Chances are if you’re planning a trip to the Philippines, you’ve been told that you cannot miss the infamous Kawasan Falls, but what about Tumalog Falls? Ever since I visited these falls it seems that everyone has been talking about every other place in the Philippines EXCEPT this one?! While the bombarding masses of tourists can have you turning your nose up at this place, if you give yourself the opportunity to experience this alone in the morning, I guarantee you’ll want to spend at least half a day swimming and exploring different angles of this place. I wish I had gotten here a bit earlier, but my Google Maps led me astray *shakes fist*, so when I visit Cebu again, you bet your bottom dollar this girl is getting there early! If you’re planning a trip to Cebu in the Philippines, make sure you add Tumalog Falls to your list of must-sees!
Basic Information For Tumalog Falls
When To Get There: Early, early, early! This place fills up so fast, so you’re going to want to get there around on or before 8 am when it opens. I arrived at around 9:00 am and the crowds start to rush in immediately, so make sure you wake up with the sun to secure your spot.
How To Get There: This waterfall isn’t really in a secret location, so there are going to be many signs that will lead you in the right direction. You can easily put this into Google Maps and it will take you there just fine.
From Oslob: It takes roughly ten minutes from the heart of Oslob. You’re going to want to head south on the islands main road until you arrive near the whale shark tours, which I don’t recommend going on, and follow the signs to the drop-off point.
From Moalboal: It takes roughly 2 hours from Moalboal. Drive south on the island’s main road until you reach Oslob. There will be signs that will guide you to the entrance point of the waterfall.
Entrance Fee: 20 PHP (~ $0.37 USD)
Walking Time: This walk is optional. The whole road is paved and at the top of the hill when you arrive, you’re going to notice a bunch of habal habal rides available to and from the waterfall. It is 50 PHP (~ $1 USD) roundtrip and worth it in my opinion. You’re not allowed to take your rented scooter down there so be prepared to walk to rent a driver.
Walking Difficulty: (Easy-Medium) I didn’t make this route down to the waterfall by foot, but by the looks of it, the hill is extremely steep and I would say it depends on how fast or slow you go, but you can make it down there in about 5-10 minutes (going downhill).
Waterfall Height: I had a hard time finding information for this section so I am going to kind of guesstimate this one to maybe be around 85-90 feet? I am horrible at guessing things like these, but this waterfall is huge. If you ask the locals while you’re there they can probably tell you how tall it is.
What To Bring: waterproof camera, sunscreen, sunglasses (optional), spare cash for the entrance fee, and snacks. you’ll want to bring as little as possible since you’ll have to leave your bag whenever you go swimming, but if you get there early and there are minimal people then having a little extra cargo for photos shouldn’t be an issue.
What To Wear: You’ll want to bring a swimsuit, a coverup, and some type of outdoor sandal like these so that you’re able to walk around beneath the falls.
My Experience At Tumalog Falls
When I first heard about Tumalog Falls, and after searching for photos, I didn’t understand the hype behind the waterfall. I had seen a photo from my favorite travel influencers, and they were the primary reason why this waterfall was on my must-see list in the first place, but overall, I didn’t really know what to expect from this place. If you’re in the same position that I was in, don’t skip out on this waterfall, because you’ll arrive there and all the lightbulbs in your head are going to go off in your head followed by an, “Oh, THAT’S why I shouldn’t miss this spot!” Or just look at my photos below and you’ll get a great idea as to why you should add this to your Cebu itinerary.
My Failed Plan To Arrive Early
This was one of those places that I knew was popular for tourism, so I planned to get here before everyone else, and well, my plan flopped from the moment I sat on the scooter. I am an avid Google Maps user in my day-to-day and while it has never led me astray, it chose today of all days to give me an impossible route. I plugged my information into my app and it said there was a route that went through the middle of the island that was faster, so I based my departure time based off of that, and the rest is history. A few things to note is that you aren’t able to just drive through the middle of the island, and if you happen to find this mysterious Google Maps route, then you’re going to add around 45 minutes to your ETA (and more than likely get lost lol).
