Kawasan Falls in Cebu, Philippines

Maria Goncharova Philippines, Travel Blog 21 Comments

selfplannedtrip-kawasan-falls-9Kawasan Falls is a three-stage cascade of clear turquoise water from mountain springs located in the jungles of the Cebu island. The waterfall is considered as a pearl of the Philippines. But in order to get a pleasure of nature, you need to get away from tourist spots and to find a hidden lagoon. How?

Aquamarine water, lush tropical greenery, stone vaults, coolness and freshness. This place could be called a paradise lost in the jungles if it was not so touristic. But it is very touristic. Therefore, we will look for the most secluded corner, which is not interesting to most of people, but where you can feel at one with nature.

Three things you need to do when visiting Kawasan Falls:
  1. Get pleasure from the road to the waterfall.
  2. Mentally prepare that reality is not as nice as pictures.
  3. Swim in a hidden lagoon in Kawasan river.

Enjoy the View While on the Trail

Way to Kawasan FallsPlease read below how to get to Matutinao Badian Church. From the church, you can reach Kawasan Falls on foot. The path runs along the Kawasan river through the village. It takes 15-30 minutes, pretty easy and enjoyable.

We really liked the road and the village, which is very different from Moalboal or Malapascua villages in terms of atmosphere. It is much less populated, located in the jungle and there is no road for transport that pass through the village.

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Women doing laundry in the river.

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Kawasan village.

But the most pleasant thing on the way is the Kawasan river. It goes along the trail to waterfalls all the time. Shimmering and splattering, aquamarine water rushes down from the mountains through the thresholds along the dense tropical forests.

Kawasan River

THE KAWASAN RIVER PARALLEL TO THE TREK.

There are a few small bridges that you have to cross. Some of them will give you a good view of the length of the river. Along the way, near the falls, is a small hydroelectric power plant that harnesses the energy of Kawasan river.

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Bridge over Kawasan river.

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Hydroelectric power plant.

Abandoned bridges, wooden huts, women doing laundry in the river, children splashing in the water – all these pieces together compose kaleidoscope of Kawasan place.

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Abandoned bridge on the way to Kawasan Falls.

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Coconut palms all over around.

Be sure to buy a coconut (30 pesos) and a sweet coconut drink (10 pesos). It is very tasty, healthy and nutritious. We bought a coconut on the way to the waterfall, on the way back we asked to cut it into two pieces, so we could eat the pulp. Perhaps I was a little bit tired from walking and swimming, but it was like food of gods for me. This is so well fit of the reality around, so I couldn’t imagine that it’s possible to eat something else sitting under a coconut palm.

Kawasan Falls Backstage

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The first one of three Kawasan waterfalls tiers.

On promo pictures we can see a full-flowing waterfall, falling with a rumble into an aquamarine pool. It is surrounded by green tropical forests, and a bamboo raft is the only thing that resembles a human presence.

In reality there are restaurants, hotels, travel guides, and screaming tourists on the other side of the camera. The waterfall itself is beautiful. It’s not affluent all the time, but always beautiful. But the atmosphere around is simply awful. They ask for money on every single step, offer table rent and bamboo rafting as soon as you arrive. There are ropes stretched along the pool under a waterfall, several rafts float back and forth, more than a dozen tourists just splashing in the water. The only thing we wanted to do is to run away as soon as possible.

 

There are much less people on the second waterfalls cascade, but in general the atmosphere is almost the same. Nature goes to background under the pressure of the tourist business.

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The second Kawasan waterfalls cascade.

The road between the first and second waterfalls is beautiful and easy for anyone. You can go to the third waterfall as well, but after reading about it and being clad in slippers, I brushed off this idea. The third waterfall is smaller than the first and the second ones, and the trail to it is challenging. It’s like a real path through jungles.

Hidden Lagoon

selfplannedtrip-kawasan-falls-11The path between waterfalls runs pretty high above the river. There are many rapids and calm areas in the river – lagoons. We chose one of such places for swimming and lying under the water falling from above.

Descent to the river looked a bit complicated, but in fact it was not challenging at all. There are no any prohibition signs along the river. Also local people use the river for any purpose. So you can swim wherever you want.

It was idyllic. Peace and quiet. The only the sound of water roaring and cool turquoise water around.

Discover the beauty of nature in a hidden lagoon of Kawasan river.

Maybe I’m just a sophisticated traveler. I saw several waterfalls, swam in mountain rivers many times, and got a hydromassage from the water falling down to my shoulders. But I can’t imagine how anyone could prefer a table in overcrowded area in front of the waterfall to this tranquil bliss in nature.

I definitely recommend to all lovers of ecotourism to find their way to a hidden lagoon in the river.

