HIMBABAWUD FALLS IN BUSAY, CEBU: HIDDEN WATERFALL
The Himbabawud Falls is an incredible series of waterfalls in Busay, Cebu just a 40-minute drive from Cebu City. To reach the falls you first need to drive to Lava Mountain River Farm and then trek for 45-minutes through the river to reach the Himbabawud Falls.
It’s important to note these falls are often referred to as Busay Falls, Bon-Bon Falls and a couple of other names, which can make things confusing. The main fact that will always be unchanged is that the trek starts from Lava Mountain River Farm so if you put this into your Google Maps then you will surely reach the falls and not end up in the wrong area.
HOW TO GET TO HIMBABAWUD FALLS
Himbabawud Falls is up in the mountains near Cebu City. The drive is quite beautiful but very steep and will take you about 40-minutes from Cebu City. You will drive up past the turnoff to TOPS (Cebu City lookout) and past Temple of Leah. You will then descend down into Busay and make the turn-offs following the Google Map to Lava Mountain River Farm. If it is a weekend you might even want to stay over at Lava Mountain River Farm. They have really awesome Bali-style huts and surprisingly beautiful accommodation for how remote the farm is. There is also a stunning pool that I kind of wish I had swam in after our hot trek! I’ll put the pinned location on the map below. You will want to download it in advance or have it loaded before you pass TOPS because once you get into Busay the LTE connection will likely drop out and you won’t be able to research the location anymore. The key, in any case, is to ask locals for the Lava Mountain River Farm and you will be on track.
If you are interested in staying a night or two at Lava Mountain River Farm I’ll drop their website link here: Lava Mountain River Farm Website. I can’t comment for the accommodation, food or experience when staying there but it looked professional, clean and like it would be a great escape from the craziness of Cebu City despite being so close to the city.
Note: some of the roads can be a little interesting as you get near to the Lava Mountain River Farm so keep that in mind with your vehicle, speed, and safety.
HOW TO GET A GUIDE FOR THE HIMBABAWUD FALLS TREK
So, apparently you will need to call ahead and organize a guide for the trek. This is commonly the case with these types of waterfalls in the Philippines, which are on private property. I suggest calling in advance to arrange it but also know that it isn’t a super professional set-up with a guide. It is just one of the local workers who know the way and they just lead you through the river so if you did turn up unannounced because it was a last-minute decision.
I’m sure one of the workers would take a moment away from their farm duties to guide you through to the waterfall. I’m not sure of the exact price because we organized it at 100PHP ($2 USD) per person. We were only three people but ended up paying 500 PHP in total to our one guide. He was nice, led the way and was attentive to anyone in our group that needed help up boulders or was nervous. It was a slippery, rocky trail so those who are a bit unsure will appreciate having a caring guide to ‘nurture’ them through the process.
Lava Mountain River Farm: +63 927 002 3063
MY EXPERIENCE ON THE HIMBABAWUD FALLS TREK
Our day began in the dense traffic of Cebu City. We were glad to be leaving the smoggy metropolis behind for the day and before we knew it, we were winding our way up the leafy roads towards the Temple of Leah. After reaching the top of the hills, we then began the steep descent down into Busay, with beautiful mountain views out to our right. Following our maps, we made several turn-offs. With each turn, the road quality diminished and the infrastructure faded before we finally ended up at Lava Mountain River Farm.
We had picked up a packed lunch from Abaca Bakery on the way as we didn’t know what the availability of food would be up there. I would advise doing the same (especially if vegetarians like me or with dietary restrictions) unless you have pre-organized food. We ate our sandwiches in the hut, met our guide then headed off down the stairs to the start of the river trek to Himbabawud Falls.
I wore hiking boots but the rest of our group were either bare-foot or in slippers/flip-flops. You will 100% get your knees down wet so if you wear shoes, expect them to be completely wet. That will mean many people choose slippers/flip-flops but the other point to consider is that it is very slippery and you are bouldering a lot and stepping on rocks. Therefore my final conclusion is to wear old sneakers or water shoes that you don’t mind getting wet. Just bring flip-flops to wear after the hike.
The trail follows the river for the entirety of the trip so you are often in the water or crisscrossing to either side depending on how dense the forest is. While the rocks can be quite slippery, it is a fairly safe trail for the most part without any big drops. Right from the start of the trail, I was impressed with how wild, overgrown and dense the surroundings were. Remember it is just 40-minutes from the city. I hope this trail remains wild and it isn’t ruined with cement paths and railings like many others in Cebu. It was just a wall of green at times, which was just incredible.
Along the way, we bumped into a bit of wildlife. There are several small huts and farms along the route so a couple of cows relaxed beside the trail. Huge millipedes, spiders, and other insects were also common on the river trek as well as a number of birds.
While it isn’t a hard route to follow directionally, it is handy to have the guide is there are many little nuances to the track. Often a meter to the left or right can mean an easier route as you work your way up the river.
After about 20-minutes, we began to get quite close to Himbabawud Falls and there were several smaller falls before the grand finale.
The plants in these latter stages of the Himbabawud Falls trek were getting bigger and bigger and the scene just seemed to get more wild by the minute.
After about 30 or 40 minutes, we arrived at Himbabawud Falls and it was much larger than I expected. I had seen a photo where it appeared to be just one small level but in reality, there are numerous levels to this waterfall. The interesting part is that when I flew the drone, there are actually more waterfalls higher up the river. I’m not sure if the trail continues past this point, but there is definitely more to explore if you can find the way.
The Himbabawud Waterfall flows into a small pool where you can swim but it is a bit shallow for any real cliff-jumping. It’s a perfect spot to cool off after the tropical humidity throughout the trek.
ADVENTURE BAG FROM HIMBABAWUD FALLS
This is an adventure bag (I forgot the 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 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
MORE CEBU TRAVEL GUIDES
Awesome Things to do on Cebu: 16 AWESOME THINGS TO DO ON CEBU
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Oslob: WHAT TO DO IN OSLOB CEBU
Osmena Peak: OSMEÑA PEAK IN CEBU – A BEAUTIFUL SUNRISE HIKE
Digital Nomad Guide to Moalboal: THE DIGITAL NOMAD GUIDE TO MOALBOAL, CEBU
The Ultimate Philippines 3-4 week Itinerary: ULTIMATE PHILIPPINES TRAVEL ITINERARY FOR 3-4 WEEKS
The Backpacking Guide to the Philippines: PHILIPPINES BACKPACKING GUIDE: 1 MONTH FOR $800