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Dao Falls Hike In Samboan, Cebu: A Complete Guide

Dao Falls Hike In Samboan, Cebu: A Complete Guide

Nestled in the heart of Samboan, Cebu, Philippines, Dao Falls is a hidden gem that offers a refreshing retreat into nature’s pristine beauty. It stands as the tallest waterfall in the area, with its cascading waters creating an ethereal scene against the backdrop of a dramatic cliff. A turquoise pool at the base is the perfect place to cool off.


Dao Falls offers not only an epic waterfall finale but it is the trek in that is truly astounding. For thirty minutes you wade through those trademark Cebu blues, while ferns and palms cover the canyon walls on either side. The trek to Dao Falls itself isn’t hard but it does require you to walk through the water and navigate your way around boulders and rocks. It is a moderate adventure with incredible scenery, which is far away from the crowds at Kawasan Falls.


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Traveling from Moalboal to Dao Falls in Samboan by motorbike or car typically takes about 2 to 3 hours depending on the speed and traffic conditions. Here’s a guide:

  1. Starting from Moalboal: Begin your journey from the Panagsama Beach area in Moalboal.
  2. Route to Samboan: You’ll need to head south on the Cebu South Road. Continue on this road which will take you through the towns of Badian, Alegria, and Malabuyoc.
  3. Arriving in Samboan: Once you reach Samboan, continue southward past Samboan town proper. Look for signs to Dao Falls, the turning for which is a few kilometers south of the town.
  4. Final Stretch to Dao Falls: Turn left on the marked junction and follow the small road. This will take you to the parking area near the start of the trek to Dao Falls.


Moalboal is the best place to base for all your Cebu adventures. It is central to most waterfalls, canyoneering, snorkeling, beaches and within driving distance of the Whale Sharks!

a view of a beach with a thatched hut and palm trees.
a pool with a flamingo in the middle of it.


Dao Falls has had a recent upgrade and signs now direct you into a parking lot where you will find the ticket office. Here the locals of the community will collect the entrance fee of 60 pesos (which is $1.20 USD).

These friendly locals of Samboan are also the people maintaining the trail and may offer to guide you down. If you aren’t very adventurous you may opt for a guide as many places are slippery and often you are navigating through waist-deep water. A guide would be helpful and many in our group were thankful to have a helping hand steady them along slippery rocks and unstable sections of the trail.

The Dao Falls trail begins with a short downhill section of stairs through the palms. You will then come to a bamboo bridge, which is out of action. Do not use the bridge as it is fragile and will likely snap. Instead, cross the river to the right of the bridge and head up the very clear trail on the other side of the river.

From this point on the trail is beautiful. Cebu is covered in limestone and this means that the rivers and waterfalls have an incredibly smoky blue color to them. My friend has described it as ‘Tiffany Blue’, which I can confirm is an accurate depiction. It isn’t just the Tiffany-Blue water that makes this an incredible trail.

The vibrant green ferns, palms and jungle plants come at you from all angles and contrast against the blues. The final piece of this incredible natural puzzle is the high canyon walls that slowly close in on you as you make your way up the cascades until you are walking through a narrow trail.


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  • Waterproof for snorkeling, island-hopping and canyoneering and beach days.
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What are my favorite pieces of gear for waterfall adventures?

There are four pieces of gear that I simply never forget when I go on a waterfall adventure. These are four items that I using right now and this list gets updated every year! Here are my waterfall adventure essentials.

  • Arcteryx BETA AR Rain Jacket: This is my go-to rain jacket. It’s super light, folds down into a tiny ball, and protects brilliantly in a storm. This one never leaves my backpack.
  • Osprey Ultralight Dry Sack: Waterfalls get wet and wild so having this ultralight dry sack for cameras, phones and valuables means you don’t have to hold back!
  • Quick-Dry Towel: A quick-dry towel is a must for travelers. It hardly takes up any room and dries in seconds.
  • GoPro Hero 12: The best and easiest way to capture your underwater and snorkeling adventures.

