The Waterfalls of Southern Cebu – Part 1: Mantayupan and Aguinid Falls

A couple of months ago, my travel buddy Jao went falls hopping in southern Cebu as seen on this video:

He was encouraging me to do it but I did not exactly have immediate plans. But since I was invited to go to Argao anyway, which is already in southern Cebu, I thought I’d just go visit these waterfalls then. I also can’t help but feel bitter that I haven’t been there yet when they’re just so near.

After separating from the group in Carcar, I boarded a bus bound for Moalboal (you could also take the bus going to Bato via Barili). I alighted in front of Shamrock in Barili, where I was staying for the night.

I learned about this place upon the recommendation of Jao. They have dorm-type rooms with beds at a rate of, wait for it, P90 per head per night. For that P90, you’d get a bed, a blanket, a pillow, a soap, a towel, a fan and friendly staff, so definitely not bad. You’d have to go down to their bakeshop though to charge your phone or other gadget.

At 7am the next morning, I checked out and had breakfast at the Shamrock carenderia. I took a trisikad going to the public market where I would then take a habal-habal going to Mantayupan.

The habal-habal driver asked me for P20 per way and I asked him to wait since I wouldn’t take long (I gave him an extra P10 for waiting).

Mantayupan Falls is just a few minutes from the town proper and the road going there is completely paved, so transportation will never be a problem. It was barely open when we arrived but there were already visitors gathered around the water. I paid the P20 entrance fee and started my way down the falls.

There was this first set of falls you’d see on the way to the main drop. I think people could go rafting here but since I didn’t have any guide to ask, I could only assume. IMG_7527 After crossing a non-dangerous bridge and going up a few more steps, you’d get to see the main falls of Mantayupan. IMG_7531 What made it look pretty to me were those separate flows of water on the left. I don’t know it just looked romantic and dreamy to me.

As you can see in the picture and Jao’s video above, people can get close to the drop by using the raft and the ropes. I bet this would have been fun if only I wasn’t alone. Maybe if I saw other people in the water, I would have dipped but everyone else was busy having breakfast. I would’ve been happy in the company of a guide but that wasn’t the case, so after a few minutes of lingering and taking pictures, I made my way back to the town proper of Barili where I waited for a bus going to Samboan (the sign board on the bus should say Bato).

Jao suggested that I should also go to Inambakan Falls, which is in Ginatilan, the town before Samboan. I thought, however, that I wouldn’t have enough time so I went straight to Samboan. I’ll do Inambakan later this year.

The bus ride from Barili to Samboan took about 2 hours. Fare was P99. I arrived in Samboan around 11am. I alighted at the corner going to Aguinid Falls.

There I met a habal-habal driver who was willing to take me to Aguinid, Binalayan and Dao. I wouldn’t recommend him though. I would suggest going straight to Aguinid Falls (you can just walk from the highway) and just talk to the guides there. They looked more reliable to me.

When I got to the entrance of Aguinid, I paid the P20 entrance fee and I was provided with two guides. I learned later on that it was early in the day and they still had many available guides that they could provide me with two – Mamay and Siede. Mamay was the one who would assist me in the trek while Siede was the one who took pictures. So we started with Level Zero: IMG_7542 After that, I lost count.

I still had my shirt on so I think this is Level 1: IMG_7551 There were plenty of other people when I was in Aguinid, but my guides said this was nothing compared to the multitude of people who visited the previous day. I was there Monday so they said the visitors were relatively fewer that day than on weekends.

The most challenging and exciting part was the next level. I had fun here. I think it was in Level 2 where there was a big wall of rock that we needed to climb. IMG_7564 The rock is not slippery but I think they wanted to make sure that visitors feel safer, so they made footholds on the rock.

It wasn’t an easy climb because I was wearing the wrong pair of shorts. What I was wearing didn’t really allow me to stretch my thighs so I had trouble climbing. I had the same problem when I was hiking in Tawi-tawi but I never learned. I should have worn that looser pair of red shorts (yeah I have two of them).

After having fun internally at that wall, we went to Level 3 where I finally couldn’t resist getting wet all over. IMG_7584 It was a hot summer day so this was a relief. I only stayed here for a few minutes because my guides told me there were more to see above.

Then we went up to Level 4 where there was a somewhat big pool. My guides told me it was 6 feet deep. I’m 5’11” so I felt it was safe enough for a non-swimmer like me. IMG_7609 I needed the full strength of my guide Mamay to get up from this pool though. That was embarrassing.

A few steps from that pool was the grandest level of all. It was just beautiful. IMG_7623 While I was busy showering at one side of the pool, someone from the other side to have pictures taken with me. As you know, I don’t talk to strangers especially when I’m alone. But whoever you are and in a very slim chance that you’re reading this, please throw me an email – theawkwardtravelerph@gmail.com. IMG_7635I climbed the rocks to get better pictures of myself and feel the water more (Geez, why didn’t I get her number?). I needed some coaxing and assistance from Mamay though (Boy, now they’re leaving and I haven’t taken her number).

Why did I not get your number?
Why did I not get your number?

When I had enough fun, we made our way down.

My guide Mamay making sure I'm stepping on the right foothold.
My guide Mamay making sure I’m stepping on the right foothold.

I felt sad after not having done much in Mantayupan, but I had a wonderful time in Aguinid. If you need a guide in Aguinid and the other falls in Samboan, I would suggest contacting Siede, one of my guides. His number is 09298648699.

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