Face to Face (Finally) with Toledo City’s Cantabaco

When I received the invite to cover an exciting event in Toledo City, I was giddy with excitement. I’ve been meaning to get back on the road and this was literally fate asking me to join him on a new adventure. I said yes, of course. Not only because it would take me several miles away from the city but more importantly because the invite was from the Department of Tourism. You read that right. It was from THE Department of Tourism. Obviously, not everyone is given this kind of opportunity. And, seriously, who am I to say no?

The van left Cebu at around 1 pm. We needed to be in Toledo City by 2:30 pm so that we wouldn’t miss the 3:00 pm event. It was the official opening of Lust for Lime XV, a yearly event that gathers climbers and outdoor enthusiasts from all over the world in the beautiful city of Toledo. This was an event that I’ve heard about many times in the past. My good friend Gian from AdrenalineRomance.com has actually told me about this many times in the past. And as a matter of fact, we’ve made several plans to visit the place together to give rock climbing a try. But somehow, something always ends up preventing us from actually going.

Fortunately, this one DID push through and I was finally able to see the legendary Cantabaco Crag up-close for the very first time. Lemme show you what happened during this trip!

We arrived in Barangay Cantabaco in Toledo City several minutes before 3 pm. The drive from the city was smooth and easy (thank god I didn’t puke). Our team was welcomed at a roadside compound (hostel) that offers affordable accommodation to out-of-towners. The program was going to be held here.

In this photo, Toledo City Mayor Joy Marjorie Perales is seen chatting with Department of Tourism Region VII Chief Tourism Operations Officer Dr. Gelena N. Asis-Dimpas before the start of the program

Lust for Lime pioneer Mackie Makinano talks about the colorful history of the yearly climbing festival.

For everyone’s information, the natural limestone crag (cliff) in Barangay Cantabaco in Toledo City, is considered one of the highest in the region. And for the past 15 years, the area has played host to the exciting Lust for Lime climbing festival.

Young Tourism Ambassadors Wilson Gloria (1st Runner Up, Mister Cebu Tourism 2019) and Glorynit Gail Blanco (Miss Cebu Tourism 2019) joined the discussion about keeping Toledo City’s famous Cantabaco tourism site sustainable.

Several minutes later, event participants started to arrive at the venue. They were welcomed by the local DOT team and given a welcome lei each.

Some of the participants in this year’s Lust for Lime climbing festival gamely pose for the camera.

Sunkyo Jin, a South Korean national, is part of this year’s climbing festival.

Toledo City Mayor Joy Marjorie Perales, during her speech, promised to give the Lust for Lime climbing festival the support that it needs.

Department of Tourism Region VII Chief Tourism Operations Officer Dr. Gelena N. Asis-Dimpas emphasized that the DOT Region VII is always ready to support sports and adventure activities in the region.

Before departing for the crag, I took a group photo of some of the wonderful people who made this year’s Lust for Lime possible.

After the short program, it was time to visit the famous limestone crag. Since it was raining the whole morning, we were warned of possible dangers along the short trekking route. But, of course, I’m not the type to turn my back against adventure. Bring it on!

A quick river crossing to begin this adventure. Looks exciting!

The crossing is short and quick. And the water is only ankle-deep. However, the challenge lies in staying on the bamboo slabs and not falling into the water.

After the river crossing, we trekked through tall trees and lush greens. Signs can be seen along the way so it’s impossible to get lost.

A few minutes later, the whole team made another crossing. This time, across a very cute creek. I’m a fan of creek crossings, by the way, so this one was a welcome surprise.

Later, we met more Lust for Lime XV participants along the trail. This team of foreign climbers was on their way back to the hostel after a full day of rock climbing.

Several minutes later, we reached the base on the mountain where the cliff face is situated. This beautiful bamboo grove serves as the climbers’ marker.

Then, it was time to begin our short ascent to the platform where all climbing activities are held. Here is a photo of the whole team posing for the camera during our climb to the top.

The ascent is kinda steep so everyone is reminded to hang on to the handrails at all times.

And because it rained hard before our ascent, the trek became even more challenging and exciting. Just the way I like it.

Finally, I got a glimpse of the massive limestone wall of Cantabaco. I got goosebumps.

First Look: The beautiful massive limestone crag of Barangay Cantabaco. Cebu is truly blessed to have such amazing natural wonder.

When we arrived, a couple of climbers were already on their way to the top. Which was perfect because just looking at them was truly exciting.

Check out those guys on the side of the wall. I don’t think I’ve ever climbed anything that high before. Haha.

Miss Cebu Tourism 2019 Gail Blanco is ready to give rock climbing a try!

A lady climber begins her climb. Sheis supported by a belayer (the person on the ground that is supporting her weight) to make sure that she doesn’t fall straight to the ground should she slip or lose her grip.

Climbing can be quite challenging. So prior knowledge about climbing techniques and muscle control is necessary.

Here is the whole team posing for a photo just before sun-down. In the photo, you can see Anne and Ms. Gelena from DOT 7, Tourism ambassadors Wilson and Gail, lifestyle blogger Beyee, and some of the organizers and participants in this year’s Lust for Lime.

Check out more photos from the site:

It was already pitch-dark when we began our trek down. It was slippery and wet, and a bit scary. But I must say that all these little elements made the whole experience even more exciting.

The whole team promised to return one day to actually give rock climbing a try. I’m not saying I’m excited. But I have to say that I can barely wait. 😀

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