Thanks to Instagram, the twinkly turquoise waterfalls on Cebu Island are firmly on any traveller’s itinerary to the Philippines. And for good reason – but that’s not to say they were idyllic.. So if you’re considering a visit to Badian, I also want to firmly suggest a visit to Mainit Hot Springs in the area so read on my guide to the region!
Badian is the Southern portion of Cebu Island. To get here from Cebu City, jump on a bus from the South Bus Terminal where the end destination is Bato. It will either go via Oslob where you can swim with whale sharks (read my guide to that here) or via Barili.
If you arrive on ferry from Dumaguete, you will arrive into Bato.
To get to Kawasan Falls, if you’re coming from Bato, you need a bus in the direction of Moalboal. And vice versa if you’re coming from Moalboal.
Ask to stop at Kawasan – all bus drivers will know what you mean. You’ll find the bus stop opposite the car park and church.
Once you’re here, there’s a long path through the jungle towards the falls but it’s fairly easy to walk on and you’ll see lots of locals pushing along cooler boxes with picnics. This walk takes as long as 30 ninutes though!
When should I go?
We made the terrible decision to go to Kawasan Falls at 2pm. We ending up having to wait until gone 4/5pm to get the Falls to ourselves.
Either go very early, or later in the day. Because honestly? The falls are BUSY. My pics look idyllic but the truth is that I waited out for the split second when there would be no people.. It’s a very popular spot with locals too, not just tourists. There are lots of kids playing about too, so if you’re looking for peace and zen, you won’t find it midday.
A very popular activity to do here is canyoneering. It costs around PHP1500 and you’ll spend around 3 hours jumping in and out of the falls and the Matutinao river that flows through. This price covers you for all your equipment, a guide and even a snack! To note, most tours start from 7.30am with the last entries accepted at around 3pm.
One of the most shocking things to our experience there, other than the sheer number of people, was that everything cost. Whilst the entrance cost was only PHP40, inside tables and chairs cost PHP500 to rent, a locker was PHP100 and to go out on the water in a raft, it cost PHP300. Food was limited and expensive, and looked like very dirty kitchens too, so bring your own like the locals do. I hate money-grabbing places like this, so as to make a point, we didn’t pay for any of it but instead found a rock and relaxed there.
Other advice for the falls
Don’t just stay at the main falls at the bottom. It’s the busiest and the most photogenic, but climbing up back behind the falls leads you to a maze of other waterfalls and pools to bathe in – without the crowds and way more peaceful. I highly advise! You can even climb right up into the jungle and have it all to yourself!
Mainit Hot Springs
Often missed out by tourists, this wonderful little spot is at the stop of Malabuyoc. A lovely, winding 1.5km walk from the main road leads you up through peaceful villages and lush vegetation before you arrive at the (very) Hot Springs. There are three pools to choose from, and there were only about 30 locals there relaxing. Some were fully submerged into the pools, one of which exceeds 40c! We continued on to climb up away from the Hot Springs and found the most gorgeous (cool) pools to jump into and huge boulders to climb in. This was a really lovely spot with no other tourists and a peaceful atmosphere. Do not miss it out! J
See below for my photos on the experience!
I hope that this guide has been useful and informative for your visit to this region of Cebu. Let me know what you think in the comments. I’d love to hear from you 🙂 x
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