In the final parts of the trail, the locals have built a staircase, which is quite necessary as the waterfall gets fierce and steep. This is a very scenic part of the trail and you can actually get a glimpse of Dao Falls from the base of the stairs with the smaller waterfalls below it. This was probably my favorite spot on the trail.


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Dao Falls is about 40-50m high and pours down into a large pool. You can swim safely in the pool and near the falls when the flow isn’t too crazy but of course be careful depending on the conditions. It was a great pool to refresh in after the short trail hike. I’ve heard that the falls used to be double the width but a landslide impacted the flow and it isn’t quite as impressive these days but it still impressed me!


  1. Location: Dao Falls is located in Suba, Samboan, in the southern part of Cebu, Philippines.
  2. Height: Dao Falls is the tallest waterfall in Samboan, boasting a height of around 120 meters. The water cascades down a vertical cliff into a large, natural pool.
  3. Trekking Adventure: Reaching Dao Falls requires a scenic and adventurous 30-minute to an hour-long trek along a river. The trail is known for its bamboo bridges, lush vegetation, and naturally carved rock formations.
  4. Eco-Tourism: Dao Falls is a significant site for eco-tourism in Samboan. Local guides are available to assist visitors, providing local employment opportunities while promoting environmental awareness and preservation.
  5. Swimming: The waterfall forms a stunning emerald pool at its base that is suitable for swimming. However, like many natural bodies of water, it’s advised to exercise caution when swimming, particularly for those who are not strong swimmers.
  6. Access: Due to its location and the trek required to reach it, Dao Falls is less crowded compared to other waterfalls in the area. This can make for a more serene and peaceful experience.
  7. Geology: The falls are part of the Suba River system. The waterfall’s height and the deep pool at its base are the result of years of water erosion.


This is an adventure bag. It is full of trash. Every time I go on an adventure I collect one adventure bag full of trash. It’s my small way of saying thanks to mother nature for allowing me to enjoy her beautiful creations.

If we have time to go on an adventure we have time to collect an adventure bag on the way back out of the trail once we have enjoyed the waterfall, the hike or the beach. Adventure hard!

Tag your @adventurebagcrew on Instagram and mention @adventurebagcrew in your Instagram stories to be featured and inspire your friends, family, and followers to join the movement!


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 in the south of Cebu. So where do you stay to do all of these adventures? Moalboal!

Moalboal is a cool town, which is the free-diving and scuba capital of Cebu. There are tons of hostels, hotels, and hostels here as well as being close to all the waterfalls and hikes in the region.

Here are my recommendations on where to stay in Moalboal depending on your budget.

  • Teobas HomestayValue: 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!
a set of stairs leading down to the water.
three yellow stars on a white background

Teobas Homestay

  • Best Value
  • Ocean Staircase
  • Beachfront
  • Dolphin House ResortLuxury: 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.
a view of a beach with a thatched hut and palm trees.

Dolphin House Resort

  • Luxury
  • Private Pool
  • Beachfront


a person sitting on a rock in front of a waterfall.


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Friday 15th of October 2021

Hi, I plan on going to Samboan next week to visit the falls. In what order should I visit Dao, Aguinid and Binalayan?

Michelle Balbastro Alecha

Saturday 16th of January 2021

Can i know if dao fall isnopen on jan. 18 2021


Saturday 16th of January 2021

Hi not sure if it is open at this time.

Dao Falls Canyoneering

Sunday 12th of April 2020

Excellent write-up Jackson! When are you back in Cebu I would like to invite you or anyone else to experience rappelling adventure at Dao Falls. Rappel 30 meters down of Dao Falls and explore gorge above and under the falls in a classic canyoneering style by jumping and rappelling.


Tuesday 1st of January 2019

[…] Dao Waterfall trek […]


Friday 16th of November 2018

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