7 Must-Visit Waterfalls on Cebu Island

Cebu island offers visitors the perfect mix of relaxation and adventure. With beautiful beaches, colorful coral, massive waterfalls, canyoneering, and whale sharks, it’s a must-visit destination in the Philippines! The following 7 spectacular waterfalls on the southern end of the island are not-to-be-missed during your visit to this island paradise.

Swimming Hole at Kawasan Falls, Cebu , Philippines
Swimming Hole at Kawasan Falls

What to Bring

Regardless of whether or not you choose to swim at the base of the waterfalls that you’ll be visiting, you will most likely get wet. Most of these waterfalls require some easy river crossings and the trails can get slippery. So you’ll want to keep your valuables in a waterproof bag and do the trek in shoes that offer traction and that you don’t mind getting soaked.

Swimsuit

You’ll want to bring a swimsuit because the waterholes in Cebu are amazing! Most Filipinos swim in their clothes unless they’re under the age of 6 so you’ll probably feel more comfortable in a one piece. Pick something vibrant that will stand out against the beautiful blue water.

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Quick-Dry Towel

It would be a shame to hike all the way to these amazing waterfalls and not go for a dip in the swimming holes at the bottom! Bring a lightweight, quick-drying towel so you can use it over and over again throughout the day.

Water Shoes or Tennis Shoes

Many of the waterfalls around Cebu involve several water crossings. And if you choose to go canyoneering at Kawasan Falls you’ll be scrambling up rocks and then leaping off of them so water shoes will help to give you traction.

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Waterproof Bag

If you have expensive camera equipment that is not meant to get wet, invest in a quality dry bag prior to departing for the Philippines. If you’re not overly concerned that your bag might leak, there are plenty of dry bags for sale at shops around town and at the entrances to the more popular waterfalls.

Flip Flops

If you choose to hike in tennis shoes rather than water shoes, it’s a good idea to keep a pair of flip flops in your bag as well. Oftentimes the area around the swimming holes is fairly rocky so it’s nice to have some protection for those soles.

7 Must-Visit Waterfalls on Cebu Island

1. Mantayupan Falls

Mantayupan Falls is not a popular foreigner tourist destination but it’s certainly a popular swimming hole for Filipinos! There is only one waterfall and the swimming hole is quite deep so kids will need a lifejacket. Bring snacks and spend the day getting to know the locals.

Mantayupan Falls, Cebu, Philippines

Getting There

Mantayupan Falls is about 2 hours southwest of Cebu City in the central part of Cebu island. If you choose to stay in the Moalboal area it’s just an hour or so north of your hotel. The road is paved so it’s easy to rent a motorbike for the day to make the trip there and back.

Overview of the Falls

You’ll find plenty of locals picnicking at Mantayupan Falls but very few other foreigners so the locals will likely be quite surprised and excited to see you. There is just one large waterfall and the base gets plenty of sun so it’s perfect for swimming. Locals like to congregate on the one bamboo raft that just sits on the left hand side since most of the swimming area is very deep.

Hike to the Falls

The hike to the falls is fairly short. You’ll need to cross a long, swinging bridge and then you’ll come to the picnic area and the falls.

Entrance Fees and Other Rentals

Adults: 40 PHP per person
Kids: 20 PHP each
Lifejacket (optional): 20 PHP
Shower (optional): 10 PHP/person

Where to Stay

Eco-Top Inn offers air conditioned rooms for 1,000 for 24 hours and an air conditioned music lounge for 100 PHP/hour. However we would recommend staying in the Moalboal area where there are plenty of options for eating, drinking, shopping, and sleeping. Here’s our favorite spot in Moalboal:

Pescadores Seaview Suites

Pescadores Seaview Suites is located just south of the bustling area of town and you’ll appreciate the peace and quiet that it offers. Plus they have a stunning pool to lounge in while you’re not out exploring waterfalls!

Check prices on Agoda.com


2. Kawasan Falls

Kawasan Falls is the most popular waterfall in Cebu and for good reason! There are several lovely waterfalls, perfect for swimming. Plus there are plenty of restaurants and adventure opportunities. It gets crowded so arrive early for a more enjoyable experience.

Kawasan Falls, Cebu, Philippines

Getting There

The parking area for Kawasan Falls is located right off of the Santander highway about 45 minutes south of the Moalboal neighborhood. It’s an easy drive on a motorbike or you can catch one of the red or yellow buses that run every 30 minutes. You’ll know when you’re getting close when men start running out in the middle of the street to try to take you canyoneering.

