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Kabutongan Waterfall Trek, Cebu: Complete Guide

Kabutongan Waterfall Trek, Cebu: Complete Guide

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!


Kabutongan Falls is one of the hidden natural treasures in the province of Cebu, Philippines. It’s located in Barangay Looc, in the town of Malabuyoc. This impressive waterfall is nestled within a jungle and offers a truly serene and breathtaking scenery. Kabutongan Falls is unique as it’s tucked away inside a cave which you need to trek and swim to get to, giving it an adventurous appeal. The waters that cascade down the cliff are crystal-clear and perfect for a refreshing dip.


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.



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.


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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.

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.

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.


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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


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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.


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


  1. Location: Kabutongan Falls is located in Barangay Looc in the town of Malabuyoc, a municipality in the southwestern part of Cebu, Philippines.
  2. Uniqueness: The waterfall is nestled inside a cave, making it an intriguing and unique destination.
  3. Adventure Destination: Reaching Kabutongan Falls requires a combination of trekking and swimming, making it a great spot for adventure seekers.
  4. Natural Beauty: The falls feature crystal-clear waters cascading down a rock face into a refreshing pool, surrounded by lush tropical vegetation.
  5. Wildlife: The surrounding area is rich in wildlife, including various species of birds and insects.
  6. Local Guide: Due to the challenging terrain and for safety reasons, a local guide is usually necessary to reach the falls.
  7. Eco-Tourism: Kabutongan Falls is part of the town’s eco-tourism attractions, with a strong emphasis on preserving its natural beauty and environment.
  8. Accessibility: The accessibility of Kabutongan Falls can vary depending on the weather, as heavy rains can make the trek more challenging and potentially hazardous.

I hope you enjoyed my photos and guide about the Kabutongan Waterfall Trek in southern 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 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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Angie Klein

Saturday 10th of October 2020

I was born in this area and I'm very familiar with the whole place. I used to play in this water when we were kids. Especially during summer this is a fun place. Looking at the pictures reminds me of my childhood. Maybe if time allows, I will be back to see it again.?Thank you for posting these pictures.


Sunday 11th of October 2020

I love that waterfall trek! What a place to grow up!

Somewhere, out There – Weltreise 2020

Sunday 12th of January 2020

[…] Kabutongan Falls: 30minütige Canyoning-Wanderung zum Wasserfall, hinter dem es eine super-spektakuläre versteckte Karst-Höhle gibt. […]

Friday 17th of May 2019

Hi, just wondering how you can get a guide for this tour?:)


Tuesday 1st of January 2019

[…] Kabutongan Falls […]


Friday 7th of December 2018

Hi Jackson, we follow your posts religiously and followed part of your itinerary of east java. I have a question, would you know if Bohol in philipines is open for tourism yet?

Godfrey Academia

Tuesday 7th of January 2020

Yes :)