Tinubdan Falls is a beautiful waterfall in the province of Catmon, which is about 1.5 hours’ drive north from Cebu City. It’s a bit of a hidden gem because it is in the north and most tourists head south to visit popular waterfalls. However, Tinubdan Falls is truly incredible with multiple cascades flowing into a natural swimming pool in the middle of the jungle.
HOW TO GET TO TINUBDAN FALLS IN CATMON, CEBU
Catmon is a province to the north of Cebu City and takes about 1.5 hours to reach. It’s 57km in distance from Cebu City but the traffic can make this a very slow 57km-journey. I’d suggest leaving Cebu City early in the morning and watching the sunrise as you drive up to Catmon. This timing will also mean you have good lighting at Tinubdan Falls because after 10 am it is pretty sunny at the falls and you want that early morning soft light.
So, you will drive all the way to Catmon but then on the left-hand side, there is a sign that says Esoy Hot Spring. Take this road. You can also be following the pin for Tinubdan Falls on Google Maps at this point, but beware the pin is incorrect and I can help you with how to overcome the incorrect pin.
Once you have turned onto the road to Esoy Hot Spring, continue all the way along this road until you reach the Esoy Hot Spring. The road is pretty rocky, bumpy and crazy so be ready for that and drive very slowly and safely. Now, once you reach Esoy Hot Spring, continue driving but don’t worry about Google Maps now. You will want to continue driving all the way through past the blue Barangay Hall and then until you reach this intersection and sign. It is about 10-15 minutes after the Esoy Hot Spring.
After this sign, you will come across another sign and a small shop. Here it tells you to pay for your ticket/entrance fee which is just $1 USD. Now you will continue all the way until you reach the Tabili School and then just fifty meters past the school you can park in this jungle parking area.
Once you have parked your car and are set to go the trail isn’t really that obvious but there was a small white sign that said ‘T Falls’, it led through a field, past a small house with lots of chickens and eventually onto the path that was then quite well defined and led all the way to the falls. There you will find a yellow gate that takes you into the cottages and setup for the Tinubdan Falls area.
MY EXPERIENCE AT TINUBDAN FALLS IN CATMON, CEBU
So, now that you know how to get to Tinubdan Falls after following my directions and photos above, let me share my experience at Tinubdan Falls. I’ll also give you a couple of tips for shooting photos at Tinubdan Falls.
After the initial confusion due to the wrong pin on Google Maps, we made our way along the jungle trail. It was a beautiful little trail that led to the waterfalls with a very wild, jungle feel. Don’t worry the trail into the waterfall is quite short and only takes about 10-minutes of walking without any hills.
When we arrived the yellow gate was closed and instead of just opening it and heading in, we continued up to the top of the falls to explore. It isn’t necessary to do this and to be honest, not all that worth it but I’m always up for an adventure to see what I can find. It is possible to make it all the way up and down without going through the gate but it involves a little bit of bouldering. This is what the top of the falls looks like.
Once we navigated down to the main area of Tinubdan Falls, I was pretty impressed with how epic this little area was. There are multiple waterfalls, which all stream into a big natural swimming pool that sits beneath them all. Throughout the are you can find lots of little places to soak in a fresh-water spa beneath one of the cascades. Aside from a rope and a wire, the scene is relatively natural with no huge cement stairs or other implementations commonly seen at waterfalls in the Philippines such as at Kawasan Falls.
There are a couple of cottages and places to hang out to the side of the waterfall and I imagine on a weekend this area is quite busy with locals and visitors alike. However, at 930 am on a Tuesday, this was our private waterfall. The sun had well and truly risen but because of the dense foliage and jungle trees, the sun was only just starting to creep in, which was perfect for photos. Once the sun poured in over the top of the trees by 1030 am, it was very hard to photograph due to the harsh light and dark shadows. Therefore, I suggest arriving early to Tinubdan Falls to avoid the Cebu City traffic, avoid the crowds and enjoy the best lighting. There are three key benefits to leaving Cebu City before sunrise.
Down below this main area, you will find more beautiful pools and waterfalls that are not to be missed. There are a few rough trails that lead you down here if you are feeling up for a bit more exploration.
We found a spot down below the main area where the kids were making a bit of noise. It turned out to be a mini waterfall-cliff jumping area. I snapped a few photos before joining them for one jump. It’s super shallow with rocks beneath the surface so not one I would recommend. I had to try it once though.
After enjoying the waterfalls, we headed back to the car and off to our second stop of the day back at Esoy Hot Springs and Ka-Tinggo Falls. It’s a good idea to combine these two adventures as they are both nearby and it is a bit of an effort to drive up the bumpy road so you may aswell experience both while you are up there in the mountains.
I hope you enjoyed this post and had a good time exploring Catmon and the surrounding regions in the north of Cebu.
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
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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