Lubas Falls in Valencia, Negros Oriental is nothing short of extraordinary. Tucked away in the dense rainforest about halfway up Mount Talinis, Lubas Falls is for ultimate adventurers. Be warned, this is not a hike for beginners, and is around 6-7 hours round trip. It’s incredibly challenging, both getting up to the falls and back down again, but it’s so rewarding if you can pull it off.
We’d seen photos of Lubas Falls before, and immediately added it to our Negros Oriental bucket list. After asking around, we were put in touch with a local expat hiking enthusiast who had completed the treacherous trek to Lubas Falls once before. Together with him, his girlfriend and our adventure buddy Keith, we set off on the hardest hike of our lives.
WHERE IS LUBAS FALLS
Mount Talinis in Valencia sits watch over Dumaguete City, and about halfway up that mountain is Lubas Falls. The hike to Lubas Falls starts at the base of Mount Talinis, at Limottakna restaurant. That’s as far as the cement road takes you up Talinis, and from there you’ll need to park and begin your trek. Don’t get mixed up with Casaroro Falls, which also starts at Limottakna. The entrance to Casaroro Falls is on the left of Limottakna, but the way to Lubas Falls is on the right, along the Talinis track.
GUIDE TO LUBAS FALLS
You’re 100% going to need a guide to Lubas Falls. And even then, you’re probably going to need to convince said guide to take you, as it’s not a well-known trek. Our friend Alex knows the way but he’s not an official guide, however one of our other local friends Klydie is part of a hiking community in Negros Oriental, and he knows willing guides. You can contact Klydie on 09056482640.
WHAT TO BRING TO LUBAS FALLS
Prepare for your trip to Lubas 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)
Action camera: GoPro HERO9 Black (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)
You’ll also want to make sure you pack enough food and snacks to last the day. You’ll need it.
HIKING TO LUBAS FALLS
Like we said, the trailhead starts at Limottakna restaurant, at the very end of the road going to the famous Casaroro Falls. Our journey started off quite leisurely, and we even passed a view point and sari-sari store selling water and light snacks. It’s your last chance to grab anything, because there’s definitely nothing beyond this point.
Our leisurely hike quickly turned into a steep incline through thick forest. The beginning of the trek is the popular Talinis trail, so it’s well established and visited frequently by hikers. It’s doesn’t stay that simple though, with the way to Lubas Falls veering off the Talinis trail.
Once we veered off the Talinis trail we had to forge our own way forward, ripping through the underbrush, climbing up muddy steps and pulling ourselves up irrigation pipes. By this point, we were all torn up, drenched in literal blood, sweat, and maybe even a few tears. It took around 3 hours of grueling work for us to reach Lubas Falls, relatively in one piece.
WHAT TO EXPECT AT LUBAS FALLS
The relief we felt once we finally saw Lubas Falls in all her glory was immeasurable. It was just as epic as the photos, if not better. What makes Lubas Falls so unique is the basin of blue water trapped by a wall of mossy rocks. This trapped water then spews down into another smaller waterfall before finally reaching the river below.
Our friend Alex and his girlfriend were able to climb up onto rocks on their last visit, but due to some recent rain it was too slippery to scale this time. As much as we wanted to get an epic photo standing below Lubas Falls, we probably would have slipped and fallen to our death. We had no choice but to admire her from afar. We had seen what we need to see, and it had not disappointed.
HIKING BACK DOWNRIVER
After staring in awe of Lubas Falls and snapping a few photos, it was time to make our descent. You’d think it would be a little less challenging going down, but you would be mistaken. Rather than go back the way we came from, we decided to hike downriver. The best part was that Alex hadn’t gone this way before, and we were all just blindly hoping it worked out.
Despite not being able to swim at Lubas Falls, we still got plenty wet hiking home. The importance of a dry bag became palpable as we waded through chest high water with our gear held overhead. Our camera was also swapped for the GoPro somewhere along the way. If you’re not in any rush, there are some beautiful spots along the river to swim and freshen up.
Three hours later and we had finally made it. We were around two hours late to our lunch reservation, but the adventure we had been on was so worth missing out on burgers for.
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:
Sulfur Lagoon, Amlan
Pasalan Falls, Amlan
Pulangbato Falls, Valencia
Upper Pulangbato Falls, Valencia
Lake Balinsasayao & Danao Twin Lakes, Sibulan
Casaroro Falls, Valencia
Swimming with Apo Island Turtles, Dauin
Original Casaroro Falls, Valencia
Tottyn Falls, Valencia
Bugsok Falls, Mabinay