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 IN BARILI: VISITORS GUIDE
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. In this blog post, I’ll share everything you need to know about visiting Mantayupan Falls in Cebu
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 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
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.
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!
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
THINGS TO DO NEAR MANTAYUPAN FALLS
In addition to visiting the breathtaking Mantayupan Falls, there are several other activities and attractions in the surrounding area of Barili, Cebu that you can enjoy:
- Nature Tours: Explore the beautiful landscapes and diverse flora and fauna of the region on a nature tour or a hiking trip.
- Historical Sites: Visit the colonial-era Church of Saint Anne, an important historical landmark in Barili.
- Food and Drink: Try local delicacies and the famous “chicharon” (crispy pork skin) at local eateries or the nearby public market.
- Boloc-Boloc Springs: A few minutes away from the falls, this hot spring is a great place to unwind and enjoy a natural sulfur bath.
- Adventure Rides: For those seeking more adrenaline, there are motorcycle tours available in the nearby mountains.
- Local Craft Shopping: Barili is also known for its quality furniture and woodcraft. A visit to a local craft shop can provide unique souvenirs.
These activities can provide a broader cultural and natural experience to your visit, making the trip to the Mantayupan Falls area even more memorable.
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.
TRANSPORT OPTIONS FOR CEBU
There’s lots of different transport options to get around Cebu depending on the size of your group, travel style and length of your journey. Here’s a quick overview of what to expect.
Moped: The best way to get around Cebu Island is through moped/scooter rentals. A moped can be rented for about $8 a day but that price may come down if your rental is more than a week long. The roads aren’t always great to and from the waterfalls and hikes so drive safely. You will need your regular drivers license from your home country and a helmet to avoid any issues. Below are the other main transport options for Cebu.
- Tricycles: the most common means of private transportation in the Philippines, accommodating 2-4 passengers, more than a motorcycle. This allows you to hire a driver to transport you to various attractions and things to do in Cebu.
- The Habal Habal: essentially a “scooter taxi,” is an economical option for single passengers who don’t wish to rent their own vehicle.
- Jeepneys: vibrant buses used by locals for transportation in the Philippines. Operating on fixed routes, they provide a shared riding experience and offer a unique opportunity to interact with the local community. Expect to be crammed in like sardines but it’s the authentic transport mode for locals.
- Vans: available for transportation, typically offered by resorts, hotels, and private transportation companies. This option will be the most expensive, it can be a worthwhile choice during rainy weather or for larger groups.
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