Negros Oriental is apparently overflowing with waterfalls (literally, get it?) and Cantilan Falls is yet another awesome waterfall in Amlan we came across just by knowing the right people. A bit of a mission to get to, this untouched beauty is a lush tropical oasis deep in the jungle of Amlan only visited by true adventurers and locals. Read on to find out where Cantilan Falls is, how to get there and what to expect!
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HOW TO GET TO CANTILAN WATERFALL IN AMLAN
This is where the fun starts. You’re going to need your own motorbike to get to Cantilan Waterfall in Amlan. Sure, you can get a public Ceres Bus to Amlan proper, but from there you’ll be stranded if you don’t have your own motorbike. If you’re not a confident driver, you should rethink this. Find someone who doesn’t mind driving on horrible, rocky roads or give this waterfall a miss. If you’re looking for an experienced guide who can also drive you, we recommend our friend Marlon. Give him a call on 09672163409 and he’ll organise your trip. It’s up to you how much you choose to tip him.
Cantilan Waterfall in Amlan is so low key it’s not on Google Maps. To get an idea of where it is, it’s along the river that feeds into the Amlan Hydroelectric Power Plant which is on Google Maps. The problem is, if you’re coming from Dumaguete, it will tell you to take an adjacent road and walk across to the power plant. That route is wrong and doesn’t show you that the walk is up and over a mountain. You’re better off searching Silab in Google Maps, which will at least take you to the correct road. From the Silab turn off on the National Highway, it’s about another hour of crappy road.
Cantilan Waterfall in Amlan is not to be confused with Cantalina Falls, which is on the same road but much easier to get to. If you’re familiar with our blog, you may have already read our article for Pasalan Falls. Cantilan Falls is close to Pasalan, but instead of going all the way to the end of the road to the power plant, you stop before the first gates and take the side road on the right, leading to the dam above Pasalan. Once again, we recommend using a guide, specifically Marlon.
THE HIKE TO CANTILAN WATERFALL IN AMLAN
So, here’s the thing. You can either take the short cut or the scenic route. We took the scenic route there which was upriver and took us around 2 hours (with a lot of stopping for photos). It was exhausting and involved bouldering and trekking through water, but the river is beautiful. Zowie split her pants and fell hard on her butt, so make sure you’re prepared for an adventure if you decide to go this way. If you take our advice and use Marlon as a guide, he’ll be ready with ropes and rock climbing gear to make life easier.
Along the river were several beautiful swimming holes and mini waterfalls. We didn’t actually get to swim in any of them because we were trailing behind the group taking photos and/or dying, but they were stunning. If there was no waterfall at the end of the hike, we would’ve been happy with the swimming holes. Some were so deep you could jump off rocks into the water. They were actually deeper than the pool underneath the waterfall!
If you’re a #plantmum you’ll definitely appreciate the tropical foliage and flowers along the river. Think ferns for days and big vibrant flowers.
One of the coolest things was a natural swimming pool right before we reached the waterfall. The rocks had been eroded over time to create a plunge pool.
OUR EXPERIENCE AT CANTILAN WATERFALL IN AMLAN
We hurdled over one last obstacle and were rewarded with our first peep of Cantilan Falls! Tired, hungry and sore all over from bouldering mishaps, it was all the motivation we needed to finally finish this hike.
Now, she’s not the tallest or grandest waterfall, but she’s still plenty beautiful. The area around the waterfall is about as tropical rainforest as it gets, with giant ferns, mossy rocks and vines growing all over the rock face. It gave off major garden of Eden vibes. The pool was shallow but still deep enough to swim in, and the water was freakin’ freezing.
We stayed here for an hour or so having lunch and swimming. Unbelievably, another family showed up. They were locals visiting a friend who lived in the jungle nearby and had stopped here for a quick dip. As hidden as this waterfall is, you might run into other people if you visit on a weekend, as is the rule of thumb here in the Philippines. After lunch, we took a few more photos since people had cleared out before eventually making our way back.
We went home via the shortcut through the jungle, and it was seriously beautiful with huge old trees and dense tropical rainforest. The shortcut starts on the left of the river, just past the natural swimming pool. It only took about 30 minutes, so if you’re short on time or just don’t feel like climbing over boulders upriver, this is the path you’ll want to take.
Around halfway, we stopped by a coconut drying shack and some kind locals climbed a tree and grabbed a few coconuts for us so we could quench our thirst. Nothing beats Filipino hospitality! It was the perfect end to a long but ultimately rewarding day.
All in all, Cantilan Waterfall in Amlan is an awesome spot to visit if you’ve got time to spare. If you’re only in Negros Oriental for a short amount of time, there are more majestic waterfalls we’d recommend, especially Pasalan Falls just up the road. But, if you’re travelling slow or if you’re a local and have all the time in the world, then you for sure need to add Cantilan Falls to your bucket list!
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WHERE TO STAY NEAR CANTILAN FALLS
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.