Cebu's Top 10 Off The Beaten Path Travel Destinations

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Cebu is a typical tropical destination in the Philippines for its pristine shorelines and unspoiled islands. For the span of years I'm residing here, I see the province as nothing more than that until last year when my eyes unearth the full beauty of Cebu from astonishing caves, ravishing waterfalls, dreamy rivers and mountains that are so enchanting you really thought you're in another world. All thanks to the adventurous people of Project Waterfall  who I've shared such splendid memories in 2015. Join me as I countdown my top 10 off the beaten destinations in Cebu that'll surely win your heart and overwhelm your mind of their mere existence.


You must never shy away from a camera if you want to be part of the squad.
The year 2015 is one of the highlight of my traveling days. Not only was I able to befriend such an interesting group of people with a constant thirst of adventure but I was able to explore some off the beaten path destinations in Cebu that are not known to the public. We've shared all of these moments in our Instagram but I wasn't able to record all of those adventures in my blog.

So that's why I come up with this idea to collate all of my favorites in this post. I've tried ranking them based on my preference and to give you an idea of what to visit first but they're all a must visit and possess an exquisite beauty that is incomparable. I've also asked my adventure buddies to give me their top 10 and it was posted after my top 10 list. 

I made this difficulty chart to give you a clearer picture if you ever decide to try the different adventures we did on each destination.
Number of starsDescription
can be handled by normal healthy persons
not too easy
fairly difficult, guide is optional
difficult, absolutely not for beginners, guide is optional
very difficult, very demanding in term of strength and skill, guide is a must

10. Exploring Kawa Falls through Labangon 
Difficulty Level: ✪
Activities: River Trekking, Waterfall Chasing, Cliff Diving



Kawa Falls is a far cry from the other impressive waterfalls in Cebu we've visited. The only reason why it made into my list is its proximity to the city and the funny story of how we discover this special one. We make mistakes as well in our days of chasing waterfalls and sometimes it is accompanied by funny yet dangerous moments.

A member of our squad pitched the location of Kawa Falls and we all agreed to meetup in Jollibee's Labangon Branch. He said we will find habal habal parked somewhere around the area that will take us to Buhisan Dam. 




The gorge below the dam is actually very beautiful.
At first, we thought that Kawa Falls is located somewhere around Buhisan Dam which is an epic fail on our part. What follows are funny & dangerous moments of us trespassing in the dam and actually climbing it. We even forced the one girl in our group to climb the dam and I must add that it was not an easy climb. Then we were apprehended by an officer carrying a gun thinking we were thieves. He even added that there are actually huge pythons in the path that we took. 


A photo posted by Matio (@iameleimath) on

That was a mistake to remember for all of us and a few months later we found out that Kawa Falls is actually in Barangay Toong which is a few kilometers up ahead Buhisan. We took more friends with us and finally explore it. 

Barangay Toong can be reached by a habal-habal from the junction in Jollibee's Labangon. A thirty minute hike through a mountain pass and a river going upstream will lead you to the waterfall. Just ask around the locals for direction and it's really easy to navigate. I've visited this waterfall for three times already and I still love going back.

Is it worth exploring? The waterfalls has a cave-like catch basin that is caused by a sink hole and the pool is ring-shaped which empties into another stream. The experience and cost of only Php 40.00 makes it a must visit for the city dwellers seeking a short escapade & adventure.





A photo posted by C•A•R•E•N (@itscahwen) on




Location: Barangay Toong, Central Cebu
Interesting Spots: Kawa Falls, Buhisan Dam 

9. Waterfall Mountaineering toward Mount Babag through Guadalupe 
Difficulty Level: ✪✪
Activities: Mountain Climbing, Waterfall Chasing, Cliff Diving


Mount Babag is the highest peak in the city of Cebu and most of the adventurer I know conquered this peak already because it's fairly easy and close to the city but most of them didn't know about the waterfalls hidden on its trail. 

