KABUTONGAN FALLS: Canyoneering Trek in Cebu

Jun 30, 2021 | Philippines

Kabutongan Falls Cebu Philippines

Kabutongan Falls in Malabuyoc is one of our favourite treks in all of Cebu, and has some of the most magical blue water we’ve ever seen. We’ve been to Kabutongan a few times, but our most recent trip in 2021 was our most memorable, and the first time going together.

It’s an epic waterfall for cliff jumping and canyoneering, and there’s even a hidden cave behind the main waterfall. The trek upriver isn’t particularly long – nothing like Badian or Alegria canyoneering – but it was so much fun making our way through the water with two very young, local guides.

WHERE IS KABUTONGAN FALLS IN SOUTH CEBU

Kabutongan Falls is in the small town of Looc in Malabuyoc, along the west coast of South Cebu. Most people think it’s part of the neighbouring town of Ginatilan (ourselves included), but after a little research we did learn that it is, in fact, the jewel of Malabuyoc. It takes at least 3 and a half hours to get there from Cebu City, so most people usually stay in Moalboal and explore the south from there. Kabutongan Falls is only 1 hour from Moalboal, and you can hit up dozens of other sites while you’re in the area. Check out our South Cebu series here for some inspo.

When you’re driving to Kabutongan Falls, be careful which Google Maps pin you follow. There’s a few pins, but they’re incorrect. Make sure you use this one or the map above. There are signs pointing towards Kabutongan Falls along the road, and locals are always happy to point you in the right direction if you need a little guidance. The road is full of pot holes as you near the falls, so you’ll need a 4WD or motorbikes. Kabutongan Falls is actually accessed through a resort, so once you reach the resort, you know you’re in the right place.

ENTRANCE FEE TO KABUTONGAN FALLS CEBU

There’s a ₱100/$2 USD entrance fee at the resort, which includes a life jacket and access to each level. You can reach the main waterfall without a guide, but we recommend using one as they help you know which spots are safe and which should be avoided. Guides are paid in tips, so it’s up to you but we recommend no less than ₱50.

Kabutongan Falls Cebu

WHAT TO BRING TO KABUTONGAN FALLS CEBU

Prepare for your trip to Kabutongan 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 Mens Hurricane Hiking Sandals (click for price)

If you’re interested in photography and/or videography this is the gear we can’t live without:

Professional camera: Sony a7iii (click for price)
Action camera: GoPro HERO9 Black (click for price)
Drone: DJI Mavic 2 Pro (click for price)

To see our complete camera gear read this post here.

TREKKING UPRIVER

The river leading to Kabutongan Falls is a tropical oasis. The water is a beautiful, milky blue, surrounded by a canyon of dense rainforest. This trek is far less traversed than more popular canyoneering destinations in South Cebu, so it’s a lot more raw and rugged, and you can expect some creepy crawlies along the way.

River to Kabutongan Falls
Centipede
River to Kabutongan Falls
River to Kabutongan Falls

We had a bad run with weather in Cebu and got rained out almost every single day. Our visit to Kabutongan Falls was directly after some very heavy rainfall, so the water level was especially high and the river was raging. Despite this, the water was still really blue, which was a pleasant surprise.

Trekking to Kabutongan Falls Cebu
Trekking to Kabutongan Falls Cebu
Trekking to Kabutongan Falls Cebu
Trekking to Kabutongan Falls Cebu

We traipsed upriver for around 30 minutes, sometimes in the water, sometimes along the rocky banks. We had waterproof bags but there were still a few sketchy areas where we preferred to walk around than go through the chest high water, especially with all our camera gear. Our guides, even though they were literal teenagers, were great at keeping everything safe and dry.

Trekking to Kabutongan Falls Cebu
Trekking to Kabutongan Falls Cebu
Trekking to Kabutongan Falls Cebu
Trekking to Kabutongan Falls Cebu

WHAT TO EXPECT AT KABUTONGAN FALLS CEBU

Kabutongan Falls is at the very end of the canyon, tucked away between the cliffs. The end of the trek leads you to the vantage point overlooking the falls, and from here you get a good view of the milky blue water and the rushing falls.

What to expect at Kabutongan Falls Cebu
What to expect at Kabutongan Falls Cebu

The easiest way down is to jump, so naturally that’s what Carson and our guides did. It’s the perfect jumping spot, with a good platform and plenty of room to land. There is a small hidden cave at the back of the falls, but right when we were going the sky let go of big fat raindrops and there was thunder in the distance. This canyon is perilous for flash flooding and there is no way out except back where we came from, so our guides told us it was time to go.

Kabutongan Falls Cebu
Jumping at Kabutongan Falls Cebu

On the way back downriver we decided to have a little fun and go down the natural slide. We don’t recommend doing this when the water is crazy strong, because it tossed Zowie like a rag doll and she ended up with tropical ear. For the mems though, right?

Sliding down the river
Sliding down the river

READ: 23 BEST WATERFALLS IN CEBU

Best Waterfalls In Cebu

READ: 28 BEST TOURIST SPOTS IN CEBU

Tourist Spots in Cebu

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Kabutongan Falls Cebu Philippines Travel Guide

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

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Chief Mau
Image by Chief Mau

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.

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Adam's View Hotel
Image by Adam’s View Hotel

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.

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Turtle Bay Dive Resort
Image by Turtle Bay Dive Resort

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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LRS Moalboal

SEARCH ALL HOTELS & RESORTS IN MOALBOAL

MORE CEBU TRAVEL GUIDES

Alegria Canyoneering
Badian Canyoneering
Inambakan Falls Ginatilan
Kawasan Falls Badian
Montpellier Falls Alegria
Cancalanog Falls Alegria
Binalayan Falls Samboan
Balaygsawa Falls Samboan

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