Did I just watch Yes Man? Yes.
Is this a good idea? Probably not.
Am I going to do it anyway?
Our journey to Kawasan Falls began after a very long morning of driving. We woke up around 4:30am, made our way to the Whale Shark swim, and now we were here. My day had already been beyond any of my expectations and I was in no hurry to come down from this high that I was on. Well… not literally.
? The Falls
Kawasan Falls is one of the most famous waterfalls in The Philippines. Its turquoise blue waters and impressive cascades are every nature-lovers dream. The falls are a great spot to cool down for a swim or explore some of Cebu’s wilderness as it offers canyoneering experiences, and small treks up the many levels of the falls.
For 3years running Kawasan Falls has been announced as the cleanest falls
Before even reaching the falls, the journey from the carpark follows a paved road for about 10minutes along a clear blue river. As the river trails beside you there are also multiple swimming holes and smaller cascades dotted along the journey.
There are a few stalls and food vendors, but once you go over the arched bridge you are basically there. As the path changes from paved to stone steps you know you’re about to arrive. From here you are at the first level of the falls of the three. The lowest falls is the most popular with families and children, and the other two offer a little more seclusion. Though still a very popular area – the top levels are much quieter with the absence of children. There’s plenty of tables and chairs to sit down and watch the swimmers – but some of the restaurants charge for this (on a busy day this is a bit of a necessity to avoid getting your belongings wet).
Throughout the scenic series of jungle cascades the pathway can be muddy, rocky and slippery. The hike isn’t hard, but in the heat it’s worth taking your time to climb up the various levels to avoid any injuries or falls.
At the top level of the falls we were told of the cliff jumping – no one else in my group seemed too keen on the idea, but for some ODD reason I decided I wanted to. Heights I don’t mind, falling I HATE, so why was I doing this??
? Practice Makes Perfect…
You cannot jump without a guide, they operate here for your safety and ensure you know how to jump before climbing up to the highest point. Firstly you’re equipped with a life jacket – these aren’t to do with your swimming ability, but actually to help you avoid hitting the bottom during your jump. The experience starts with a practice jump at the smaller falls, the guides want to make sure you know the technique so they explain how you should hold your body, and then watch your first jump. From there you begin your climb up to the top of the highest falls.
? The Climb
The walk up is almost scarier than the jump itself, it’s muddy, steep and slippery with traffic coming up and down – it’s almost a relief knowing you won’t have to come back down this way. Most people climbed up in thongs or sandals and then after their jump their guide would throw them back down to you – I went barefoot, though this proved difficult during the climb.
? The Jump!
Once at the top there are two jumps beside each other – one at 15metres, and one at 16metres (roughly). The jump is easy, you lower yourself down onto the furthest step and go when you’re ready – and the less time you spend up there, the less doubt in your mind!
I definitely lost my breath once I began falling, but I knew to keep in position. The fall is probably only for a second or two – my feet did touch the bottom, but not with any force. They weren’t very strict on the use of GoPros, they just made sure you were still aware of how to hold your body as using a selfie stick could hurt your arm.
The water itself is understandably cooler due to the lack of stagnant water, but it’s the perfect refresher from the tropical heat.
? You can see my jump here!
? The real picture
Now when you google Kawasan Falls you’re flooded with pictures of this picturesque, empty and seemingly hidden spot – but this isn’t the reality. My visit was unfortunately on a Sunday – family day in The Philippines, so there were people EVERYWHERE. There was no quiet tranquil waterfalls, and despite the beauty it was hard to overlook all of the visitors.
The best time to visit is in the morning and evenings – midday is the busiest. Weekends can be chaotic, so if you can plan a visit during a weekday I highly recommend it.
- There are queues for the bamboo rafts
- It’s not free to visit, 40PHP admission
- Tables and chairs are around 300PHP
? Getting there;
The falls are located about half an hour drive out of Badian on Cebu’s Western shore, and 2hours away from Oslob. There are various public bus companies that can take you to the falls or to the nearby Badain from both Oslob and Cebu City. The journey from Cebu takes about 3hours but this is very dependent on traffic conditions.
- From Oslob, about 100PHP
- From Cebu, about 150PHP