• Gianluca Iacopini

Chasing waterfalls in Cebu

Updated: Apr 17, 2018

There are so many waterfalls in the Philippines. So many that when I started searching for them I couldn’t even find an exact number to tell you. What I learned on my first researches, was that some beautiful ones are located in the south of Cebu.

Unfortunately I didn’t have the luxury and time to see all of them but I would have loved to. They are all beautiful and unique in their own way and most of them are also fairly easy to reach.

A quick google search regarding this area will probably show you that you should visit the Kawasan falls and stay in Oslob to explore the area.

Well, if by now you got a little idea of what kind of traveller I am, I didn’t stay in Oslob and I didn’t go to the Kawasan falls.

Why G.?!? They are awesome, you missed out!!!

I know, but awesome means touristy, awesome means super crowded, and most likely packed with girls pretending to be model harrassing their boyfriends for hours to get that shot of their, thanks.

Let me give you the biggest advice I received regarding photography:

“If you want to take good photos, epic photos, you have to go to places where no one else is going at times when no-one else is there” - Daniel Kordan

As easy at this sounds, it is a very hard advice to follow. It requires a lot of scouting, planning and motivation, but when I put the time and the effort on it, it always pays off.

So, here’s where I stayed and the waterfalls I have visited instead.

Boljoon is where I decided to lodge. To get there I landed in Cebu airport, took a Grab to to the south bus terminal and got the "ceres" bus heading south.

P 150 ($ 2.88) got me from Cebu south terminal to Boljonn where I stayed at the Nordzee Hostel for which I need to spend a few words about it.

Nordzee it’s basically an hostel that is offering P500($ 9.50)/night beds in dorms with a 5 stars resort ocean view. If you fancy your own private cabin right on the beach you can get that for about P 3140.00 ($ 60.00)/night for 2 people.

Their staff is phenomenal, the kitchen offers a nice diversity of food (including some nice vegetarian/vegan friendly dishes) and everything I had there was delicious.

Totally recommend you to check it out. (You can see some footages of it on my recap video)

On my first day there I also enjoyed my first beach time in the Philippine and while planning my visit to the first waterfall I also found a nice peak to hike called Osmeaña peak.

It was about 2 pm and since I knew I wanted some clear shots with no people around of the waterfalls I had planned to see, I thought it was better to keep the falls for the next morning. So I went hiking.

A quick 5 minutes walk south from the hostel and you will find Eddy, a local guy who rents scooters for P 600 ($12.00) for 24hrs.

There are cheaper options to go to the falls or to Osmeaña peak but I chose a scooter because I love to be free to go wherever I want at the times that I want to.

Entrance fee is P 30.00($ 0.58) and after a pretty steep 20 minutes hike that is the view I got rewarded with.

Taken with Fujifilm XT-2 16mm, ISO 200, F 16. SS 1/40

The next morning I woke up at 5:30, drove my scooter about 45 min south and arrived to the first site i wanted to see: Aguinid falls, a local’s favorite.

Taken with Fujifilm XT-2 16mm, ISO 200, F 16. SS 0.8/sec + Lee Filters ND 0.9

It is a site that includes 5 different waterfalls, you must get a tour guide to get in, actually you need two guides because to see all of them you need to climb on slippery rocks sometimes using your hands and sometimes using ropes that are installed there. It’s slippery and somewhat dangerous and even though everyone can do it the guides really help to prevent accidents that would for sure happen if tourists will start going alone. Entrance fee here is P40.00 ($0.77) and it’s up to you how much you want to tip the guides (keep in mind that these are locals, they earn only what you tip them and each one of them does only one tour a day so they allow more people of the community to work. Bottom line: be generous).

Unfortunately I couldn’t fly my drone there as i didn't feel safe. Very narrow spaces, trees, rocks, branches everywhere and no gps signal. I still got a few good photos and since i was in the most peaceful place i had been in a while, i asked the tour guides to leave me alone for 20 minutes and i meditated.

Self portrait taken with Fujifilm XT-2 16mm, ISO 200, F 16. SS 0.8/sec + Lee Filters ND 0.9 + Manfrotto be free.

By the time I was done there it was 8:30 am so I thought it was still early enough to go visit the Binalayran Waterfall (or as the local call it, hidden waterfall)

A quick 10 minutes ride north from Aguinid and I was there. There is a small fee of P30 to pay ($0.58) and a tour guide to tip (however it’s a much easier hike to get there)

Wake up early my friend, a little effort top enjoy these views alone always pays off.

Taken with Fujifilm XT-2 16mm, ISO 200, F 16. SS 0.8/sec

The next morning for sunrise I was busy doing some freelancing work for my favorite American brand, MIKA, so my morning session was with a person I met at Nordzee who agreed to model for me (you can head over to my instagram @gianluca.iacopini if you'd like to see the photos).

It was about 8:30am when we finished, maybe too late to enjoy another waterfall alone but I still decided to head over to the Tumalog falls. Also there you have to pay a little entrance fee of P40.00 but no tour necessary. It was too crowded already to get a clean shot but here it was safe to fly so i hope you enjoy the view of it from above on the recap video.

That’s all friends, that really is everything I think you you need to know regarding how to get there. For everything else let the adventure unfolds or if you are a big planner and have any question, feel free to ask and I will be happy to answer.

Ciao Ciao and enjoy the view.


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