Breaking dawn has always been our favorite moment to start hunting for a place we never have thought existed. No worries! Our favorite cousin Bem, invited us to join this clueless exploit so we're just going to follow the lead. We drove from Legazpi to Naga city to meet up with Kaddlagan Outdoor Adventure Tour. They were the pioneer slash organizer of this so-called waterfalls rappelling in Naga. Not knowing what to expect, I was highly entertained when I saw Tinkerbell and Peter Pan together as tourist guides! It provoked the sense of reckoning in me straightaway. (It's going to be fun for sure!)
From Naga city, we had to drive for about 40-50 minutes to Brgy. Bikal, Libmanan Cam Sur. We parked alongside the road where the trek to the Falls initially begins. Thrilled, I started asking about the place. They told us we were trekking to Engkanto Falls. (Engkanto? Hmmmm... I like the sound of that!) I instantly found myself fantasizing about the forest spirits, fairies, elves, dwarfs, goblins, witches, giants and Sang'gres of Engcantadia??? I then imagined about those mystical creatures dwelling in "The Lord of the Rings"... My preciooouus...!!! (No wonder, Tinkerbell and Peter Pan are here! We maybe off to the Neverland?)
Let's go to Engkanto! I thought the green rice field along the trail is a scenic view to begin with. Shortly, we huddled up close to a native hut just before we began crossing over the short bamboo bridge. From there, our hike has just gotten more animating. We had gone through series of waterbed-like cascades. The clear water was streaming down the staircase-like terrain. OMG! We were going against the gentle to savage water current. Loved the feels! At first, I thought the pathways could become slippery when wet. Surprisingly, they were almost magnetic! I got more enthralled with the idea of walking continually through the shallow water flowing over the smooth rocky surface of the path until we met "Engkanto".
Watching Engkanto Falls created a fairytale-like feels in me. I believed she bestows a supernatural power like that of Alena's water gem. We took a moment for photo ops. (Pang FB, enebe!). I looked for Tink and Pan so I could take their photos in front of Engkanto. Immediately, we were led to keep going. I thought that was it. But wait, there was more! We left the falls to continue with the assault. We ascended several more waterfalls cascades until we reached the steepest part of the trail. Above, I saw the guides anchoring a rope so we could climb safely. We were literally ascending against the water flow. I realized that we were there not only to go mountaineering but to experience canyoning at the same time.
There was only one rope so we had to climb up one by one. I took my turn after my husband's and then I looked back. I saw Tinkerbell behind waiting for me to get through so she could take her turn too. (Poor Tinkerbell! She's out of pixie dust to fly). I took a photo of Tink after her ascend. She said we were trekking to Engkanto cave; the water source of Engkanto Falls. (What do you know?! Engkanto Cave and Engkanto Fall; a wild power-couple!)
However, I personally think that Engkanto Cave is an introvert. You know, he wouldn't allow us to easily get in. It's either we soak ourselves into the deep water of he's entrance door or we perform a free rock climbing across he's entrance wall. We chose the latter instead. I surely needed my vest in case I trip or fall. But no worries! Kaddlagan always knows best. They tied a rope tightly from wall to wall; along the water trail entrance for safety measure. Guides were hands-on to both swimmers and non-swimmers. Those who opted to enter by soaking could use the rope for gripping while we enjoyed the Spiderman-feels climbing across the natural rock wall formation.
The struggle was real! But it was worth the strive! Inside Engkanto cave was dark and enthralling. Grabbing a flashlight is the key to witness he's secret sorcery. I was dazzled with he's wizardry stalactites and stalagmites. They were like made of glow in the dark! I could say, he's the exact opposite of his better-half! Engkanto Fall is highly approachable while Engkanto Cave is exceptionally reserved. They are like sweet and spicy, sweet and sour, milk and coffee, dinuguan at puto, tuyo at champurado. They are the night and day, moon and sun, earth and sky, Yin and Yang, Yan and I.. ( Naks!) Seriously, they are so perfect for each other! Opposites do attract!
Leaving the cave left me a rasping touch of success! Then again, I thought the thrill was over. But wait, there was more! Trekking back to Engkanto Falls was the next big thing. We all huddled up in front of her curtain-like luminous water. Kaddlagan prepared us for a waterfall rappelling. (OMG! This is it! This is really is it! My first waterfall abseiling adventure!) All ears on the commands; all eyes on the commanders. I paid attention to every detail of their movements while they demonstrated rappelling with several styles and techniques down the waterfall.
So, our turn had finally come! My husband and I would do the standard style together for the first time! The anchors, the harnesses, the carabiner brakes, the ropes, the knee and elbow pads, the helmets and everything were all set. Standing at the edge of the waterfall cliff made me tremble in fear! I thought the waterfall was too steep to descend. My legs were turning boneless. But my husband was just in his gentle cool; smiling while patiently waiting for me to be on belay. Disheartened as I was, the guides on the anchors started splashing water on us. (In my face! Duhh!? In my face!!!) But unbelievably, the water seemed to boost me up with a warm-blooded energy. It ran all over my body, drizzled through my veins and sprinkled from my head down to my foot. I began abseiling...
I felt the nerve for every backward step I took. The rock under the water was partly mossy and partly smooth. I was being careful yet clumsy. I wouldn't loose grip but I almost loose balance. My husband would always wait for me so we could go step by step, side by side, heart to heart. (Weeeee..!) Then, the belayers exerted tensions on the ropes so we could let go and take a photo-shoot. With our backs toward the ground and our feet against the waterfall on a seemingly vertical drop, we held our hands together for a few seconds. It was like forever! (Aaaaah... heaven!) Shortly, tensions on our ropes were withdrawn so we could keep on descending. Then, tensions were applied again when we made it to the mid-part of the waterfall. The belayers down were excitedly instructing us to perform lizard style. (Oh come on now?! Haven't I told you I wasn't gonna try any styles?! Give me a break people! This is my first time! My first time!!! ) And yet, the moment was ambitiously demanding. Kaddlagan staff and everyone were encouragingly assertive. Besides, my husband would always push me beyond what's beyond limits. So, there was no backing down!
Together, we knelt and sat against the waterfall imagining it was sculptured on a horizon. We slowly bent and lay our bodies down like it was made of a soft-cottony feather bed molded purposely for a fancy body scrub. Then came the time to let go of my rope. It was the hardest! Losing grip felt like I was in a brink of life and death. But when I finally let go, it was freedom baby! Freedooooom! And for a few beautiful moments of my life, we were up there hanging...dauntless...thoughtless...laid-back flat upside down together...! (Aaahhhh...relationship goals!)
How could I ever forget such an incredible time? It was a eureka moment of my life! I discerned that it's a divine feeling to go extreme; that it doesn't matter if my body is frail so long as I have a strong will; that I can find pleasure in fear; that it's never to late to try peculiar things. (Naks!)
But wait, there was more! My husband was unstoppable! He climbed back to the waterfall cliff to try Australian rappel. But that my dear was his story to tell. (hehehe!)
Next time we do it, I'll try some other styles..maybe..?