First Stop : Immersing in the Contrast, the Hot “Mainit” Spring and the Cold Montañeza Falls in Malabuyoc
If you think of Cebu what idea pops up immediately? Is it the delicious dried mango or the great handicraft of guitars or the beautiful white beaches or the awesome waterfalls? Do you know that Cebu has hot springs, too? In case you don’t know or you haven’t been there this write up will vicariously take you there. Here it goes…
Inside the taxi cab, my friends and I were so ecstatic, loud and noisy about convincing a friend (Giovanni) to join our escapade to the southern part of Cebu but we were all disheartened when he gave a negative response because of a prior commitment. The taxi driver overheard our chit chats and it so happened that he had to go south due to an obligation. He then arranged with us that he will let us ride with him with a negotiated fare. After inviting and convincing more friends (after Giovanni’s non-acceptance) to go with us in this Southern Invasion, only the three of us, Nina, Rowena and I proceeded with this adventure. So this is how I transformed into words our emprise experience.
At 3:00 o’clock early in the morning we started to hit off the road. One of the lucky things we gained today was that the taxi driver named KuyaRodel decided to fetch us from our address. We had come to terms with him for a fare of P1,200.00 (one way). I got a little scared and anxious because it was my first time going south riding a taxi cab and agreeing with KuyaRodel who was basically a stranger. (Yeah, of course I know what’s in your mind, a lot of “what ifs and whatevs”) I guess we just had to trust him because it seemed proper to be true to an earlier agreement. We conversed with him almost all the time. So, basically I had no sleep at all. We talked and talked and then later I figured out that aside from driving a taxi cab he also offers tour package services. So he is proficient in touring people to the most visited tourist spots in Cebu like Oslob, Samboan, etc. Knowing those things, we felt at ease. This is his contact number if ever you want to have a South Tour with him 09326417701.
So after almost four hours we reached Malabuyoc, our first destination. A “Mainit Spring “sign was set along the road. That was our drop off point. We asked a “habal-habal” driver to take us to Mainit Spring.
- Tip no 1 Beware of opportunistic “habal habal “drivers. The one we hired asked us P 50.00 each but actually the fare was just P 20.00 only.
As we headed towards Mainit Spring, the ambiance was kind ofweird, the day was gloomy though the weather was fine. The sky was grey and the sun was pale as it rose into the firmament. My friends and I argued that the glowing circle of light was not the sun but rather the moon. Nina said that if it was the sun why wasn’t it so bright as to hurt our naked eyes by looking at it. I told her it was the sun because it rose from the east where it rises daily. Later did we realize, it was in fact the sun. The smaze or the smoke and haze from the burned forest of Indonesia had reached the Philippines making the view abhorrent and depressing. 😦
*The smaze was annoyingly present during our trip in October. As of this time that I write this blog post, Cebu is SMAZE FREE! I am grateful for the wind and rain that made the smaze vanish . . . .hope it will be gone forever.
It took us less than five minutes to arrive in the area. We were the early folks. We saw the sign containing the rules and regulations. I am glad they put restrictions so that I have less tips to write in my blog, lol. 😛 😀 So these were the rules and regulations. If ever you’ll visit the place, please do follow.
As the standard operation procedure, we signed our names in the logbook. We paid P 20.00 for environmental fee.
As we moved foward, we saw another signage, the Do’s and Don’ts in Mainit Spring. We made sure we read all the guidelines.
As I looked around the vicinity, I was amazed. The structures in the area were small huts portraying a rustic and natural environment. The huts were made of wood and bamboo which blended beautifully with the surroundings. Just look at this hut. This is the therapy hut. Sounds relaxing right?
If you want to use the toilet or change your attire, there’s nothing to worry because there are restrooms and shower rooms in the area.
Then if you do not want to carry your things to the spring, you can rent a table there in the hut and lay down your things.
We went on and finally we reached the hot springs.
We were not the only people in the spring because some locals were there ahead of us taking a bath and enjoying themselves.
Ironically, the man-made pools were the hot springs. The natural streams that flowed outside the pools were cold. It was like a Katy Perry Song, you’re hot and you’re cold la lala!
Just look at this video, a smoke vapour is coming out. You can really tell it’s really hot in here!
There were threepools with different temperatures for us to choose which pool has the temperature which we could sustain.
First. We tried the 42.6 degrees Celsius pool.
- Tip No. 2 Don’t wear your slippers or shoes inside the pool.
Based on my observation the water in the pool was one to two feet deep.
Since I couldn’t contain my excitement any longer, I tried to soak my legs in the pool. It was really hot! Imagine it was almost halfway to the boiling point. I was amazed because even if Cebu is in a tropical country and I believe there is no volcano in Cebu why are there hot springs? Please do tell me if I’m wrong. I have no idea where these hot springs come from. They say it’s because of sulphur. Well I don’t want to trouble my mind about scientific reasons why hot springs exist in Cebu ,lol! 😛 I was just mesmerized and enthralled with my experience. Truly Cebu has so much to offer.
