CANCALANOG FALLS IN ALEGRIA, CEBU
Cancalanog Falls is one of the most incredible spots on Cebu and it remains off the beaten path. While it isn’t a massive waterfall it boasts some incredibly transparent, fresh water in a stunning watering hole. The location is before Cambais Falls and only 1 hour from Moalboal. I honestly couldn’t believe it when we arrived at this location and there was no-one else there it really topped it off. In fact, no-one else came to this spot for the entire afternoon in which we visited.
Cancalanog Falls is also known as Cangkalanog Falls and Cangcalanog Falls. In fact, the spelling at the information center of the falls was Cangcalanog but online the popular spelling seems to be Cancalanog so just be aware they are all the same spot.
HOW TO GET TO CANCALANOG FALLS
There are several options to arriving at Cancalanog Falls but the easiest is definitely to arrive by motorbike. It is possible to also arrive on a bus or habal-habal (bike transport). I will outline how to get to Cancalanog Falls below and also tell you what you can expect on the journey as well as my tips for the drive. It is important to note that it may be referred to as Cangkalanog by many people including the locals you are trying to ask for directions.
- Motorbike (How I arrived): From Moalboal we drove down to Alegria and in particular at Sangi in Alegria. You will need to turn right on the road after one of the main canyoneering centers. You can put Cambais Falls into google maps and this will give you the correct turn of also. The roads were average. Not great and lots of scattered potholes but nothing too crazy to navigate. Cancalanog Falls is not yet on Google Maps but what you can do is put in Cambais Falls and about 20 minutes before you reach Cambais you will reach Cancalanog. It is signed from the road on the left-hand side so that is probably the simplest way to find it. The other tip is that there is a little restaurant in Mantolongan that has typical Filipino food with rice, vegetables, egg, pork and all other dishes to choose from. There isn’t an abundance of choice up in the mountains.
- Local bus: You can catch the local bus to Alegria from Cebu City and then take a Habal-Habal to the falls.
The drive from Moalboal. to Alegria is really chill and the roads are nice. You weave through palms and plantations with the wind in your hair and sun on your face. It’s a great warm up before entering the winding turns and rougher roads of the mountains. We drove through to Sangi in Alegria and then turned left up the mountain.
From here it is about 20 minutes until you hit Cancalanog Falls. Just follow the road to Cambais Falls and you will pass Cancalanog on your left with a big sign out the front of a house. Head down the driveway on the left of the house down the steep hill. You could actually park at the house under the sign and walk down if you aren’t comfortable going down the hill. It’s only an extra 15 minutes of walking so it could be an option. We drove down until the path really got rocky and then parked them and walked the rest of the way for about 400-meters.
On the walk down to Cancalanog Falls, you will pass the information center. A young girl was inside and asked for 50 pesos each for the entrance fee, which was signed on the information center also. She told us we were the first people there that day, which surprised me because I thought it was a popular place. I was incredibly mistaken! In fact, we were the only people there for the entire afternoon.
From the information center, you only have a couple of minutes further until you reach the falls so it’s only about 5 minutes of walking total. At the base of the trail, you come across a double story hut, which maybe in busier times was bustling with action.
My first impression of Cancalanog Falls was astonishment at the blue, transparent water. It was like a magical watering hole. The sun shone straight through the water, exposing the large boulders beneath the surface, meters below on the floor of the pool. A small waterfall poured into the pool but it definitely wasn’t the waterfall that was the attraction. The mini canyon that led to the beautiful pool was the star of the show.
Little bridges lead you across the pool and canyon into the jungle on the other side. I found a few different places to cliff jump but because it was summer it was only 2-3 meters deep. This means you needed to be careful where you landed in case of boulders, trees, and debris.
My favorite thing to do at Cancalanog Falls was to throw on the snorkeling mase (Big tip: bring a snorkeling mask!) and swim through the narrow channel. It really is crystal clear and phenomenal snorkeling although you want to find schools of sardines like in Moalboal.
We hung out here for a couple of hours jumping in, taking photos and then finally exploring around the back side of the pool where the river begins to blend into the jungle away from the man-made benches and water diversions of the main pool. I imagine on the weekends this place could be a local hotspot. However, on a Tuesday afternoon, you may just get lucky like us and enjoy this jungle wander land all to yourself.
Other attractions you can visit in the area are Cambais Falls, which is a really impressive waterfall with a big 10-meter cliff jump. Montpellier Waterfall is also nearby and is a really tall waterfall that isn’t popular at all so it will be quiet also. Finally, if you are looking for a hike in the area, I can suggest either Kandungaw Peak or my favorite peak on Cebu, Casino Peak.
WHERE TO STAY ON CEBU?
I really think that if you are going to be exploring Cebu, the best place to stay is in Moalboal. There are a few reasons why!
Cebu City might be where you land at the airport but if you are looking for adventure, you will need to head south as soon as possible. Most of the best waterfalls, whale sharks, snorkeling with sardines and turtles are all down south. So where do you stay to do all of these adventures? Moalboal! Trust me I know… I rent an apartment in Moalboal and that is my base for all of the adventures you have just read!
Moalboal is a cool town, which is the free-diving and scuba capital of Cebu and even the Philippines. Here there are tons of hostels, hotels, and homestays. There are plenty of restaurants and even a small mall. This is really the last spot as you travel down south where you will have good wifi, 4G connection, western restaurants and lots of facilities. Once you head further south to Alegria and Ginatilan those towns just aren’t set up for tourists really.
Moalboal is just a short drive from most attractions and even all the way down to the Whale Sharks is just a 1-hour drive. There are a variety of accommodations in Moalboal but I will tell you my favorite for each style of traveler. I have a recommendation for budget travelers, mid-level and luxury.
MoHo Moalboal Hostel – Budget: I stayed at this cool hostel for a few days. It is brand new and pretty modern with a huge chill-out space. The WIFI works! I was blogging and using WordPress and the connection was fine. The dorm rooms are clean and modern with each bed having a blind for privacy. The staff were super chill and helpful. There was free water to refill your bottle and free coffee and tea. It is the cheapest option on booking.com at just 8 USD.
Teobas Homestay – Value: You need to click on that link just to see how rad this place is. It has a staircase down to the ocean into crystal clear water. I can tell you, I have snorkeled out the front of this place with turtles many times. For about $30 USD you get a private room with all of the facilities you need. There is not much better than having ocean access and a bit of a sunset view!
Dolphin House Resort – Luxury: If you are looking for a nice resort, Dolphin House is a 5-star resort with a huge pool for less than $200 USD per night. It has ocean access, great restaurant, chilling areas and a beautiful garden throughout the property.
To view all of the accommodation options in Moalboal head to the Moalboal search page on Booking.com
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