Kawasan 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:
- Get pleasure from the road to the waterfall.
- Mentally prepare that reality is not as nice as pictures.
- Swim in a hidden lagoon in Kawasan river.
Enjoy the View While on the Trail
Please 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.
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.
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.
Abandoned bridges, wooden huts, women doing laundry in the river, children splashing in the water – all these pieces together compose kaleidoscope of Kawasan place.
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
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.
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.
The 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.
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
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.
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.
- 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.
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 Bungalows, Cabana Beach Resort, Turtle 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.
- Scenic Spot: Badian Kawasan Falls
- Location: Matutinao, Badian, Cebu, Philippines
- Nearest town: Badian, Cebu
- Ticket price: 10 PHP
- Time for sightseeing: 2-4 hours