My friends and I couldn’t endure longer the heat. So we tried another pool.
The second pool which was 36.1 degrees Celsius had two people dipping and bathing in the hot spring. They were the locals who were benefitted by this treasure. Oh, how lucky they were to have easy access to this resort. .. I feel envious… 🙂
We tried the third pool which was 35.8 degrees Celsius. Finally, we could already tolerate the heat! This time we sat in the corner while soaking and immersing in the therapeutic sulphuric hotsprings. We were very relaxed. What a life!
As you can see, the hot springs’ pools have mini falls so the water continues to flow and not stagnate which makes it clean and crystal clear.
After 20 minutes of drenching ourselves in this relaxing and soothing hot springs of Malabuyoc, it was now time to trek to Montaneza Falls
- Tip no. 3 A guide is needed for this course of action. Even though the falls is just near Mainit Spring, a guide is needed for safety purposes. There’s a guide fee of any amount depending upon your negotiation.
Unfortunately, as we proceeded with our venture, there was an advisory sign that going above to the seven falls is prohibited because rocks might fall anytime.
I was crestfallen because I couldn’t be able to chase a waterfall. I really wanted to see that falls. I had sacrificed by travelling many hours on the road, without breakfast, with a few hours sleep… I felt half empty… *sigh
This might be the reason why I must go back to Malabuyoc as soon as the passage in going to the falls is in the best condition.
The first falls was for the eyes only to appreciate. It was such a beauty! Before our second stop, I wanted to feel the refreshing and revitalizing falls of Montañeza one last time. So, I soaked my feet in the streams that the falls had made, feeling the sensation that loosened up my soul. But then, time flew so fast. It was time to go — time to bid goodbye to Malabuyoc. We left Malabuyoc and we headed towards Alegria.
I thank the Universe for all the amazing wonders that have been created. I am grateful for the experience despite the undesirable mood swings of nature. I only live once so I keep on travelling, keep on learning. I am hooked…
How to get there
1. If by bus, go to South Bus Terminal. Ride a bus bound for Malabuyoc. The fare going to Malabuyoc for non-air conditioned bus is Php 150.00 The fare for air-conditionned bus is Php 163.00
2. From highway to Mainit Spring, hire a Habal habal for a fare of Php 20.00.
3. Pay Environmental fee for Php 20.00.
Plan to take your bus trip early to avoid heavy traffic, save time and have a chance to maximize your trip.
4. If by taxi, negotiate the fare. It is usually a “Pakyaw” system if by taxi. In our case our fare was 1,200.00 (one way).
Suggested Itinerary for the South Invasion in Cebu
03:00AM– (via bus) meet up at the South Bus Terminal, ride bus and depart for Malabuyoc
07:00AM– arrive at Malabuyoc,
07:10AM– ride habal- habal
07:15AM– arrive at Mainit Spring, register, change swimming attire
07:30AM– immersing at the hot spring, trekking to Montaneza Falls
08:30AM– ride habal habal to Alegria
09:00AM– arrive at Alegria police station/park, inquire
09:20AM– breakfast, pack up
09:40AM– ride habal habal to Cambais Falls
10:20AM– arrive cambais meet uide
10:30AM– register, trek to the falls, swim at Cambais Falls
12:00AM– pack up, ride habal habal to Badian
12:45PM– arrive at Badian, trek to kawasan
01:00PM– sightseeing, picture taking at Kawasan Falls
01:30PM– hire habal habal to Moalboal
01:50PM– lunch at MCDO
02:00PM– hire tricycle to Panagsama Beach
02:15 PM– snorkel/swim with the sardines
03:00PM– hire tricycle to Moalboal highyway
03:15PM– wait for the bus
04:00PM– depart from Moalboal
08:00PM– arrive in CEBU
Estimated Expenses for the South Invasion in Cebu
Php 151.00/pax – fare for the ordinary bus to Malabuyoc
Php 20.00/pax – fare for the habal habal to Mainit Spring
Php 20.00/pax – environmental fee in Mainit Spring
Php 240.00/pax – fare for habal habal (alegria and badian) *subject to haggling
Php 30.00/pax – entrance fee in Cambais Falls
Php 100.00/pax – guide fee in Cambais Falls
Php 20.00 /pax– entrance fee to Kawasan Falls
Php 66.00/pax – fare for the habal habal to Moalboal *(Php 200 /3) subject to haggling
Php 50.00/pax – fare for the tricycle from Moalboal Town to Panagsama Beach *(Php 150.00/3) subject to haggling
Php 100.00/pax – rental fee for snorkeling gears
Php 50.00/pax – fare for the tricycle from Panagsama Beach to Moalboal Town*(Php 150.00/3) subject to haggling
Php 107.00/pax – fare for the ordinary bus from Moalboal to Cebu
A total of Php 954.00 per pax
*food, souvenirs, tour guide tips and miscellaneous fees are not included