Argao Trek and Spelunk: Balay sa Agta and Bugasok Falls

The day right after final exams, I went with Bal and my high school and med school classmate, Rochelle, to south of Cebu, Argao. 

I stumbled upon blogger Mark Salvador who wrote about some really interesting places in Cebu, mailed him and he suggested Balay sa Agta and Bugasok Falls in Argao. I couldn't think of anybody else better to take with me other than Bal and Rochelle. They both love the outdoors. Roch is a wall climber who wanted to try caving and Bal is a cyclist who is ready to die anytime. They haven't gone trekking nor caving ever so we were all first timers. :) Mark said the cave is easy to find so we didn't mind getting a guide beforehand. And Rochelle sorta wanted to get lost, ala Bear Grylls -- he's the man!

Minimal things to bring: 
  • flashlight / headlamp
  • water
  • food
  • money
I tend to overpack so my actual list was quite longer.

Rendezvoused with the group at 8am, took the bus from the South Bus Terminal (Php 79), arrived in Argao then took the habal-habal (motorcycle) (Php 50) to Usmad River. We started walking at 10am.

I live in the city and haven't gone to many provinces. This is the 2nd clean river I have seen in my entire life. And the first that I have crossed. It felt so nice.

A lot of blogs I've read about getting to the cave said that you just have to keep looking up to the right to be able to see the mouth of the cave. We kind of forgot that part and tenenenen... we ended up GETTING LOST. We just kept walking and walking and following this narrow trail which wasn't really so bad coz the view of the trees, rocks, insects and the sound of the river were so lovely. (Excuse the city girl). And I also learned something from my company: as long as there's a trail there'll always be people somewhere.

So unless you want to waste your time looking for civilization, keep looking to the right to find a huge hole on a wall.

We reached an isolated house (which was such a relief after walking for so long without seeing any human) and asked for directions. We gave up on our sense of direction and asked Manong Sammy and his kid to guide us to the cave and the falls.

 Rochelle and Bal standing in the mouth of the cave. 

It was a very steep climb getting up here from the river. Going to the mouth of the cave takes a lot of courage. You can't walk through without looking where your feet are, which means looking down and looking down the cliff. You have to be very careful or you fall down to a bed of rocks. One friend who lives in Argao told me that the way to the cave is very perilous. You just got to have the go-for-it attitude. We're so glad we got lost and found our guide who helped us along the way. <---- This contradicts what I said about looking to the right to find the mouth of the cave.

Inside the cave is pitch black. You can't find your way through without a headlamp or flashlight. Rochelle actually bought a headlamp the day prior. It was a bit pricey but she was so excited and was hoping to visit more caves. :P I brought with me my dad's headlamp which he uses when he's fixing stuff. Bal held a flashlight. XD

 In the middle of the cave is the "skylight" where you can find a hole right above. Notice how high the roof is.

We got in the cave a little past noontime. It was perfect timing 'cause the sun was just right overhead so the rays shone right through the hole. The rays were so defined, it's exactly how it looks like on the photo.

Isn't it grand.

We got out of the cave (same where we entered) around 2pm. We were already hungry. We would've wanted to just eat inside the cave but thought it would be better if we crossed the "perilous" path first before enjoying our meals. I find it better if the bad things come first before the good ones.

We had lunch in a tiny glade under some some trees for shade. We brought packlunch. Original plan was to have lunch in Bugasok Falls but we got lost. Ergo, behind schedule.

After lunch, we headed to Bugasok Falls. It wasn't too far from the cave. Most of the people who come here start off from the falls (which you can reach by motorcycle) then go down to the cave. It will only take probably less than 30 min. But we took the other route where we started from the river way down the waterfall. The views we had with the route we took were so pretty I'm glad we chose that route.

 Bal on top of Bugasok Falls

 Bugasok Falls. It is lovely. But I don't think it's too safe to jump down there. I would've loved to though.

 After checking the waterfall, we went up ahead where the current isn't too strong. We rested for a little while. Bal took a dip. He couldn't resist.

A quarter before 4pm we left the river and went to the road. We were walking up to the barrio hall looking for a motorcycle to bring us back to Argao Market. It was a very long walk, and steep at that. As Rochelle said, it was the longest 30mins or so of her life. She said she was walking at the speed of less than 1 m/s. Haha! Who wouldn't be tired after walking for 6 hours? It would've been less if we didn't get lost.

The looooooong walk.

We got onto a motorcycle almost 5pm, had some snack and took the bus home. The travel going home always seems shorter, don't you think?

Three very happy people that day. I prayed so much for this trip to be safe. And safe it was, plus a good weather. It's finally summer.

Photos by Bal and me.

*We paid Manong Sammy Php 300. He said "Kamo ray bahala," when we asked him how much he'd charge. I think that was enough? We're still students :P

Total expenses for that day: Php 400.

More photos here.

Not that I'm the best person to ask but feel free to ask me (mail or comment) if you need any more information about getting there.
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