1. Tamaraw Falls
Puerto Galera is one of the top tourist destinations in the Philippines. It’s located very near Manila, in Oriental Mindoro province. Puetro Galera is known for its paradise beaches, but it’s also the location of one of the country’s must-see waterfalls: Tamaraw Falls. “Tamaraw” means “buffalo” in English (there are buffaloes living in Oriental Mindoro, but unfortunately they have become endangered due to logging and other human activities). Tamaraw Falls is an awesome 423-foot spectacle (that’s as high as a 4 or 5 story building!). A collection of mini-falls intertwine until they merge into one majestic waterfall.
If you are already vacationing in one of Puerto Galera’s beach resorts, Tamaraw Falls is easily accessible – it’s just down the road. No long trek required to enjoy a view of this natural wonder! It is near the city of San Teodoro, in Barangay Villaflor, just 15 km from the town proper.
If you wish to stop and enjoy Tamaraw Falls, there’s a resort at the foot of the falls. The entrance fee is very cheap. You can take a swim in the cool waters and enjoy a meal in one of their picnic huts.
How to get there:
- Tamaraw Falls is located 13km outside of Puerto Galera, which is about a 40-minute drive. You can either take a jeepney, rent a private van, rent a motorbike, or hire a tricycle. Some resorts in Puerto Galera offer a packaged tour visit to Tamaraw Falls. The tours include transportation, a guide, meals, and other adventure activities like kayaking.
2. Kawasan Falls
The enchanting Kawasan Falls is the most famous waterfall in Cebu and one of the best waterfalls in the Philippines, but it’s hidden deep in the rain forest. The “Pearl of the Philippines,” as it’s aptly known, can only be reached by hiking 30 minutes through the mountains of Badian. Kawasan Falls is a three-level waterfall that cascades down into a crystal clear, aquamarine pool. You can swim here or just float about on a bamboo raft. Each of the three levels of the falls offers a different experience (they are separated by a few minutes of trekking).
At 40 metres high, the first tier of the waterfalls is the tallest of the three. The second level is a 20-metre jump from the turquoise catch basin. You will find many less tourists here than in the pool below, even though it’s only a ten-minute hike from the base. The third tier waterfall is the smallest of the three, and it looks like a hidden gem in the mountains—except for the many tourists splashing about.
Kawasan Falls is found in the mountain jungle, but it isn’t an isolated beauty. This is one of the most popular tourist spots in Cebu and surrounding area is well commercialized: expect restaurants, stores, souvenir shops, and crowds of tourists. Even so, the beauty of the falls will astound you.
Kawasan Falls isn’t the only attraction in the area. The canyons around the nearby Matutinao River offer thrilling hiking, climbing, swimming, scrambling, jumping, and exploring. After a swim at the falls and a hike deep in the jungle, you can head into town and enjoy Badian’s amazing beaches. Sounds like a good day to us!
How to get there:
- Kawasan Falls is located in Barangay Matutinao. It is part of the Matutinao river system and is considered as the cleanest inland body of water in the Philippines. It is just 130 kim from the city of Cebu and can easily be reached in about three hours by bus.
- From the Cebu South Bus Terminal (CSBT), simply choose a bus company and book a ticket. Three companies travel the route to Badian, where Kawasan Falls is found: Ceres Bus, Librando Bus, and the rough riders bus.
3. Alalum Falls
Alalum Falls rises 128 feet. The waterfall is located in Kisolon, Sumilao, Bukidnon, and it reveals its majestic cascade to those passing by on Sarye National Highway. Alalum Falls is the product of an extensive network of streams, brooks, and springs that come from high up in the mountains.
Visiting Alalum Falls is like entering a paradise island. The glorious, 45-metre cascade of fresh water is flanked by thick greenery and blooms, shrubs, wildflowers, and abundant trees. The Bukidnon Province is blessed with a cool, mild climate and picture-perfect landscapes of forests and mountains. “Bukidnon” actually means “mountain dweller” or “highlander” – the 4th-, 5th-, 8th-highest mountains in the Philippines are found here.
Sumilao, the fourth class municipality where the waterfall greets travelers, has a population of a little over 25,000. The area surrounding Alalum Falls is as pretty as the falls themselves. “Sumilao” means “where the light comes again.” It’s as poetic and romantic as it sounds.
