Chasing Waterfalls: 5 of the Most Beautiful Waterfalls in Cebu

Kawasan Falls. Source:

Cebu has a lot of wonders to behold. Hot springs, waterfalls, beaches, you name it.

In this article, we feature some of the most popular and highly-recommended waterfalls to see in Cebu. The island has a lot more falls to offer and someday, we might provide an exhaustive and dynamic list to cover that. For now, remember to add these waterfalls to your bucket list so you can do your research beforehand.

Kawasan Falls in Badian

South Bus Terminal. Take a bus going to Oslob via Barili.

One of the most popular waterfalls, if not the most popular waterfall, in Cebu is Kawasan Falls which is located in Barangay Matutinao, Badian, south of Cebu City. Kawasan Falls is a three-tiered cascading waterfalls. The waterfalls, like many waterfalls in the Philippines, make up the barangay’s River System. The Falls is not the only great attraction. While hiking to Kawasan Falls, you will enjoy the wonderful sceneries: the river, tropical plants and animals that you encounter along the way.

The water is cool and crystal clear. The view is totally worth the commute. Don't expect a quiet moment here though. Tourists and locals flock the place. The third level, which is the highest accessible point of Kawasan Falls is dubbed as the “Source”. Your risk will pay off as there is nothing quite like it. Water gushes out from a cave and it creates a very serene scene. You do need to have remarkable endurance to get to the top though as the climb requires strength and stamina.

Like many places, you have to be careful in Kawasan Falls. A handful of visitors have drowned there. The current can be stronger than you think, so if you are not a strong swimmer, I suggest you stay at the more serene part of the falls and stay away from the torrential water.

Travel time can take 3 hours on average. You would very rarely find taxis that will take you there from the city. And if you do, expect to pay a ridiculous amount. Better hire a private tour car/van instead. Or, if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, take the bus. Go to the South Bus Terminal, which is located at N. Bacalso Avenue, Cebu City, 6000 Cebu, Philippines, right beside the Land Transportation Office (LTO) Cebu City Main and E-mall.

Click to locate the South Bus Terminal on Google Maps: SOUTH BUS TERMINAL

Take a south-bound bus to Bato via Barili (take note of this, don’t take the via Oslob bus). Check out the bus timings HERE.

Inform the ticket collector (the conductor) that you want to alight at the drop off point for Kawasan Falls. There is a billboard that says “This way to Kawasan Falls” so you shouldn’t miss it.

Trek 15 minutes (don’t worry, “this way” signs are everywhere) to reach the first waterfall. You can also take a habal-habal (motorcycle) to get there if you want.

Check this out before you proceed: What is a Habal-habal?

  • Estimated total transportation cost: P170 for bus fare + P50 for habal-habal
  • Entrance fee: P40

Tumalog Falls in Oslob

Tumalog Falls. Source:

If you are going to see the whale sharks in Oslob, then you might as well drop by Tumalog Falls. This relatively less-popular sight in Oslob is a wonder to the sight. Cool, not crowded and ethereal, you can enjoy the place in peace.

If you’re not taking a private vehicle, then take the bus. Take a south-bound bus to Bato via Oslob (remember this, don’t take the via Barili bus). Check out the bus timings HERE.Click to locate the South Bus Terminal on Google Maps: SOUTH BUS TERMINAL

The journey from Cebu City will take 3-4 hours. Tell the ticket collector that you wish to alight at the Tumalog Falls drop off. Once there, take a habal-habal as the road can get steep. A habal-habal ride will take you approximately 15 minutes. Walking to the falls will take you a lot longer.

Check this out before you proceed: What is a Habal-habal?

  • Estimated transportation cost: P170 for the bus fare + P150 for the habal-habal ride (ridiculous, I know)
  • No entrance fee

Mantayupan Falls of Barili

Mantayupan Falls, Source:

Mantayupan Falls is located in Barili, still south of Cebu. One of the highest falls in Cebu (14 meters high, while the other falls is 98 meters), Mantayupan has somehow maintained its serene atmosphere. Cottages and tables are available for visitors’ use. Prepare to shell out at least P300.

