Apologize for posting this long-delayed post of my trip to two (2) of the most prominent destinations in Cebu few months ago. I finally made my way to Kawasan Falls and Osmeña Peak. I was reluctant to make this trip possible because I was traveling alone, too, and I had to do it more or less in 12 hours.
Because of the latest Coronavirus pandemic that affected the entire nation (and probably the whole world) until today, I finally had time to write this post. It’s also a perfect time, as Cebu Province will soon resume its tourism operations after switching to the Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) this month.
But first, let’s get to know Kawasan Falls in Badian and Osmeña Peak in Dalaguete before we jump to the guide immediately.
Understanding Kawasan Falls & Osmeña Peak
Kawasan Falls is located in Barangay Matutinao, a small town in Badian, southwest of Cebu City. A multi-layer waterfall system of beautiful turquoise water at the foot of the Mantalongon Mountain Range.
Osmeña Peak is the tallest peak in Cebu in the southern region of Cebu City. The summit is located 1,013 meters above sea level, where you can enjoy a 360-degree view of Cebu Island and a glimpse at Bohol Island. Osmeña Peak has gained popularity with its unique cluster of green hills hugging the shores of Badian.
Read on, the next parts will certainly lead you to the next great adventure.
Taking a Bus from the South Bus Terminal
From Ayala Center Mall in Cardinal Rosales Ave, where I parked my car, I took a cab to the South Bus Terminal early in the morning. It took me 12 minutes to get to the South Bus Terminal and the taxi fare was about ₱100 (US$2).
The queue of passengers to various destinations in the South was daunting, particularly on weekends and holidays, I suppose. There are food and beverages sold inside the terminal, and I picked some of them for the journey. Even if you forget, you shouldn’t fret, there will be fast break in the middle of the journey.
Arrival in Kawasan Falls
After a 4 hour journey, I arrived in Badian. The place was so busy, there were a lot of people in the streets, motorcycles and private vehicles parked along the road.
Once you enter the town, expect the number of Canyoonering guides offering their services.
I walked from the main road to the foot of the falls for ten (10) minutes. All sorts of vehicles are not permitted to enter the junction, so expect to see a lot of visitors walking in both directions and vendors selling along the way.
The trek was straightforward, although there are slippery areas and improvised walkways to traverse.
Swimming in Kawasan Falls
Once I got to the place, it was crowded as expected. And before I took a dive, I hurried to the upper waterfall. It was another 5-minute trek in a narrow, steep, bushy path. The area is where the Canyoneers can leap to their final course — it can be distracting if you swim in this area.
So I went down to the first waterfall, put my things in the locker that I reserved at the reception, and then went for a swim. There are also dressing rooms and toilets accessible, but not free of charge.
When is the Best Time to Visit Kawasan Falls
As far as the time of day is concerned, we suggest coming by 9 AM to beat the crowds. Kawasan Falls is one of the most famous waterfalls in the Philippines, which means that it can be incredibly busy every single day.
Hiring a Habal-habal to Mantalungon, Dalaguete.
After swimming, I went to the main road and searched for a habal-habal to hire. There were a few of them, offering the fastest means to get to nearby destinations, like going to Osmeña Peak.
It wasn’t an easy 2-hour ride. The journey was bumpy and went through the narrow, twisting roads of Dalaguete and Alegria before entering Mantalongon. However, the views of the fields and hills throughout the journey were also breathtaking.
The standard price was ₱1,000 (US$20) and it was easily haggled for ₱800 (US$16) since I was also traveling alone.
Hike to Osmeña Peak
I actually arrived at the Osmeña Peak Tourism Center at 5 PM, registered with them, and paid ₱30 (US$0.6) to get in.
The climb to the summit is fairly fast and easy to navigate. It can be performed by someone of any level of fitness. So there’s really no need to pay for a guide.
But having a guide is another way to help the community make a living. The price for these hiking guides, however, is not regulated. And most of the time, they’re not going to tell you the amount, it’s up to you to decide. As a guide, paying ₱150 (US$3) for each tour guide is just enough.
The actual hiking to Osmeña Peak is 20 to 25 minutes depending on the speed. The path to the summit is well-marked and easy to follow. There are moments, though, where you’d have to crawl over the cliffs, however, they’re manageable and nothing too intense.
Wait before you get to the top, the stunning 360-view of the island will steal your breath away. It’s certainly an unforgettable less than an hour of hiking in your life.
When is the Best Time To Visit Osmeña Peak
Many of the tourists wanted to visit the Osmeña Peak at sunrise. But, depending on the season, the area may be very foggy in the morning. And in the afternoon, it can be dry, too, and the hiking can be challenging and tiring.
So, personally, I would suggest visiting in the late afternoon, when the sun’s rays aren’t intense, to get a bit of an afternoon view and sunset.
Taking a Bus Going Back to the City
After more than an hour of sightseeing at the peak with innumerable captured photos, the trip had finally concluded.