Alalum Falls can easily be admired—no difficult treks or trails necessary to witness this natural wonder. Just proceed to the Sumilao Municipal Hall and ask for the viewing deck, which was specifically built by the local government for the sole purpose of admiring this great wonder. If you desire a more up-close experience of Alalum Falls, just take the stairs leading to the base of the falls. Spectacular.
How to get there:
- From Cagayan de Oro, ride a southbound bus and get off at the Kisolon bus stop, which is near the Municipal Hall. Alalum Falls is located along Sayre Highway, an hour-and-a-half land trip from Cagayan de Oro City. Buses come from and to Davao pass by Kisolon, Sumilon on a daily basis.
4. Mimbalot Falls
Mimbalot Falls is one of the most famous waterfalls in Iligan City, Lanao del Norte, Mindanao. The other best-known falls in the region are Maria Christina and Tinago Falls. In fact, the city has over 20 waterfalls. Mimbalot Falls is special, though – and very, very photogenic. As it cascades down boulders, the strong, fresh water of the 9-foot high waterfall is naturally split into smaller falls and rivulates, creating a totally majestic sight!
With this kind of beauty before you, it’s tempting to jump right in and swim under the falls. And you can! Just not directly at the base of the falls, because the strong cascades and large rocks are dangerous. Enjoy the cool waters of the many pool basins instead. Remember, though, that there are no lifeguards here – so watch out for slippery rocks and deep patches, and wear a life jacket if you are not a strong or expert swimmer.
Locals do their laundry in the waters of Mimbalot Falls. You can always try to socialize if you see them there!
If you wish to experience more adventure, you can go zip-lining and trekking. Mimbalot Falls is part of the Iligan Paradise Resort and Eco Park. The area resorts also offers other thrilling activities for adventure-seekers, like kayaking, tubing, horseback-riding, hanging-bridge walk, cliff-swinging, and riding the cable car against a backdrop of stunning views.
The resort is family-friendly, complete with a playground, monkey bars, a swing, and a slide. There are also picnic tables by the falls. Pack a meal for your group if you wish to dine against a backdrop of breathtaking beauty!
How to get there:
- From Iligan City, ride a jeepney bound for Barangay Buru-un. Ask the driver to drop you off in Miguel Canohoy Memorial School. Cross the road and simply walk about 10 minutes until you reach the waterfalls. You can also hire a habal-habal from the city proper to go directly to the location.
5. Limunsudan Falls
Limunsudan Falls is another one of Iligan City’s majestic falls. It is the second highest waterfalls in the Philippines. It cascades in two levels, starting at an astonishing height of 870 feet. The backdrop to Limunsudan Falls is immensely beautiful. It’s so dramatic, visitors feel like they’ve stepped foot into the CGI-enhanced set of an adventure movie.
Limunsudan Falls is located in Sitio Limunsudan in Barangay Rogongon. It lies along Bayong River, 55 km from the city proper. Limunsudan is a remote village. It can only be reached by trekking two or three days on foot from Barangay Rogongon. Upon arriving at Sition Limunsudan, you will be greeted by the villagers (an indigenous group called the Higaonon) and their tribal leaders. They will usher you in at the Tribal Hall so they can perform rituals and prayers for your safety while viewing the roaring falls.
To the Higaonon folks, the waterfall is very sacred—it is where they worship their god called Magbabaya, with ritual offerings like chicken blood and coins. The source of the falls is from the highlands of Bukidnon and Lanao del Sur, fresh and abundant.
The inaccessibility of Limunsudan Falls discourages crowds, which is a bonus point if you hate tourism and commercialization around natural sights. This is just raw, virgin beauty, mysterious in its isolation. If you take the very long and hard trip to Limunsudan, you get to enjoy the falls’ otherworldly beauty without distraction – and it’s worth it. Just one look at the waterfall will melt away your pain and rejuvenate your soul!
How to get there:
- From Iligan City, take a 2-hour bus to Cagayan de Oro and get off at Bulua Terminal. From there, take a jeep to Cogon Market, which takes about 20 minutes. From there, take a jeep to Talagak, Bukidnon, a 45-minute ride.
