One of the best things about our home province of Cebu is that our humble island is jam-packed with so many unique natural wonders. Come to think of it, each municipality has its own set of “specialty” attractions, and many more are still being discovered. Cebu is like a paradise of multiple facets. It’s no wonder then why so many visitors, local or foreign, fall in love with Cebu.
One of these natural wonders is the unique horseshoe waterfall of Tumalog Falls in Oslob, a municipality 170 kilometers from Cebu City. Lately, it has gotten a lot of attention after it became a side trip for people who wish to see the butandings. Since our early-year excursion ended in Oslob, we decided to make Tumalog Falls our last stopover.
The 5-hour hike from Mt. Hambubuyog left us all with empty tummies, so we had a hearty late lunch at one of the market’s carenderias. After the filling meal, we negotiated a few habal-habal drivers to take us to one of the town’s best known natural treasures. After acceding to a mutually beneficial rate, we hopped on the habal-habals and started the last segment of our adventure.
The ride took us along the coast of Oslob where we witnessed a vast expanse of sea on one side and towering slopes on the other side. Around 20 minutes later, we made a right turn and climbed a steep mountain towards Tumalog Falls, our final destination—and reward—for our hard work.
The nice thing about Oslob is that they made the effort to put signs to tell visitors where their tourist spots are. These are not just convenient but they’re also a boon to people who don’t like asking anyone for directions.
We arrived safe and sound at the jump-off where we told our drivers to wait for us. There are also small stalls at the jump-off where one can buy drinks, snacks, and fresh buko!
Check out this simple video teaser of our Tumalog Falls visit. Everyone seems extremely happy!
From the jump-off, we could already see Tumalog Falls, and it was indeed huge! We could actually feel its magnificence even at this distance. As you can see, it is quite different from most waterfalls that we’ve encountered.
To get to the foot of Tumalog Falls, we had to walk down this really steep road.
As the road comes to a dead end, we saw a series of runoffs, or tiers, that allow the excess water from the waterfalls’ main basin to flow away. The runoffs feed a stream that lead deeper into the forest.
There are cottages and tables around that you can rent for a minimum price. It’s good that they were built a few hundred yards from the waterfall.
After rounding a corner, we came to a moisture-laden trail that led to Tumalog Falls’ basin. Like in Inambakan Falls, we already felt the mist of the fall at this distance.
Behold the beauty of the diaphanous curtain of the awesome Tumalog Falls. It is simply a well-orchestrated melody; the forest-covered waterfall is so massive that it covers an entire cliff. Yet the cool, clear water falling from the cliff comes in delicate curtains.
Tumalog Falls is an example of a horsetail waterfall in which the descending water remains in contact with the rock most of the time.
Here’s a closer look at Tumalog Falls’ bedrock. The moss-covered bedrock further “filters” the descending water. It is unexpectedly one of the most unique and beautiful waterfalls we’ve ever seen.
To give you an idea of just how big Tumalog Falls is, check out the photo below. The people around its pool look like bugs! And mind you, this is just one-fourth of the height of the entire waterfall!
At the side of the main bedrock is a relatively more powerful waterfall that has its own mini pool.
That is where we came from. The area is surrounded by trees and thick bamboo groves that act like Mother Nature’s guardians.
The waterfall is a real beauty, but do prepare to get wet; the spray the waterfall generates is quite heavy. That’s why you need to waterproof your things. We used our Sea to Summit Lighweight Dry Sack to keep our clothes, gadgets, batteries, and other gear dry.
Oh, you don’t know how to swim? Don’t worry. The pool underneath the bedrock is, at most, knee-deep. Obviously, you can’t drown! Also, during summer time when the sun is perennially hot, the pool virtually disappears.
Gentle as it may be, the force of the falling water is still quite powerful. In fact, by standing behind one of the curtains, you’d get a nice, relaxing back and shoulder massage!
These wet, glistening, mossy rocks look like they fell off the waterfall in the distant past. You can crawl inside and take a private “shower.”
Of course, with great friends and enchanting views all within the confines of Tumalog Falls’ cool embrace, who could resist not having fun?
After spending more than an hour in the waterfalls, it was time to freshen up and head back home. Overall, this early-year adventure has been a blast. We were able to witness two of Cebu’s most beautiful waterfalls and revisited the glorious summit of a mountain that we discovered a long time ago. It was like seeing a long lost old friend and sinking in the warmth and comfort of her arms.
Thank you so much BASO and new friends for being part of this adventure. And of course, special thanks to our good friend Sir Ruel Olaso who organized and planned out this excursion.
- P 155 – one way, aircon bus fare Cebu South Bus Terminal to Oslob (P150 for non-aircon bus). The same rate applies for the return trip.
- P 50 – one way, habal-habal ride, Oslob Town Proper to Inambakan Falls. The same rate applies for the return trip.
- P 20 – entrance fee to waterfalls
* Unless indicated, all rates are on a per-person basis. We did not include prices for meals, snacks, souvenirs, tips, and other fees in this rate sheet as you may have different needs, preferences, itineraries, miscellaneous transportation, and sharing scheme from us.
1. To maximize your trip, we suggest taking the early bus to Oslob. The earliest non-aircon bus trip is at 2 AM while the first trip for the air-conditioned bus is at 5 AM. Buses regularly depart for Oslob every hour.
2. Generally, habal-habal drivers can spot visitors in their area and will almost always charge you higher than the normal fare; that’s their usual SOP (yes, it’s sad). When negotiating with them, don’t go beyond P50 for a one-way trip, which usually includes waiting time. Any higher than that and you’re giving the habal-habal driver an undue bonus.
3. Be careful when walking on the trail to Tumalog Falls as it is quite slippery due to moss and moisture.
4. Tumalog Falls does not have a deep pool. Thus, you can simply wade around the area.
5. There are tables and cottages for use nearby. Ask the caretaker for rates.
6. Don’t forget to bring the following:
- water (at least two liters)
- umbrella, hat, or sarong
- snacks and softdrinks
- bathing suit and swimming attire
- extra clothes
- extra money for emergencies
7. Be sure to waterproof your things. Place them inside dry bags or dry sacks. Sea to Summit watersports products have excellent waterproofing properties.
8. Respect Mother Nature by not littering the area and vandalizing the rocks. Keep voices down and avoid unruly behavior.