Ibo Falls is a hidden oasis deep in the jungle of Barili, a small town in South Cebu. This gem of a waterfall isn’t on the South Cebu map just yet, having only been recently “discovered” by the department of tourism. We can definitely see this multi-level cascade becoming a well known Cebu tourist spot, so be sure to visit it while you can!
We spent a day in Barili Cebu, exploring the sites with the local tourism body, where we finished the day off at Ibo Falls. At the time of writing, there are practically no online resources for Ibo Falls, so we’ve put together this handy guide so you know what to expect when you visit Ibo Falls.
HOW TO GET TO IBO FALLS
The downside of Ibo Falls being so low key is that you won’t find it on any South Cebu map. After so many twists and turns and barely distinguishable trails through private property, we all but gave up on memorising the path. What we have to recommend is that you contact the local Barili tourism office and let them know you plan to visit Ibo Falls and they will help you arrange a guide. The best way to contact them ahead of your visit is to send them a message on Facebook.
You can use the map above or follow this link to get to the Barili Tourism Information Center. If you’re staying in Moalboal, which we highly recommend, it’s only a 30 minute drive to Barili. If you plan on coming from Cebu City for a day trip, then it’s at least an hour and 30 minutes depending on traffic. If you want to kill two birds with one stone, you can also hit up Mantayupan Falls while you’re in Barili.
WHAT TO BRING TO IBO FALLS
Prepare for your trip to Ibo Falls with our must-have travel essentials.
Waterproof backpack & phone case: Earth Pak 35L or 55L Heavy Duty Backpack, IPX8 Waterproof Phone Case Included (click for price)
Quick-dry microfiber travel towel: Wise Owl Outfitters Camping Travel Towel (click for price)
Insulated water bottle: Hydro Flask Vacuum Insulated Water Bottle (click for price)
Hiking Sandals: Teva Women’s Hurricane Hiking Sandals (click for price), Teva Men’s Hurricane Hiking Sandals (click for price)
If you’re interested in photography and/or videography this is the gear we can’t live without:
BEST CEBU TOUR PACKAGES
HIKING TO IBO FALLS
The hike to Ibo Falls is the very definition of “off the beaten track”. We followed a dirt path through sparsely populated farmland, jumping over puddles, getting our shoes stuck in the mud and taking a few wrong turns before we made it to the river.
Once you reach the river, it’s just a matter of following it upstream, which required a little flexibility and creativity in a few hard-to-pass places. The entire trek took around 30-40 minutes with stopping to take photos along the way.
WHAT TO EXPECT AT IBO FALLS
The first level of Ibo Falls features a large blue swimming hole and a smooth rock formation waterfall. This is where we spent most of our time hanging out, swimming and diving off the falls. It’s not a very high waterfall, but the water was deep enough for us to dive and flip. There were a few local boys playing when we arrived, but other than that we had Ibo Falls to ourselves.
Ibo Falls doesn’t stop at the first level though, and if you climb up onto the rock and hike up to the next level you’ll be greeted with an even larger waterfall.
There isn’t much of a swimming area on this level, but the waterfall itself is beautiful and the narrow canyon almost gives the impression that you’re in a cave. If you make it to Ibo Falls, it’s well worth exploring this higher level.
Ibo Falls might be remote, but it’s a beautiful, untouched waterfall that should be added to your itinerary if you’re looking to visit Cebu waterfalls that aren’t so touristy. To find a waterfall in Cebu that hasn’t been developed is a rare treat these days.
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WHERE TO STAY IN SOUTH CEBU
Southern Cebu is where all the adventure is at, from waterfalls and whale sharks to island hopping and diving. When visiting anywhere in the south, the best place to stay is Moalboal. It has the most accommodation options, and is a fun little town with dozens of cafes, restaurants and bars. Check out our top four picks below for where to stay in Moalboal.
BUDGET/HOSTEL: CHIEF MAU
Right on the main strip of Panagsama Road you’ll find Chief Mau, a fun and social hostel that dubs itself the chillest place in town. Clean, modern and affordable, boasting a restaurant, bar and billiards, Chief Mau is a favourite amongst backpackers
MIDSCALE: ADAM’S VIEW HOTEL
Simple but with all the amenities and facilities you need – including a massive pool – Adam’s View Hotel is our top pick for those looking for a little more luxury than a backpackers. Located in the main town, Adam’s View Hotel is right next to Gaisano Mall, but still close enough to the action of Panagsama Beach to remain convenient.
LUXURY: TURTLE BAY DIVE RESORT
If you have deep pockets and an appreciation for the finer things in life, Turtle Bay Dive Resort is the place for you. Tucked away on a private cove in the quieter part of town, this luxury resort is perfect for couples looking for a little exclusivity.
AIRBNB: LRS APARTMENT
We can personally attest to how great LRS Apartment is, having spent two weeks there. Aside from a beautiful private pool, the apartment itself is modern, well furnished and spacious enough for a couple. (And a cat!) It’s just a 5 minute drive from the hustle and bustle of the restaurants and bars along Panagsama Road, but far enough away to offer a little peace and quiet. We can’t recommend LRS Moalboal enough!
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