- From Talagak, take the motorbike (habal-habal) to Mamoan, then another habal-habal to Sitio Limunsudan, Barangay Rogongon, Iligan City. From Barangay Rogongon, trek to Limunsudan Falls.
6. Tinago Falls
“Tinago” translates to “hidden” in English, and Tinago Falls is literally hidden in a deep ravine. This is another one of the famous waterfalls of Iligan City – you can see why they call Iligan “the City of Majestic Falls.”
Tinago is known for its stunning beauty; an avalanche of chilly waters rushes down a cliff and ends dramatically in an azure basin, like a secret lagoon. Behind the curtain of water lies a cave which you can enter to enjoy the sounds of the pounding falls.
Tinago Falls is located on the boundary of Barangay Purakan in the town of Linamon and Barangay Ditucalan. The breathtaking falls rise 73 metres (240 feet). To reach them you need to climb a 500-step staircase (not recommended for children). The paradise-like beauty makes for a scenic descent – just don’t get too distracted and miss a step!
The water from Tinago Falls originates at Lanao Lake, a man-made lake. Then it courses through to the Agus River, which dissects into two channels before flowing through Iligan Bay. If you are compelled to jump right into the Pacific blue waters of the falls, then feel free! It is very safe to do so. You can also enjoy a picnic by the falls if you pack a meal (or you can purchase something at one of the two small stores nearby).
If watching the falls isn’t enough for you, you can experience passing through them! For a small fee, you can ride a raft through the watery curtain and enjoy the strong downpour on your skin. While you’re in Iligan City you can also check out Maria Christina Falls and Mimbalot Falls, the other two most famous falls in the area.
How to get there:
- If you are commuting from Cagayan de Oro, just take an Ozamis-bound bus. Then get off at the main highway in Barangay Buru-un. Your landmark is Maze Resort. From there, ride a motorbike (habal-habal).
7. Tangadan Falls
La Union is famous to surfers because of its scenic beaches and inviting waves. But did you know that it is also where you can find one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the Philippines?
Tangadan Falls lies in Amontoc, San Gabriel, La Union, just a 20-minute drive from the town of San Juan. The place is predominantly a mountainous region. The one or two hour trek to the falls is an endurance test, but you’re compensated for your efforts with scenic paths and, of course, the splendor of Tangadan Falls at the end! You definitely need a guide, though, because it’s easy to get lost.
The falls is two-tiered and is a total of 50 feet high. It looks very impressive against a backdrop of semi-white limestone formations. Some adrenaline junkies actually jump off the waterfalls, which is safe and totally fun if you know what you are doing. Only veteran jumpers should do the 50-foot jump, as you need a serious technique to avoid hitting your head on the protruding rocks. A smaller, 15-foot waterfall that precedes the main falls is a popular, safer spot for thrill-seekers to cliff-dive.
The waters are cool and refreshing, and a lot of tourists eventually end up swimming even if they initially planned to just view the falls. After the long, strenuous trek, of course you’ll want to relax in the waters and just watch the falls cascading to your heart’s content. And if you wish to unknot those tensed muscles, pass under the falls on a raft for some water massage therapy.
Tangadan Falls is a popular spot, and you might not be alone when you get there. A small, excited crowd is usually gathered at the base. But so what? Tangadan Falls is such a beauty to behold that nothing, really, can distract you.
How to get there:
- From Manila, take a bus to either Laoag, Abra, Vigan, or Candon. Get off at La Union, in the town of San Juan. From San Juan, take a jeep that will ply the San Fernando-San Gabriel route and get off at downtown San Gabriel. From here, hire a tricycle to take you to Bucao, Duplas. Just tell the tricycle driver that you wish to go to Tangadan Falls and ask them to take you to the jump-off point.
8. Aliwagwag Falls
Aliwagwag Falls is the highest waterfall in the Philippines. This series of over a hundred falls totals a height of 340 metres (1120 feet). The majestic waterfall is regarded as the most beautiful in Mindanao; the falls are said to resemble a “stairway to heaven.” The clear waters flow elegantly along stair-like rock formations of various sizes between thick trees and tropical flowers that are centuries old.
