Category Archives: Cebu

The Waterfalls of Southern Cebu – Part 2: Binalayan and Dao Falls


I had so much fun at Aguinid Falls I didn’t want to leave. But I didn’t want to keep my guides from earning more. It was around 11:40am when we got down from all levels of Aguinid.

I needed to eat because after all it was lunchtime, so my guides took me to the store a few meters from the entrance. While having lunch, my guide Siede engaged me in a deeper conversation about how they underwent training as guides and they can take any visitor to the other waterfalls in Samboan. I told him I would definitely recommend him to my friends. His number is 09298648699. I would have hired going to the other falls but I have already spoken to a habal-habal driver earlier. The guides, by the way, would not give me a quote. They only accept voluntary payments.

After lunch, I asked my habal-habal driver to take me to Binalayan Falls. It only took us about five minutes to reach it.

When I arrived, I paid the P10 entrance fee at a store, which I later found out was owned by their nice barangay captain who allowed me to charge my phone inside his house for free. I was then escorted by another guide. We took his motorcycle first, then we started walking.

My guide pointed to me a small waterfalls with many locals lounging around. He said it was being improved (or renovated) to become the Level Zero of Binalayan Falls. We then just continued our short hike.

We passed by another falls with some kids swimming. There were swings made of old tires hanging nearby and the water is pretty shallow so perfect for children and maybe for me. IMG_7711

 

Then we arrived at the main drop.

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As you can see in the picture, the waterfalls is lovely. But sadly, there are lots of vandalism on the natural walls, probably even made by the locals. I wish people should stop this. All I can hope for right now is that someday, many years from now, this nonsense graffiti would become part of the beauty, of the history of the place. I still can’t see it for now though.

When I got to the falls, it was only me and the guide so I felt I owned the place. After the pictures were taken, I hit the water. It was freezing cold, which probably contributed to my flu the next day. I only stayed on the shallow part because as usual, I didn’t want to showcase my lack of swimming skills.

My guide told me one could go up that cave behind the drop and jump from there. He tried but maybe it was too slippery for him so he decided to just jump from the small ledge on the left.

When another visitor arrived with his trio of guides, I decided to get out of the water. They also started jumping from the ledge before I left.

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We slowly made our way back to the barangay captain’s store. I stayed at the store for 30 more minutes to wait for my phone that was being charged.

Around 12:45pm, we drove to Dao (or Da-o or Dau – I saw different spellings but it is just pronounced one way, the Bisaya way. I’m Bisaya too, or at least I feel like one, so I’m not being offensive here). It took a longer drive going to Dao as what I was told.

I was led to a house of a nice lady where I registered and paid the P20 entrance fee. The nice lady asked me if I could swim. I told her no so she called a teenage boy to be my guide. She said I might get tempted to jump to the water when I see the S-shaped part (not this time). I think even if you know how to swim, they’ll still provide you with a guide. The guide’s friend also accompanied us and was even more helpful. I forgot their names so I’ll just call them Toto 1 and Toto 2.

Near the start of the hike was a hanging bridge. My guides asked me if I preferred crossing the bridge or crossing the river below it instead. I told I could do either way, whichever was better (or more adventurous), so we took the bridge. Toto 2 said the reason why they were asking was because there were a few people who got dizzy when crossing the bridge before.

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I received plenty of warnings about Dao Falls, from my friend Jao to my guides in Aguinid and Binalayan. I was warned about the narrow pathway that do not have any guardrails so falling off of it was a possibility. Siede, my guide in Aguinid, even suggested that I should stretch my arms and stick my back to the wall when crossing that pathway. With all these warnings in mind, I expected the worst. It was all I was thinking during the 20-minute hike going to the falls.

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I’m talking about that pathway without guardrails on the far center.

When we finally got to that pathway, I didn’t feel scared at all. It was wider than I expected. Maybe if I wasn’t warned, then I probably would have been really scared. People were talking about how there were multitude of people earlier that day but I never heard anyone mentioning somebody falling from that ledge, so I felt safe.

The nice lady at the “front office” told me later on that their barangay is working to add more bamboo rails to safeguard the pathway. But since funds are not readily available and they’re far from the city, work is slow.

You can see my friend Jao crossing that pathway at the last part of this video:

Dao Falls itself looked majestic to me. It was perfect to cap my day of falls hopping.

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Toto 2 asked me if what was more beautiful, Aguinid or Dao. Since this was his place, I told him it was Dao. But honestly, Dao Falls looks grander, although the trek going here may not have been as fun as the one I had in Aguinid. In addition, the dents on the wall made it look more dramatic.

My guides literally jumped to the water first to see which parts were deep and which were shallow.

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It was shallow enough in the middle of the pool all the way to the wall so I went ahead and did my own brand of swimming. Again, it was only me and my guides so I felt like I owned the world for 30 minutes. It was peaceful and all that.

We left when other visitors started arriving. The hike going back was more tiring since it was mostly uphill.

Since I was swimming in my own little way the whole day, I had to change to dry clothes before heading to Dumaguete where I was staying for the night. My guides pointed me to a bathroom used by visitors.

After making my payment, my habal-habal driver took me to a bus stop where I hopped on a bus going to Lilo-an Port in Santander around 3pm.

I crashed at my friend Maybelle’s house in Dumaguete for the night and made my way home the next day. I was planning to go to Casaroro Falls but that had to be canceled. My flu was starting and I was running out of dry clothes. So ’til next time, folks!

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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.