Adventure-holics’ zeal find repose as the well-beaten Sagbayan path arrives at the El Dorado of adrenaline rush junkies: yup, you guessed it–Bohol. The unassuming island hides wonderful, if terrifying, extreme adventure secrets with eco-forward twists; take your pick! Perhaps you’d enjoy an early morning dolphin and whale shark (two words, one animal) watching cruise to Pamilacan Island‘s snorkel and SCUBA friendly waters; or perhaps you crave control and want to go muddin’ in an off-road buggy with breathtaking cliffside vistas (which I will elaborate on in detail next week!). Still not enough? Let me present E.A.T. Danao. If adventure came in the form of a Las Vegas buffet, E.A.T. Danao would be the Wynn. Made to cater to adventure extremists, this thrill park is sequestered high in the hillside town of Danao.
Motion and hunger bring travel as enterprise and enthusiasm bring adventure. A combination of all four and you might not want to go home. E.A.T. DANAO—a secluded half-jungle, half-windblown hideout concealing the infamous Dagohoy caves is the home of 15 (and counting) extreme adventure activities, encased in one other-worldy location.
A Day in Danao
Ms. Weina, the lady to talk to when booking your activities, asked shyly, “Did the mist welcome you?” Petite and seemingly delicate, she has taken “The Plunge” 7 times; we discover this the common practice (if not a mandatory part of the job) at this mother of adventure parks. One adventure guide disclosed, “Sometimes, when we get sick we don’t take medicine . . . [we] just do ‘The Plunge’.” Oh, the good medicine of a thrill.
We started slowly, building up our courage, with The Suislide, their version of a Superman-style zipline. The ride is solo or tandem ready for those remiss about flying over a river gorge (and need the gentle peer pressure of a friend). Once done with the initial scream, we grabbed our cameras and basked in the masterpiece of nature around us. The air of wild abandon handsomely controlled as each of 8 cord restraints carry 200 kilos (441 lbs) with the main line capable of handling 25 tons. For a little perspective, African elephants can weigh up to 8 1/4 tons, meaning the line could comfortably zip 3 elephants at a time. Most excellent, indeed.
This confidence melted a tad as we approached the death-defying, don’t-tell-Mom-til-after-you-silly-silly-girl canyon swing, ineffectually known as The Plunge. Thankfully, my cousin Jo-an manned up and volunteered to take it first. I watched as her timid responses of “No” to the guide’s “Are you ready?” fell on deaf ears; I suppose if they listened, no one would ever be ready. The countdown continued: Three, two, one . . . BOMBS AWAY! and she was off with a squeal like a baby at their first glimpse of Disney World (or perhaps the colorfully articulated parting utterings of a grown woman free-falling for three heart-palpitating-out-of-your-chest seconds before swinging over a churning river.) She came back dizzy with stoke and before long it was my turn. The adventure guide, in heavily accented Tag-lish, instructed,”You weell fall about seventy meeters.” Hold on, somebody please convert that to feet . . . wait, wait, 229 feet! And there’s more; they recommended I start upside-down, and as luck would have it, I said yes. (You only live once, right?)
“No, no, no.” Deaf ears, deaf ears. Three, two, one . . . HEAVEN. Sheer euphoria. The giddiness of skydiving without having someone strapped onto your back. I was free (and very much alive!). We followed up these once-in-a-lifetimes with caving in the deliciously cool Ka Mira cave (which hero Francisco Dagohoy very probably used as one of his hideouts during the rebellion), rappelled 60 meters off a cliff–in slippers (save yourself the Cinderella scenario and switch to sneakers), and finished the evening off with a hearty Filipino meal and good conversation before falling into the sumptuous sleep of extreme satisfaction. Indiana Jones never had it so good.
Pamilacan Island and Buggy Ride
Part 1: Best of Bohol: Boholano Delicacies
Part 3: Best of Bohol Part 3: Hotels to Homestays
Bonus Content: The Plunge Video
Part 4: Best of Bohol: Tours for the Eco-Conscious Traveler