Top 5 Things To Do in Mactan, Cebu
There’s something about waterfalls that people don’t quite fully understand. It’s beautiful, relaxing, and sometimes intimidating—but it leaves you captivated for a long while.
If you want waterfalls to be the highlight of your next trip, Cebu won’t disappoint. Do you know that there are over 90 waterfalls in this small province? That’s a lot to choose from, but here are the best waterfalls in Cebu that should make it to your bucket list.
Let’s start with northern Cebu first:
1. Tinubdan Falls, Catmon
Perhaps the only known waterfalls up north, a trip to the north won’t be complete without stopping at Tinubdan Falls. Before seeing all 6 beautiful cascades of Tinubdan Falls, you will have to trek your way through.
TRAVEL DISTANCE: From Cebu City, Tinubdan Falls in Catmon is approximately 55 km to the north. Travel time will take about 2 hours.
BUS: From the North Bus Terminal, hop on any bus that passes Catmon (P90 / $2). Inform the driver or conductor to drop you off at Katambisan, Catmon.
Take a motorcycle or habal-habal to Barangay Tabili (P50 / $1). You may ask the driver to pick you up when you’re done since they normally don’t stay long after dropping passengers.
TOURIST VAN/CAR: Hire a tourist vehicle for a more convenient journey to Tabili (8-hr use, roundtrip: P3,500 – P5,000 / $67 – $96).
No entrance fee! As of this writing, Tinubdan Falls remains to be a natural attraction open for all to enjoy. You may give a tip to the habal-habal driver and the tour guide.
- For your safety, hire a tour guide (P300 / $6). There are no signs, so having a tour guide helps keep you safe while you river-trek.
- Bring trekking shoes and extra clothes. You’ll be doing lots of walking and swimming!
- While in Catmon, try the native delicacy the town is known for: budbud kabog or millet seeds cooked in coconut milk and brown sugar, and steamed in fragrant banana leaves. This is definitely the perfect snack after a long trek!
Most of Cebu’s best waterfalls are far down south, but here some of the highly recommended:
2. Kawasan Falls, Badian
Going down south of Cebu, Kawasan Falls is often featured in magazines and postcards. Streaming in three very tall water cascades, this is the final stop of Badian’s exhilarating canyoneering adventure.
TRAVEL DISTANCE: From Cebu City, Kawasan Falls in Badian is approximately 115 km to the south. Travel time will take about 3 hours.
BUS: From the South Bus Terminal, hop on any bus bound for Bato via Barili (P170 / $3). Inform the driver or conductor to drop you off near the church at Matutinao, Badian, which is the starting point to get to Kawasan Falls.
It will take a 15 – 20 minute walk to get to the waterfalls. Alternatively, you may hire a habal-habal (P50 / $1) if you want to get there fast.
Pay the entrance fee before walking towards the falls (P40 / $.80 for adults, P30 / $0.60 for children), including the life vest fee (P50 / $1).
- Along the walk to the falls, you’ll see small stores selling souvenirs and light snacks.
- Arrive as early as you can since the place can get crowded by noon especially during weekends and holidays.
- For safety purposes, diving and cliff-jumping are prohibited.
3. Cancalanog Falls, Alegria
Remaining off the beaten path, the beauty of Cancalanog Falls is an understatement. Over the years, its blue-green waters have caught the attention of many travelers.
TRAVEL DISTANCE: From Cebu City, Cancalanog Falls in Alegria is approximately 120 km to the south. Travel time will take about 3.5 hours.
BUS: From the South Bus Terminal, hop on any bus bound for Bato via Barili (P170 / $3). Inform the driver or conductor to drop you off at Sangi, Alegria.
Hire a habal-habal (P100 / $2) to take you to the entrance of Cancalanog Falls. Negotiate with the driver to fetch you when you’re done since vehicles don’t usually ply this route.
From the entrance, the path is quite narrow. You will have to walk for about 20 minutes before reaching the waterfalls.
Pay the entrance fee at the registration area (P50 / $1).
- Don’t forget your snorkeling gear! Cancalanog Falls boasts of its crystal-clear water, so enjoy the underwater view while you’re there.
- After a refreshing swim in Cancalanog Falls, stroll around the Alegria Heritage Park. This is a serene place to have an afternoon picnic or sample quick bites from street food vendors such as fish balls, local tempura, and kwek-kwek (quail egg coated in savory batter).
4. Inambakan Falls, Ginatilan
This is another untouched, mostly unexplored place in the south of Cebu. Even during weekends, Inambakan Falls is peaceful and relaxed. Go here while it’s still a hidden gem!
