Nov 11, 2017
Exploring Busay Falls, Loktob Spring and Jimili-an Spring...on Foot
Location: Busay Falls, Loktob Spring and Jimili-an Spring, Loboc (municipality), Bohol (province), Philippines
Adventure Guide, Pictures and Video by: Jeffrey Huerte
Busay Falls Access
To begin with, Busay Falls is only seen, not experienced. You either see it from the floating restaurant before it turns back or view it from the top while doing the zipline or cable car. For the more daring, you can actually go near Busay Falls on an SUP - but you usually take refuge in a tame eddy where you are safe from the strong current.
In a Nutshell
What we did was to trek down the slippery trail from the zipline station into the river bank, jump into the raging river, swim to the falls and go behind it! I'm not recommending this to anyone - specially not this rainy season when the river is high and the current is strong.
The trek down to the river from the zipline was too slippery with hardly anything to hold on to - best if you can get a disposable walking stick. It wasn't designed for people to go down to as it's not part of the tourism offering. Parts of the trail were gone and we had to blaze what seemed like the old trail - the forest already took over. From the elevated river bank, we jumped butt-and-back first so we don't go too deep and hit some rocks. And then we had to swim across the river against the strong current. My dive mask was only for eye protection - visibility was 2 inches! On the foot of the falls, we had to hang dearly on some rocks to get near the falls. And then we had to go behind the falls itself amid its pounding force pressing down on you.
Jeffrey told me that while being on the inner side of the falls, you could actually dive down and enter a zero-visibility underwater cave and emerge on a clearing right inside the falls. Diving underwater in zero -visibility to enter a cave underneath a waterfall? This is fucked-up crazy! Inside the cave is pitch black except for the outside light underneath the water. This light illuminates your path back - so going back is easier than coming in. Jeffrey has done it and told me that inside, weird as it sounds, are 5 chairs for 5 people. Apparently, some strange people that been hanging out there in the past. No one in town know who these people are. In this current age, only Jeffrey went inside the cave even though locals have long known about it. I thought we would go inside as well - afterall, we already went on the inner side of the falls. But Jeffrey deemed the water too aggressive to attempt the dive under. In a way, I was relieved.
An inner section of Busay Falls, hardly seen by anyone, with water more violent, is what the locals commonly call Busay Instik (Chinese Falls). Apparently, it has a penchant for Chinese tourists. How? Sorry, my lips are sealed (or ask me in private). Ask a local - you might get the story.
Cave behind Busay Instik
Underneath this waterfall is another cave - a bigger one. This cave has a fascinating story. I've heard 2 versions of it so far:
- Francisco Dagohoy the Rebel (1724-1800) - a more historical and romanticized version by former tourism officer, Dodette Bernaldez, takes us back to the rebellion against the Spaniards. Story goes that Francisco Dagohoy himself was running away from the enemies. To avoid capture, he jumped from the falls and hid underneath the cave for 4-5 days. Perhaps the revolutionaries knew about the underwater cave or perhaps Dagohoy, fearing for his life, simply jumped and discovered it. His pursuers took him for dead.
No one ever attempted to venture inside this bigger cave - or to even verify that there is really a big cave under Busay Instik. The pummeling water is simply too strong and the plunge pool is too deep for anyone to brave it.
Beaching ourselves on the other side of the river, we walked the riverside trail to Jimili-an Spring. The spring is occasionally dammed to irrigate the rice field. Mothers often take their kids to bath while they do laundry. For us, we simply took a short bath where the water plunges down into a pool with fortified rock walls. The plunge point makes for a good back massage. The water was cold with visibility at 2 feet.
Continuing with our trek along the river bank, we again jumped into the shallow part of the river from an elevated bank, butt/back first to cross the river to Loktob Spring. At this point, I was fatigued so swimming across the river and defying the strong current nearly wiped me out. The river at this point is about 5 meters deep.
Finally, we entered into Loktob Spring directly from the river. The inside of the spring area was full of submerged plants. It felt creepy swimming on it towards the water source as the plants grazed our chests and tangled with our arms. The water coming out of the spring was strong and cold. There is one deep section about 7ft-deep where you slide down your body on a small opening between some rocks. You could feel the spring water push you up. Still, visibility was around 1 foot.
