Saturday, April 2, 2016

Falls Expectations: Guide to Mainit Hot Springs and Montañeza Falls (Montañeza, Malabuyoc, Cebu)

Far from the maddening crowds of the city and their April Foolishness, I decided to take three of my friends to my paternal hometown, Malabuyoc. As expected, it was the first time any of them had heard of the town. I expected as much from anyone. Not a lot of people know where this place is nor what it has to offer but I expect myself to change that soon.

Malabuyoc is a small municipality in the southwestern corner of Cebu island. It has received accolade as one of the eight towns to receive the Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG) from DILG. It also has not one, but TWO waterfalls, Montañeza Falls and Kabutongan Falls (one of which you will see in this post). It also boasts of accessible pools of sulfuric vents which heat four pools of hot springs. And, to top it all off, I have heard that reef sharks frequent the nearby shore. As a freediver, I am excited to confirm the last fact about Malabuyoc.

In an effort to increase the tourism in the town and for all of Cebu, sit back and let this be a sneak peak to one of your options. Here's a quick view of how our day went.

5:00 AM:
Meet-up with the others at a nearby convenience store across the Cebu South Bus Terminal

6:00 AM: 
Riding a non-aircon bus to Carcar (there was a consensus to pick up lechon to eat for lunch).

~7:00 AM:

Arrival in Carcar City. For the four of us, we bought a kilo of lechon, 2 packs of achara, and 12 big pieces of hanging rice (puso). We also had breakfast in Carcar.

9:00 AM:
Riding another non-aircon bus to Montañeza, Malabuyoc.

11:30 AM:

Arrival at Montañeza. There are motorcycles here to take you to the entrance of the hot springs. Also, there is some light trekking to be done before you get to the gate, where they do briefings and you pay for the Entrance Fee. If you are first timers, there will be a short seminar on the do's and don'ts of the springs.

12:00 NN:
We rented a table near the entrance to eat our lechon and puso. They also had some drinks for sale.

12:30 PM:
We trekked towards the waterfalls. We were informed that a part of the waterfalls was closed off due to falling and unstable boulders from the canyon walls. Yikes! Danger lurks!

Well, we were that kind of bunch that breaks rules, so we said F to that flimsy gate they had and found our way towards the waterfall. On the way we were greeted by amazing cascades. I felt a bit sad that there were a number of graffiti on the canyon walls. Grrr... I really hate irresponsible tourists.

one of the first few falls we saw
Amazing waterfalls with a deep catch basin 
Imagine going through that small crawl space to reach the falls. Take note, claustrophobes.
In one of the crawl spaces, you can find a natural shower like this
a lot of smaller cascades before reaching the source
The raw majesty of the Montañeza Falls.

3:30 PM:
Yes, it took us that long to explore the falls and the area around it. We stopped a lot and took a bunch of photos. Serves me right for taking along people with OC-level photography skills.

We headed our way downstream towards the springs. There were two unbearably hot pools, and I only have tolerance up to my knees for one of the pools. The hottest pool boasts of a temperature of 42.6 degrees Celsius.

There were also other pools with a more accommodating temperature of around 32-35 degrees Celsius. We dipped in those pools to enjoy and let the sulfur eat away our stress.

42.6 degree Celsius pool. Don't let the clear water fool you.

5:30 PM:
After an hour or so of dipping in the hot springs, we made our way to the main road and changed into dry clothes and waited for a bus bound for the city. We splurged and boarded an air conditioned bus, and a great view of the sunset to our left, with the sun trying to hide behind Negros island and is reflected by the blue seas.

The lighting demanded for a selfie to be taken. Don't blame me.

9:00 PM:
Circling back and arriving at the Cebu South Bus Terminal.


Expense Summary:

Bus to Carcar City (non-aircon): P45
1 kg Lechon + 2 achara: P300
Puso (12 big pcs): P100
Bus to Montañeza (non-aircon): P89
Motorcycle to/from the falls: P20 per way
Entrance fee: P20/person
Table rental: P100
Bus going back to Cebu City (aircon): P156

TOTAL COST: P350 + P500 (food)

So, what are you waiting for, fellow travelers? Pack a quick bag and head on to the south! Visit Malabuyoc!