We’re gonna come right out and say it – Pulangbato Falls is not our favourite waterfall. Is it a beautiful waterfall? Yes. Has the natural landscape been altered beyond recognition? Yes. Pulangbato Falls is not the waterfall for people searching for raw, untouched nature. But if you don’t care about that and just want to check out a cool red rock waterfall, read on!
GETTING TO PULANGBATO FALLS
Pulangbato Falls is found in Valencia, less than 30 minutes drive from downtown Dumaguete. If you have your own mode of transport, it’s an absolute breeze to get to since all you need to do is follow the map all the way there. The best way to get there is via scooter, which you can rent for $8 USD a day. If you don’t want to drive a scooter, you can rent a car for $40 a day or ride a jeepney from downtown to Valencia plaza for $0.25, and from there take a motorcycle taxi (habal-habal) to the falls.
If you do have your own transport, we recommend stopping by Smokey Mountain to see its unique geothermal vents releasing sulphuric smoke into the air. You’ll have to pass it on the way, so it’d be a crying shame not to snap a few photos or catch a whiff of the distinct eggy smell sulphur lets off.
Once you arrive at the falls, the first thing you’ll notice is it’s been turned into a resort. You’ll have to pay a $2 entrance fee, which is pretty hefty compared to the usual $0.40 at most places. Pulangbato Falls greets you upon arrival, and despite the major touristy feels, the falls are undeniably beautiful. You’ll immediately understand why they called it Pulang (red) bato (rock).
They’ve built a hanging bridge which is a nice little spot for photos. You can cross the bridge and get to ground level for a closer look at the falls, or a swim!
Up on the main level, there’s also another smaller waterfall which has been dammed off to create a swimming pool, and the entire deck area has picnic tables and chairs to hang out and admire the view. You can order food and drinks at the restaurant and make a day of it, but expect to pay resort prices. There’s also the option to spend the night at the Pulangbato Falls Mountain Resort, but since we had a place in Dumaguete we decided to go home.
All in all, Pulangbato Falls is a great pit stop if you’ve got the time up your sleeve, but we would’ve loved to have seen what it was like before it was developed. Would we recommend others to visit? Absolutely! But if you’re short on time and tossing up between Pulangbato and Casaroro and you prefer a more natural setting, then we’d recommend Casaroro Falls over Pulangbato any day.
What makes Pulangbato Falls truly worth it is not this main waterfall, it’s the upper level that very few people know about. We ended up going back to Pulangbato Falls (after this post!) with a friend who showed us the secret waterfall above Pulangbato. Check out our guide to Upper Pulangbato Falls and add it to your itinerary.
PIN IT FOR LATER
WHERE TO STAY NEAR PULANGBATO 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.
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.