We have to get to Calasa Falls. I insisted. Not only because I was curious but because I have to get equally compensated for the time and effort spent after flying from Camiguin to Cebu and traveling several hours just to get to Samboan on the same day. So I had to get a glimpse of that waterfalls that they were talking about.
Such a demand from someone who ditched the group after planning the whole south Cebu tours. I didn’t tell them that I was already bound for Camiguin long before that random trip was put on paper. But I had to support them – being the oldest and most traveled in the group. Later did they found out that I wasn’t actually going with them on the first day of the tour. I had to make amends, that’s why I had to join them on the second day. I don’t want to get mulled with guilt.
And so off we went to Calasa Falls which was located not far away from the house of Venus – where the group stayed overnight. The trail leading to that waterfalls was obviously untrodden. Fellow hikers would label it as ‘unestablished’. Steep downward hill with loose and eroded soils. Tall grass and broken branches blocking the way.
I asked Venus and our local guide ‘who frequented the area’ – and ‘when was the last time it was visited by people living outside the bounds of the neighborhood’. But instead of telling me the straight answer, they gave a presumptive answer to the underlying inquiry behind my questions: of what happened to the place.
Do not get me wrong. I’m not complaining of the how difficult the trails seem upon going to Calasa Falls. My hiker-self loved the challenge. But the obvious lack of government and tourism support is what bothered me after knowing that it was actually part of the supposedly ‘chasing waterfalls destination’ of the province – yes, along with Dau Falls, Binalayan Falls, and Aguinid Falls of Samboan.
Tourism can be an ugly business at times. It would open doors for adventure for visiting tourists and economic ventures for locals but would leave them hanging when marked with obstacles ergo the long way drive and trail difficulty. If they can get something without flaunting much effort, why bother with challenge, right?
But challenge is what makes Calasa Falls beautiful. It takes numerous unfolding before it showcases its splendor. It’s not as mighty and grand like the rest of the other cascades, as it’s unique of its own.
One unforgettable experience we had upon visiting Calasa Falls was the ritual done by the local guide. At first she thought that we would just see for ourselves what the waterfalls look like. But the cold blue waters was very much tempting for a dip. And so she offered a short prayer before allowing us to plunge. The mysteries of the unseen world of deities.
We had so much fun swimming and taking photos that an idea came into our minds: include Jeya’s ukulele in those photographs. Actually, it was I who suggested it. Shit brain, where’s you common sense. Obviously, a wrong move. The ukulele got soaked into the water and poof – rested in peace forever.
Yet instead of succumbing into anger and dismay, we were unexplainably happy on our way back. We even wanted to stay longer in Calasa Falls but we were reminded that Berto was waiting for us in Argao for that final round of Kamote Club’s South Cebu tour. Yes, we were busy like that.
No, I’m not advertising this neglected tourism site. Nor am I finding fault in it. I believe that its beauty is best kept for the locals and the generations to come after them. No need to force it to the mouth of unappreciative sightseers. It’s better kept as a resource for the locals to relish.
But I want to keep the memory of Calasa Falls – and Jeya’s ukulele – alive in my heart. That, weirdly, happiness can be found on the steep and slippery trails going to that uncelebrated waterfalls. That what is beautiful can be invisible to the eyes of many people. And that sometimes, a simple piece of ukulele can change the way you look at life forever. That sacrifices maybe essential, but at times unnecessary.
I just want to remember. Who knows until when my shit brain can keep with me.
Read more of Kamote Club’s Misadventures here: