Luparan Falls is one of the most raw and rugged hikes we’ve been on, deep in the mountains of Tanjay in Negros Oriental. Not on any tourist maps, Luparan Falls is as local as it gets, and is not for the faint of heart. If you’re looking for real, untouched beauty, slim to none chances of other tourists and a challenging hike, Luparan Falls is for you.
WHERE IS LUPARAN FALLS
Luparan Falls is about as deep in the jungle as we’ve gone for a waterfall in Negros Oriental. In fact, it’s so hidden there are many locals who’ve never heard of it. It’s one of the few waterfalls without a Google Maps pin, but it’s roughly in the small town of Santa Cruz Nuevo in Tanjay.
The road to Santa Cruz Nuevo isn’t easy. Once you cut in from the highway and head inland, it becomes a maze of country roads, most of which are dirt. We have a 4WD and there were some areas that were pretty harrowing. We could only go so far, and then we parked in front of a random house and were met by habal-habals (motorcycle taxis) to take us the rest of the way.
GUIDE TO LUPARAN FALLS
Trust us when we say you won’t find Luparan Falls by yourself. It exists on no map and we hadn’t even heard of it before. It was our friend and guide Marlon Seit who knew about it and contacted the local barangay police to show us the way. Not only is Marlon a wizard with ropes and climbing gear, but his connections also made it possible to arrange guides and habal-habal drivers. You can contact him on 09672163409 if you want to visit Luparan Falls, or any waterfall from Dauin to Bais.
WHAT TO BRING TO LUPARAN FALLS
Prepare for your trip to Luparan 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)
MOTORBIKE RIDE TO LUPARAN FALLS
The adventure started well before the hike with an epic motorbike ride up the mountain on the back of habal-habals. If you’re not familiar, habal-habals are powerful motorbikes with seat extensions, which are often used to fit families of up to five, even six.
The road leading up to Luparan Falls was windy and steep, with patches of rough dirt and rocks. Our habal-habal drivers were incredibly skilled and used to taking this route, so despite the treacherous road we still felt pretty safe.
After 20 minutes of rollercoaster roads we made it to the jump off point to Luparan Falls. There’s no signs or any indication that there’s a waterfall nearby, just fields, farms and a chapel. We did meet Lola where we left our bikes, a sweet old lady who lives locally and joked about having the same hair as Carson.
HIKING TO LUPARAN FALLS
We began our hike to Luparan Falls, walking across mountain ridges in itchy, overgrown grass. The view was incredible and we could see as far out to Cebu. We hiked across these ridges for what felt like hours, but it was probably only about 45 minutes to an hour. We then started our descent.
Zowie was in heaven with all the farm animals along the way. Things always take a little longer when she decides to stop and pat all the livestock.
We eventually made it to the river, but we were still nowhere near Luparan Falls. From here it was at least another hour of difficult trekking, which even involved a little bouldering and rappelling. We recommend sturdy, comfortable footwear or you’re in for a nightmare. We weren’t actually planning to go to Luparan Falls that day, so Zowie was only wearing a pair of Havianas which miraculously survived.
WHAT TO EXPECT AT LUPARAN FALLS
After a tough river trek, we finally caught our first glimpse of Luparan Falls. A few more rocks to hurl ourselves over and we were home free.
Luparan Falls was a lot taller than we expected, and the area was completely untouched. Usually, no matter how remote a waterfall is, we always find some form of human life. A chip packet, coke bottle, an old bonfire. Luparan Falls had none of this, it was utterly raw. (Do us a favour and keep it this way)
The water flow was pretty weak but the catchment area was still deep enough to swim in. Despite being sweaty and exhausted from the hike, the water still felt icy. Something about mountain water hits different. It woke us up and prepared us for an intense hike back up the mountain.
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 FALLS IN DUMAGUETE & NEGROS ORIENTAL:
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