“Hilan gyud ang dapit ingon sa mga tawo (the place is secluded according to the people),” radioman Paul Lauro reported to Atty. Ruphil Banoc over DyHP- RMN Cebu in the latter’s “Straight to the Point” program today Mar. 30.
The report was about the death of Korean tourist Lee Jung Hyuk, 31, who was with some other Korean tourists when the incident happened yesterday. An earlier report said that Lee died because he drowned at the famous Kawasan Falls in Barangay Matutinao, Badian but the police said that the victim’s death maybe because of his respiratory problems which was discovered by doctors even while he was a child.
Lee jumped from a 45 feet ledge into the water and was able to swam back into the dryland where he collapsed. He died while on the way to the Badian District Hospital where he was brought. His death however in the famous tourist site was not the first among tourists, foreigners included.
In December 2016, a graduating student from the Cebu Technological University (CTU) died when he drowned after diving from the top of the second level of the falls. Alrene Bersalote , 18, from Cubacub, Mandaue City, was having a christmas party with his classmates when the incident happened.
His head hit a rock the police said. In 2015, a saleslady died, when she slipped while taking a selfie. Geraldine Indig, 21, a Badian native who worked as a saleslady in Cebu City took a selfie but while she was doing it, she slipped and was carried away by the strong waves.
The victim was just found lifeless by her companion and the other swimmers of the falls who look for her when she suddenly disappeared. Her companion, a certain Abigail De Guzman from Pardo, Cebu City told the police that they were taking selfies then where Indig stood on a rock.
The rock was slippery, police investigation revealed. In October 2010, John Rex Caramonte, 33, of Tangke, Talisay City died after he jumped from a raft in the falls. The victim was just found dead more than 24 hours after he swam in he falls along with his family and some friends.
A search and rescue operation was conducted on him after he went missing past 8am. The next morning his bloated body surfaced in the water. In 2008, a Korean tourist also died after he jumped from the top of the falls. He got injured resulting to a severe bleeding that caused his dead.
A man from Liloan town also died after he drowned days before the drowning of the Korean. An Iranian tourist also died there when he drowned. So a number of them died while swimming there. It happened despite the precautionary measures that were already implemented.
The local government already placed lifeguards and that tour guides are required. The Provincial Tourism Council also had already met the stakeholders to implement measures to prevent accidents in the falls which is also famous for its canyoneering.
According to some old folks in the town, mystical tales like having “engkanto” and “ghosts” in the very known falls are not new. They said that the “unseen spirits” are angry because their once peaceful place has been disturbed by visitors and tourists who love to flocked in the area.
Most of the victims who would stay in its many cottages will disappear for a while before they will be found. There are also talks that ghosts and white ladies were seen in the photographs that were taken by some.
True or not, the fact is, many lives were already gone when they went there in the inner part of Barangay Matutinao, about 16 kilometers from the Badian town proper, approximately 104 kilometers southwest of Cebu City.