14 stunning Philippine waterfalls worth chasing
Prepare to be blown away by the country’s most scenic and dramatic falls.
Philippines is more than just sea, sand and sun. It is also home to a plethora of waterfalls that will take your breath away and even let you cool off (usually after a tiring trek). Tucked away in the lush mountains or forests, many of these spectacles showcase nature – from cascades and pools to vegetation and rock formations – at its best. Just how gorgeous are the country’s waterfalls?
1. Asik-Asik Falls, Alamada, North Cotabato
Asik-Asik Falls is every bit a natural wonder. Instead of your usual stream-flowing-from-a-cliff setting, you’ll find water springing from a rocky mountainside draped in flowering vines. The tallest cascade is 25 meters, while others are only 5 meters high or smaller. Tucked in a forested ravine, the entire system spans 130 meters. Locals believe raging floodwater uprooted the trees that originally grew on the side of the cliff, resulting in cracks from which water now gushes out.
Photo credit: Rawen Balmaña
2. Tinuy-an Falls, Bislig, Surigao del Sur
Forming white curtains as water gushes into its basins, Tinuy-an Falls is hailed as the Niagara Falls of the Philippines. With walls stretching across 95 meters, it is also famed for being one of the country’s widest waterfalls. The 55-meter-high Tinuy-an Falls actually consists of three tiers. The second one is the tallest and has the biggest pool. You can ride a raft to get close to its cascades and enjoy a water “massage.” Visit in the morning (between 9:00 and 11:00 a.m.) and you might chance upon a rainbow beaming across its wall.
Photo credit: Bro. Jeffrey Pioquinto, SJ
3. 7 Falls, Lake Sebu, South Cotabato
Yes, we’re talking seven interconnected waterfalls in a single location. Only the first five, however, are accessible by foot. Start with a short walk to Hikong Alo (Passage Falls), which is the widest of the bunch. Then go down a 774-step trail to the highest one, the 21-meter-tall Hikong Bente (Immeasurable Falls). If you’re up for some serious trekking, you can follow the path to the third, fourth and fifth falls.
Want to see all of them in one go? Take a zipline ride at Hikong Alo, which from a height of 180 meters will “fly” you over a distance of 740 meters to Hikong Bente and give you a chance to view the other falls.
Photo credit: I Travel Philippines
4. Maria Cristina Falls, Iligan, Lanao del Norte
Maria Cristina Falls is a powerhouse of sorts. At 98 meters, it is the second-highest waterfall in the country. It features mighty cascades that seem to split into two, as water flows through a large rock at its brink (hence the “twin falls” moniker). And the raging water from just one of its drops is harnessed as an electricity source for a huge part of Iligan City. Because of this, you can’t actually see both cascades at once. Neither can you trek close to the falls or swim in its pool. But the hydroelectric plant that taps its cascades has a view deck that directly faces the falls and from which you can feel its spray.Easily accessible, Maria Cristina Falls is located in the National Power Corporation nature park.
Photo credit: jflotography
5. Katibawasan Falls, Camiguin
Rising 76 meters, Katibawasan Falls is a sight to behold not just for its clear cascades but also the orchids, ferns, trees and boulders that surround its green pool. It’s found on the foot of Mount Timpoong and often draws in those looking for a refreshing dip in its ice-cold waters after a day of trekking or hiking. Seats and picnic tables are set up in the area, along with cooking facilities.
Photo credit: donelon oco
6. Tumalog Falls, Oslob, Cebu
Never had a chance to play in the rain? Tumalog Falls lets you in on a similar experience, as fine strands of cold water cascade from its multiple umbrella-like stone formations. You can step under one of those “umbrellas” and enjoy the shower of “rain” flowing from it. Also known locally as Mag-Ambak Falls and Toslob Falls, this attraction is just a few minutes away for a popular whale shark–watching site.
Photo credit: nikkacorsino
7. Casaroro Falls, Dumaguete, Negros Oriental
Casaroro Falls will wow you with its single lofty, narrow veil. But what will leave you in awe is how much power it manages to pack. It plunges almost 30 meters down into a cold and deep swirling pool, producing a mighty roar and invigorating draft. Also winning it extra points is the surrounding lush greenery, which features huge tree ferns.
8. Dodiongan Falls, Iligan, Lanao del Norte
At first glance, Dodiongan Falls look like a pair of archangel wings about to spread open, with cascades that don’t seem to be flowing at all. But up close, you’ll see strands of water gliding through an angled rock wall. You’ll also notice a protruding rock in the center that divides the cascade, creating two thin sheets of water. With a height of 20 meters, this unique fall produces a heavy current as it descends into a wide and deep pool.
Photo credit: Kathleen
9. Cambugahay Falls, Lazi, Siquijor
Not all breathtaking waterfalls are tall and grand. Case in point: Cambugahay Falls. With a series of small cascades (some just a little over 2 meters high) and calm and clear warm water, this idyllic waterfall is just as astonishing. The lowest tier has the deepest and largest pool, although you can climb to the top for shallower waters. Try to schedule your visit during summer, when the gushing waters turn aqua green. From the catchbasins, waters here actually flow downstream toward lagoons and then the Lazi Bay.
10. Kaangrian Falls, Burgos, Ilocos Norte
You can’t help but be captivated by Kaangrian Falls. Its series of cascades flow delicately over the big, rounded boulders and trees of a wide rock wall, forming lovely “stairs” of water that gush into mini-drops and refreshing pools. It’s best to visit between October and December, when the waters are surging.
Photo credit: Jolan Antonio
11. Cat-Umantad Falls, Candijay, Bohol
There is more to Bohol’s natural wonders than the Chocolate Hills. One that’s especially remarkable is the three-tier Cat-Umantad Falls. About 45 meters high, its upper layer has thick waters that plunge over a deep ravine and a cliff. The second cascade is much wider and flows out to a ground that slopes toward a stream. The third tier is the shortest and farthest off. You can swim in the basins of the first two drops and camp in the area across the stream.
12. Balabag Falls, Real, Quezon
Ready to take a leap of faith? That’s what adventure-seekers do when they visit Balabag Falls and jump from its cascades. Surrounded by a dense forest, this particular fall has two tiers. The upper level is 15 meters high and gushes into a shallow pool. From that point, water flows down a 6-meter-high drop that leads to a deeper catchbasin.
13. Kawasan Falls, Badian, Cebu
It’s no surprise Travel + Leisure magazine featured Kawasan Falls in its photo collection of beautiful waterfalls around the world. Its multiple cascades alone are enchanting and breathtaking. Add its turquoise pools to the equation and you get a true standout.
The first waterfall you’ll spot stands at 40 meters. It may be the tallest, but this one draws the biggest crowds because of its lovely basin, which is deep enough for swimming. A 10 to 15-minute trek brings you to a wider waterfall that’s about 20 meters high. Rafts can be rented if you’d like to cruise around the pools or head straight for the cascades.
Photo credit: ilaw
14. Buruwisan Falls, Siniloan, Laguna
Is rappelling on a waterfall included in your bucket list? Featuring an almost vertical wall, the 55-meter-high Buruwisan Falls would be a great fit (and a safer alternative to grabbing on the long vines that grow on its walls and then swinging out into the water). You could also take a dip in its wide emerald-green pool, soak in its verdant scenery, which consists mostly of moss and ferns, or set up camp in the area.
Photo credit: Daryle Dale De Silva