An Awesome Year-ender: Scuba Diving, White-water Tubing, and Spelunking at Sarangani

Last October, we just had an unplanned albeit awesome Surigao adventure getaway. Guess what? The same team did another to cap off the year! I shall now bless this as the YOLO team! Haha. We actually planned for a year-end getaway to climb Mt. Hamiguitan in San Isidro, Davao Oriental. And since we just learned that it has been closed to the public as it was made a world heritage site, we planned to go surfing the great waves of Dahican in Mati instead.

So now, what can be more frustrating going to the beach when typhoon signal #1 was declared? Nothing. Unlike us, nature doesn't have a schedule. If it rains it will rain. But why sulk about it when we can do more? Mindanao is teeming with a lot of wonders. In a snap, we decided to go scuba diving at the south instead. Yes, changing plans is that easy - if you're always open and up for it.

Scuba Diving at Lemlunay
Beautiful Lemlunay :)
Hmmm... it seems like we are trying to ace these come-what-may episodes and we are getting good at it. We decided to do our very first scuba diving experience at Lemlunay Beach Resort in Maasim, Sarangani Province. We hailed a bus from Davao City at 4am and arrived in Gen. Santos City at 6:30, had breakfast, and took an hour drive to Lemlunay afterwards.

We were scheduled to have our dive session after lunch. But luckily, we were able to get the slot for the early batch of divers. After the dive instructors briefed us about the what-to-dos and what-not-to-dos, how to equalize pressure, and all the things a first-timer needs to know about scuba diving, we were all set and super excited to conquer the world under. :)
Scuba Diving at Lemlunay
We started diving at around 10:30am. The experience was a little terrifying at first. Especially when they have a lot of instructions and hand signals that has to be learned that I think is damn near impossible to remember with the little time given. I am not used to breathing using my mouth, my throat started to get dry, there is this fear of running out of oxygen, and my awkward way of swimming because I do not know how to use those heavy flippers just added to the anxiety. But since we have friendly and skilled dive instructors with us, I know we're in good hands.

We swam deeper - about 40 feet below. And the sight, oh boy, took my breath away. Literally. I actually forgot I should be breathing normally to equalize the pressure on my chest. I panicked a little when I started to breathe with my nose and I couldn't. Haha. But really, the world under the sea is absolutely breathtaking. No words can express how I had a great time. It's like I just exhaled all the discomfort and fear and inhaled nothing but awe. I got lost to the beautiful sea and its wonders. And I'm sure my friends felt the same. Who wouldn't be stunned of God's amazing creatures underwater? I took some photos of the world below and wow, it is so magnificent.
Scuba Diving at Lemlunay
Beautiful. Very beautiful.
Scuba Diving at Lemlunay

Scuba Diving at Lemlunay
It's Marlin and Nemo! Yes, these are now known as nemos and not clownfishes. haha
Scuba Diving at Lemlunay
Hello there, little fishy!
Scuba Diving at Lemlunay
Bretch, Jan and I
Scuba Diving at Lemlunay
Of course, a self underwater shot is imperative.
If only my oxygen levels aren't getting low, I would have stayed there and feasted my eyes on the beautiful world and its inhabitants before me. It is indeed peaceful and quiet down there that all I can hear is my breathing which I find so soothing and relaxing. Thirty minutes later, we went up the surface, still in awe and happy to scratch an item off my bucket list. The feeling is so overwhelming I would love to do it again and again and again.
Scuba Diving at Lemlunay
The YOLO team and the awesome dive instructors. :)
That's it for our first and amazing scuba diving experience. But hold on to your horses folks, the adventure didn't end there. It's only eleven in the morning and we still have the whole afternoon to do something crazy. Since we are not yet allowed to go on high altitudes 12 hours after the dive to avoid the bends, Paragliding in Sarangani is definitely out of the question and hiking Sanchez Peak, which was in our original plan after scuba diving, is not happening.

Instead, we drove 80kms further south to experience White Water Tubing at the Pangi River in Maitum, Sarangani. We had lunch along the way at some eatery in Kiamba and arrived at the water tubing site around 2pm.

We braved the cold and raging waters, although it was not so wild (at that time) unlike my first water-tubing experience in Sibulan, Sta. Cruz. Still, it was an awesome experience especially when you catch your breath at every high drop or when you think you're going to flip over when the rapids get pretty intense. It was pure thrill and excitement - something that just awakened the adrenaline junkie in me.
All geared up and ready!
Since I'm the one holding the camera, I'm the only one who has picture like this. Haha
Around 3pm, all those screamin and breath-catching rapids made us hungry that we drove around looking for food. And not long after, we spotted a signboard that says: To Zion Cave. No second thoughts about it. To Zion cave we go!

Thank goodness we ate halo-halo with a spoonful of sugar before spelunking. Because judging from our activities, if it's not sugar rush, I don't know where all our energy is coming from. Going to the cave is already an adventure itself. We have to cross a number of rivers, trek a rugged terrain for a kilometer or less, and hike a little to reach the entrance. The cave is surprisingly vast and scary that you can get lost, or God-forbid slip and fall into the deep holes in there. It's my second time to explore a big cave and yes, it's another wonderful experience. Too bad, we didn't have pictures inside the cave because we weren't able to bring a camera with a flash. Boo!
Spelunking Zion Cave at Maitum, Sarangani
Cave entrance
Spelunking Zion Cave at Maitum, Sarangani
Our muddy shoes after spelunking
Spelunking Zion Cave at Maitum, Sarangani
I survived!
River Trekking at Maitum, Sarangani
Testing the waterproof-ability of our shoes. haha :)
We drove back to GenSan by 6pm. I think we already did a lot of adventures in just a span of one day, didn't we? We're all exhausted, our skin toasted, but to hell with that, we had a marvelous adventure! And I would love to do more no matter how sore my body or how dark my skin would get.

Indeed, sometimes, the best adventures go on unplanned. No time to beat. No limits. Just pure fun with little hints of mishap along the way. Haha. I believe the most memorable experience cannot be crafted from your itinerary but to something you haven't anticipated beforehand. It takes a lot of courage, willingness, and tolerance to risks and disappointments to pull off an unplanned adventure. But it pays to loosen up and live spontaneously. After all, you only live once.

Where to next?

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