If you're looking for an adventure packed place where you can also relax and unwind, Danasan Eco Adventure Park is definitely the place to be.
Danasan Eco Adventure Park is located in the high mountains of Danasan, Danao. About an hour away from Danao City. The terrain going up to Danasan is mostly uphill and there are breaks of rough road along the way. I would not advise travel with a sedan or any lowered vehicle going up because the roads can be pretty rough. To reach Danasan, you just follow the same road that leads to Intosan Resort and just go straight. There are road signs everywhere anyway so it's impossible to get lost. Here's a map, although i don't think this will be much of a guide to you.
On hindsight, i would prefer just taking the park's shuttle (P200 RT for pickup in Danao or P300 RT for pickup in Cebu City). It is so much more convenient this way. The scenery going up to Danasan is beautiful, this is where the adventure really starts. You'll pass by rivers and a lot of beautiful mountain views. About halfway through the trip though, you'll lose your cellphone reception. So if you're the type of person who's unable to live through a day or two without a signal, better start thinking twice. The ride to Danasan seemed like forever, we agonized over the road signs that said 25km ahead, 24 km ahead, 17 km ahead, 12 km ahead... After about an hour and 15 mins, we finally reached the place.
We left Cebu City at 6:45 am and arrived at Danasan at 9:30. We made a quick stop at Liloan to buy food. Danasan has no corkage fee for food brought into the park. This might change in the future though as they recently started serving meals in the park. Not a lot of people were there when we arrived. We had breakfast first and then scheduled ourselves for the Waterfalls Trekking (P200) because there was still a group at the wakepark. This tractor will bring you to the falls. Cool right?
The terrain leading to the falls was CRAZY! It was R-O-U-G-H! For 20 minutes (i think), we rode through the bumpy road, swaying like crazy and holding on to the tractor really tight it almost left permanent marks on our hand.
The tractor would've taken us all the way to the waterfalls and spared us from the 1 km (i think) walk but since the roads were blocked due to a recent landslide, we had to walk all the way up to the river leading to the waterfalls.
Now, the trek. The terrain going to the falls was ok and pretty much uneventful except for some near slips and stumbles. It was mostly downhill so it was pretty easy for the not so active ones like me. After the rough road, you'll need to walk through a long stretch of shallow river and maneuver through slippery rocks to reach the waterfalls below.
We proceeded to the 2nd waterfalls which is much bigger and spent about an hour here swimming. It does not look as majestic or as pretty as the other waterfalls i've seen or been to. I've seen better. But, what i really like about this waterfalls though is that the water's really clean and cold, and its really shallow so it's pretty safe, even for kids.
There is a 3rd pool going further down but we were tired already and contented with just swimming in the 2nd pool that we didn't push through. Ours guide said it's still a bit further down, the terrain is much more difficult and the water's also much deeper in the 3rd pool.
After about an hour of swimming, we started our way up back towards where the tractor was. If the travel going down to the falls was pretty elementary, the way back up was DIFFICULT, I almost had a near death experience with this one. It's no secret that i do not have a very active lifestyle so climbing up the very steep uphill terrain was painstakingly difficult. It was pure torture. I did not bother taking pictures of the climb up because i was very busy trying to catch my breathe and stopping myself from fainting. I was breathing so loud i was like a girl in labor. The husband carried me on his back twice when i was near passing out. Here's a picture of the terrain. Imagine climbing 6 or so of these.
Unlike the earlier trip to the the falls, the ride back to the main camp was dead silent. Nobody was in the mood to talk. Everyone was exhausted and dehydrated (we forgot to bring water) from the torturous climb and the scorching heat. We were dead tired and very hungry when we reached the camp, we rested, and had lunch. Next on our itinerary was Wakeboarding. After about an hour of rest and lunch, we headed towards the lower part of the camp for the wake park.