Video of our trip to Kawasan Falls

Things to Avoid During Visiting Kawasan Falls:

  • Do not give in to guides provocations, who say that the road is difficult and you need help to find the waterfalls. You will not get lost as long as you follow the trail.
  • Do not give in to provocation, that there is a strong need in a life vest (50 pesos), in order to swim to the waterfall. Current in the river is not strong.
  • Entrance fee is 10 pesos. You don’t have to pay anything else. We enjoyed the walk without renting a raft, without paying for the table and for any other super touristic stuff.
  • If you do not have comfortable shoes, do not go to the third waterfalls tier. The road is not easy, and there is nothing surprising on the top. The third tier waterfall is much smaller than first and second ones.
  • Remember that this area is popular with locals as well as visitors, so try to avoid the weekends and holidays otherwise you will share the place with screaming children, BBQ stands and radios!
  • And the most important thing! Swimming in Kawasan river is completely free, even under the waterfall.
 Swim under the Kawasan waterfall for free.

How to Get to Kawasan Falls

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Matutinao Church front side.

Since we live in Moalboal in Cebu island, we just rented a motobike and drove to the place ourselves. The track is very easy, 18 km to the south along the only one highway. Stop at Matutinao Church. There are billboards “Turn to Kawasan Falls here” along the road near by the church. We paid 50 pesos for parking. People on the parking promised to keep an eye on the motorbike for this money. But you could leave your motorbike on the road for free.

The road is the same you are traveling by bus from Cebu City or from Moalboal. You need to take a bus that goes to Bato. In Moalboal it’s a bus stop from Cebu City. In Cebu City buses leave from the South Bus Terminal. Be sure that the bus from Cebu is going to Bato via Barili (not via Oslob). Ask a driver or a bus conductor to drop you off Kawasan Falls.

Read more details about the way from Cebu City to Moalboal here.
Here you can read about a way from Bohol and Negros islands to Cebu City.

If desired, the trip can be combined with a tour to Oslob Whale Sharks. But if you have enough time, it is better to visit these two places in separate days.

Facilities

  • It’s better to take a bottle of water with you. You can buy it in the area, but it’s a bit overpriced and you can’t find it on the way to the third waterfall tier.
  • Toilets are available near the church (5 pesos) and on the top of the waterfall.
  • You can buy some food in the village or you can visit the restaurant at the waterfall. Table rent is available for 300 pesos Warning! I’ve read in some blogs that there are no prices in menu, so the final cost could be an unpleasant surprise. Be careful.
  • Parking near by the church – 50 pesos for a motorbike.
  • You can rent a raft (300 pesos) to take you around the “pool” or for a refreshing “shower massage” under the falling water.
  • Changing rooms are also paid – 10 pesos. They are available near the first and the second waterfall tiers. We changed clothes for free near the lagoon where we swam.

Accommodation

Cottages (1,500-2,500 pesos) and rooms (1,000 – 1,500 pesos ) are available for rent just in front of waterfall. If you want to book a room near by Kawasan Falls in advance, you can look at Guesthouse D Alegre Travellers Inn (cheap option) and at Hotel Costa De Leticia Resort and Spa (comfortable option).

If you prefer to stay on the beach in Cebu island, than please look at Moalboal Backpackers Lodge as the cheapest option in Cebu; and look at Savedra Beach BungalowsCabana Beach ResortTurtle Bay Dive Resort, Love’s Beach and Dive Resort or Dolphin House Resort as the best value for money options.

For those who enjoy comfort of beautiful rooms, freshness of open pools, clean private beaches, best service and tasty food, I recommend to look at option in Mactan Island like Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa or Crimson Beach Resort & Spa.

Basic Information

  • Scenic Spot: Badian Kawasan Falls
  • Location: Matutinao, Badian, Cebu, Philippines
  • Nearest town: Badian, Cebu
  • Ticket price: 10 PHP
  • Time for sightseeing: 2-4 hours

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Comments 21

  1. Anna

    Hi Maria,
    You are absolutely right about the atmosphere. I visited the falls about 4 years ago. I wish I knew the advise you shared. I went in expecting beautiful nature (which was there!) but was caught off guard by the “guides” and the things I thought you had to rent. Unfortunately it kind of wrecked my experience a bit. It was a learning experience for sure! Thanks for you insight. I’m sure it’ll help future visitors be more prepared!

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      Maria Goncharova

      Hi Anna,
      Thanks for your kind words! Good luck with your future trips! Kawasan Falls is super touristic place, but there are a lot of beautiful spots in Phillipines where you can enjoy embrace of nature. Mar-Aco Waterfall in Bohol island is one of them ;)

  2. mara estrada

    hi! Thank for your inputs. It balanced reality and expectations. Since you just live around the area, may I asked your opinion about our IT. We will be in Cebu from april 29-may 3 and we want to spend 3 days in the south. We want to go to Osmeña Peak, Kawasan, beach in Moalboal and watch the butandings in Oslob. what would be the better IT considering the bus trips available, hotels/resort for accomodation and I will be traveling with my husband and 2 kids (5 and 6 yo). your inputs will be very much appreciated.

