Cebu Island in the Philippines is home to some of the most breathtaking, milky blue waterfalls in the world. While Kawasan Falls is easily the most famous in the region, it definitely has some competition. Aguinid Falls on Cebu Island is probably our favourite waterfall in the Philippines. The Tangbo River cascades down 8 different levels and the electric blue colour has to be seen to be believed. Not to mention, this beautiful waterfall does not see the same crowds as Kawasan, providing a peaceful, off the beaten path experience.
We spent almost a week based in Moalboal exploring the region and checking out all the nearby waterfalls (there are tons of them!) The best thing about Aguinid Falls is the adventure that comes with it – you have to put in a bit of work to experience the beauty of the falls. It’s a mixture of swimming, rock climbing and cliff jumping that makes it an epic adventure and a seriously fun day out. You don’t need to be a rock climber to enjoy these falls, you just need to be willing to take a leap and have a good sense of adventure.
Getting to Aguinid Falls
From Cebu City
Although it can make for a long day, it is possible to do a day trip here from Cebu City. Catch a Grab taxi to the Cebu South Bus Terminal and look for a bus to Bato via Barili. The bus terminal can be quite confusing but busses to Bato via Barili leave from Bay 4. The trip takes around 4 hours and should cost around 200 – 250PHP ($3.90 – $4.85 USD). Ask the bus driver to drop you off near the entrance to the falls. From there, it is just a short walk in from the main road and it is well signposted.
If you are going to visit all the amazing waterfalls in South Cebu, then we recommend staying in Moalboal. It is a great hub to explore the southern part of the island, with good restaurants, nice snorkeling, beaches and budget-friendly places to stay. The best way to reach the waterfalls from Moalboal is to rent a scooter for the day which costs around 300 PHP ($5.87 USD). The scooter trip down to Samboan where Aguinid Falls is located takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes.
Alternatively, you can catch the same Bato via Barili bus that passes through Moalboal town centre. The drop-off and pick-up point for passengers is near the Jose Rizal statue. The price should cost around 150PHP ($2.90 USD) and take about 1 hour and 20 minutes.
The entrance fee for Aguinid Falls is just 60PHP ($1.17 USD) per person. As well as paying an entrance fee, it is also a requirement for you to take a guide. The entrance fee you pay does not cover the guide’s wages, so it is expected for you to tip them. How much you tip is up to you, just remember that this will be their wage. We had the most amazing guide, Jhai Ho, who went above and beyond so we gave her 400PHP ($7.82 USD). This is the highest tip we gave to any of our guides but she sure as hell earned it! She was fun, engaging, super helpful and even rewarded us with fresh coconuts on our route back.
There is also a 10PHP ($0.20 USD) parking fee for scooters if you do end up driving here.
The waterfall is made up of 8 different levels, all offering something a little bit different. Generally, only the first 5 levels are accessible as the climb to the last 3 levels is very difficult. Levels 1 – 5 are a relatively easy climb and the main waterfall is at the top of level 5 which is perfect for most people. If you are comfortable with a bit more of a tricky climb, you can see if your guide will take you up to the very top. After discussing it with our guide she agreed to let us climb all the way to the top and we were delighted that she did.
If you climb levels 1 – 5 then you will return on the same route that you climbed up. But if you manage to convince your guide to take you all the way to the top then you follow a road back down to the entrance of the falls. Regardless of which route you end up taking, you will still be blown away by this natural wonder.
A very short walk from the entrance of the falls will take you to the first level. There isn’t much to see here other than a few small pools, especially when we were there as there had been very little rainfall.
This is where the fun starts. There is a 30-foot waterfall flowing down the rocks at a 45-degree angle. Using a rope and some foot holes carved into the rock, you climb up the face of the waterfall as the water rushes past your feet. As soon as we saw this we knew we were in for a good time. Although it looks like it should be slippery, there is loads of grip on the limestone rocks. Your guide will go ahead of you and show you the easiest way to climb up.
The first glimpse of that crazy blue water. There are several small pools that you can wade in as well as a spectacular waterfall. The water trickles over the edge of the level above allowing you to stand underneath and enjoy one of the most incredible natural showers. Take some time here to chill under the waterfall and take in all the natural beauty that surrounds you.
The cliff jumping level! Well cliff jump is a bit of a stretch as it is just over 2 metres high but it was still really fun to take a running jump into the Gatorade blue pool below. If you don’t fancy jumping in from the rocks, you can simply climb in and go for a swim. It’s one of the smaller jumps that we have done but it certainly ranks as one of my favourites purely because of the jaw dropping setting.
