The more I gaze at the awe-inspiring photographs of the waterfalls of South Cebu over the internet, the more it had captivated me. To catch a glimpse of the stunning cascades scattered all over the Queen City was one of the reasons why I journeyed to her territory. So to carry out my mission, I travelled solo on DIY for a span of two days in four towns and got myself acquainted with eleven breathtaking (literally and figuratively) waterfalls of South Cebu.
After my Kawasan canyoneering experience in Badian, my desire to chase some more of the waterfalls of South Cebu grew even stronger. I just couldn’t get enough of Kawasan Falls that I had to go back the following day and made it as the starting point of my quest. Located in the municipality of Badian, Kawasan Falls is the most famous of all the waterfalls of South Cebu. An undemanding fifteen to thirty-minute nature walk will lead you to the main falls. The drop measures at approximately 40 feet with a catch basin of 20 feet or more (according to our guide, they haven’t measured its precise depth yet). Its clear water has a distinct turquoise hue. Further upstream, you’ll find two more levels of Kawasan Falls.
However, as stunning as it is, I cannot ignore the fact that the cosmetic modifications that were done to some parts surrounding Kawasan Falls had altered its natural look. It has become like a private resort complete with accommodations, restaurants and picnic tables with Kawasan Falls as their own exclusive pool courtesy of Mother Nature.
Nevertheless, with the array of activities that it offers like canyoneering, rafting, swimming or just enjoying the view, one will surely find something worthwhile on their visit even with the throngs of tourists.
Two cents: To avoid the crowd, pay a visit on a weekday early in the morning around 7AM or 8AM.
How to get to Kawasan Falls (Badian) from Oslob
From Oslob, take a Ceres Bus to Bato (Terminal) which was the last stop. Ride another bus going to Cebu via Barili and alight in front of Matutinao Church in Badian or simply inform the driver/conductor that you are going to Kawasan Falls. Travel time is approximately two hours (one hour from Oslob – Bato, and another hour from Bato to Barangay Matutinao, Badian).
How to get to Kawasan Falls (Badian) from Cebu City
Head to South Bus Terminal and ride a Ceres Bus going to Bato via Barili. You may just inform the driver to drop you off in front of Matutinao Church or tell them that you’re going to Kawasan Falls. Travel time is approximately 3 hours.
Towering at about 150 feet, the mighty Inambakan Falls is one of the tallest waterfalls of South Cebu. Its deepest part right below the falls measures at approximately 8 feet. Inambakan Falls has the most powerful water surge of all those that I’ve visited. The mists can be felt up to more than 50 feet away (even farther). Also, most travelers who wish to climb Mt. Hambubuyog has Inambakan Falls as their starting point.
Although it has now become quite known for waterfall chasers and adventure seekers, it is still considered as one of the low key waterfalls of South Cebu. The development of the area surrounding Inambakan Falls over the years is very minimal which plays a vital role in keeping it as pristine as it can be.
According to Kuya Larry, the local who served as my guide, there are plans to test if they can operate canyoneering and rappelling activities in Inambakan Falls but nothing is concrete yet. Let’s see if it will push through. If it will ever happen, I sincerely hope that it will not have a huge impact on its natural environment which is one of its charms.
If you plan to go to Bugnawan Falls, you don’t need to go any further because it is in the same area as Inambakan Falls. Unlike in Kawasan Falls, wherein the other two levels are still called with the same name, Bugnawan Falls is actually the second level of Inambakan Falls. The water slides down a sloping wall of 15 – 20 feet high. Its catch basin is smaller compared to that of the first level but much deeper, measuring at 15 feet deep. Bugnawan Falls is surrounded mostly of huge rocks covered in moss and foliage.
In ten minutes or less of hiking one more level above Bugnawan Falls is Kampael Falls (third level) and together with Inambakan Falls on the first level, it completes the waterfalls trio that can be found in the same area in the municipality of Ginatilan. Kampael Falls is one of the low level waterfalls of South Cebu at about 4 feet high, but according to Kuya Larry, it has the deepest plunge pool at 20 feet. It has more open space, with soaring coconut trees nearby.
