The Kawasan Falls Canyoneering near Moalboal in Cebu is probably one of the coolest highlights of the Philippines. The Kawasan Falls are one of the most beautiful waterfalls on Cebu and can be wonderfully combined with a hike (the canyoneering) through the Kawasan Gorge. What is so special about it and why you should not miss this Moaboal highlight we tell you now.
We are Sabrina and Andreas, two adventurous travelers who never miss an opportunity to discover the world. Whether by plane to distant countries or with our campervan Bruno, we just love to travel. We hope to give you helpful tips for your next trip on our blog.
Sabrina & Andreas Globetrotters, Travelers, Adventurers
What is Canyoneering?
Canyoneering (or canyoning) we had done only in India and is a hike through a narrow gorge or the river that runs through this gorge. Connected with it are climbing, jumping and swimming. The most beautiful and most famous canyon on the island of Cebu is the Kawasan Canyon, through which (how could it be otherwise) the Kawasan River runs.
For a canyoneering trip you start your hike above the famous Kawasan Falls in the Kawasan River and then hike, climb, jump and swim towards the waterfall at the end of your hike. You will definitely get wet, you will definitely have to jump into the water from 1-2 meters (optionally more) and you will have a lot of fun doing it!
What are Kawasan Falls and how do I get there?
The Kawasan Falls are the most famous and one of the most beautiful waterfalls of Cebu near Moalboal and they are so to say the destination of the Kawasan Falls Canyoning Tour. Currently (April 2022) you can’t get to the falls at all, but that should change in the next few months. Due to the typhoon that raged at the end of 2021, both the access road to the falls and the last part of the hiking trail are not accessible.
So you can neither get there by road nor with the canyoning tour. But that’s not so bad, because the Kawasan Falls Canyoning is beautiful even without seeing the actual waterfalls. But when the falls are open again, you can easily explore them on your own by scooter (Google Maps link), you don’t need a tour for that.
The waterfalls are located about 30 minutes south of the town of Moalboal and can be reached by paved road. But if you want to do the canyoning tour, you don’t have to go to the Kawasan Falls on your own, because with an organized tour you will be picked up from the hotel.
Hotel Recommendation for MoalboalRavenala Beach Bungalows The Ravenala is an absolute recommendation from us. It really is the most beautiful hotel in the area and a wonderful place to feel at home. The photos on Booking.com* simply do not do justice to this great place. The hotel is located in a beautifully maintained garden with several bungalows, from which you have a view of the beach and the sea.
- super delicious food (breakfast included)
- beautiful garden
- directly at the beach (White Beach) and the sea
- huge coral reefs only a few meters from the beach
What you can experience during Kawasan Canyoneering
First of all you will go by tricycle to the Kawasan Falls about 30 minutes south of Moalboal. There we park the trike and change to a motorcycle. Sabrina and I got on a motorcycle (where we were already three with the driver) and then drove about 10 minutes into the mountains to the starting point of the hike for the Kawasan Falls Canyoneering.
The Kawasan Zipline
There we got a safety briefing and then the first highlight, because we had to choose between walking 20 minutes to the Kawasan Canyon or bridging the distance by zipline. Of course, the choice was not difficult and so we hung only a few minutes later in Superman pose in a safety harness on a several hundred meters long wire rope.
And off we went, hurtling at breakneck speed over the jungle at a height of 50 meters and having a blast. The fun stopped slowly as we approached the target platform where helping hands were already waiting to take us off the rope. But just before this platform our momentum and maybe also our luck left us and we stopped and slowly glided backwards to the middle of the zipline. Bummer!
So now we hung there and waited for someone to get us down. A funny situation. After a few minutes we saw someone hanging on the zipline from the platform and crawling towards us. After endless minutes of waiting, he finally reached us and attached a rope to our harness and his colleagues on the platform pulled us towards the platform.
Finally we were safe and could walk the remaining meters to the start of the Kawasan hike. By the way, the zipline costs 500 Pesos per person and can be paid directly on site only in cash.
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After a few minutes of walking downhill, you have already reached the canyon and can climb into the cool water. That was also bitterly necessary, because despite the shortcut with the zipline and the fact that it was still early morning, I was already sweating profusely. Physical exertion at these temperatures are just not my thing.
After we got into the water, we were already carried away by the (not too strong) current and could simply let ourselves drift and marvel at the determined 50 meter high steep walls of the canyon. Everywhere dragonflies and colorful butterflies flew around and created an almost paradisiacal atmosphere. Also the water had a wonderful turquoise blue color and was really totally clear.
