The Municipality of New Corella being the Water Basin of the Province of Davao Del Norte is lavishly teeming with cool watercourses and cavernous caves where adventure trippers, spelunkers and speleologists can easily access by trekking up rivers and hiking along forest trails. These nature’s gifts to New Corella pave way to make the town the newest eco-adventure destination in the province and the whole Davao Region. Like most outdoor enthusiasts who came here, I was also lured to visit this part of Davao Region to feel the adrenaline hype experiencing the eco-adventours of New Corella.
Accompanied by Municipal Tourism Office headed by the Municipal Budget and Tourism Officer Mr. Joel Quinanahan with the company of the Yond Adventure Mountain-caving Outdoor Group (YAMOG), my trip to New Corella commenced exploring the newly discovered waterfalls and cascades hidden in the thick forest of the town down to one of its 6 popular show caves.
Our adventure started registering our names at the Tourist Center of Barangay New Cortez. This is a prerequisite before going to all the destinations included in the tour. Barangay New Cortez also serves as the assembly area going around the natural attractions of New Corella.
Aboard the habal-habal, we traveled our way from Barangay Hall to Marlix Spring Resort, the jump off point going to Bonduc Falls, our first eco-adventour destination. Bonduc Falls is about 45 minutes hike from Marlix Spring Resort passing along the some rugged roads, jagged hills and lush foliage. Some parts are open trail, thus the scorching heat of the sun. Along the trail, we also passed by a rubber tree plantation that really caught our attention. When we reached the final stop, we started river trekking along the cold waters going to the base of Bonduc Falls. Just 10 minutes later, the full view of Bonduc Falls was laid before us.
Surrounded by thick vegetation, Bonduc Falls is series of cascades flowing freely from 4 small tiers. The waters were not as abundant as I expected but enough to make one yearn to bathe under its cold gushing waters. According to tour guides, Bonduc falls is among the newly discovered cascades in the town and now part of the co-adventours of New Corella.
From Bonduc Falls, we trailed back to Marlix Spring Resort and headed back to the Barangay Hall of New Cortez for lunch. After feasting over our scrumptious meal, we prepared to head on to our next eco-adventour destination, the Kasilac Falls.
From the Barangay Hall of New Cortez, going to the jump off point of Kasilac Falls takes around 30 minutes aboard the habal-habal. The road going to the jump off point is not established for motorcycle vehicles. Thus, our habal habal ride was a bit difficult. But for me, it was part of a great adventure.
Going to Kasilac Falls from the jump off point entails 20 minutes hike passing through pasture of cows, corn fields and coconut grounds. I find it so scenic seeing all the green life enveloping our way to the Falls.
Kasilac Falls is a beauty brimming with crystal clear water gushing from a tier. Unlike Bonduc Falls, it is higher than I expected. The waters are abundant and the gushing sounds of the cascades are soothingly loud. Everyone was delighted seeing such natural splendor. At an instant, I wanted to bathe in its cool filtered waters but we had to hurry for another destination.
Trekking back the same trail, I left Kasilac Falls in contentment. I have been to different waterfalls in the Philippines bigger, higher and taller than it is but still Kasilac Falls has its own enticing appeal. Truly I say nature has its own way of captivating one’s soul. Undoubtedly, I was captivated.
From the jump off point of Kasilac Falls, we traveled our way for another 20 minutes going to the Bonduc Cave. From the jump off area situated along the main road, going to the opening of Bonduc Cave is just around 15 minutes hike. It was a very easy hike but going inside the cave was another story.
You see, I have ophidiophobia, an abnormal fear of snakes. How I get this was a long story. Snakes, of all kinds, make me weak. It makes me tremble I could die in nervousness. I know for a fact that caves are resting places of snakes. As a matter of fact, it is among the preferred resting place of banakon or king cobras, one of the most venomous snakes on earth. Thus, caving is the only kind of adventure I always decline to join when I got invitations – simply because of the snakes.
Why I was convinced to go caving, the real one, for the very first timewas because I learned that New Corella is home to more than 100 unspoiled caves where 70 of which were explored and some were identified as world class caving system. This has convinced me to brave my fear and explore a real cave for the very first time.
And so, spelunking at Bonduc Cave started. Together with the company of YAMOG, we went inside the very opening of Bonduc Cave. I was mixed emotions when I went inside. Fear, excitement, anxiousness, fun, tenseness, and thrill – all consumed me. When I was already inside with the headlamps and the lights where focused on the stalactites and stalagmites abounding there, I slowly began appreciating the beauty of what’s underneath. It was a world I am so unfamiliar with.
Rocks formations of different sizes amazed me. The stalagmites and stalactites of different forms, shapes and sizes astounded me. I was in astonishment seeing all these things that I missed to see in my life’s travels. If only I was brave enough, I could have done this long before this trip. I can’t help but mumbled words of amazement seeing every single thing inside that wowed me. “Wow! Wow! Wow!” I always muttered!
Going further, one beautiful spot caught my interest. It is a hole from the top where sunlight passes through giving a dramatic light inside the cave. It was so beautiful that I spent much time photographing that particular spot. So picture perfect!
Contented, we moved forward and headed our way out to the egress of the cave. The moment I stepped out completely of Bonduc Cave unharmed and sound, I almost broke into tears knowing I was able to conquer my fear and experience a new adventure that I’ll surely be doing again in my life. I felt so triumphant communing with a beautiful world underneath me. It was surreal experience. That 45-minute experience being inside the cave is already a big thing for me. Being my very first, it will always be an unforgettable experience.
From Bonduc Cave, we traveled back to Barangay New Cortez. All of us were exhausted from a daylong eco-adventours but like me, we all ended the day in high spirits having experienced the enticing allures of the natural wonders of New Corella. Indeed, these cascading waterfalls and cavernous caves of the New Corella make the town the newest eco-adventure destination not just in the province of Davao Del Norte but the whole Davao Region.
HOW TO GET TO NEW CORELLA: From Davao City, take a passenger bus going to the City of Tagum, the Capital Town of Davao Del Norte. Drop off at the Tagum City Overland Transport Integrated Terminal. Once there, look for the place where passenger jeepneys bound to New Corella are stationed. Davao City to New Corella is about two hours travel time.
FOR ASSISTANCE, you may call:
MR. JOEL QUINANAHAN
Municipal Budget and Tourism Officer
Municipality of New Corella, Davao Del Norte
(0921) 265 6668