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 IN SAMBOAN: COMPLETE GUIDE
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.
MY 5 FAVORITE CEBU TOURS
- Oslob Whale Sharks & Moalboal Sardine Run Snorkeling – This combo tour is the BEST VALUE way to enjoy a guided and PRIVATE tour of the two most popular activities in Cebu.
- Moalboal Island Hopping & Pescador Island & Turtle Bay Snorkeling: Swim with turtles and the sardine balls on an island-hopping boat trip from Moalboal.
- Bluewater Sumilon Island Day Tour – Visit the crystal clear water of Sumilon Island on this day tour.
- Kawasan Falls Canyoneering Tour (BEST PRICE): The classic tour. Number one most booked activity in Cebu!
- Bohol Day tour from Cebu: Want to visit Bohol but are short of time? See the top sights on this one-day adventure including transport.
Click the orange button below to view all of the top-rated tours on Klook
WHERE IS DAO FALLS
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:
- Starting from Moalboal: Begin your journey from the Panagsama Beach area in Moalboal.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
TOP 3 PLACES TO STAY IN MOALBOAL
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!
TREKKING TO DAO FALLS: MY EXPERIENCE
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.
BEST CAMERA FOR THE PHILIPPINES
The GoPro Hero11 is the BEST camera for traveling around the Philippines.
- Waterproof for snorkeling, island-hopping and canyoneering and beach days.
- Built-in stabilization for filming your travels and adventure activities
- 5.3K video and 27MP Photo to capture awesome memories of friends and family
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!
FACTS ABOUT DAO FALLS
- Location: Dao Falls is located in Suba, Samboan, in the southern part of Cebu, Philippines.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
ADVENTURE BAG FROM DAO FALLS TREK
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!
WHERE TO STAY IN 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 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 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.
MORE CEBU TRAVEL GUIDES
- Ultimate Cebu Bucketlist: 26 AWESOME THINGS TO DO ON CEBU
- Canyoneering Guide: KAWASAN FALLS CEBU CANYONEERING
- Ultimate Oslob Guide: WHAT TO DO IN OSLOB CEBU
- Digital Nomad Guide to Moalboal: THE DIGITAL NOMAD GUIDE TO MOALBOAL, CEBU
- Waterfall Chasing: 14 BEST WATERFALLS IN CEBU
- Moalboal Guide: 20 BEST THINGS TO DO IN MOALBOAL
- Alegria Guide: 13 BEST THINGS TO DO IN ALEGRIA
- Hiking Osmena Peak: OSMEÑA PEAK IN CEBU – A BEAUTIFUL SUNRISE HIKE
MORE OF MY PHILIPPINES GUIDES
- The Ultimate Philippines Itinerary: 3-4 WEEK PHILIPPINES ITINERARY
- Best Island Hopping Trip: BIG DREAM BOAT MAN IN CORON
- The Backpacker’s Guide to the Philippines: 1 MONTH FOR $800
- Ultimate Guide to Coron: 22 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN CORON
- Ultimate Guide to Siargao: 40 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN SIARGAO
- Ultimate Guide to Romblon: 17 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN ROMBLON
- Ultimate Guide to El Nido: 20 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN EL NIDO
- Ultimate Guide to Bohol: 27 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN BOHOL
- Ultimate Guide to Sibuyan: 9 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN SIBUYAN
MY ACCOMMODATION GUIDES FOR THE PHILIPPINES
- Luxury in South Cebu: 18 BEST SOUTH CEBU RESORTS
- Bucketlist: 13 BEST PHILIPPINES OVERWATER BUNGALOWS
- Beach Resorts in North Cebu: BEST RESORTS IN CEBU
- El Nido Resorts: 12 BEST RESORTS IN EL NIDO
- Moalboal Accommodation: WHERE TO STAY IN MOALBOAL
- Panglao Resorts: 13 BEST LUXURY RESORTS IN PANGLAO
- Siargao Accommodation: WHERE TO STAY IN SIARGAO
- Hostels in Cebu: 10 BEST HOSTELS IN CEBU
- Sustainable Resorts: 12 BEST ECO RESORTS IN THE PHILIPPINES
- Coron Accommodation: WHERE TO STAY IN CORON