Monday, November 21, 2016

NAPO TO BABAG TALES CXIII: Hard Reality

THE BUSAY LUT-OD WATERFALLS of Sapangdaku, Cebu City is not a tourism destination compared to the more spectacular and popular ones like the Kawasan in Badian, the Tumalog in Oslob, the Mantayupan in Barili, the Aguinid in Samboan and a host of others which dot the island of Cebu. But I am happy about its anonymity. It meant that it will not host people.


Locals have told me long ago that the Sapangdaku Creek pass through five succeeding drops – like a giant staircase – hence, the name “busay lut-od”. In all my visits there, I have come to know, and seen, of only three. Maybe because of a single path to one which lets me see the two other waterfalls, all at the same time. If I have time, I might visit the rest of the Busay Lut-od.

I have guided many people here in the past years, to include fourteen Danish girls, but I am now a bit choosy. Sometimes I refer it to other people like the time a celebrated Old Manila tourist guide, Carlos Celdran, visited and bathed here in 2014. Sometimes I just leave requests unanswered when I find myself busy with other projects or that would-be clients are a bit stiff for my comfort.

I do not personally guide people there anymore if you are just after scenic landscapes, for leisure’s sake or in the aid of your physical exercise. I would, if you could tickle my interest like what would I gain if I do so? I am more of a wilderness guide and less of a mountain guide and that might cost you more. But, do not worry, I have associates to fill your wanderlust.

I have brought people there again just this year. The outdoors is now my full-time occupation. Last March, students from the Cebu Normal University conducted an interview of me in the pursuit of their studies. In July, I accommodated Australian guests to a city wilderness tour which brought them here to the Busay Lut-od. Today – August 13, 2016 – three students from the University of San Jose-Recoletos will have their chance.


I am almost always very welcoming to students doing field study, not necessarily in the wilderness, in the pursuit of complying their school requirements. I am a parent myself and I know the stress one gets when their kids do not make the grade through difficult circumstances. I am very accommodating here and I gave them guidance and hints on anything they need to know.

It is a warm morning, almost perfect, with wisps of clouds floating by. We all meet at the parking lot of the Our Lady of Guadalupe and, at first, there were four: two males and two females. They are BS Tourism students and they will make a feasibility study of the Busay Lut-od Waterfalls. I gave them the idea of the terrain, climate, prominent landmarks and other things of what to expect along the trail.

Most of the time some students do not understand how the outdoors looked like or how they would fit themselves in there. The choice of clothes and footwear are disappointing. They, almost always, dress for the malls. Well, I could not help it except manage my pace to a creeping one with lots of rests. I hope the Guy Upstairs would turn back the temperature by a few degrees.

To distract the tightness and difficulties of what they wore, I talk about the plants growing along the trail and beside the stream. I point to them a durian tree with several fruits hanging at its high branches. The same with a marang tree. Only one from the four could discern the rarity of durians in Cebu. At another time, a farm of roses and daisies. Then broccoli-like canopies of mango trees in the distant hills.


The long rests under the shade of trees begets me smiles and their gratitude. If they could only talk about their feelings. Nevertheless, I would know what they are feeling right now. That their tight shoes and tight jeans beget blisters anytime today. It is a given. The outdoors is not something to take for granted. They should do their homework.

We reach the river crossing where there is a natural spring. I insist that they rest long here as the path will be slightly steep once we proceed to the waterfalls area. As they talk among themselves, I refilled my Nalgene bottle. Their leader, Peter Lubas, is much more prepared than the rest and he is carrying a heavy camera with heavy accessories.

He says, he chanced upon my name when he read the blog, Adrenaline Romance. Besides that, the owner of the blog, Gian Carlo Jubela, who is a friend of mine, recommended me for this sort of project. He emailed me but I suggested to him to search me in Facebook instead, which he did. I gave him my discounted professional fee which he accepted to fulfill once they have sufficient material to document.

That material for documentation is still a long way but their efforts would not go to waste. On the moderately steep trail, they walk with so much labor. I assure them that it is just 30 minutes to condition their mind so they could time their attempts. On the last rise, we arrive at another path going down to the waterfalls. It is steep with loose surface the last time around.

I go down first and then Peter and the two girls. I believe the other guy is covering the tailend of our downhill hike. I took a headcount once I reached the first waterfall. Three. The last would still be up there, I guess. I would give him two minutes. It was that moment after I gave a briefing to the three that I noticed the other one had not arrived yet.

I left the three and made my way up and see no one there. He might have turned back. The tight jeans and tight shoes might have to do with that. Painful lessons. I go back to the three and informed them of their missing companion. They smiled but they already know the reason why. I gave them space. I climb the side of the waterfall and I am now on another level. Another waterfall,


The two girls took a bath while Peter climbed up to photograph this second waterfall. For an hour, they take their fill of this hidden wonder, just a few kilometers from Capitol and not much walking and fare expenses. It is just at the backyard of Cebu City. Quite accessible but, let the rest know about it, and it would be heaped with garbage, just like all those popular waterfalls I just named.

The activity ended before noon and we were already at Guadalupe. I earned my guiding fee and it is a hard way to earn one when you know that what was sideline then becomes now your bread and butter. It is not everyday I get chances like this. It is a hard reality. Despite that, I choose to be choosy.

Why? Because I refuse to earn without conscience. I am against commercialism and popular tourism. I am one of the last gatekeepers of our Mother Earth.

Document done in LibreOffice 5.2 Writer

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