The Tibiao River in 1997 hosted the first ever international slalom and wildwater kayaking competition in the Philippines. Today, the Panay Island river still turns it on for paddlers, with exhilarating class 3 & 4 rapids. It’s also become the world hub for the ‘hot kawa bath’ — huge cast iron woks heated by fire that tourists lie in for a photo op, fun & laughter, or for a more lengthy, decidedly native, form of spa therapy. Visitors also enjoy hiking rainforests & rice terraces, crossing bamboo suspension bridges, clambering up waterfalls and plunging into rock pools of the Bugtong Batu Waterfalls. It’s also home to a kiniray-a community with a string band that bangs out haunting sounds, underlining the Tibiao River’s witchcraft roots. (For your information, there’s much more about the bewitching Tibiao River in an earlier article on the life and killing of the ‘Good Witch’ Kuling on this blog.)
White Water Kayaking
From beginners to professional white-water kayakers, Tibiao River offers a thrill for all levels of adventurers. Depending on your skill level and the water conditions at the time, our guides will recommend the best part of the river to start and end your kayaking adventure. You will be taught basic kayak skills and will go for a practice paddle before facing the river rapids.
Trekking to Waterfalls
A 30-minute trek from Kayak Inn, hikers will find Bugtong Bato Falls. The hike takes you through upland rice fields and tropical rain forest before arriving at the base of the 7 layered waterfalls. Your guide will take you up to the 4th level of the falls, where you can admire the crash of the water and go for a cool dip. The adventurous can choose to climb a rope up the face of the falls against the rushing water, before jumping back into the pool below.
Up your survival skills by learning the art of preparing food and feasting native-style. Our local guides teach you how to cook rice and prepare local dishes with all natural cooking utensils. You eat what you cook, as well as quite a few other local dishes that the guides will have prepared – including the local coconut wine brew, “tuba”.
Kawa Hot Baths
From cooking with the locals to being cooked by the locals, the kawa hot baths are an experience not to be missed. These large metal wok-like tubs were traditionally used in the sugar production process. Today, they are used as hot baths, heated beneath by an open fire. The water is hot and the local leaves and flowers placed in the water give off an aroma that is unbelievably relaxing. Sitting in a kawa hot bath to soothe your tired muscles is undoubtedly the best way to end an action-packed Tibiao River experience.