In the next few hours, the drifting in the water alternated again and again with climbing, hiking and of course jumping into the water. The guide always showed us exactly where we had to go and what we had to watch out for. The hike through the Kawasan Canyon adapts to the natural course of the river and can therefore change again and again due to water levels and other conditions. There are no paved trails or any kind of railings to hold on to. You really have to be careful where you step or jump.
The highlight of the whole canyoning hike at Kawasan Falls are of course the many small and big jumps that you sometimes have to do (rather the small ones) and sometimes can do (rather the big ones). It is of course not always easy and already a big thrill, but if the guide jumps ahead and also shows you exactly where to jump (and where not), then it is all doable and relatively safe.
Lunch break in the canyon
After about an hour of hiking through Kawasan Canyon you will come to a place where you can have lunch. You heard right: in the middle of the canyon there are food stalls where you can buy grilled meat and refresh yourself with cold drinks and fruit. The prices are of course a bit higher than in the city, but we think that’s perfectly fine considering that the nice saleswomen have to transport the food and all the stalls to this place.
We treated ourselves to grilled chicken with rice and mango and also rested a bit, which we bitterly needed. After the break, we continued on to the second half of the Kawasan Canyoneering Tour.
The highest jump at Kawasan Fall
As we continued, there were more smaller and medium jumps to complete, which was totally doable and super fun. The jumps into the cold water of the Kawasan River we could do either by head first or feet first, as it just fit. After a few meters a small ledge came into our field of vision and I knew immediately that this would be the jump that would cost me the most nerves.
This ledge was 7 meters high and these 7 meters look just as high from above as from below. Nevertheless, I wanted to dare this jump. And after our guide had made the jump first and called to me from below unmistakably, I should also finally jump down, I finally took all my courage together and jumped into the depth.
The free fall is both the worst and the most beautiful thing, but after a second it’s all over and you land in the deep water and know you’ve made it.
The last waterfall of the Kawasan Falls hike
After this exciting experience, the trail continues relatively flat and you have more time to admire the great nature around you. After a few minutes you come to the last waterfall of the hike. The last one would actually be the Kawasan Fall itself, but since we were on Cebu in the spring of 2022, not all the destruction of the typhoon of late 2021 could be removed and thus the actual Kawasan Fall was closed to the public.
But the last waterfall on our tour was also very impressive and beautiful. We were lucky to be here all alone and so we could take pictures in peace and enjoy the nature. Besides, we could buy fried bananas and something cold to drink at a stand to strengthen us.
There was the way back for which we first had to go steeply uphill and there it was again, the sweat that ran down my face and which I had actually well suppressed the last hours in the water. Arrived on the hill was first of all a small breather at we also treated us to a delicious coconut.
Then it went downhill again along corrugated iron houses, crowing roosters and beautiful palm trees. Back down at the Kawasan River we saw for the first time the devastation caused by typhoon 2021. Houses were in ruins, palm trees were bent like straws and the whole nature looked very battered.
We walked a few hundred meters along the river until we reached the road again. There we rode by tricycle back to the place where our guide had left his tricycle and from there back to our hotel. The day at Kawasan Falls was beautiful, but also very exhausting.
Kawasan Falls Canyoning | Tips
Booking & Prices | Kawasan Falls Canyoneering
We booked our tour directly at our hotel, but you can also book a tour online*. We paid about 25 Euro per person for the tour and were picked up by tricycle from our hotel in the morning and brought back in the afternoon.
What do I need to take with me?
You should take some snacks and water with you and preferably also water shoes. With such shoes you can walk safer and better through water and over wet rocks. And of course you should make sure that your camera or cell phone stays dry, for this you can use waterproof handbag.
Is Kawasan Falls canyoneering dangerous?
In a way, of course. You can slip or hurt yourself jumping into the river. But since you always have a guide at your side who knows the canyon like the back of his hand, we would classify the risk as relatively low.
Is Kawasan Falls canyoneering strenuous?
Not really. You will have to climb a few meters at the beginning and at the end and you might break a sweat. But the canyoning itself is not really strenuous and since you are constantly in the water, you can always cool down.
Can I do the canyoning tour on my own?
You can’t do such a tour on your own, you have to book a tour with a guide. Canyoning alone would be too dangerous, because you don’t know exactly where you have to walk and where you can jump into the river.