The most impressive level at Aguinid Falls. The water pours down the 25-foot limestone rocks to the blue pool below. You can clamber across the lower rocks and stand underneath the water as it flows down. It was a surreal experience. Once you’ve had your fill underneath the falls you can slide down the natural slide and back into the pool. If this is as far as you go then definitely take your time to relax, have a swim and take some awesome photos. This place really is sensational.
Climbing up to level 6 is the hardest part of the entire trip. On the left hand side of the main falls is the route up to level 6. We only required one guide up until level 5 but for this next section there was another guide to help us out. He clambered up the rocks and made it look so easy but it was anything but. Once you get about 2/3 of the way up you will grab the hand of the guide above you who will help pull you up to the top. It’s a little sketchy and not for the faint hearted but we never felt unsafe doing it.
While the waterfall at level 5 is the most spectacular, I’ve gotta say level 6 was my absolute favourite. There was a natural infinity pool at the top of the waterfall that cascades down to level 5, another pool just a few feet above the infinity pool and yet another waterfall above that. It was so serene. I think another reason why it is so good is because we had it all to ourselves as well. Even though there were only a handful of people below us it is still awesome to have somewhere so amazing to yourself.
You guessed it. More blue pools and another big waterfall. Even though it’s all very similar, it still amazed us every time we climbed up to a new level. Climbing up the waterfall here was another challenge. Our guide once again hopped up before us and helped pull us up to the top.
The very top of Aguinid Falls. The water is more green than blue up here and there are a few really small pools to hang out in. After a thrilling climb up the falls it was wicked to just take a few minutes and relax.
After leaving the falls we were walking passed some palm trees and our guide managed to score us a couple of fresh coconuts for free to enjoy on the walk back down. The perfect ending to an epic adventure.
The whole trip from the bottom, through all 8 levels and back down to the entrance took us around 1 hour and 45 minutes.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Bring aqua shoes – In order to climb the falls, you will need either aqua shoes or a pair of trainers that you don’t mind getting wet. Aqua shoes are available to rent from some stalls near the entrance for 50PHP ($1 USD).
- Bring a dry bag – You’ll be climbing up waterfalls and swimming through pools so if you want to take pictures with a camera or your phone you will need to bring a dry bag.
- A guide is required – You have to take a guide with you to explore the waterfalls. There are some slippery parts and lots of climbing so unlike some of the other falls, having a guide here is both necessary and helpful.
- You need to tip your guide – The entrance fee doesn’t cover the guide’s wages. Make sure to leave them a tip for their efforts.
- Plan to take 2 hours at the falls – To make the most out of your time here you will need about 2 hours regardless of which route you take.
- It is moderately difficult – The climb up to level 5 involves rock climbing, clambering up waterfalls and swimming. Although not super difficult it does take some physical effort.
Where to Stay
Perez Residence – A great budget accommodation in Cebu City. A private double room with air conditioning cost us just 700PHP ($13.69 USD).
The main touristy area to stay here is actually just outside of Moalboal town centre towards Panagsama Beach.
Budget: J&C Guesthouse – Our choice for budget accommodation and where we stayed while in Moalboal. A private double room with air conditioning cost 1000PHP ($19.56 USD) and this price also included breakfast. It is a short walk to the beach and close to lots of good restaurants.
Mid-range: Moalboal Shaka Traveler’s Place – If you want to stay right on the beach but not break the bank then this is the place for you. They have their own private beach area and a great terrace to watch sunset each night. Shaka also offer dorm rooms for those who want a more social atmosphere.
Luxury: The Blue Orchid Resort – A much more luxurious way to enjoy Moalboal. They have an awesome pool, an on-site dive centre and they are also located right on the water.
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There are so many amazing waterfalls to choose from when exploring the south of Cebu, it can be overwhelming to decide which ones to visit. After having spent a few hours at Aguinid Falls we recommend you put it at the top of your Cebu bucket list. It was unreal! First and foremost, it really is an extremely pretty waterfall. It ticks all the boxes. Blue water, limestone falls and lush jungle greenery surrounding it. And on top of that, it is the most fun and challenging adventure of any of the waterfalls in the area.
We visited nearly all of the waterfalls in the area and for us, Aguinid comes out on top. That being said, if you have the time, try and visit some of the other falls in the area as well – Dao Falls, Cambais Falls and Inambakan Waterfall all rate highly in our books. Have you explored any of the waterfalls at the southern end of Cebu? Let us know which one was your favourite in the comments!
*Please note, prices are a reflection of our experiences while traveling the Philippines in June 2019 and are subject to change. Prices quoted in PHP were the exact prices we paid and USD conversions are listed for your convenience.