I haven’t been much around the Cebu province. Cebu is my second home next to Negros Occidental, but just like my actual home province, I haven’t put much focus in it. Maybe I should start #ProjectCebu too.
I arrived in Cebu City via my usual route on the afternoon of April 25. I wanted to see The Avengers but the theaters were packed and I didn’t want to wait for the next show, so I just went to the place where I was staying for the night.
I booked a bed at Balay Bakasyunan in Lahug through Agoda. They have dorm-type rooms with air-conditioning for P550 per bed. There was only one other guest who was out most of the night so I pretty much had the place to myself.
We were meeting at the South Bus Terminal at 6am, so I left Balay Bakasyunan at 5:40am. Aside from Punky, we were joined by Rhoda, Rich and Liza. We took a bus bound for Bato/Oslob and fare going to Argao was P83. Travel time from Cebu City to Argao was 2 hours. When we arrived in Argao, we were also joined by my frequent travel buddy Jao, who spent the night in the nearby Osmeña Peak in Dalaguete.
Punky had contacted the Argao Tourism Office beforehand to arrange our trip to Agta Cave and Bugasok Falls. We were told that it was advisable to contact the tourism office first for our own safety. Because there were six of us, they had to provide two guides at P500 per guide. They also provided us three habal-habals, at P100 per person, that would take us to and from the jump-off point.
We had breakfast first at their public market then off we went. It took about 30 minutes for us to reach their office where we needed to register. Road was mostly paved so the ride went well. During the habal-habal ride, we saw a huge part of the mountainside completely damaged by the 2013 earthquake that devastated Bohol and Cebu.
After signing our names at their office, we then took the habal-habal again for a few more minutes going to the jump-off point.
It only involved a short walk going to the cave. We were then made to wait while the guides checked the ropes.
Then the women were assisted one by one. We men were left to cross the ropes on our own. The guides probably didn’t want to hold hands with us.
The entrance was probably the most difficult. The scariest part was the narrow path with a protruding wall. The ropes were a big help considering I almost fell from there on the way back.
The guides said the cave was dry because it was summer so there was no chance of us swimming inside.
After resting for a few minutes, we left our bags and started the hike into the cave. No one among us brought any flashlight but thankfully the guides had a few.
A few minutes from the cave’s mouth, we were greeted by this nice hole in the ceiling’s cave.
After a few more pictures, we made our way deeper into the cave. There was a cool air inside the cave but I was still sweating like a pig.
According to the guide I spoke to, the cave is filled with flowing water during the rainy season. There was even sand inside as evidence of that. When we got to the end of the cave, there was a big cavity on the floor that the guides said becomes a pool when there’s rain.
Also, on the ceiling at the end of the cave, there was a rock formation that resembled like a sitting giant. It’s where the name of the cave was derived with Agta meaning giant in Cebuano (Agta in my native language though is a slur for darker skinned people).
When we made our way back, we heard something (it couldn’t be someone, geez I don’t believe in that) doing a sitsit (best translation I can think of is hissing). The guide said, probably jokingly, it was the Agta. It might have just been some bat though. Yeah, tell yourself whatever you want to believe.
I think it didn’t take us an hour to explore the entire cave so we were back at the mouth of the cave way before noon. The first group waited for us and we would in turn wait for the next group at the hut where we had our lunch so we could all hike together going to Bugasok Falls. Lunch for us was just coconuts.
After an hour or so, we slowly made our way to the falls. The hike involved crossing a shallow river and some narrow paths. Nothing scary, just hot.
And while the rest of the guys were carrying their own bags, one of our guides (I had a feeling he wasn’t even the guide assigned to our group) volunteered to bring my backpack. :-p
When we got to the falls, the guides started setting up the rope so we could rappel down the water.
They said the landscape of the falls was changed when a typhoon affected this area or something like that. They said it used to be very deep but it might just be because it was summer. It wasn’t really clear to me. I should probably pay more attention next time. Now you know why I didn’t get to finish college.
While the guides were busy with the ropes, we were busy with the pictures.
Then it was time to go down the water. I’ve always wanted to rappel and this was the best I could have for the time being.
It was freaking hot so I immediately hit the water. It was shallow enough so there was plenty of space to just dip. I had fun on my own though at the drop. When you get close enough to the drop, you’d get sucked into it where the water was at its deepest and then continue to get sucked to the shallow part. I was scared at first then I started enjoying it probably because of the rush and the feeling of the falls on my head.
Around 2:30pm, we made our way back. This adventure should have involved an hour or so long river trek but our group was not up for it. We decided to just take the habal-habals to go to the end of the trek at P50 per head. Then from there, we transferred to our original habal-habals back to the Argao Tourism Office.
We then took a bus going to Carcar where we would have dinner. Yes, we had their famous Carcar lechon for dinner!
After that, I separated from the group to make my way to Barili which was going to be my starting point for my falls hopping the next day.