Overview of the Falls

There are 3 levels of waterfalls that any visitor can access without a guide. The first is by far the busiest. There is a bustling restaurant with tables that are filled with locals sporting life jackets and chowing down. You’ve probably seen beautiful photos of couples on bamboos rafts in front of these falls. But don’t get your hopes up, all bamboo rafting adventures have been suspended indefinitely.

Second Level of Kawasan Falls, Cebu, Philippines

There is also a restaurant at the second falls. It is less crazy than the first and also gets a lot of sun so swimming in the freezing cold water is a bit more enjoyable. You’ll probably want to spend the majority of your time lounging in the swimming hole below this waterfall. This is also the perfect vantage point to watch the canyoneering adventurers attempt their highest jump at 15 meters!

Third Level of Kawasan Falls, Cebu, Philippines

The third waterfall that you can hike to is a man-made falls that photographs exceptionally well but isn’t necessarily an ideal spot to swim.

Hike to the Falls

You’ll want to park your motorbike at the church and then walk the long, paved path to the first waterfall. The parking fee is considered a “donation” to the church but you’ll be required to give 50 PHP. Most of the trek is paved and flat. You’ll see several vendors along the route and occasionally cars and motorbikes will attempt to pass through the crowds so be careful.

Once you reach the second parking lot (reserved for vendors) the pavement ends and you’ll begin walking on a well trafficked path. There is a restaurant and plenty of tables. If you don’t feel like eating there are very few areas to sit and enjoy the falls or to keep your belongings (although the restaurant does offer lockers for a fee).

From the first waterfall you’ll need to take the stairs on the left side to climb up to the second falls. There is also a restaurant here but there are fewer people.

Entrance Fees and Other Rentals

Adults:  20 PHP tourism fee + 25 PHP user’s fee per person (45 PHP total per person)
Parking: There are a few different parking options in the area. The safest bet is to park in the church parking lot and pay the 50 PHP fee.

Where to Stay

There are rooms available at the base of the falls for 1300 – 2500 per room depending on whether or not you need air conditioning or just a fan. However, Kawasan Falls is only a 30-minute or so drive from Moalboal which, as previously mentioned,  is full of lovely hotels, delicious restaurants, and lively bars.

Activities

The most popular adventure in the area is canyoneering. You do not need to book this in advance unless you specifically want to. There are guides literally lining the streets beginning several miles before you even reach the turn-off. The price seems to be set at 1500 PHP per person (including lunch) or 1300 PHP per person if you’d rather skip the meal.

Canyoneering at Kawasan Falls, Cebu, Philippines

Your canyoneering adventure will start with a motorbike ride up to the very top where you will sign the manifest, grab an umbrella, and walk 30 minutes in the unrelenting sun to the first falls. There are some steep stairs here which can be difficult to get down but handrails make the descent easier.

Once you reach the first waterfall you’ll strap on your helmet, tighten up your life vest, and hop in! If you are afraid of heights you really needn’t worry, many of the cliff jumps are optional (including the 15 meter jump at the end). There are also generally two options for jumping – a taller one and a much shorter one. Just tell your guide which one you would feel more comfortable with.


3. Inambakan Waterfalls

Inambakan Waterfall is similar to Kawasan Falls but without the crowds! The main waterfall is beautiful and ideal for swimming, and there are several well-maintained trails so you can explore other smaller falls nearby.

Inambakan Waterfalls, Cebu, Philippines

Getting There

Inambakan falls is tucked away in the hills to the east of the small town of Ginatilan. It is 34 kilometers south of Kawasan Falls making it about 50 kilometers south of Moalboal. Head south on the main road from Kawasan Falls (or north from Fantasy Lodge) until you arrive in Ginatilan. Then turn inland and follow the steep curvy mountain road to Inambakan Falls. There are a few signs and plenty of friendly locals to point you in the right direction.

Overview of the Falls

While there are several guides waiting at the entrance who would love to show you around for a small tip, this is one of the few falls that doesn’t require you to have a guide. The trail is very well maintained so it’s quite easy to find the way on your own.

The biggest and most impressive falls is the first one you’ll see along your hike. It’s also the perfect spot to swim. Follow the stairs up the right hand side to see all 7 levels of waterfalls in the area. The trail splits near the top. Off to the left is a small falls and swimming hole but you’ll want to turn back around once you’ve seen it to follow the trail on the right side the remainder of the way.

Seventh Level of Inambakan Waterfalls, Cebu, Philippines

The seventh level is a waterfall with a refreshing swimming hole and the trail abruptly ends here. You’ll probably be surprised that you saw all 7 levels but count them as you go back down. The fourth and fifth levels are visible, they’re just really small. The entire hike is lush and beautiful and it’s far less crowded than many of its neighbors.

