Top 17 Most Stunning Waterfalls in the Philippines
The Philippines is a trendy destination in Southeast Asia, not only for backpackers but also for travelers who come to the country just to have a holiday. In addition to good food and incredible culture, the Philippines has a long list of thousands and thousands of incredible waterfalls that attract people from all corners of the world. Although it is impossible to know about all the existing waterfalls, we have done our best to gather the most famous falls that we think are a must-visit while being in the Philippines.
Kawasan Falls is a magical place where you can experience three levels of waterfalls with natural spring water. It’s one of the most popular waterfalls located on the island of Cebu, and that’s for a good reason. To get to the first waterfall, you just need to take a short hike along an easy trail for about 20 minutes. The first waterfall is the most popular option, but if you hike further to the second falls which takes about 15 minutes, you will experience a quieter environment with fewer visitors. The higher you go, the more impressive the surroundings become. Be sure to bring your swimsuit and enjoy the refreshing and cool waters between hikes!
For those who are more adventurous, we recommend trying the canoe tour that departs from Badian and takes you to Kawasan Falls. Badian is about 3 hours from the popular Cebu City, so we recommend staying a night in Badian to have energy for the canoe ride. During the 4-hour canoe ride, you will experience amazing views, glide past large rock walls, and enjoy the turquoise water. Equipment such as helmets, protective gear, and life jackets are available for rent for about $40. We highly recommend using the safety equipment since the tour includes 7 medium-sized jumps and some parts where you have to slide with the canoe like a water slide. This is truly an adventure you don’t want to miss when visiting the Philippines!
Keep in mind that the popular bamboo raft is no longer available for rent. These classic rafts, which can accommodate up to 10 people, had to be removed. This is because the people who rented out the bamboo rafts did not follow the local government’s set prices.
If you want to visit Kawasan Falls, there are two options for getting there. You can choose to drive yourself or take the bus. If you take the bus, go to Cebu’s South Bus Terminal and take the bus that goes to Bato via Barili.
Maria Cristina Falls
Maria Cristina Falls is a spectacular waterfall located along the Agus River in northern Mindanao in the Philippines. It is nicknamed Twin Falls due to a large boulder that separates the water flow at the edge of the waterfall. It is located 9.3 km southwest of the city of majestic waterfalls, Iligan City, within the boundaries of Barangays Maria Cristina, Ditucalan, and Buru-un.
It’s not just the natural landscape that makes Maria Cristina Falls a unique experience. The waterfall, which reaches a height of 98 meters, generates more than 70% of Mindanao’s electricity needs through a hydroelectric plant that has been in operation for over 65 years. Due to its importance to the region, local authorities regulate water activities and limit the number of tours. If you visit Maria Cristina Falls when the hydroelectric power plant is not in operation, you can see the divided rock that gave rise to the name Twin Falls.
The second of the two twin falls is called Pulangbato Falls. As the falls come from two different sources, Maria Christina Falls has a clear and narrow drop, while Pulangbato’s water cascades on a wall covered with sulfur deposits, making it red or orange in color.
The twin falls surrounding area is a great place and has a lot to offer, including picnic areas in parks where you can enjoy a meal with a fantastic view of the waterfall at well-placed picnic tables. If you are nearby, we definitely recommend taking a trip to this magical place.
Aliwagwag Falls is the highest waterfall in the Philippines. With an impressive height of 340 meters and a width of 20 meters, it’s easy to see why this waterfall is one of the most visited. Aliwagwag Falls is part of the rainforest in the protected area of Aliwagwag Protected Landscape. What makes this waterfall so beautiful are all of its levels, with a total of 84 different streams.
For those who love adventure, there’s a 680-meter zip line that will take you over the treetops at high speeds and give you an experience you won’t forget.
Aliwagwag Falls is easily accessible via the newly built Compostela-Cateel Road, which crosses the protected area and passes near the waterfall. It is only 24 km west of Cateel Poblacion and approximately 320 km east of Davao City.
When you visit Aliwagwag, you will discover an incredible variety of birds, including the Philippine eagle, Visayan dwarf kingfisher, and Lina’s sunbird, among many others. The area is also home to the tallest trees in the Philippines, known as Philippine Rosewood or Toog, which is an impressive sight to behold. Bring your camera because it’s a great spot to take some cool pictures of the beautiful environment.
If you want to do more activities while visiting this waterfall, you can go on a fishing trip on the Cateel River. Here you can find the rare fish called Sawugnun by the locals, which is considered a delicacy.
