Bohol Island offers up a new tour, aptly called the Green Recreational Eco-Adventure Tourism (GREAT) offered at the Dagook Adventure Tourism Excitement (DATE) is presented as another wholesome family treat for adults and parents to introduce their kids to nature conservation and environmental protection concepts.
Catigbian Mayor Roberto Salinas said DATE is another interesting offer to the Abatan River Community Life Tours and orients a family to the sublime concepts of nature conservation through recreational adventure that is safe, exhilarating and totally fun.
DATE is a recreational park set in a 203,000 square meter of contiguous land on Bohol island in Barangays Poblacion Weste and Rizal, two villages which are separated by the Sampilangon River, explained municipal engineer Russel Lungay.
Upon the suggestion of Abatan Australian consultants David and Fiona Aaron, Salinas and the Catigbian Performance Team teamed up with Danao consultants to offer a tour experience that gives tourists a true taste of immersion in the wilds, complete with Catigbian segment.
Bohol Island Map
Bohol island DATE park offers a thorough recreational and educational experience in its four major thrills interspaced with guided discussion on the medicinal plants, shrubs, trees, vines, ferns, springs and brooks, rivers and waterfalls and cascades, caves, macaques, common birds as one passes through the trails.
However, you need to gear up for the experience.
At the main center, you can get assistance to get you into a Petzl headgear, safety harness, outsized hooks and a slider roller for the later mountain slide experience.
Jiggling your way with the guide to the access ramp to the park’s first outdoor like experience, you will be treated to an educational tour of local herbal plants on Bohol island.
The medicinal plants walk gives you a glimpse of how locals create paracetamols and stomach pain relievers from plants.
The park’s major thrills include a 60 meter canopy walk suspended over some 20 meters of seven high tension steel cables lashed against each other to contribute to a staggering load capacity than can easily accommodate 60 persons at a person per meter ratio, assures Engr. Lungay.
Like all suspended cable bridges, this one sways and undulates as you traverses the wood-planked bridge.
The fear however is easily dissipated with the presence of Philippine macaques keenly observing you.
From a high vantage point, you will be introduced to a new way of viewing things: that from a higher perspective.
Trees with boles reaching a diameter of a foot more, some of them still with wild orchids, coconut groves, thick ferns and lush vegetation below makes you imagine how Tarzan would have seen wildlife from above.
From the Canopy walk, you follow a trail carefully carved out from an old trail which people used to access the roaring Dagook Falls some 20 meters below.
The trail down however is not for the weak hearted. One part is only passable through a rickety wooden staircase that truly makes you doubt if the decision to get as close to the fabled Dagook Falls to feel the adrenalin pump is really worth the effort.
It is. And like they say, only those who persevere reap the rewards of being engulfed in the thin mist of the falls roaring by, hurling a ton of water per minute into a gorge.
The lip of the falls can also be accessible from here, but you have to be extra cautious, a slip might be painful in this mossy dried riverbed.
Looking up, the mist may at a time obscure the suspended cables where an occasional tourist maneuvers across the Monkey Bridge.
On Bohol island, known for the Philippine macaques that are occasionally spotted in the area, a suspended span of cables called the Monkey Bridge is another offer.
The bridge that can only be traversed by doing a tightrope maneuver, but not quite.
The 45 meter bridge is a combination of four cables, one of which is where your safety harness: your lifeline, is attached, in case your shaking knees betray your stern face.
A main cable is strung to two more cables which act as an adventurist’s handrail, all three lashed at equal distances to minimize the sag and the sway.
And oh, yes, the bridge is suspended some 30 meters from where the roaring Dagook falls hurl a gurgling mass of water into the gorges below.
A feat, although not yet as recommended for the faint-hearted is a brief stop in the middle of the shaking bridge to take a spectacular shot at the mists rising from the falls dropping tons of water below.
Following the monkey bridge is an ascending trail about 140 meters long which peaks at the next attraction.
But, before that, the guide will tell you about the importance of following established trails, a clear attempt to keep the nearby vegetation as pristine as possible.
The discussion is a standard instruction among all environmental trail guides, swaying away from established trails most likely creates impacts to the environment or to the wildlife within the area.
The trail gets you through stone steps carved out from moss covered limestones. Here, vegetation mostly of secondary growth forests are still in top condition, the trees and vines from a canopy of shade makes the ascent relatively easy.
The peak of the trail leads to the mountain slide, a mini zipline spanning some 200 meters that gets you across the Dagook Falls and provides a spectacular view of the surrounding mountains, Abatan River headwaters, and gives you the perspective you would not be getting from any other experience in the park.
The slide starts from a platform installed on top of a cliff overlooking the river and lets the adventurer glide back to the main village center which ends the adventure tour.
Although the slide pales in length compared to the one offered in Danao, Catigbian’s DATE park zipline produces the same exhilarating experience with the 200 meter distance traversed in about 20 seconds.
It means, you’ll get exactly the same speed, same fear and the same thrill in a third of the time you would have to savor when you’re on the Danao Suislide.
DATE park adventure offers a packaged tour for P700 per head inclusive of guides, use of equipment and park amenities including restrooms, trail access and the five experiences.
DATE park is in Poblacion Weste, Catigbian, Bohol island and is accessible even by foot from the corner of FCB Catigbian. (Rey Anthony Chiu)