Hike to the Falls

The walk from the parking area to the first waterfall is very short, less than 1/2 mile. There are a few sets of stairs but it’s easily accessible for any fitness level. If you continue to all seven levels you’ll need to climb some steep stairs and go through several water crossings.

Entrance Fees

Adults: 30 PHP entrance fee + 20 PHP environmental fee per person (50 PHP total which includes life jacket)
Parking fee: 50 PHP for cars, 15 PHP for motorbikes

Where to Stay

Inambakan Falls and the rest of the waterfalls in this article can be reached from Moalboal, but you’re in for a long day on a motorbike. We recommend moving to a hotel a bit further south as it’s much more pleasant to visit these waterfall in the early morning to avoid the heat and the crowds. Our favorite hotel in the area is Fantasy Lodge:

Fantasy Lodge Cebu

Fantasy Lodge Cebu is centrally located to visit several lovely waterfalls in southern Cebu, as well as to do some whale shark diving in Oslob. The hotel has a gorgeous pool, delicious food, and a private beach.

Check prices on Agoda.com


4. Dao Falls

The entire hike to Dao Falls is gorgeous and you’ll be rewarded with an idyllic turquoise blue swimming hole at the end. It was our favorite waterfall in all of Cebu so be sure not to miss it!

Dao Falls, Cebu, Philippines
Dao Falls

Getting There

After visiting Inambakan Falls return to the main road and head south for 3 kilometers. Turn inland 2 kilometers before you reach the town of Samboan and follow the signs to Dao Falls. The road is windy and a bit confusing but anyone you encounter along the way can point you in the right direction.

Overview of the Falls

You’ll be required to have a guide for this hike and as with a few others, tipping is at your own discretion. We gave our guide 250 PHP but also took our time at the falls to snap some photos and swim. The falls is truly stunning. The walls surrounding it are a greyish color and the water is milky blue.

Hike to the Falls

Hike to Dao Falls, Cebu, Philippines

The hike to Dao Falls is one of the prettiest in all of Cebu. After a fairly steep descent into the canyon (the loose gravel is difficult to walk on), you’ll follow a trail along the river for about 30 minutes or so.

You’ll need to do a few river crossings and if water levels are high you may be walking through waist deep water so be prepared to get wet. It’s also pretty slippery at times so be sure your valuables are in a waterproof bag, just in case you fall in.

Hike to Dao Falls, Cebu, Philippines

Your guide will likely take you back up a different way than you went down. The climb back out of the canyon is over 100 stairs and if you are there in the middle of the day you’ll probably need to take a few breaks along the way. Shade is minimal, the gravel is loose, and the stairs seem never ending.

Entrance Fees

Adults:  40 PHP entrance fee + 20 PHP environmental fee per person (60 PHP total)
Parking: 40 PHP for cars, 20 PHP for motorbikes

Where to Stay

Fantasy Lodge Cebu is just 15 minutes south of Dao Falls and is the most conveniently located hotel in the area.


5. Binalayan Hidden Waterfalls

Binalayan Hidden Waterfalls is not nearly as popular as the rest as the falls aren’t as impressive as some of it’s neighbors. But the cliff jumping is great fun and the guides go out of their way to make the experience fun.

Binalayan Waterfalls, Cebu, Philippines

Getting There

Binyalan Falls are located right off of the main road just a couple kilometers south of the town of Samboan (or 5 kilometers south of Dao Falls). Just look for the sign and you’ll find the entrance booth and small parking area less than 100 meters from the road.

Overview of the Falls

Binyalan Falls (sometimes also called Bonbon Falls or Triple-Drop Falls) are the smallest of the waterfalls we visited in Cebu. They are also the least visited which means you might wind up with them all to yourself!

You’ll be required to have a guide for this hike which will probably strike you as being silly since the trail is so well trodden, flat, and short (less than a mile). However they will show you where to jump off the rocks at the last waterfall and help you get up there if your climbing skills need work. They’ll snap photos of you and even push you on the tire swing.

We thought it was worth the 250 PHP tip we gave to have our own personal photographer hanging out with us for the hour or so that we were there.

Hike to the Falls

The walk to the two waterfalls is short, flat, and well trodden. Only the short bit at the end to the second waterfall is a bit slippery. Shoes with traction would be recommended over flip flops.

Entrance Fees

Foreigners: 40 PHP entrance fee + 20 PHP environmental fee per person (60 PHP total)
Filipinos: 40 PHP entrance fee + 20 PHP environmental fee per person (40 PHP total)
Parking: 30 PHP for cars, 20 PHP for a tricycle, and 10 PHP for a motorbike

Where to Stay

Fantasy Lodge Cebu is just a stone’s throw away from the falls!