TRAVEL DISTANCE: From Cebu City, Inambakan Falls in Ginatilan is approximately 130 km to the south. Travel time will take about 3.5 – 4 hours.
BUS: From the South Bus Terminal, hop on any bus bound for Bato via Barili (P170 / $3). Inform the driver or conductor that you’re going to Inambakan Falls, and to drop you off at Ginatilan proper.
Hire a habal-habal (P50 / $1) to the entrance of Inambakan Falls which takes about 15 minutes. Walk for another 10 minutes. There are small cottages scattered at the base of the waterfalls.
Pay the entrance fee at the ticket office (P50 / $1), which is inclusive of a life vest.
- Hire a local tour guide (fee varies—most guides just let you decide how much you’ll pay them). Inambakan Falls has 5 levels, and you want to make the most out of them. The first and main attraction is the 100-foot water cascade, but there’s still so much to see after that!
- You can visit Inambakan Falls as a side trip from Moalboal which is 1.5 hours away. Coming from Moalboal, hop on any bus bound for Bato via Barili (P90 / $2). You can also hire a private vehicle from tour agencies in Moalboal (5-hr use, roundtrip: P2,000 – 3,500 / $38 – $67).
HELPFUL TIP: Kawasan Falls, Cancalanog Falls, and Inambakan Falls are all neighboring towns in the south-west area of Cebu province.
While you’re nearby, you might as well visit them all. In this case, it’s best to hire a:
TOURIST VAN/CAR: Inclusive of driver, fuel, and waiting time (14-hr use, roundtrip: P5,000 – P8,000 / $96 – $153). Note that the exact fee depends on the vehicle type and the number of stops. You may coordinate with the tour agency to customize your itinerary.
You can hire a tourist van/car for 2-3 days of use to alternate different activities. In between waterfall visits, you can dive at Moalboal, glamp at Badian, or eat in Molave Milk Station at Barili.
Lastly, another waterfall that’s worth a visit is one that’s tucked in Oslob—a humble town in southeast Cebu popular for whale shark watching.
5. Tumalog Falls, Oslob
Also known as ‘Toslob Falls’ (to dip), or ‘Mag-ambak Falls’ (to jump), you’ll appreciate the raw beauty of nature in this popular tourist site. When you’re done swimming with whale sharks, flock to Tumalog Falls for a refreshing dip.
TRAVEL DISTANCE: From Cebu City, Tumalog Falls in Oslob is approximately 130 km to the south. Travel time will take about 3.5 – 4 hours.
BUS: From the South Bus Terminal, hop on any bus bound for Bato-Oslob (P170 / $3). Inform the driver or conductor that you’re going to Tumalog Falls, and to drop you off at Luka, Oslob. You’ll know you’re there once you see the signage.
Hire a habal-habal (P30 / $0.60) to the entrance of Tumalog Falls which takes about 15 minutes. Trek for another 10 minutes.
TOURIST VAN/CAR: Hire a tourist vehicle to Oslob (12-hr use, roundtrip: P4,500 – P7,000 / $87 – $135).
Pay the entrance fee at the end of the trek, near the base of the waterfalls (P20 / $.40).
- The trail to the waterfalls is a steep one, so exercise caution.
- If you’re hiring a tourist vehicle to do whale shark watching, make sure to drop by Tumalog Falls. Alternatively, it’s only one habal-habal ride away (P50 / $1).
To make your waterfall trip more worthwhile, here are more helpful tips:
- Locals make the best travel companions! If you’re traveling in a private vehicle, remember to gas up before the long ride (P2,000 – P4,000 / $38 – $77). Note that fuel prices fluctuate constantly.
- Traveling in a big group? Do you have kids in tow? Skip the bus and hire a tourist van instead. The safety, convenience, and comfort are worth the extra dollars.
- If you’re leaving from Cebu City, the best time to leave is at 3:00 – 4:00 AM to avoid heavy traffic.
- Waterfalls are regulated and managed by their respective local government units. Rates, opening/closing hours, and other rules may change accordingly.
- Manage your expectations. The local government charges little to no entrance fees, so the facilities are often very simple (cottages, chairs, toilets).
- There may be little to no network coverage.
- Since food choices may be limited, it’s best to bring outside food and drinks.
- Always check the weather. The best time to go is during the summer or dry months (January – May). Heavy rains may cause flooding.
- Bring enough cash in local currency (Philippine Peso). There are no ATMs nearby.
- Enjoy the moment and take photos! You might not experience this again.
Waterfalls are truly fascinating. Which waterfall in Cebu would you like to see first? Let us know!