Following our exciting hike and visit at Bugtong Bato Waterfalls, it was time to for a much deserved lunch. Our habal-habal drove us back past Baranggay Tuno, back on the dirt road we passed by earlier to a large spacious hut hanging by the cliff road. We had our hearty meal of adobo and grilled fish on that breezy hut while hearing the ambient sound of the nearby river. Our wet adventure isn’t over as we check out the rapids of Tibiao River for some whitewater kayaking.
Challenge the Rapids
It took only a few minutes before we reached Kayak Inn, an upland riverside resort operated by adventure outfit Tribal Adventures . There’s a 2-story hut that can accommodate visitors looking for some riverside activities like kayaking and river treks. Tibiao River kayak route spans 3km with different degree of rapids fit for the beginners or experts.
I never got to try the whitewater kayak since I was taking pictures there on assignment but I watched one of our guides and their in-house expert try it. It seems tiring but exciting to go through the rapids.
Ease the Tension at Kawa Hot Bath
After all that activity it was time for something unusual. Kayak Inn had some large pots they use for their Kawa Hot Bath. They got these huge pots from an abandoned sugar mill nearby and got the idea of using it similar to those Japanese hot baths. For a place like Tibiao who is also known for mythical beings like aswang and Mangkukulam (witches), it sure was humorous seeing live people on a fire-heated pot as if they were being cooked alive.
I did try the hot bath as it is known to relieve tense and tired muscles. The water was stingy at first but after a while I just let the heat permeate my skin. It was indeed relaxing especially with the sight of trees looking up and hearing the sound of the nearby river. It is recommended to stay there only from 20-30 minutes, otherwise you’ll end up like a prune.
Ticklish Tibiao Fish Spa
Going back to the main highway, we stopped by Tibiao Fish Spa. These dead-skin eating fish therapy has been popular in the country for some time now. I tried the ones in Manila Ocean Park which uses the imported Gara Ruffa fish species. The ones in Tibiao are special since they use a native fish found in the fresh water mountains of Tibiao.
There are three stages of fish therapy available here at the fish spa and as the stages go higher, the bigger the fishes get. Stage 1 fishes improves the blood. Stage 2 removes some dead skin cells. Stage 3 can remove the callous on the skin. At first dip into the water, the fish would immediately go for the skin and it has a really ticklish sensation. The stage 3 fishes can really look daunting in size but I think they do the best work. After a while I got used to them and I lay on my back there. They provide a pillow. I popped in some music and just relaxed. Half an hour quickly flew by without me noticing. It was out last stop in Tibiao. A perfect way to end an adventure-filled day.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.