6. Aguinid Falls

The waterfalls of Aguinid are not only beautiful but also so much fun to get to! You’ll hike up a waterfall and crawl behind another to check out the hidden cave. It’s a good mix of relaxing swimming and adventurous hiking, and it’s a photographers dream.

Fifth Level of Aguinid Waterfall, Cebu, Philippines

Getting There

You’ll find the road for Aguinid Falls just a short 650 meters south of Binalayan Falls. It’s the second most popular waterfall in southwest Cebu (behind Kawasan Falls) so it’s well signed and easy to find. There are several free parking areas on the road leading to the falls. We were skeptical at first, but it seems they are just hoping you’ll make a purchase at their store before or after visiting the falls.

Overview of the Falls

Once you arrive to the entrance to the falls you’ll need to stop at the booth and pay your entrance fees. You’ll also be assigned two guides and given a quick safety briefing. Apparently they’ve been attempting to establish the guide program for 3 years but it’s still in the works so you aren’t required to pay your guides but you are expected to tip them. We read in advance that 100 PHP per guide was standard for the 1.5 hour trip. We gave each 300 PHP because we took our sweet time taking photos along the way.

Third Level of Aguinid Waterfall, Cebu, Philippines

There are 5 waterfalls in total and, of course, the most impressive one is at the end. There is a small cave in the middle of the waterfall and your guide will help to hoist you up and the other guide will take photos of you from down below.

Hike to the Falls

There are 5 waterfalls in total. The distance between each is short but you’ll be expected to scramble up several rocks and climb a waterfall while using a rope. The rock is limestone so it provides a surprising amount of traction. You will most certainly get wet during this hike so either wear water shoes or tennis shoes that you don’t mind being soaked.

Second Level of Aguinid Falls, Cebu Philippines

The guides are very attentive and helpful throughout the entire hike. They’ll carry your bag if you need, lend you a helping hand, and get some amazing photos and videos of you along the way.

Entrance Fees

Adults:  40 PHP entrance fee + 20 PHP environmental fee per person (60 PHP total)
Guide Tip: We gave each guide 300 PHP although that is probably way more than they’d expect
Parking: Free!

Where to Stay

Fantasy Lodge Cebu is just 2 km south of Aguinid Falls.


7. Tumalog Falls

Tumalog Falls has a minimal water flow but the cliffs that surround the swimming hole below are quite impressive. You’ll be in awe of the majestic beauty of the entire area!

Tumalog Falls, Cebu, Philippines

Getting There

Tumalog Falls is just a short 10-minute drive from the whale shark watching area in Oslob. If you hired a tricycle to take you to go whale watching it’s easy to ask them to tack this stop on for a small fee. And if you have a motorbike it’s super convenient to get to after you’re finished snorkeling.

Overview of the Falls

Tumalog Falls is more of a water trickle as there isn’t a whole lot of water cascading into the pool below. But the steep cliffs rising overhead make for a picturesque spot regardless. Plus there is a pool at the bottom that is full of Garra rufa fish which are known for chowing down on dead skin. Soak your feet for 20 minutes or so for an all-natural foot spa.

Tumalog Falls, Cebu, Philippines

Hike to the Falls

From the parking area you’ll need to walk down an incredibly steep paved road to reach the falls. It doesn’t take long, it’s only about a quarter of a mile, but it’s rough on the knees. Several entrepreneurial motorbike drivers are doing a booming business bringing visitors back up to the top for 30 PHP per person.

Entrance Fees

Adults: 20 PHP per person
Motorbike ride back to the parking lot: 30 PHP per person
Parking: Free!

Where to Stay

L & M Hearthstones Lodge

L & M Hearthstones Lodge is close to the whale shark watching area and offers vibrantly colored, spacious rooms. The pool is stunning and everyone on staff is super friendly and helpful.

Check prices on Agoda.com

Nearby Activities

Cebu, and more specifically Oslob, is known for the whale sharks that congregate nearby. And divers and snorkelers are almost guaranteed to spot at least one. However, the way that the tour operators guarantee this up-close-and-personal experience is by chumming the water.

Many people would argue that this is really harmful for the whale sharks because it domesticates them, causes them not to fear people, and makes it difficult to return to the wild to feed themselves. Be sure you do your research before deciding whether or not you’d like to participate.

Sunset in Cebu, Philippines
Sunset at Fantasy Lodge

Know of any other amazing waterfalls to explore in Cebu? Comment below so we can add them to the list!

Want more info? Check out our favorite travel guides and books about the Philippines!



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