The Unnamed Falls
Not known to many people, there are actually 2 more levels of waterfalls aside from Inambakan, Bugnawan and Kampael and my guide was kind enough to offer me to check those out too. He knew that I am not a native of Cebu so he would like me to make my very long trip worthwhile and just make the most of my visit which I absolutely appreciated.
At the time of my visit, the fourth level doesn’t have a name yet according to my guide (let’s call it the Unnamed Falls for now). There are three points where the water flows to the pool but the ones right next to each other are the most prominent. The water gorgeously cascades from its overhang like a curtain covering the cove behind it. It then braids together midway before it hits the fall line. It was about 5 feet high and there were two huge rocks that barricade the small plunge pool separating its deepest part to the wide shallow areas.
The last of the five levels is Tipolo Falls although it wasn’t too far, my guide informed me beforehand that it would be harder to reach because there were no established trails yet to get to its location. True enough, it was indeed a challenge navigating through the forested area. I slipped twice on our descent and almost fell on my bum. Luckily, I was able to find my sense of balance and saved myself from an embarrassing moment.
Before we can even get on a flat surface, I already had a glimpse of Tipolo falls from behind the twigs. Tipolo falls was a charmer, it was about 6 feet high and the water streams perfectly straight in to the plunge pool. The pool area was as wide as the one on the fourth level only deeper and more suitable for swimming.
How to get to Inambakan Falls, Bugnawan Falls, Kampael Falls, Unnamed Falls and Tipolo Falls in Ginatilan From Cebu City
Head to South Bus Terminal and ride a Ceres Bus going to Bato via Barili. Alight in Ginatilan town proper (Barangay Poblacion – look for the Inambakan Falls marker right across Julie’s Bakeshop). Travel time is approximately 3-4 hours. From Ginatilan town proper, ride a habal-habal to Inambakan Falls (30 pesos per way plus waiting fee).
After more than 30 minutes of trekking, I found myself in awe seeing the grandness of Dau Falls from afar. The whole place is surrounded with massive walls, the cool breeze circulating in the area and the cold water revitalized my then exhausted body. Dau falls is highest waterfall in Samboan measuring close to a hundred feet. The water gushes on a huge inclined wall resembling an overflowing water dam. It goes straight down to a pale green clear pool that is up to 8 feet deep. The path leading to the Dau falls was man-made but the locals did justice in preserving its natural look.
It was the farthest and the most secluded but it was also the one that has the most serene ambiance of all the waterfalls of South Cebu that I’ve been to so far.
How to get to Dau Falls from Cebu City
Head to South Bus Terminal and ride a Ceres Bus going to Bato via Barili. Alight in Barangay Suba before reaching Samboan town proper, look for the Dau Falls markers that are very visible on both sides of the road. Travel time is approximately 3-4 hours.
From the highway, you can make your way on foot to the registration area but it would eat up about 30 minutes of your time. If you want to save time and energy, there are tricycles from the main road that can bring you to the registration area for 30 pesos per way.
Otherwise, you can go straight to Samboan Town Proper and ask for the tourism office’s assistance in going to the different locations.
The name Candayvic or Kandayvic is a short form of the Cebuano words “Kang Inday Marivic” which translates as “For Dear Marivic”. The place was purportedly named after the municipal mayor’s wife, Marivic. Situated in Barangay Cañorong in Samboan, Candayvic Falls is actually an enhanced river with a low level cascade directly flowing in a deep gorge. When I visited Candayvic Falls, it has still not recovered from a recent storm according to my guides. The water level was noticeably lower than the usual and there were still some debris of washed out logs under the clear waters of the canyon.
The locals believe that the water that streams through Candayvic Falls is the same water that runs down to Dau Falls in Barangay Suba.