Take a south-bound bus to Bato via Barili (take note of this, don’t take the via Oslob bus). Check out the bus timings HERE. Click to locate the South Bus Terminal on Google Maps: SOUTH BUS TERMINAL

Alight at the Shamrock Center and find a habal-habal (motorcycle) to take you to Mantayupan Falls. The trip will probably take about 3 hours + 5 hours of motorcycle ride.

Check this out before you proceed: What is a Habal-habal?

Entrance fee is P40 for adults and P20 for children

  • Estimated transportation cost: P150 for the bus fare + P50 for the habal-habal ride
  • Entrance fee: P40 for adults, P20 for children. Ask for a receipt thatreflects the amount you paid. The place is known for putting a lower amount on your receipt.

Budlaan Falls in Cebu City

Budlaan Falls. Source:

Budlaan Falls, one of the hidden gems in Cebu City (no need to take a 3-hour bus ride this time). Budlaan Falls is just located a few kilometers off the main road. Although not breathtakingly beautiful as the other falls in this list, it is a common trail among local mountaineering groups and hiking enthusiasts.

The best time to go to Budlaan Falls would be during warm days. During rainy days, the water can get muddy and the path can get too slippery. Take note though that the waters suddenly go deep so always be careful and don’t be too adventurous if you don’t know how to swim.

As I said, the waterfalls isn’t really as beautiful as the world-renowned falls or the other falls in this list. Its beauty is in the path you travel to get to it. The rocks, the trees, the path and the challenge of pushing yourself. It can be difficult to go there especially when if you don’t have the stamina. But, if you are up for the challenge, this can be an interesting experience.

There are many routes to Budlaan Falls:

  • Seasoned hikers and mountain climbers take the difficult road by going downstream the river from Busay to the falls
  • First-timers traverse a nearer trail via Talamban. Take a jeepney going to Talamban and alight at Sunny Hills Subdivision. Then, ride a habal-habal  to get to the jump-off at Baugo for P50 per person. From there you will take a trail to the falls. What is a Habal-habal?

Here’s a tip, it would be best to have a guide who knows the place well. Ask local folks in the area or look up mountaineering and trekking groups in Cebu City online. There might be some paths that are confusing due to the topography. Also, the trails also change depending on the season.

  • Estimated transportation cost: 10 for the jeepney fare + P50 for the habal-habal ride
  • No entrance fee

Dao Falls of Samboan

Dao Falls. Source: Gian Carlo Jubela, via Flickr

Dao Falls or Dau or Da-o is terrible when there is a drought. It looks like a dam. However, during May to November, the waterfalls looks majestic. It has four tiers. Unlike most commercialized waterfalls and surrounding areas, Dao is not. There are no changing cubicles, and no large cottages. It is tranquil enough for you after the crazy trek.

So now let’s talk about the trek. Getting there is not easy. It takes, on average, 30 minutes to hike to the falls. Since I’m guessing you’re not going there during the rainy season, be prepared to walk under the scorching sun. Not much shade, and a lot of crossing rivers, lagoons and streams to get there. You will traverse makeshift footbridge and unpaved roads too.

To get there, take a south-bound bus to Bato via Barili (take note of this, don’t take the via Oslob bus). Check out the bus timings HERE. Click to locate the South Bus Terminal on Google Maps: SOUTH BUS TERMINAL

Tell the conductor that you will alight at Samboan Town Proper. Travel time will be 3.5 to 4 hours, depending on the traffic. Upon reaching Samboan Town Proper, you will see a large kiosk with a statue of the farmer on top of the kiosk. That’s your cue to alight. Take a habal-habal and tell the driver that you are going to Dao Falls, via Baranggay Palanas. There are also locals who will recommend a guide for you should you need one.

This route is accessible via habal-habal, plus the hike to the falls will take you around 30 minutes. The other route is via Baranggay Suba, which is the one most often traversed if you’re going there via a private vehicle. However, the trek via the Baranggay Suba route could take up to an hour.

  • Estimated transportation cost: P170 for the bus fare + P50 for the habal-habal ride
  • Entrance Fee: P40
  • Guide: P100 to P150


Leave nothing but footprints and take nothing but memories. And videos. And photos.