CEBU CITY, Philippines — Canyoneering enthusiasts may have a new trail to explore right within Cebu City as the Tourism Commission is considering developing a trail in Barangay Tagbao to be launched for safe canyoneering activities by January 2022.
Tourism Commissioner Jocelyn Pesquera told CDN Digital in a phone interview that they had inspected a trail in Barangay Tagbao for a local waterfall in the area.
Pesquera said that based on their initial ocular inspection the site would be feasible for canyoneering activities if security measures would be put in place such as a bamboo trail guide, ropes, and properly trained tour guides.
She said that the city would develop a natural trail to make it safer for canyoneering groups in the future. For now, only a limited number of people will be allowed to trek there and mostly for observation purposes.
“Ato nang idevelop nga trail so that naay panginabuhian atong mga locals dira nga area. Magtrain tag tour guides, iorganize nato ang barangay, and tudluan nato og other livelihood ang mga women nga mocomplement sa canyoneering,” said Pesquera.
(We will develop that trail so that locals in the area will have a livelihood. We will train tour guides, organize the barangay, and teach other livelihood to the women to complement the canyoneering activities.)
Who can use canyoneering trail
Since the area is still under development, only experienced canyoneers are encouraged to take the trail and they must coordinate with the Cebu City Tourism Commission and Barangay Tagbao to do so.
Fees for now will only be for tour guides and the enthusiasts are warned that there is no fixed rate yet. The city government is working with the community to formalize the fees including the environment, barangay, and service fees that tourists will soon have to pay.
The Tourism Commission is also working with travel tours to include the trail in their packages so more people will be able to go there when the trail is launched.
The development may take some time as security equipment or measures will take time putting up and the training will also take some time for the locals, but Pesquera assured that once it would be fully launched, the trail would be safe even for beginner hikers.
The City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) has inspected the trail and pointed out certain aspects of the trail to be improved.
Doctor Johnrey Sanchez, medical director of the CDRRMO, said that the trail as of now could be a hazard, especially on rainy days since there was no other exit aside from going back to the trail.
He said that the area is also a protected landscape and any modifications must coincide with the natural form of the river and the waterfall. No construction or destruction must be done save for complementing safety measures.
“Dili dapat gub-on for the access so ang dapat buhaton ra jud is kawayan na mga hagdan ug attachments,” said Sanchez.
(We will not destroy the landscape for access so what we can do is to build bamboo ladders and attachments there.)
How to develop trail
Sanchez said that in the development of the trail, the cleanliness of the water must be paramount and animals should be prevented from using the river in that particular area as they may contaminate it.
He suggests that there should only be five tourists to one guide so that the guide could focus on the safety of the tourists.
Vests, helmets, trek shoes, and proper gears will be needed as well before going into the trail.
Considering these input, the development of the trail may take some time, but the Tourism Commission hopes everything will be set in place by January 2022.
For the more experienced groups willing to take the trail, Pesquera said they must seek the coordination of the barangay first and the tourism commission so that they could be assisted properly.
She encouraged experienced hikers to take the trail so the city government will be able to observe the trail closely and implement changes if possible.