Busay Lut-od Falls is quite a straightforward beauty I'd say because she's so unassuming and elegant in her simple ways. Most of the waterfall I've witnessed astonished me with raw power but not her. I was captivated with her simplicity! The waterfall has three levels and we were first introduced to the second one. We climbed through the bushes to reach the first and swing down through using a vine to reach the third one. 





Unexpectedly, I fell in love with her poignant nature when we got there. There's a wooden chair waiting for us when we reach her that was perfect for resting our feet after a long hike. Busay Lut-od's flow is firm and empties in a wide crystal clear basin that's excellent for swimming but we were out of time.


A photo posted by Christian Vincent O. Literatus (@bisdakexplorer) on

After a few hours of walk in the lush jungle we found a clearing that happens to be inhabited by people. We climb up to their tree house and we were offered fresh coconut juice. The people around that area are super friendly and even volunteered to fetch us another coconut fruit if we are still thirsty but we kindly decline the tempting offer.



We reached Mount Babag after almost five hours of hiking in the woods. We didn't stay long because the peak of Babag isn't all that photogenic and we exit in the newly opened Temple of Leah. This made into my list because it's the first adventure of the founding members of the Project Waterfall group so that's why it is that special to me.

A photo posted by Matio (@iameleimath) on


Location: Central Cebu
Interesting Spots: Mount Babag, Busay Lut-od Falls, Temple of Leah

8. River Tracing in Usmad River 
Difficulty Level: ✪
Activities: Spelunking, Waterfall Chasing, Canyoning, River Trekking, Cliff Diving, Swimming


The Usmad River in Argao offers stunning scenery that's incomparable to other river passage in Cebu. We traced it after our spelunking adventure in Balai sa Agta when we head back to the town because the habal-habal fee in this area is quite expensive. What we did not expect is the surprising adventure that lies ahead after the cave. We trek, swim, rock balance, crawl and rewarded with one of the best weekend getaway. 


A photo posted by Matio (@iameleimath) on



The boulders in the rivers are so huge that it literally created so many mini waterfalls & swimming pools which helps freshen up our body during the long walk. Other area forms some pseudo caves with crystal clear water flowing out of the cavern which reminds me of the pictures I've seen of Grand Canyon in Arizona. 



Fifty percent of the trek we passed through a beautiful river gorge and then followed by dense forest where we crawl in passages blocked by gigantic fallen tree trunks. As we are nearing the civilization we spotted some locals washing their clothes in the river and treated with folklore stories of a gigantic black octopus called "mantaga" who lived in Usmad River. Glad we didn't encounter such creature during our trek.



This made into my list because it was such a beautiful imagery of a river that really stick around in my memory. The best part is the difficulty level of this is just one star so anyone can take part as long as you are healthy enough to walk for 2 - 3 hours.

A photo posted by Matio (@iameleimath) on


Location: Argao, Southwest Cebu
Interesting Spots: Balai sa Agta, Bugasok Falls, Usmad River, Mount Maria Cacao, San Miguel Archangel Church, The Riverstone Castle, Argao Nature Park

7. Mountain Stream Climbing through Kabang River to Sirao Peak  
Difficulty Level: ✪✪✪
Activities: River Trekking, Swimming, Waterfall Chasing, Mountain Climbing, Hiking



This was quite an adventure! It feels like a massive upgrade to the number 9 of the list. We traverse the mighty Kabang River, witnessed countless waterfalls and conquered the demanding trail to Sirao Peak. It took us one full day in the wilderness and I tell you it was super worth it. And we only spend less than a hundred pesos for that day's expenses.