I came down from the summit before dusk, hailed the habal-habal I reserved, and went to the Dalaguete junction to catch a bus going back to Cebu City.
Where to Stay to Visit Osmeña Peak and Kawasan Falls
Having your lodging in Moalboal town is the safest choice for backpackers in Southern Cebu. All major attractions are directly accessible from this town.
Here you can find some nice restaurants, and the town itself is vibrant, especially at night. You can also go snorkeling in Moalboal with sardines run and sea turtle watching.
Below, we listed the accommodation options in Moalboal:
- Budget Hostel: Island Girl Bed and Breakfast (US$10/ Night- Dorm Type)
- Best Value: Chief Mau Moalboal Cebu (US$35/ Night- Standard Double Bed Private Ensuite)
- Luxury: The Blue Orchid Resort (US$75/ Night- Standard Double Room)
Exclusive Tour for Osmeña Peak and Kawasan Falls
What to Wear
You should bring spare clothes if you’re going to swim in the Kawasan Falls. This trip involves a habal-habal journey, so pick a suitable outfit too.
The Osmeña Peak hike is easy, and any kind of clothes you wear will do as long as you’re comfortable with it. For precautions, it is best to wear shoes or closed sandals during the hike, since the trail can be muddy and slippery.
What to Bring
Travel Tips & Useful Info
- If you’re coming from the airport, take MyBus and get off at the APM Shopping Mall in front of SM City Cebu. From the APM Shopping Mall, you can ride the #01K jeep to the South Bus Terminal.
- MyBus is running every 30 minutes. Tickets cost ₱40 (USD0.8) and the ride will take up to 30 minutes.
- Passengers heading to the South may be packed, and they are allowed to stand on bus aisles. Please don’t hesitate to offer your seats to the elderly.
- It’s customary to give a little token or tip of thanks to those who assisted you along the way.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are the frequently asked questions about Kawasan Falls and Osmeña Peak:
Kawasan Falls is about 109 kilometers from the capital of the province. It may take four (4) hours to reach Barangay Matutinao by public bus and another ten (10) minutes to walk from the main road to reach the foot of the falls. Optionally, it will only take about three (3) hours to reach the area with a private car or a vehicle-for-hire (v-hire).
There are different ways to get to the Kawasan Falls, depending on where you came from. Popular starting points are the city of Cebu, Oslob, Dumaguete, and Osmeña Peak. From Cebu City, you can take either Librando or Ceres buses from the South Bus Terminal in N. Bacalso Avenue. Look for a bus that goes to Bato (Santander) via Barili, which passes through Badian Municipality. Regular bus fares start at ₱110 (US$2.2) and ₱130 (US$2.6) for air-conditioned buses.
The short answer is “yes“. Here lies a beautiful cold, turquoise water, ideal for swimming. And if you’re adventurous enough, take a bamboo raft to the waterfall and massage your head and neck with the gently pouring water.
There are two (2) major waterfalls in the Kawasan waterfall system, both of which naturally have deep pools and turquoise water.
For adventurers, Canyoneering Adventure is a popular activity that should not be missed in the region. The entire course involves scaling, rappelling, and leaping off the cliffs leading to the Kawasan Falls.
Osmeña Peak is about thirty (30) kilometers away from Badian and there are two (2) ways to get there, either by hiking or by habal-habal (motorcycle taxi). You can take 5-hour hiking to the outskirts of Mantalongon Market in Dalaguete and another hour ride to the summit. But if you don’t want to go on an ambitious hike to Osmeña Peak, you can hire a habal-habal to take you to Osmeña Peak for ₱1,000 (US$20)— good for 2 people. The journey takes about two (2) hours on narrow, twisting roads in the mountains of Alegria and Dalaguete.
Osmeña Peak is located 103 kilometers south of the city of Cebu. It can take four (4) hours to reach Osmeña Peak on a public bus with a motorcycle connecting ride.
If you’re coming from Cebu City, take a bus to Oslob or Santander/Li-loan from the South Bus Terminal in N. Avenue Bacalso. Then get off at the Dalaguete junction (about 3 hours) or ask the driver to drop you off at the Dalaguete junction. From the junction, hail the habal-habal to take you to the jump-off point. The habal-habal journey takes about 45 minutes.
Camping is also possible to get a different experience at the summit. Besides Osmeña Peak, Dalaguete is also blessed with numerous natural wonders, such as Kandungaw Peak and Sergio’s Strawberry Farm.
The 20-25 minute hike to the summit is fairly safe. You can also hire a local tour guide to lead you to the top and show you to the best locations to capture photos.
💡 TIP: Still ain’t had enough of Cebu? Check out the top things to do in the city!
Upon careful study and preparation, it is indeed possible to visit the Kawasan Falls and Osmeña Peak on a 10-hour commuting trip from Cebu City.
I also recommend MQ Cebu Tours for your travel and tour needs if you don’t want the hassle in commuting. They are accredited by the Department of Tourism (DOT), LTFRB, and DTI.
If you have further questions regarding this trip, please feel free to drop it in the comment section below!