Calunggad Waterfall in Pamplona has been one of the most epic adventures we’ve been on during our 10 months in Negros Oriental. We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into, we hadn’t even seen a photo of the falls! It turned out to be a hidden oasis deep in the mountains of Pamplona, and one of our favourite Negros Oriental falls to date, with not one but three distinctly different waterfalls in total.
BEST TIME TO VISIT THE PHILIPPINES
HOW TO GET TO CALUNGGAD WATERFALL IN PAMPLONA
It’s just over an hour’s drive from Dumaguete to Pamplona, but from there you’re going to need a guide. We weren’t able to get GPS to connect so we could drop a Google Maps pin for the waterfall, and having just spent an hour on Google Earth attempting to retrace our steps with no luck, our official advice is to get a guide. We’ve narrowed it down to where we turned off the Pamplona – Sta. Catalina Road, but from there it’s a big question mark. You can try and find the falls by asking locals, or you can pre-arrange a guide through the Pamplona tourism office.
HIKING TO CALUNGGAD WATERFALL IN PAMPLONA
The hike starts off in some beautiful farmland, with rolling fields, dirt roads and incredible views. Having done no research beforehand, we foolishly expected the hike to be 45 minutes, an hour tops. It was actually a lot closer to 2 hours, however we were hiking at a gentle pace to get lots of photos.
We went one or two days after heavy rain, so the red mud stuck to our shoes like glue. After attempting to scrape it off with sticks, we eventually gave up and went barefoot the rest of the way.
The hike through open farmland ended at this little house, where Zowie made some new friends. From here, we descended into the canyon to finally reach Calunggad Waterfall in Pamplona. It was a steep climb down the face of the mountain, with a few slips and falls along the way.
OUR EXPERIENCE AT CALUNGGAD WATERFALL IN PAMPLONA
Calunggad Waterfall in Pamplona was full of surprises, the biggest surprise being that there were in fact three waterfalls! They were all really different, and not like cascades, but actual separate waterfalls.
The first waterfall was tucked away at a dead end, between the canyon walls. It was shaded by the rainforest canopy, with just a little light breaking through the trees, illuminating the water. If you can manage to scramble up the rock face on the left side, you can even cliff jump into the deep pool.
There’s even a little diving/posing platform that makes for excellent photos or just a nice spot to sit and take in the view. Waterfall 1 was probably Zowie’s favourite out of the three.
The second waterfall was a lot smaller, with more of a splash area than a swimming hole, but it’s ideal for families with young children looking for a picnic spot. There were a lot of locals having lunch and enjoying their weekend, so we took a few photos, chatted to the people and kept moving onto Waterfall 3.
If you keep walking beyond Waterfall 2, you end up on top of Waterfall 3. This is the biggest of the three falls, and Carson’s favourite.
There are a number of spots for cliff diving, from novice heights for people like Zowie to dare devil level for some very brave locals. You can even go behind the waterfall and climb up onto the rock shelf for the best seat in the house.
We spent another hour or so swimming at this level of Calunggad Waterfall in Pamplona before packing up and heading home. We decided to take a “shortcut” back up the mountain, which ended up being just as long and twice as steep. The view as we climbed was really beautiful, but it was hard to enjoy while we were dying. Once we made it to this little house, we thought we were almost at the top so we downed the rest of our water, but it turns out we were only half way. If you don’t have the energy/water supply, we suggest going home the same way you arrived.
Calunggad Waterfall in Pamplona exceeded our expectations and will always be one of our favourite waterfalls of the many we’ve visited in Negros Oriental. Make sure you save this article to your Pinterest so you can always come back to it when you’re feeling up to the adventure!
PIN IT FOR LATER
WHERE TO STAY NEAR DUMAGUETE
Most people who visit Negros Oriental are told to stay in Dumaguete, but what they really mean by that is stay around Dumaguete. True, Dumaguete City has plenty of tourist inns and budget hotels, but it’s the surrounding towns of Dauin and Zamboanguita that offer the best spots to stay. There’s not a whole lot to do in the city itself, so when you stay in the nearby municipalities there’s plenty of nature to explore whilst still being nice and close to Dumaguete City. Check out our top picks for accommodation near Dumaguete City.
LUXURY: Atmosphere Resorts & Spa, Dauin
Atmosphere Resorts & Spa in Dauin is the resort to stay at if you’ve got a big budget and fancy the finer things in life. Atmosphere has hosted its fair share of local celebrities and deep pocketed divers looking for the best beachfront luxury in Dauin. Read our full review of Atmosphere Resorts & Spa here.
MIDSCALE: Mike’s Dauin Dive Resort, Dauin
If you want to stay by the ocean without breaking the bank, Mike’s Dauin Dive Resort in Dauin is a comfortable midscale accommodation option perfect for diving enthusiasts. If you’ve never dived before, you can get your certification at Mike’s, and divers of all skill sets can enjoy the abundance of macro diving opportunities in and around Dauin.
BUDGET: Bongo Bongo Divers, Dauin
Bongo Bongo Divers is one of the most popular hostels in Dauin for backpackers looking for cheap accommodation in a convenient location. The rooms are simple, without any glitz and glam, but the vibe is fun and welcoming. They have a variety of room styles to choose from, ranging from couples rooms to AC or fan only dorms.
AIRBNB: Villa Amani, Zamboanguita
Villa Amani in Zamboanguita is the perfect holiday home for small families or groups of friends looking for privacy that a traditional resort or hotel can’t offer. The main house sleeps 4 with additional space for 2 in the guest house, or you can book the guest house separately if it’s just the 2 of you and you’re on a budget. The property has a swimming pool, an unbeatable view of Apo Island and kayaks to use whenever you want. Read our full review of Villa Amani here.
MORE NEGROS ORIENTAL GUIDES:
Lake Balinsasayao & Danao Twin Lakes, Sibulan
Casaroro Falls, Valencia
Pulangbato Falls, Valencia
Swimming with Apo Island Turtles, Dauin
Upper Pulangbato Falls, Valencia
Original Casaroro Falls, Valencia
Tottyn Falls, Valencia
Baslay Hot Spring, Dauin
Secret Hot Spring & Waterfall, Dauin