Tumalog Falls, the almost 100-meter-high waterfall located just a short distance from Kawasan Falls, is well worth a visit if you are in the area. The waterfall used to be difficult to access, which meant that Tumalog Falls was discovered first in 2012. Nowadays, good roads have been built and it is easy to get there. A tip to avoid relying on taxis is to go there by moped as the waterfall is only 20 minutes from Oslob. Once you arrive at the parking area, it’s about a 15-minute cozy hike to the waterfall.
As always with tourist attractions, the best time to go there is early to avoid the tourist crowd that comes during the day. This is largely due to the popular Whale Shark Tour that departs from Oslob. Many choose to plan Tumalog Falls into their Philippines itinerary, and we really understand why!
Pagsanjan Falls, locally known as Magdapio Falls, is an enchanting destination that should be on every traveler’s bucket list. Located in the beautiful province of Laguna in the Philippines, it’s no wonder that it’s one of the most famous waterfalls in the country.
A legend says that Pagsanjan Falls wasn’t always in its current location. Instead, there was a vast plain with highlands, two rivers (Balanac and Bumbungan), and an alluvial delta where the town of Pagsanjan now stands. During a severe dry period, Balubad, the weaker of the two brothers who lived on the eastern bank of the Bumbungan River, died. Magdapio, the other brother, was left alone in a waterless world. He found a spring by throwing a stick against the rocks in despair. The spring grew into a roaring waterfall that is now called Pagsanjan Falls. Whether it’s a legend or not, it certainly adds to the atmosphere when you visit the place.
The falls have been an attraction since the Spanish colonial era, with the oldest written record dating back to 1894. So if you’re looking for a unique adventure and a piece of local history, be sure to add Pagsanjan Falls to your itinerary.
There are two popular ways to get to Pagsanjan Falls. One way is to take the adrenaline-pumping boat ride called “Shooting the Rapids” from any of the resorts along the Bumbungan and Balanac Rivers. The other way is by hiking from Cavinti, Laguna, where Pueblo El Salvador Nature’s Park and Picnic Grove are located. From the park, you can see smaller falls.
Inambakan Falls is located 140 km southwest of Cebu City and is an impressive waterfall with 5 levels! The first level is fantastic but if you want to experience the waterfall without crowds, make your way up level by level. Getting to the top takes about 15 minutes and it’s very steep in many places, but it’s well worth it once you get there! Be sure to wear good water shoes and take the opportunity to cool off in the refreshing and cold water during the hike.
To get to Inambakan Falls, you can take a daily bus from Oslob and Moalboal which both have a jump-off point near the fall. It costs around 150 pesos and takes about 45 minutes from Oslob and 1 hour and 20 minutes from Moalboal. If you’re comfortable with driving we recommend renting a scooter to see as much as possible on the way there!
The Seven Falls of Lake Sebu
Mindanao, the second largest island in the Philippines, houses some of the grandest waterfalls in the country, including the Seven Falls of Lake Sebu. Situated in the highland town of South Cotabato, Seven Falls is a fantastic natural wonder located in Barangay Lake Siloton of the municipality of Lake Sebu.
It consists of seven waterfalls with strong water coming from Lake Sebu, an important water resource in the region. The outflows go to Lonon River and are caught by the smaller Lake Siloton before cascading from Hikong Alo, which means the first waterfall, to Hikong Tonok, which means the seventh waterfall, and finally to Allah River.
The first two waterfalls are the easiest to access among the seven. Hikong Alo is 10 m high while waterfall two or Hikong Bente is 21 m high. Getting close to the other five waterfalls requires some effort, but they can be easily seen by riding the zipline offered.
Located in Iligan City in the province of Lanao del Norte, Tinago Falls is a fantastic waterfall with enchanting natural charm. Its extraordinary beauty attracts many visitors. The falls are called “Tinago” which means “hidden” in the local language, and the name refers to the falls being hidden in a deep ravine. To get to the falls, you must walk about 500 steps along a winding staircase. Once you get there, you will be greeted by a fantastic view! There is also a small cave located under the falls where visitors can explore the beauty of nature.
This waterfall also carries a lot of history. A legend says that there was once a powerful and respected sultan named Agok and his wife who ruled over their kingdom as king and queen. But their pride and selfishness made them tyrants, which led to their downfall. During the sultan’s wife’s pregnancy, a witch, disguised as a beggar, asked for their help, but they turned her away. As punishment, the sorceress cursed their unborn child to be ugly, but the couple ignored the curse and banished the witch.