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      Maria Goncharova

      Hi Mara! Thanks for your comment.

      There is the only road around the island. So you better go as it is Moalboal – Kawasan – Oslob – Osmena Peak.

      I would recommend to stay at Moalboal first, then go to Kawasan for half-day trip. As for Oslob, the road one way normally takes about 3 hours. Here is more info about Oslob Whale sharks http://selfplannedtrip.com/travel-blog/whale-sharks-philippines/. So it’s maybe not so easy for children, especially on bus. So maybe one day you just move to Oslob and stay there. Next day go to Osmena Peak and to Cebu. Or you can take a taxi for a day and to Oslob and Kawasan the same day. A car normally 2,000 PHP, minivan 3,000-5,000 PHP.

      As for accommodation, I only know hotels in Moalboal. Pacitas hotel is pretty cheap 800-1,500 PHP , but nice and just in front of the beach, so children don’t need even cross the road. Hotels with seaview like Savedra and Cabana are more expensive 1,500-3,000 PHP, but more comfortable.

  3. rosalie

    Hi there i want to have a nice trip i plan to visit kawasan but when i read your advice i kind a doubt.
    since i want a silent place and nature view. Any recommendations? Thanks near cebu only not so far since we only have limited time bohol was hard for me. Though i like to visit there.

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      Maria Goncharova

      Hi Rosalie!
      Kawasan falls could be a silent and natural place in case you go there during working days (Monday-Friday), go to lagoons on the way from first to second waterfall cascade or to a third cascade. Second waterfall also can be a nice place if you are lucky. Kawasan falls is a nice place, in case you can go out of the very first cascade. As for other places in Cebu island, I could recommend beaches near by White Sand beach (6 km away from Moalboal), also there is a beach near by Golf Club on the south from Moalboal. If you like animals you can go to Oslob to swim with Whale sharks (http://selfplannedtrip.com/travel-blog/whale-sharks-philippines/). As for me, I really love Panagsama beach and Andy’s Talisay bar. You can read about this place on the page http://selfplannedtrip.com/travel-blog/restaurants-moalboal/.

  4. Jogem conele

    Hi there, I just read your blog. And were suppose to go there on Wednesday. And were a bit confused of that tour guide. Thanks for this,it helps. Can we just ignore them or tell them that we want to explore without them? Or what? Hehe Please reply ,thank you!

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      Maria Goncharova

      Hi Jogem,
      there are no “official” regulations or requirements for this place to have a guide. But most of them will try to convince you that path is dangerous or you can get lost. Don’t trust them :) You can say that you’ve already been there or you have friends inside which are waiting for you ;) Since you entered the place, nobody will bother you.
      Good luck with your trip!

  5. Ysabela

    From our experience, yes it’s okay to explore without a guide. And it’s better to not get a “guide” since many of them will attempt to rip off tourists. Just tell them that you’re already familiar with the place.

  6. Kristine

    Hi, We are planning to be in Cebu on May.. I am still having hard to plan what to do first. should we go first to Oslob then Kawasan (stay for the night) or vice versa. as after that we have to travel to Bohol. I need your advise and if you can recommend a hotel near kawasan falls

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    Maria Goncharova

    If you want to go to watch whale shark and Kawasan falls in one day, then you need to go to Oslob first (as early as possibel) and to to Kawasan falls. You can stay at Moalboal, Oslob or Cebu City. Any option is OK.

  8. Rem Pel

    Reading your blog really help to have ideas in visiting kawasan….Hi i and my 11 years old son will going in cebu on feb 24-27 and im planning to go in moalboal and stay in moalboal beach resort for a night during the day. I also want to see the beauty of kawasan falls.. how to go there in kawasan falls from moalboal beach resort… and do you think staying in the said beach is practical? Im not looking for luxury but more on affordable yet enjoyful… thanks

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  10. Larry

    So adventurous! Just like me! I went first time to Cebu last year with my friends and we toured around Cebu by renting a motorcycle. I could not forget my overall experience in Cebu!

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  13. Charlotte

    Hi me and my boyfriend will be in Cebu city next Tuesday, we have a taxi which will cost us 5,000pesos to go to oslob to see whale shark, tumalog falls, aguinid falls, hot springs and last Kawasan falls, is there a possible way we could go ourself’s with a mini van as I think it’s abit expensive, we don’t mind splitting the tours into 2 days as we have a day free so want to use it up, it would really be helpful to get your advice thank you :-)

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