Aliwagwag Falls is located in a protected landscape in Barangay Aliwagwag, Cateel, in the eastcoast province of Davao Oriental. Not only are the falls tear-inducingly beautiful, they’re also home to the sawaganun fish. Catch and cook one to enjoy a favorite native meal.
Aliwagwag Falls is just 30 to 40 minutes away from the city proper, and is the most visited natural wonder in all of Davao Oriental. You can conveniently view the majestic “stairway to heaven” from the Aliwagwag Bridge, which is just a 30-minute ride from the town. However, if you desire for a more up-close and personal experience with the tallest falls in the country, you can have it by hiking down the river.
Aliwagwag is definitely a must-see waterfall. Its grandeur and natural aesthetics are truly a sight to behold. Even the locals are still in awe of Aliwagwag. So, if you happen to go waterfall-chasing in Mindanao, make sure you visit this path to heaven. The trip may be long, but you will be rewarded.
How to get there:
- From Laguindingan Airport in Cagayan de Oro, take a shuttle to the CDO City Proper and get off at Agora Eastbound Integrated Bus Terminal. Travel time is about an hour.
- From the Agora Bus Terminal, take a bus bound for Butuan City. Bachelor Express and Rural have hourly trips to Butuan, so you can choose either. Drop off at Butuan City Integrated Bus terminal—travel time is about 5 hours.
- From Butuan, take the Bachelor Express bus bound for Bislig. Make sure to take the bus with signboard that says “Mangagoy,” which is the commercial center of Bislig. The travel time is about 5 hours before you get off at Mangagoy Bus Terminal.
- From the Mangagoy bus terminal, take a tricycle to the bus terminal in Cateel—another option as to get off at the Lyra/Mallen Bus Terminal, which is near the public market.
- From there, ride a mini bus to Cateel. Then get off at the Cateel Ingrated Bus Terminal. Travel time will take about three hours. Buses bound for Cateel coming from Mangagoy are only available once day, so make sure that you inquire for departure schedules beforehand.
- From Cateel, hire a motorbike, or a habal-habal, to Aliwagwag falls – travel time is almost one hour.
9. Seven Falls, Lake Sebu
Lake Sebu, a misty mountain town located in South Cotabato, Mindanao, is a land teeming with all things breathtaking. It is a slice of heaven, complete with placid lakes, dense forests, roaring rivers—and glorious waterfalls.
The most majestic of all these waterfalls is Seven Falls, located in Barangay Seloton. This series of seven waterfalls has a beauty so magical, one visit probably won’t be enough – you’ll be tempted to go back.
Lake Sebu is the home of the T’Boli, an indigenous group of people, and each of the seven falls was given a T’Boli name. Falls 1 is called Hikong Alo (“passage falls”); Falls 2, Hikong Bente (“immeasurable falls”); Falls 3, Hikong B’Lebel (“coil/zigzag falls”); Falls 4, Hikong Lowig (“booth falls”); Falls 5, Hikong Ukol (“wild flower falls”); Falls 6, Hikong K’Fo-I (“short falls”); and Falls 7, Hikong Tonok (“soil falls”).
The first two waterfalls are the most accessible. The very first, Hikong Alo, is the easiest to reach. It is a 35-foot wide cascading wonder and can be immediately seen upon entrance in the gate. The whopping 40 metres of the second, Hikong Bente, can be seen from a ziplining course! Or for the more conservative, it can be seen by descending a 774-step staircase.
Falls 3, 4, and 5 can be seen from the highest ziplines in Southeast Asia. As you fly, 180 meters up in the air, for 40 to 60 seconds in a rush of wind, you will have an unobstructed view of paradise below you. This zipline course is your only option for a glimpse of Falls 3, 4, and 5, unless you are up to the challenge of a rigorous mountain hike. Falls 6 and 7 are totally inaccessible, unless you want to hike for several hours.
In the entrance to the Seven Falls, souvenir shops sell T’Boli-made items. The best souvenir of all, perhaps, is the chance to rent a T’Boli outfit and have your picture taken in the native costume.
The Seven Falls of Lake Sebu is undoubtedly the best zipline experience that you will ever have in your life (and probably the cheapeast, too). If this type of thrill isn’t for you, though, you can still marvel at Falls 1 and 2 the old-fashioned way.