To their surprise, the child became beautiful, but they were disappointed that she did not look like her mother. They hid the child in a cave and gave her the name Tin-ag or “hidden face”.
When Tin-ag grew up, she came out of the cave and was amazed by the world around her. The witch who cursed her parents saw her and offered to transform her into something of great beauty and magnificence. Tin-ag accepted the offer and was transformed into the magnificent Tinago Falls. This legendary tale adds to the majestic natural beauty.
Located in the mountains between Iligan City and Talakag, Bukidnon, there lies a hidden gem that only a few know of. Situated on the border of two cities, this majestic waterfall goes by two names depending on which city you ask. In Iligan City, it is known as Limunsudan Falls, while it’s called Mindamoro Falls by the people of Bukidnon. Although it has two different names, one thing is true about this waterfall – it is one of the largest and most wonderful waterfalls that exist in the country, or perhaps even in the world.
With a height of 270 meters, Limunsudan Falls is the second tallest in the Philippines. The tropical forest surrounds the waterfall in a magical way and it’s one of the best places to visit if you happen to pass by.
Asik-Asik Falls, or Dulao Falls as the locals call it, is located in Sitio Dulao in Barangay Upper Dado in Alamada, North Cotabato. Located on the slope of Mount Ragang, also known as Mount Piapayungan or Blue Mountain, you will find this beautiful place on an active stratovolcano that sits on the border between Lanao del Sur and North Cotabato.
In addition to the plant-covered mountain wall behind the waterfall that makes the view absolutely stunning, Asik-Asik Falls has something else unique. There is no river or stream over the high wall leading down to the waterfall. The cold water comes from a source covered with stones and lush greenery, cascading down over a 60-meter-high wall covered with various vegetation, mainly ferns, and moss. With a width of about 140 meters, it visually looks like a green curtain of water coming from nowhere!
There are different stories about the discovery of this natural wonder. Some say it was discovered by the military by accident during a clearing operation, while others say that the locals already knew about the place before. The latter version seems more likely to us because how could a beauty of this size have gone unnoticed? The locals probably kept the place secret because of its beauty.
It is worth mentioning that it is quite difficult to get to this waterfall, so be prepared to struggle a little. It takes half an hour by motorcycle over a rough road, and once you arrive, you have to climb down the 376 stone steps before being rewarded with the beauty of the falls. But the effort is definitely worth it!
Discovered for the first time in 2015, Kaparkan Falls is relatively a new tourist destination. But when photos of this perfect place with lush vegetation and an amazing waterfall went viral, a lot of people now want to visit it.
Before going to Kaparkan Falls, make sure to plan your visit in advance with the local tourism office or a tour group. All travelers who go there need to secure slots before they’re permitted to visit. This process was put in place to prevent overcrowding and to help maintain the beauty of Kaparkan Falls. The place is regulated by the local government and rules say that the max carrying capacity of the falls is 100 people at a time so visitors are only allowed in batches. Three hours are allotted per batch so maximize your stay at this natural wonder! Keep in mind that you might have to wait for your turn if a group arrives before you.
The falls come alive during the rainy season which is sometime from August to September. The rest of the year it stays dry leaving the limestone terraces empty. Even if you want to visit during the dry season, you won’t be able to because the area is closed off.
Cambugahay Falls is a stunning waterfall located on the eastern side of Siquijor Island and it takes about 30 minutes by car from Paliton Beach to get there. The best way to get there is by scooter, but if you are not comfortable driving, you can take a habal habal (scooter taxi) or rent a tricycle. The road to the falls is not difficult, there are clear signs or you can search on Google Maps for directions.
Once you arrive, you will be greeted by the first level of the falls, which has a large natural pool and some man-made structures, including rope swings, bamboo rafts, and a wide waterfall. It is truly a playground for adults. But don’t end your adventure at the bottom level because there are several more levels of the falls to explore. Follow the dense jungle trail upstream where you will find more freshwater swimming holes, flowing rock pools, and several cliff diving spots.
You can easily spend a few hours at this waterfall, jumping from pool to pool and swinging from tree swings. It costs about 50 pesos for unlimited swings on the ropes around the falls and we think it’s definitely worth paying for since it’s one of the best things there.
Be sure to have travel insurance before making the visit to a waterfall too much of an adventure.
