Kawasan Falls Without the Crowds

A last minute decision, turned our direction toward Maolboal and the Kawasan Falls. I’ve seen millions of pictures of these falls online, and but dubious that it would it be as good as the posed pictures.

I researched online and asked my fellow Instagrammers was Moalboal worth the long and tedious trek. Answers were split right down the middle, with some saying no way, the Falls are overrated and packed with tourists. Others said 100% make the trip to Moalboal, the canyoneering was their favourite thing in the Philippines.

Unfortunately due to a bad knee injury, canyoneering was out of the question for me. We decided to take the plunge, knowing full well the long trip to Maolboal was risky just to view the Falls and sit out canyoneering.

Getting to Moalboal

And so we began the long trek to Moalboal from Bohol. Though the two are quite close, there is no direct route between the two. Instead, we opted for a ferry from Tagbilaran, Bohol, to the port in Cebu. From here we hopped in a taxi (I’d recommend Uber here as a local taxi tried to rip us off and withheld our luggage) and went to the South Bus Terminal. Hop on a bus with the sign “Moalboal via Barili”.

The three hour trip costs about PHP130. You might as well forget the timetable as these buses don’t leave until they’re full. Be prepared for a lot of local colour on this bus and don’t expect much z’s on the trip either! Between the winding roads and locals hopping by on to sell bananas, sunglasses, nuts and fruit, the whole ordeal is like a circus!

Where to stay

Most people opt to stay in White Beach in Moalboal. We stayed a little further out, purely to be closer to the falls. We stayed in Moalboal Centre, near the shopping mall. From here we rented a scooter and explored the area. The place is small enough that wherever you choose, you’ll easily find your way around.

What to do

Panagsama Beach has sooo many turtles right off the beach! Rent a snorkel off anyone of the many man dive shops there and go explore! Even eating lunch overlooking the beach, we were counting the turtles who bobbed to the surface for air!

The sardine run is also a huge attraction for Moalboal. Huge schools of sardines swim right off the beach and it’s quite the sight!

The real reason everyone comes to Moalboal? The Kawasan Falls of course! If you’re interested in canyoneering, friends of mine suggested Chief Mao Hostel in Moalboal. For those of you who don’t know what canyoneering is, it’s not for the faint-hearted! Armed with a helmet and wetsuit, participants start at the very top of the Kawasan Falls and gorges and jump, swim and scramble through the water all the way down to the bottom.

Kawasan Falls  

The one problem with the canyoneering option is, by the time you get to the main attraction, the big waterfall, it’s packed with tourists and jammed until the evening.

Never really ones to follow the crowd, we opted out of the canyoneering and as usual did our own thing! We rented a scooter the night before and set off before 7am the next morning! Follow the signs for the Falls and IGNORE Goggle Maps, it doesn’t show the correct directions. Many locals offer guide services, claiming it’s difficult to get to the falls without a local to show you the way. We decided to take our chance sand got there just fine on our own. You must park your bike at the local church and walk for about thirty minutes to reach the Falls.

We arrived to the Falls before 8am and were amazed to see we were the only ones there, the stall vendors hadn’t even opened yet! We swam and admired the Falls for about an hour and by 9am already the buzz of daily life was beginning. Tourists flocked in and locals set up food stalls. They even charge you to leave your bags on the tables away from the wet ground! Definitely invest in a wet bag, it’s worth it.

We decided to go for a little hike and climbed the path upward to the smaller falls. By midday we’d seen and experienced everything the Kawasan Falls had to offer. Was it worth the huge journey to get there? I think so. We customised the trip to what we wanted, sacrificed some sleep and experienced the Falls crowd-free!


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Keelin Riley

Keelin is an Irish travel writer with a degree in journalism and a background in the Irish media. Based in Sydney, Australia she loves to blog about all things travel-related specialising in budget travel, ethical travel and off-the-beaten-track itineraries!

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