Eskaya, the luxury resort in Panglao has already purchased the land in and around Loktob Spring and is already slowly developing the area. It is not clear what fate awaits this spring area, but their policy in Panglao should be a good benchmark.
We walked back home on foot - barefeet on my part as my flip-flop was mangled.
This was an amazing adventure - not for the frail-hearted though. You can even go more extreme on this like venturing inside the small cave underneath Busay Falls in the summer when the river isn't raging. But save the big cave at Busay Instik to the professionals. This is not an offering by the tourism office or any private resort. Only Jeffrey can take you on this one. Feeling a little like Tarzan? Give this a try!
Thank you for another amazing adventure, Jeffrey!!!
TipsIf you ever attempt this, here are my tips:
- if you're not a strong swimmer, no need to read further down - you will swim against a strong current!
- take Jeffrey to guide you - he knows the water of Busay Falls more than anyone
- bring a drysac, dive mask and water shoes with you
- wear hiking boots with aggressive soles - on the way down from the zipline section to the river
- before jumping into the river, change footwear to water shoes (to protect your toes/feet against shallow rocks) and wear the dive mask (for eye protection - you won't see anything with it as visibility is zero)
- use the drysac for storage and as floatation devise
Reader Comments:Karen Huerte
(Nov 15, 2017) your stories are always engaging and entertaining to read
(Nov 15, 2017) Thanks Git
(Nov 14, 2017) Thank you sir!
Next stop: Loboc Reflection
Loboc, Bohol, Philippines
Bohol FYI / Tips
- the tourist area where most of the hotels, restaurants, ticket offices, tour operators are, is located within the Alona Beach area
- the tourist attractions in Bohol are far apart and spread-out. It would be difficult to visit them all using public mass transit. Better hire a van (P3500/day) if in a big group, or rent a motorcycle (P400/day + gas)
- Bohol relies on its tourism for revenue. As expected, everything they can capitalize on from tourism is extensively used and developed
Tagbilaran Port to PanglaoYou can charter any tricycle from the port all the way to Panglao (~P300), but if you want to do it on the cheap,
- don't take the tricycles lined-up inside the port. Walk past the port gate and immediately outside, you'll see many tricycles. Take one to the bus terminal in Dao (~P15)
- in Dao, take the jeep that plies the Panglao route (~P20)
Tagbilaran (Bohol) to Cebu City by boat** schedules and rates keep changing, call for latest schedule
- Weesam Express - departs 6:15 AM, 11:30 AM, 4:00 PM
one way: Economy (aircon) P500.00, Economy (non-aircon) P400.00, First Class P600.00
round trip promo (at least 2 days advance booking): Economy (aircon) P600, Economy(non-aircon) P500, First Class P1200
round trip promo (1 day or on the day booking): Economy (aircon) P800, Economy (non-aircon) P700, First Class P1200
- Ocean Jet - departs 6-7:05-8:20-9:20-11:40AM, 1-2-3:30-4:20-5:30-6:30PM, 2 hours, arrives Pier 1 in Cebu
Open Air / Tourist Class P800, Business Class P1000
+63(32)255 7560 / +63 (32) 255 0115 / 0917 638 0000
- SuperCat (2GO) - departs 5:50-11AM, 3:45-5:25-8:15PM, arrives Pier 1 in Cebu
+63 32 233 7000
Things to do, Places to go in Bohol
- Chocolate Hills - this is a clustering of more than 1200 hills within a 50km2 area. They range in height from 30-50 meters. What's unusual is their near-perfect conical shape resembling an individual chocolate chip. No one knows how they were formed. Entrance is P50/pax.
- Tarsier Conservation Area - located Upper Bonbon, Loboc. The tarsiers are no longer being played at by tourists as circus props, but instead, visitors now view them in cordoned-off areas in their natural 6ha habitat. As they are territorial and nocturnal, they are predictable on where they can be viewed. P50/pax.
- Alona Beach (Panglao) - Alona Beach is the tourist hub of Bohol. It has 1.5 kms of white sand beach lined-up by bars, hotels and restos. Alona is also the jump-off point for Balicasag Island, a world class dive destination.
- Danao Adventure Park - located in Barangay Magtangtang, 72 kms (2 hours ride) from Tagbilaran. Adventure activities include river trekking, tyrolean traverse, rappelling, bouldering, rock climbing and ziplining.
Carlos P. Garcia Island
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