A photo posted by Junfer | Cebu Ph (@iamjumper) on


A photo posted by Junfer | Cebu Ph (@iamjumper) on


A photo posted by Junfer | Cebu Ph (@iamjumper) on






A photo posted by Junfer | Cebu Ph (@iamjumper) on


Location: Budlaan, Central Cebu
Interesting Spots: Kabang River, Budlaan Falls, Tinisik Uwan Falls, Kabang Falls, Padidit Falls, Sirao Peak, Sirao Flower Garden

6. The Ultimate Waterfall Chasing Destination in Southeast Cebu 
Difficulty Level: ✪✪
Activities: River Trekking, Swimming, Mountain Climbing, Waterfall Chasing, Cliff Diving, Hiking








Location: Ginatilan & Samboan, Southeast Cebu
Interesting Spots: Inambakan Falls, Kampael Falls, Bugnawan Falls, Aguinid Falls, Binalayan Falls, Balaygsawa Falls, Dau Falls

5. River Trekking to Bonbon (Hinamboan) Falls 
Difficulty Level: ✪✪✪
Activities: River Trekking, Swimming, Mountain Climbing, Waterfall Chasing, Cliff Diving, Waterfall Climbing, Hiking




A photo posted by Matio (@iameleimath) on


Location: Bonbon, Central Cebu
Interesting Spots: Hinamboan (Himbabawud) Falls

4. 
Upstream Canyoning to Kabutongan Falls 
Difficulty Level: ✪✪
Activities: River Trekking, Swimming, Waterfall Chasing, Cliff Diving, Hiking





A photo posted by Miguel Gee Abas, Jr. (@vivomigsgee) on




Location: Malabuyoc, Southwest Cebu
Interesting Spots: Kabutongan Falls, Montaneza Falls, Tizon Falls, Mainit Hot Spring

3. Exploring the Wild Cave Systems & The Virgin Forest of Campo Siete in Minglanilla
Difficulty Level: ✪✪✪✪✪
Activities: Spelunking, Mountain Climbing, Hiking


Unknowingly, Minglanilla concealed such a intricate cave system hidden in the lush jungle of Campo Siete. We conquered seven dry caves on that day and crawled through complex network of caverns and underground cathedrals with the last cave astound us with her unsullied beauty ➫ the White Cave of Campo Siete. 

This is what we look like inside after crawling through different layers of guano ( bat's poop )

The outer facade of the cave surprisingly glows in white under the midday sun. Yes! You heard me right it really looks like it is painted in white. It's a mystery why it is white maybe because of its mineral components. We eat our lunch in that spot and were serenaded by hundreds of swiftlets ( Taylor Swift's minions lol kidding! ) flying gracefully above us. We relaxed for a couple of minutes surrounded by undulating rocks, towering subterranean spires, jagged stalagmites and stalactites sticking out like a jaw of a massive monster.





We ended the day washing all the guano on our body in Gamayng Paraiso Falls and waited for a ride on their own beautiful Virgin Forest. We hire a local guide for this adventure because the mazelike jungle will surely bound to lead any newbie astray and the underground caverns can challenge our sense of direction. Campo Siete can easily be reached through a habal habal ride from Talisay City for Php 50.00 per pax one way.


This made into my list because it was such a new experience for me. We were literally crawling some cavern that barely fit our body and it is so intense that we don't care anymore about the bat's poop covering our body. Now that's an adventure!

A photo posted by Matio (@iameleimath) on


Location: Campo Siete, Minglanilla Central Cebu
Interesting Spots: Seven Caves including White Cave, Gamayng Paraiso Falls, Campo Siete Virgin Forest

2. Chasing Waterfalls & Caving in Alegria 
Difficulty Level: ✪✪
Activities: Spelunking, River Trekking, Swimming, Mountain Climbing, Waterfall Chasing, Cliff Diving, Waterfall Climbing, Canyoning, Hiking


I gotta say Alegria sits at the top of Cebu's hidden gems because there are so much off the beaten attractions here that only the locals are enjoying. Waterfalls, caves, river, beaches and more! We've visited this laid back municipality for countless of times already and we still have so much to cover. I will let our Instagram posts tell the story to sway you that it is surely worth a visit. 

