Mantayupan Falls in Barili is the highest waterfall in Cebu and one of the most beautiful. Set inside a natural amphitheater of trees, vines, and tropical plants, this is truly one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Cebu. It can get quite busy on the weekends for the entire day but visit on a morning during the weekday and you might just enjoy this waterfall all to yourself like us.
Mantayupan Falls is known locally as, Ambakan, in the Barangay of Campangga in the town of Barili. It’s a very easy waterfall to reach with access roads the whole way to the parking lot and then a short paved walk to the waterfall making it a simple adventure for everyone.
HOW TO GET TO MANTAYUPAN FALLS
Mantayupan Falls is in the town of Barili. If you are coming from Cebu City it will take you about 2.5 hours of driving. If you are coming from Moalboal, it will be about a 1-hour drive. You can get there from a public bus very easily.
I will embed the map below where Mantayupan is accurately pinned and then you can plug in your directions from wherever you might be staying.
The public bus will take you all the way from Cebu City or Moalboal to Barili Poblacion. Mantayupan is 3.7km from Poblacion so you can ride a habal-habal or hitch a ride to the entrance OR you could simply walk the 3.7km. It will cost only $1-2 for a habal-habal (motorbike) ride into Mantayupan Falls.
MY EXPERIENCE AT MANTAYUPAN FALLS
We made the long drive from Cebu City to Mantayupan on a Tuesday morning. We specifically chose a weekday to avoid the weekend crowds, which can get kind of crazy at Mantayupan. A short google image search will show you the umbrellas, lifejackets and a hundred people enjoying the waterfalls.
We left very early from Cebu City to arrive in the morning to Mantayupan Falls for two reasons. Firstly, we wanted to have the least possible likelihood of any other visitors so we could enjoy the waterfalls in peace and quiet. Secondly, the sunrise on the far side of the waterfall, so if you arrive in the morning you can take some nice photos where no sun is yet shining into the waterfall. When we arrived, the sun was just peaking over the top of the cliff above the waterfall, which gave a nice glow but made it easy to shoot the waterfall itself as it was all nicely in the shade.
So, we left Cebu City at 5:30 am, which meant we avoided some of the traffic, although there was still a lot that early. We ended up making it to Mantayupan Falls just before 8 am. I quickly flew the drone from the parking lot before we went inside. It’s a very stunning waterfall when viewing from above because the canyon is so narrow in which Mantayupan Falls sits and is completely surrounded by lush greenery.
Therefore, despite being quite built up with cement, pathways and man-made cottages it still looks quite wild.
*TIP for drone pilots: often the GPS won’t pick up inside the canyon so you will need to fly from the parking lot and then fly up and over to the waterfall in order to collect your satellites.
We headed into Mantayupan Falls and knew it was empty because there were no other parked cars, which was a good sign. We paid the P40 entry fee each and the P20 parking fee for a total visitation fee of P100. $2 USD is not a bad price to pay to have a private viewing of Cebu’s tallest waterfall.
The path takes less than a minute before you reach the first waterfall, which is a 14-meter cascade, which flows down into a circular shaped pool. This pool is deep enough to swim in and was quite a nice milky shade of blue/green. We hung out at this pool for a little while before continuing up to the main attraction.
The path now leads you along a narrow hanging bridge, which makes it feel much more adventurous than it is as it will only take you 1-minute to reach the main Mantayupan Falls.
It’s an incredible 98-meter waterfall that flows forcefully, crashing down into a huge pool that is an emerald green color. It’s good for swimming and there was even a small cliff-jump to the right-hand side. I didn’t try it as the water was quite murky and I wasn’t sure about rocks or debris beneath the surface. With no locals to show the way, I didn’t take the risk that morning but you could see the feet-marks in the rocks that people used to climb up to the 4-meter high ledge.
We rented the raft for P100 and each had a little paddle out and about towards the massive waterfall. I really enjoy this spot because of all the lush, tropical green plants that seem to fall off the sides of the amphitheater. It was a beautiful morning at one of Cebu’s most incredible locations.
I hope you enjoy your visit to Mantayupan Falls and remember to visit on a weekday in the morning for the most relaxing time.
MANTAYUPAN FALLS ENTRANCE FEE AND COTTAGE HIRE
As of 2020, the entrance fee is just P40 ($1USD) per person. The cottages can be rented for P500 ($10) where you can hang out and eat your lunch. There is also a bamboo raft you can hire for P100 ($2), which is pretty fun. You can use the ropes to pull yourself all the way underneath the waterfall and to explore the pool of water below Mantayupan Falls.
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
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