Arriving At Tumalog Falls + My First Impression
My guide parked the scooter at the top of the entrance, and I gave a few pesos to one of the habal habal drivers to take me down to the falls. One thing to note here is that you can’t take your rented scooter down here, so you either have to make the 10-15 minute walk down or pay around a dollar to be driven down, which is what I opted in for since I arrived late. The hill is incredibly steep, but if you want to save some money, then opt-in for walking.
The driver dropped me off and gave me his scooter number so that he could be called from the entrance tent to pick me up when I was done. I paid the small entrance fee and made my way to the falls. To your right, you’re going to see little cascading pools that form below Tumalog Falls that you can relax in or take photos, and if you keep going, there are a few staircases that lead you directly to Tumalog Falls. The first time I saw the falls, I was blown away at how big it actually was. Wow.
This waterfall is MASSIVE and none of the photos that I had seen prior had done it any kind of justice. To try and see the top, you have crane your neck all the way back and even then you won’t be able to make out the top. There is also a giant blue pool underneath that you can swim around in and even go beneath the falls if you want! The pool is extremely shallow, around three feet, so you can easily walk around and navigate through the entire pool. The rocks at the bottom are pretty rugged also, so make sure you bring a pair of water sandals with you to protect your feet. I wore flip flops, but they came off with each step, so make sure you bring something that secures to your foot.
Since I arrived here solo, I didn’t have anyone to take travel photos of myself under the falls, but when a guide approached me and asked if he could help, I was all in. He had some incredible photo ideas that even I didn’t think of (see photos below), and even though we had to rough it out through extremely broken English, we managed to get some solid shots for the setting we were in. He was so patient with waiting for other tourists to get out of the shot and making sure that I had everything I needed before I tipped him and we went our separate ways. I combined my fun with the photoshoot since there were tons of people everywhere, even if it doesn’t look like it in the photos. I didn’t want to leave my backpack with my camera gear for anyone to pick up and grab since I wasn’t going to be able to have my eyes on it at all times, so I wrapped everything up within an hour or two.
Tips For Visiting Tumalog Falls
- Opt to bring a pair of water shoes or sandals. I actually ended up bringing a pair of flip-flops with me that ended up being useless after a couple steps in the water. The rocks in the pool are pretty sharp, so you’re going to want something to protect your feet if you don’t want to tread water the whole time you’re there.
- Prepare for cold water. I was shocked at how cold the water was, but if you were working up a sweat in the intense sun rays, then this will be the perfect cool down. It takes a minute to get used to the water, but once you get in, you’ll be feeling refreshed in no time and ready to explore the area.
- Take advantage of the habal habal rides to and from the falls. It really only costs a dollar to do this, so I could take full advantage, so you avoid having to walk down and up a massive hill. The road is fully paved for the way down, except near the falls, but it is completely safe and a great way to beat everyone else down.
- Venture around to get unique perspectives. Once you walk up the steps to the falls, there are various boulders that you can climb to be able to get really cool perspective shots of Tumalog Falls (kind of like the photos above). I wish I had ventured more to the left of the falls and had a drone so I could get all the falls in the photo, but I worked with what I had and I still ended up getting some pretty photos.
To conclude, sometimes dodging selfie sticks, bumping into a few people, and crowds are an inevitable part of more tourism destinations like the Philippines, but I had an incredible time at Tumalog Falls and I can’t wait to return to get that dream shot I envisioned before my plans were set back. If you’re planning a trip to Tumalog Falls, I highly recommend pairing it with a tour of Sumilon Island that is off the coast of the Oslob area. I didn’t make it out there since I had a ferry to catch, but I plan on checking out that epic sandbar as soon as I return!
Tumalog Falls is an incredible place to add to your Philippines itinerary, and I can’t recommend it enough to see this massive beauty in person, because nothing compares to seeing it in real life, just make sure you plan to arrive at the best time!
Hey there, are you booking a trip to the Philippines? Check out some of these posts for more Philippines inspiration!
- A Perfect Philippines Itinerary For 2 Weeks
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