It was about this time last year too when the friends and i went to CWC (Camsur Watersports Complex). We were very excited then to try out wake boarding but as fate would have it, the beginner's park was closed for repair half of the day and the line was a kilometer long in the afternoon when it finally got fixed. Too bad. We had a blast in their waterpark instead. Here's what the beginner's wake park in CWC and the one in Danasan looks like. Pretty much the same right?
|BEGINNER'S WAKEPARK IN CWC|
|BEGINNER'S WAKEPARK IN DANASAN|
As i have virtually no inclination towards sports, i did not expect to have so much of a great time wakeboarding (P300/ whole day). You get a short one on one lesson on dry land with the instructor before actually going in the water. They teach you the basics, like how to position your body, how to position your hands and feet, how to handle the pull from the cable etc. You can try to learn as much as you want from this short crash course but really, experience is the best teacher.
Wakeboarding now costs P1,600 per group, per hour.
If you can't swim, don't fret because you'll have a vest. When you're about to crash, just hold you're breathe, close your eyes and try not to swallow the murky brown water. Eew.
You begin with a water start by getting into the water (duh), doing a squat position and leaning on your back (much like doing a squat position but only horizontally), wearing the wake board slippers, and holding on to the the thing that connects you to the cable that pulls you. There are other ways to start though, you can do a sit start or a jump start, but these are for the more advanced riders. Here's my friend doing a water start.
Once you're ready, the cable slowly pulls you. At this point, you don't need to do anything but just let the cable pull you to a stand. Once you're fully up, you need to stretch out your arms, keep your grip on the handle firm, keep your knees bent, slowly face sideways, and position your feet wherever your most comfortable (right foot forward or left foot forward), mine's right foot forward.
My first attempt was epic - i fell within just 3 feet from the starting point! Haha.
My friends and the instructors kept yelling, straighten your arms, bend your knees, put your weight on the board, don't pull the cable, etc., etc. At one point, when i swallowed about half a gallon of that brown icky water, i really wanted to quit. But as i am not a quitter and i really wanted to prove something to myself, i tried again... and i got it! Yehey!
It is such a great feeling to be able to stand and do an entire lap without falling!!! I fell on every turn though because this is a difficult thing to do (i think). The husband isn't even able to make a successful turn without falling. When my time was up, I had to wait again for my turn until everyone in line was through (there were about 8 people). When you're lucky and you're the only group on the wake park (on a weekday), you get to ride over and over again, until your heart's content.
My 2nd try was the best! I hardly fell at all. And I only fell because the guy who controlled the cable would suddenly accelerate the pull when he notices that I'm standing up already and really enjoying the ride. What a bummer. Here's the husband riding like crazy. He even tried to jump on his first ride.
Here's my tip to be able to at least stand on the board and ride your way in the lake.
- Have the correct foot forward (where you're most comfortable). The instructor first told me my left foot should be forward (because I'm right handed). After several crashes, I learned I am most comfortable with my right foot forward. This made a lot of difference.
- Don't pull the cable, just allow the cable to pull you. Hold the handle firmly but never pull. Keep your arms straight.
- Put more of your weight on your back foot. This is what i use to balance and to carve my way in the water
- Follow your heart. I don't get this and i don't know if this works but this is my friend Lovely's mantra during her rides and she's pretty good at wake boarding already so this must work. Haha.
Once you get the hang of it, wake boarding can be really addicting! I wanted to ride over and over and over again. It's really great that there's now a wake park in Cebu and you don't have to travel all the way to Luzon to ride.
Overall, my Danasan Eco Adventure Park experience was really really great. I had so much fun (despite the nasty muscle aches i had the morning after). When i come back (I'm sure very soon), i'll make sure to sleep over as a day is definitely not enough. If you're interested in spending a night or two here, here's how their rooms look like:
Besides waterfalls trekking and wakeboarding, Danasan also offers other activities like zip line, caving, horse back riding, etc. Soon there will also be river tubing, rock climbing, tyrolean traverse and a host of other things.
To see their full range of activities, rates and packages, visit their website Danasan Eco Adventure Park.