Balancing A Regular Life with Extreme WANDERLUST
Tumalog Falls are a 10-minute ride from Oslob. This experience is unique since you will have to drive your way up a hill to get to the entrance. You can park your bike here free of charge and proceed to walk down a steep hillside to get to the falls. The tickets to these falls are PHP 20.
Tumalog falls are massive and water-curtain like and have a magical feel about them. Despite the height, the drop is not heavy since rocks break the fall. We were lucky to be there on a sunny day and even saw a rainbow in the pool beneath the falls. The basin is about 4 ft deep and the water is slightly murky. Compared to Kawasan, Tumalog was less crowded and touristy. Don’t forget to get your GoPro or a wide-angle lens to capture the falls in its entirety. There is also a fish spa close to the main falls. Feel free to dunk your feet and get spa treatment in the wilderness.
To make your way back to the parking, you can get a ride up the hill for about PHP 30. Or you could make use of your legs!
All tourist spots in Oslob are well connected by road. We hired a bike for a couple of days for 1000 Pesos (USD 20). Frequent buses connect Oslob with the waterfalls and prices are in the range of 20-40 Pesos one way. However, you may end up walking a fair bit since buses only drop you on the highway.
The best time to visit Cebu is during the winter. You will find bright days, pleasant nights and almost no humidity. Carry light cotton clothes and tonnes of sunscreen. It is always wise to check for typhoon warnings before traveling to the Philippines. We were lucky to miss one by a day!
The majestic Kawasan Falls
One of the world’s most widely photographed waterfalls according to Travel + Leisure, Kawasan Falls are located about 80km from Oslob. We rented a bike for this two-hour journey along the coast. The views throughout the drive were breathtaking and we stopped several times to admire the Filipino shoreline. We were lucky to have amazing weather throughout the day.
The 20-minute hike to Kawasan Falls starts at Matutinao Church located on the highway. You can park your bike here for PHP 50. The trail passes through a tiny village along the Kawasan river. You will see abandoned bridges, wooden huts and several women doing their laundry in the river. Along the hike, you will also see the entrance to the falls, where you can buy tickets for PHP 40.
Kawasan Falls are a treat to your senses. Fresh turquoise colored water and lush greenery make for outstanding scenery. Taking a dip here is an absolute must. If canyoneering interests you, there are several tour guides around for you to approach. The price is between PHP 1000-2000.
Having said that, it is important to realize that these falls are super touristy and you will find many eager beavers working hard to take the perfect selfie. Several touts would offer you rides on a bamboo raft (PHP 600) or a canyoneering tour. Since this place is popular among locals as well as tourists, you should avoid visiting over the weekend.
We stayed at Casa Bonita Inn, a budget hostel in Tanawan. It is about 15 mins from Oslob. The staff was polite, friendly and extremely helpful. There were several restaurants within walking distance. Even the whale shark diving spot was a five-minute walk away. There aren’t a lot of hostels/hotels in the area, so it may help to book ahead. We paid about USD 30 for a double room.
Biking along Cebu's coast
The easiest way to get to Oslob is to fly to Cebu Mactan Airport and then take a cab (PHP 3000/ USD 55 one way). You could also take a bus from the Cebu South Bus terminal (USD 5 one way). Though the bus is cheaper, the cab saves you an hour and a half and may make more sense if you’re crunched for time.
There were 3-4 restaurants close to the hostel. Our favourites were La Terrasse and Caferoniq. They served local Tagalog as well as Western fare. There is also a convenience store located 5 minutes from Casa Bonita Inn. Average Price for a meal for two is PHP 500/ USD 10.
Beach bod meets Dad bod
Located on the south end of Cebu, Oslob is a growing tourist destination. Besides its beautiful beaches and the Whale Shark diving experience, Oslob boasts of several breathtaking waterfalls. Holly and I visited Oslob for about a week in hope of getting away from the crowd. We flew in to Cebu Mactan Airport and took a cab straight to Oslob. The drive was almost entirely along Cebu Island’s coast and lasted about 3.5 hours. Though there are dozens of waterfalls to explore in Cebu, I will focus on two; Kawasan and Tumalog.
View from atop the hill