See my comprehensive travel guide of Alegria in another post Cebu Destinations : Alegria



A photo posted by Matio (@iameleimath) on


A photo posted by Junfer | Cebu Ph (@iamjumper) on




A photo posted by Junfer | Cebu Ph (@iamjumper) on


Location: Alegria, Southwest Cebu
Interesting Spots: Salay Cave, Cambusay Cave, Cambais Falls, Cancalanog Falls, Montpeller Falls, Kitara Falls, Kawa Kawa Falls 

1. Spelunking in The Submerged Caves of Bonbon
Difficulty Level: ✪✪✪✪✪
Activities: Spelunking, Swimming, Mountain Climbing, Waterfall Chasing, Waterfall Climbing, Hiking






A photo posted by Matio (@iameleimath) on


A photo posted by Matio (@iameleimath) on


A photo posted by Matio (@iameleimath) on


Location: Bonbon, Central Cebu
Interesting Spots: Binuthan Cave, Satuhan Cave, Pangasag Cave, Bonbon Falls




A photo posted by C•A•R•E•N (@itscahwen) on



Chareen Abino Bagasbas' Top 10 ( @itscahwen )

1. Cancalanog Falls, Alegria
2. Cambais Falls, Alegria
3. Montpeller Falls, Alegria
4. Bonbon Caves & Waterfalls
5. Kabutongan Falls, Malabuyoc
6. Uwangan Falls, Tabuelan
7. Lisuran Falls, San Fernando
8. Hermit's Cove, Aloguinsan
9. White Cave, Minglanilla
10. Waterfalls in Samboan




Junfer Tecson's Top 10 ( @iamjumper )


1. Cancalanog Falls, Alegria
2. Tumalog Falls, Oslob
3. Inambakan Falls, Ginatilan
4. Tinubdan Falls, Catmon 
5. Bonbon / Morga Caves
6. Sirao, Mauyog & Camp at Manunggal Peak
7. Montpeller Falls, Alegria
8. Waterfalls in Samboan
9. Uwangan Falls, Tabuelan
10. Mountain Stream Climbing to Sirao Peak through Kabang River in Budlaan



A photo posted by Miguel Gee Abas, Jr. (@vivomigsgee) on

Miguel Gee Abas' Top 10 ( @vivomigsgee )

1. Cancalanog Falls, Alegria
2. Morga Caves
3. Samboan Falls
4. Busay Falls, San Fernando
5. Hermits Cove, Aloguinsan
6.  Basdaku Beach, Moalboal
7. Mainit Falls, Carcar
8. Cancuaay, Oslob
9. Sirao Farm, Sirao
10. Mount Mauyog, Balamban




Elei Mathew Ramon Tatad's Top 10 ( @iameleimath )

10. Marmol Cliff, Tuburan
9. Malingin Falls, Carcar
8. Kabutongan Falls, Malabuyoc
7. Bonbon Cave 
6. Igotan Cave, Talisay
4. Tagbao Cave
3. Lusno Falls, Ronda
2. Malubog Lake, Toledo
1. Uwangan Falls, Tabuelan


Jhan Keith Javar's Top 10 ( @j_kitoy )

10. Montpeller Falls, Alegria
9. Cancalanog Falls, Alegria
8. Kawasan Falls, Badian
7. Aguinid Falls, Samboan
6. Tumalog Falls, Oslob
4. Dau Falls, Samboan
3. Binalayan Falls, Samboan
2. Uwangan Falls, Tabuelan
1. Malingin Falls, Carcar


Photo credits to my adventure buddies Instagram accounts. @itscahwen , @vivomigsgee , @iameleimath , @iamjumper and yours truly @bisdakexplorer

Christian Vincent Literatus

Travel Blogger

Chris just loves to travel, and for a long time now has been drifting from place to place around the Philippines. With his combined passion for travel and photography, he’s managed to find himself in the middle of some magical moments and mind blowing scenery. The Bisdak Explorer is Chris’s way of sharing his experiences with you, and showcasing not just his travel photography, but the moments and stories behind those photos.

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