Kabutongan Falls trek is one of the most magical adventures on the island of Cebu. The trail follows the blue waters of a narrow stream up the canyon until you reach Kabutongan Waterfall. Here you will find a hidden cave behind the waterfall and several different cliff-jumps!
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WHERE IS KABUTONGAN WATERFALL
Kabutongan Waterfall is a solid four-hour journey from Cebu City. When I visited, I was based in Moalboal and the drive took less than an hour on the motorbike. It is a beautiful coastal drive through all of the small towns in South Cebu so the time passes quickly. When you reach the town of Ginatilan there are signs that point to Kabutongan Waterfall or you can ask a local. However, the easiest way to find the falls is just to follow the pin below on Google Maps, which is accurate. Don’t worry about following Google Maps until you reach the small town of Ginatilan.
Once you head off the main road up the hill, you will find that it becomes difficult for cars. You can ask a local motorbike taxi to take you up for a small fee. We parked our car halfway up the road and walked. You can also walk the 1.5km from the main road. Your motorbike will make it in a whole way.
Follow the cement path all the way up and then down the hill into the village where the locals will direct you to the casual ticket office and pair you up with a guide.
GETTING A GUIDE FOR KABUTONGAN WATERFALL TREK
Our guide was a great guy called Ariel. He helped people who were a bit unsure of the slippery rocks and ropes to find their way along the trek. As we jumped and explored the caves he waited patiently. My favorite part was when he helped us clean up the area and collected a few bags full of trash! We paid Ariel 60 pesos per person and we were a group of six people. He originally asked for only 100 pesos, which is just $2 USD for 4 hours of guiding.
The trail is only a short 30-minutes but there are a few sections that require rope (it is installed). It is possible without a guide but the guide is vital to help protect natural areas like this and they will help keep you safe. When prices are not inflated I always take a guide as this is the sustainable way for tourism in small villages like this.
KABUTONGAN WATERFALL TREK
We set off for the trek headed straight into the jungle. Within seconds, our shoes were fully submerged and we were straight into the river action as we started to navigate the canyon. The trail crisscrosses the river and includes bouldering and some intermediate difficulty sections. The hardest part is climbing along the edge of the narrow trail but ropes guide you in all of the parts that are slippery or steep. Most people of average physicality will find this trail normal.
The blue water of Cebu is exemplified no better than in the limestone-laden pools of the Kabutongan Waterfall trek. It is just pure crystal clear water with that trademark blue, common in all of the south Cebu waterfalls. Despite only being a 30-minute trail, you do feel truly immersed in the jungle as you make your way up and over boulders and through the vines.
After 30-minutes we reached the Kabutongan Waterfall viewpoint. From the viewpoint, you can only see half of the waterfall as the rock wall wraps around, concealing the waterfall. Luckily you can get a closer like by swimming down in the pool below.
You can even enter the cave by swimming on the left side, directly underneath the flow of the waterfall. Inside the cave, the water has that beautiful blue tinge and the cave goes back about 20-meters. It was one of my favorite parts about the trek.
The cliff jumps at Kabutongan are pretty awesome. From the viewpoint, you have two levels. One if about 5-meters and the other is about 8-9 meters. The water was really deep here, which makes it a risk-free jump unlike some shallower pools on Cebu. However, you must always check for yourself as rocks move below the surface or there could be debris or wood floating just beneath the surface. Your safety is your own responsibility.
ADVENTURE BAG FROM KABUTONGAN WATERFALL TREK
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!
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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
Kawasan Falls Canyoneering: KAWASAN FALLS CEBU CANYONEERING ADVENTURE
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