How to get there:
- From General Santos City airport, head to Bulaong Bus Terminal and take a bus to Koronadal City (also known as Marbel). Travel time is about one hour.
- After getting off at Koronadal Bus Terminal, take a bus bound for Surallah, which is about a 30-minute ride. From there, hail a van or jeepney to Lake Sebu (the ride will take almost an hour).
- From Lake Sebu, hire a motorbike (or habal-habal) to take you to the Seven Falls.
10. Maria Cristina Falls
Maria Cristina Falls is THE waterfall of all waterfalls. It’s the most famous waterfall in the Philippines and a staple in academic textbooks. If a Filipino kid can name any Philippine waterfall, this is it. That kid might be surprised to hear that there even are other waterfalls aside from the Maria Cristina Falls.
Maria Cristina Falls is found in the highlands of Mindanao. It is the landmark of Iligan City (aka “The City of Majestic Waterfalls”). The waterfalls is not just a sight of grandeur, either. The 98-metre (320-foot) falls are the main source of electric power for Iligan City’s industries. 70% of Mindanao’s electricity comes from Maria Cristina Falls, mobilized by the Agus VI Hydroelectric Plant.
Unfortunately, you can only pay Maria Cristina a visit on Sundays, or during holidays, when the hydroelectric plant closes for an hour. You may only view the falls at the NAPOCOR (National Power Corporation) viewing deck, which is located on the 3rd floor of their building. After viewing the majestic falls, you are also educated on the history of the falls and the evolution of the hydroelectric plant by a timeline of photographs displayed in a glass room.
Recently, NAPOCOR has developed what they call the National Power Nature Park, which offers more thrilling activities apart from just ogling at the falls. They offer tourists rock-climbing, fishing, zip-lining, bridge-jumping, and canyoneering options. Picnic tables are available so you can dine with the famous falls as your backdrop. How enviable is that to your Instagram followers? There’s also a souvenir shop just in case you fell in love with Maria Cristina and want to remember them with a shirt emblazoned with the famous falls.
But wait, let’s backpedal to those adventure activities. National Power Park has three ziplines, allowing you to get a full view of the roaring Agus river and the Maria Cristina Falls, of course. There’s also a white-water rafting adventure through the challenging Agus River, perfect for adrenaline junkies. They also now have botanical and zoological gardens—complete with a butterfly sanctuary in a floral paradise, a bat park, an aviary, and an impressive orchardarium.
A venture around National Power Park will also reward you with sights of wild animals, like monkeys and crocodiles, and the zoo features ostriches, peacocks, and Japanese kois. The park is very family friendly, complete with a playground for kids, a hanging bridge, and more – all for a very small fee. All of this in the midst of scenic and lush greenery, and intoxicating natural beauty. Who says you can’t get a piece of heaven for such a cheap price?
How to get there:
- From Iligan City, take a jeepney bound for Barangay Buru-un. Ask the driver to drop you off at Eskina (crossing) Maria Cristina/NPC.
- After paying the 35 PHP entrance fee at the gate, take the a habal-habal going to the viewing deck (travel time about 20 minutes). Or, from the city proper, you can just immediately get a habal-habal to take you right to the location.
Helpful articles and blog posts on waterfalls in the Philippines:
We only recommend writers and blogs that we read regularly and believe will deliver substantial value to our readers. The following is our top picks of articles we think are worth reading for you to get more information and a more extensive guide to the most beautiful waterfalls in the Philippines:
- “Trekking Tangadan Falls, San Gabriel, La Union” – by the Quaint Traveler
- “The Seven Falls of Lake Sebu, South Cotabato” – The Chronicles of Marianne
- “Davao Oriental Travel Blog: Exploring Cateel and Mati – Aliwagwag Falls, Sleeping Dinosaur, Dahican Beach, Subangan, and the White Capitol” – by Akros Philippines
- “Iligan Tourism Triangle Icons: Mimbalot, Tinago and Maria Christina Falls” – by Angel of Lakwatsero
- “Limunsudan Falls” – by Explore Iligan
- “Tamaraw Falls and Virgin Island of Oriental Mindoro” – by Geejay Travel Log
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