150 kilometers away from Cebu City lies the region of Samboan. Here, many beautiful waterfalls can be found and Aguinid Falls is one of them. Although it’s not as popular as the well-known Kawasan Falls further down the road, the short trek to Aguinid Falls is a fantastic and adventurous activity for all types of visitors.
Aguinid Falls is divided into several levels. A few years ago, you could climb up to eight levels, but due to some accidents and deaths on the higher levels, a local guide is now required and you will only be able to reach level five. But don’t worry, this is more than enough to have an unforgettable experience. You will walk through the turquoise water, cross bamboo bridges, and at one point climb straight up the waterfall with the help of a rope.
We recommend booking a tour that allows you to see Aguinid Falls and swim with whale sharks in one day! It’s an excellent way to see one of the best waterfalls in southern Cebu and swim with whale sharks on the same day.
Pro Tip: On the way up the waterfall, you will walk along or even under the waterfall, so bring a dry bag or waterproof case for your phone.
Tinuy-an Falls is a waterfall in Bislig, Surigao del Sur on the southern island of Mindanao in the Philippines. Despite it being one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the Philippines, it’s not so well-known. However, it is not difficult to get there. It only takes a short hike along the river before you see the falls in front of you.
Tinuy-an Falls is 95 meters wide and 55 meters high, often called the little Niagara Falls of The Philippines. Tinuy-an consists of a water curtain flowing in three levels (with a fourth level hidden from sight) and is said to be the widest waterfall in the Philippines. Every morning between 9:00 am and 11:00 am, you can see a rainbow over the falls. You can also take a raft to get close to the roaring water and experience a relaxing water massage.
According to a legend, the people who lived on Magdiwata Mountain long ago were turned into slaves by the Agusan tribes. These tribes were extremely cruel and did not treat the slaves humanely, forcing them to perform very difficult tasks. Finally, the slaves got tired of their abusive masters and planned to achieve their freedom. While rowing in a bamboo boat, the slaves jumped into the water and drove the boat towards the waterfall, which killed their masters and they finally achieved freedom. This act of the slaves was planned or intentional, which gave the waterfall its name Tinuy-an, which means intentional act in Cebuano.
Mantayupan Falls is the highest waterfall you can visit in Cebu. It’s considered the “Crown Jewel of Barili, Cebu” not only because of its majestic beauty but also because it’s a very important resource for the community, as it serves as a mini hydroelectric power plant and is a source of water for a nearby fish pond and surrounding rice fields.
The waterfall has two levels, the first being the shortest at about 14 meters high while the main waterfall on the second level measures 98 meters high being the highest in Cebu. Both levels are just a short and comfortable walk from the main road. The best part on the way to the waterfall is crossing a suspension bridge, which we highly recommend. The suspension bridge is probably the largest and sturdiest you will see in all of Cebu and while crossing it, you can catch a glimpse of the waterfall directly in front of you.
There is an entrance fee of 40 pesos to access both falls and if you want to swim, there are also life vests available to rent for 20 pesos each.
Dao Falls not only offers an epic waterfall but also a stunning hike. For thirty minutes, you wade through the dreamy blue water, while ferns and palms cover the mountain walls on both sides. The hike to Dao Falls itself is not difficult, but it requires walking through the water and navigating around boulders and rocks. It is truly an adventure we recommend, with incredible nature and fewer tourists.
Dao Waterfall is about 40-50 meters high and flows down into a large shallow pool. It is completely safe to swim in the crystal-clear pool and near the falls because the flow is not too strong, but be cautious depending on the conditions.
The waterfall has recently been upgraded and signs now lead you to a parking lot where you will find the ticket office. There, the local community collects an entrance fee of 60 pesos, which is equivalent to $1.20 USD.
The friendly locals in Samboan are also responsible for maintaining the trail and can offer to guide you down. If you are not so adventurous, it’s best to have a guide with you as many places are slippery and you often navigate through water up to your waist.
The Dao Waterfall trail begins with a short descent of stairs through palms. You then come to a bamboo bridge, which is out of order. Do not use the bridge as it is fragile and likely to collapse. Instead, cross the river to the right of the bridge and climb up the very clear trail on the other side of the river.
In the final parts of the trail, the locals have built a staircase, which is quite necessary as the waterfall becomes intense and steep. This is a very scenic part of the trail and you can actually catch a glimpse of Dao Waterfall from the base of the staircase with the smaller waterfalls below.
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