Binalayan Hidden Falls
Binalayan Hidden Falls in Barangay Bonbon is one of the three most well-known waterfalls of Samboan along with Aguinid Falls and Dau Falls. Its proximity to the main road makes it the most accessible of all the waterfalls of South Cebu and it has the easiest trail too. One of the unique features of Binalayan Hidden Falls is its three-point drop that looks like Wolverine’s blade. It was fascinating to see that the water only follows a certain direction and splits into three vertical lines as it rushes down to a man-made plunge pool. One of the popular things to do in Binalayan Hidden Falls is cliff jumping. In fact, my guide was such a daredevil that he jumped from its crown at approximately 60-70 feet high.
It is considered to be the flagship, the crowned jewel of all the waterfalls in Samboan. Aguinid Falls is not just for sight-seeing. To really appreciate its unique charm, you must go through all of its five levels (or should I say 8 levels) and getting wet and wild is the only option as you have to rappel upstream to get to each level. The humongous mineral-rich crystal-like rocks are Aguinid Falls’ best asset that is why the locals are so protective of it that they are asking visitors not to put on any sunblock lotion as it will damage the precious limestone walls. According to Wikipedia, these types of waterfalls are referred to by Geologists as “a living phenomenon” because they are continuously rebuilt by the sediments in spring water.
How to Get to Candayvic Falls, Binalayan Hidden Falls and Aguinid Falls from Cebu City
Head to South Bus Terminal and ride a Ceres Bus going to Bato via Barili. Alight in Samboan town proper. Travel time is approximately 3-4 hours.
You can go straight to the town’s tourism office and ask for assistance in going to the different locations or charter any of the habal-habal parked near the municipal hall. Haggle if you must, and make sure that you have a clear agreement with the driver before leaving.
To be honest, I was a bit heart-broken. It could have been a perfect sight only if there was enough water flowing down like a curtain covering the colossal rock wall. Nevertheless, Tumalog Falls is nothing but ethereal. Standing at 100 meters high, it has an expansive moss covered wall that is just unbelievable. The water trickles gently to a waist-high manmade pool that awaits those who wanted take a dip in its refreshing turquoise waters. Located in Barangay Luka, Tumalog Falls is one of the main attractions in Oslob, Cebu and I hope to see and experience its grandeur once more, maybe during the wet season.
How to Get to Tumalog Falls from Cebu City
Head to South Bus Terminal and ride a Ceres Bus going to Bato via Oslob. Inform your driver/conductor to drop you off in Barangay Luka in Oslob. Look out for the Tumalog Falls marker on the right side. It is approximately 10-15 minutes away after passing by Oslob town proper (Barangay Poblacion) but before reaching the Whale Shark jump off point in Barangay Tan-awan. Travel time from Cebu City to Oslob is approximately 3 hours.
From the main road, ride a habal-habal to bring you to the starting point or registration area. You may opt to walk from the registration area to Tumalog Falls however be wary that the road is very steep and you may find it hard to ascend when you return. If you don’t want to walk, you can rent a habal-habal down to the entrance of Tumalog Falls and the driver can wait for you when you’re ready to go back up.
To date, the whole island of Cebu has an inventory of 111 known waterfalls. I realized that I cannot chase them all for now but the waterfalls of South Cebu that I have been to were a pretty good place to start. The pictures you see here may not be enough to describe how it really felt to be standing face to face with these majestic natural wonders. It was simply breathtaking!
- Start early
- To save some money if you’re on DIY, haggle if you must. Make sure that you have a clear agreement with the habal-habal driver before taking the ride.
- It is an adventure-filled trip, be prepared physically and mentally as it can be very exhausting.
- Pack light
- Bring extra clothing
Only Take Photos. Kill Nothing but Time, Collect Only Memories. Leave Only Footprints.
BE A RESPONSIBLE TRAVELER and LEAVE NO TRACE.
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How about you? Have you been to South Cebu? Did you chase waterfalls too? What was your favorite waterfall? How was your experience? We would love to hear from you. Share your thoughts.