Waterfalls are one of nature’s many gifts that touch us deeply from the senses to the soul. The sound of water splashing and birds chirping, backdropped with a lush greenery around, make up a transformative vibe for any traveler. There is something rather special about them, it feels a little more personal. Like a secret only you know about. This is why a hike that ends in a waterfall is considered pure bliss by many.

A year ago (yes, it took my lazy butt a year to finally write about it), James and I headed south of Cebu to chase some waterfalls. Chase. Aside from the obvious reason that waters run endlessly, why do we often call the act “chasing”? Is it because waterfalls change with seasons and yesterday’s scene may not be the same as today’s? Or are we in pursuit of something intangible? I wonder how many waterfalls it would take for us to find the right answer.

The Loud Roar of Barili

Loud and proud. The first time I set my eyes on Mantayupan Falls, I was in awe of its loud roar. This horsetail waterfall is located at the foot of Barili’s rugged mountains surging 321 feet down to its pool. Dubbed as one of Cebu’s tallest, this beauty also used to provide electricity to local households.

Being early birds, we had the place to ourselves. We soaked up what’s left of summer and treated ourselves with a dip in the cold water.

Aside from the waterfall, the hanging bridge installed by locals added a picturesque view to the place. Every step is a step closer to paradise.

The Untamed Paradise of Badian

If you search for a tourist destination in Badian, the first thing Google would automatically prompt is Kawasan Falls. Be it canyoneering or hiking, all routes would eventually lead to this  trio of picturesque cascades.

However, very little is known about this hidden waterfalls in one of its mountain baranggays. It’s a single tiered denouement of a river that slithered within the jungle.

There is no clear trail to follow and aside from kids who want to enjoy a quick swim, this waterfall is not frequented by locals. Gladly, some kids were willing to show us the the way and join us on our little adventure.

The Cascades of Ginatilan

Tucked in the outskirts of Ginatilan is a cascade of interconnected waterfalls that offers visitors a 3-in-1 treat: Kampael Falls, Bugnawan Falls and Inambakan Falls.

At the top of the three-layered cascade is Kampael Falls. Because of it’s remoteness and limited area, only a few people would venture to the place. For this reason, it’s a perfect spot for those who want a serene vibe.

The water then leads to Bugnawan Falls below. This mini chute waterfall is also a little secluded with the nearby trees, plants and some boulders. The place derived its name from the local word “bugnaw” which means “cold”. And, indeed, it is.

The final drop of Ginatilan’s cascade is Inambakan Falls. Often compared to Kawasan Falls because of its natural turquoise-colored catch pool, this 100 feet punchbowl waterfall boasts of its exclusivity that you rarely get in Kawasan. The place derived its name from the local word “ambak” which means “to jump”.

Surrounded by verdant greens and lit by sunrays, Inambakan Falls is a picturesque heaven on earth. This natural combo even gave us a quick sight of a rainbow arching in front of the plunging water.

The locals who man the area were also very friendly, which kept the talkative James busy for quite some time. My momentary solitude brought me back to my musings about life and waterfalls. What are we really chasing? Time? Experience? Change? Ourselves?

Perhaps we’ll have the answer on our next trip down south. 🙂


If you ever go and do it for the Gram, take your trash with you — every piece, every gram.