The Can-umantad Trail
The Can-umantad Trail, which is likewise a trek towards the Can-umantad Falls, is a rewarding endeavor. The trek to the falls is long and tricky. One walks for 10 kms thru a tangle of trails, cross river beds, scramble up boulders, climb hills and more. The trek is strenuous, especially to the inexperienced, yet very challenging and rewarding at the same time.
The trek starts at Canawa Spring in Barangay Can-umantad. The Canawa Spring is another natural wonder; a spring with an underground source since no water source feeds it from the outside. Trekkers can stop and enjoy a short dip in the pool of the bluest blue before proceeding further inland.
You will walk through even rolling grassland and under trees for the first 15-20 minutes depending on your pace then go up to the top of a very steep hill. If lucky enough, you will see rare birds, plenty of lizards some of which are more than 3 feet long, and even snakes.
The dense foliage and tropical trees; including the ever present tall coconut palm trees and giant ferns adorn both sides of the trail. Sloping and higher ground can be traverse with the help of protruding roots and vines as handholds.
The view at the top of the hill is breathtaking! On a clear sunny day one can even see the island of Camiguin and its Hibok-Hibok volcano across the sea. The vista of verdant hills and cool fresh air at the top is enough to buoy tired spirits. Seeing the falls in the far distance is enough to impel you forward and face the next leg of the journey – a steep descent towards the Can-umantad River.
As is natural, there is heavy growth of trees and shrubs near the river. The dense foliage and the roots of trees that extend towards the water either help you traverse the river trail or hinder you. And you have to maneuver over moss-covered rocks and clamber up boulders.
In some parts you have to wade thru water, which can be deep and dangerous, to cross to the opposite bank. Because of this dangerous part, the trek is not advisable after a heavy downpour for surely the current will be stronger and the water a lot deeper; also to point out that the trail becomes slippery and unmanageable.
The river trail is more than a hundred meters long; so given this scenario, it is then the most difficult part of the trek and one has to equip oneself in preparation for any untoward incidents. Nowadays, rain is very unpredictable. Even on hot days, rain comes unexpectedly. Bringing a sturdy rope along would help and a bolo, for clearing up dense trails, could be of some use.
Reaching the Can-umantad Falls is an enough reward after the difficulties that one encounters on the way. It is beautiful beyond words! From far off, you will see the falls as one high drop but upon closer look, the falls is in fact in three layers although the 3rd layer is further off, over sloping rocks and shorter in length. The upper level is about 45 meters high, and the second level shorter yet wider. (Please click the link for added details).
The trek is fairly uneventful, and there is no recorded incident of transgressions against trekkers in Candijay. It is advisable though that the local government of the town, especially the police force, be informed that you are in the area. Guides are useful, especially for foreigners, in order to facilitate communication with the locals. Guides are available through the BOEX (Bohol Exploration Club) who is based in Tagbilaran City.
Go visit the falls for yourself. You will not regret it. One piece of advice though: bring plenty of drinking water on your trip. Steep ascents and long trails will render you breathless and thirsty. And do wear sturdy and good shoes! It would not help if your shoes will fail you during the trip. That would be a catastrophe!
The Can-umantad Trail traverses over land that is part of Candijay town, in the province of Bohol, one of the tourist destinations in the Philippine archipelago. The trail goes over rolling grasslands, tree-laden and steep hills, and the Can-umantad River. Candijay town itself is located 92.2 kilometers from Tagbilaran City at the eastern part of the island.
Candijay is a peaceful town situated along the eastern coast of Bohol. The town was established during the Spanish regime in the year 1879. At present, the town has a land area of 8,687 divided into 21 barangays. The name of the town is said to have come from the words “Kang Dihay”, meaning belonging to Dihay, a very strong and influential man living in the area that have many followers at that time. Eventually, the name was pronounced as one and became “Candijay”.
Candijay is a good place for eco-tours. Aside from the majestic Can-umantad falls, its vast mangrove forest plays host to a steady stream of visitors. The Candijay Mangrove Forest is in Barangay Panadtaran whose mangrove area extends to 1,472 hectares. It is the most diverse in the country and boast of at least 36 mangrove species; the oldest trees being centuries old.
A Few Extensions
The trek to Can-umantad Falls can be extended further for another 5 kilometers to the village of Biabas in Guindulman town. This village is inhabited by the Eskaya Tribe, a cultural minority found only in the province and known for their cultural isolation and distinctive language. The route (known in the locality as the Cambia Route) is more challenging and goes over more hills. With this extension, the trek will last more than seven (7) hours, depending upon the time you will spend at the falls.
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