It all started on a sunny July in 2008. Joe Yap wanted to take her four -year old daughter on a family trip and could not decide on where to go. She was bored of the same old shopping complexes when suddenly she remembered a trip she had taken as a kid to the waterfalls.
“I had only been to the waterfalls once as a kid with my parents. It was Templer’s Park, I think. So, I thought, why not take my daughter there,” reminisced Joe.
She surfed the net to check out the waterfalls in Malaysia through a website by Jan Stuivenberg, a Dutch expatriate with a passion for waterfalls in Malaysia. The family ended up at Kanching Waterfalls in Rawang, Selangor. According to Joe, the waterfall was beautiful. The water was cool and the paved walkway pushed her into taking the jungle trail which she said was breathtaking yet fun. For Joe, the fun didn’t end there. There was something endearing about the waterfall and she wanted to go to another. The following weekend, she trekked up Chiling Waterfalls in Kuala Kubu Bahru with a friend. “It was a killer, one hour hike. We were panting all the way but upon reaching the top, we were amazed. It was worth the hike as the air was so fresh, the water so clear and the lush greenery was a feast to the eye,” she claimed.
Joe knew that this was her calling when she got the urge to trek another waterfall, the next week. This time her friend refused to follow her so Joe used her Facebook access to send invitation to anyone who wanted to join her and surprisingly, she got six waterfall lovers who joined her. Joe knew there and then that this was a life-long addiction and thus brought upon the birth of Waterfall Survivors. Her love for the waterfalls was so great that she quit her job as a banker to do this full-time.
“I was very scared at first but the support I got from the members was so overwhelming that I knew I had made the right choice,” she said.
Waterfall Survivors is a social group managed by Waterfall Explorers Sdn Bhd founded on Facebook, the most popular online social networking service. The Facebook group was created by Joe Yap, with an aim to meet others who get the same kick and excitement at the thunderous sound of crashing waters in the tranquil setting of the rainforests like she does. The group has been actively organising regular waterfall expeditions ever since where they trek the jungle trail, clean up the waterfall and have fun in the water.
Guided by Stuivenberg website’s well- documented information on the country’s waterfalls, Joe started to organising trips for Waterfall Survivors’ members. To get clearer directions for waterfall expeditions, she began to communicate with Stuivenberg. Waterfall Survivors organises regular waterfall exploration trips which can be a day-tripper or an over-night excursion.
Waterfall Survivors aims to explore the unknown and unexplored waterfalls in Malaysia. Besides that, it also creates awareness on preserving nature for the next generation. It educates Malaysians to preserve the cleanliness of waterfalls and safety awareness when enjoying the waterfalls. Waterfall Survivors also promotes healthy lifestyle among Malaysians while appreciating the beautiful nature.
“Our long-term plan is to adopt waterfalls in Malaysia,” said Joe.
To date, Waterfall Survivors has left footprints at over 70 waterfalls in Malaysia such as Jeram Perlus at Ulu Langat, Seminyang Falls at Karak, Buaya Sangkut at Endau Rompin, Johor, Berkelah at Maran and many more. There has been a total of about 130 trips done.
“ We have 16 committees and we organise a trip every weekend. Our members are all equipped with first-aid, wilderness and swift water courses. We also have all safety equipments required for trekking. We welcome everyone. Come join us and have loads of fun enjoying nature our way,” ended Joe with a bubbly laugh.