Travel Tales

Kawasan Falls: See It or Skip It?

I’ve been guilty of planning some of our trips based on photos I’ve seen on Instagram. Who needs a guide book when you can just flip through thousands of beautiful photos on the app and in an instant, be compelled to see it in person. On our recent trip to the Philippines, that is exactly what happened. I’ve seen too many photos of this stunning waterfall that it ultimately charmed its way into our itinerary. After a 2-night stay in Palawan, we excitedly booked a flight to Cebu to check out this famous Instagram waterfall.

Thoughts on Cebu

After a relaxing stay in Palawan, I was completely blindsided with Cebu (Cebu City, to be exact). The traffic, the pollution, the crowd – it reminded me a lot of Manila (not a good thing btw). It was hard to get around because of the congestion so we didn’t even bother leaving our hotel. Don’t get me wrong – I’m definitely not generalizing Cebu. I’m sure there’s plenty of beautiful islands outside the city that are worth visiting. I just wish we knew better than to stay at the city center. The night before our trip to Badian and Oslob, I was feeling a bit under the weather. James and I were going back and forth, trying to figure out if we should still take a trip to Oslob to see the whale sharks. I was already having second thoughts about it due to the controversy surrounding the tourist attraction. Hoping to get some rest before our trip to Bohol, we decided to forego our trip to Oslob. Instead, we focused on getting to the falls.


Traveling to Kawasan Falls:

The falls is located in Badian, approximately 3 hours away from Cebu City. After contacting a few rental car companies, we figured it was cheaper if we do it on our own. I don’t exactly know how I was able to do it, but I convinced my husband to take a chance on my public transportation skills (I’m not sure if I had any at the time), and take a bus to some town we’ve never been before. I quickly researched the routes and fares and finally, came up with a plan. Equipped with information I got the night before, we made our way to the Cebu South Bus Terminal. Surprisingly, the bus we took was well maintained and clean. The wifi was working rather well too! The only downside was the travel time. It took us almost 4 1/2 hours to get there and that includes the bathroom breaks and picking up/dropping off passengers.


  • If you’re not familiar with Cebu City, you can always take a taxi for convenience. Taxi fare: Php 75/$1.63.
  • There are three bus companies that take the same route to Badian. We chose to go with Ceres Bus (located at terminal 10) for convenience and comfort – A/C, tv and free wifi. Bus fare: Php 147/$3.19 per person.
  • Make sure you take the bus bound for BATO via BARILI not BATO via OSLOB. The bus bound for Oslob will take you on the eastern side. While the bus bound for Barili will take you on the western side where Badian/Kawasan Falls is located.
  • Don’t forget to bring cash!
  • To be sure, let the conductor know that you’re headed to Kawasan Falls just in case you fall asleep or don’t know where to get off. The stop should be at Matutinao Badian Church. You will see a large sign right next to the bus stop near the church.

Traveling back to Cebu City:

We waited at the bus stop for about 30 minutes, before finally getting on a bus bound for Cebu City. Unlike the trip to the falls where we had several bus companies to choose from, the trip back was one of our worst travel experiences ever. Since it was getting late (we left the waterfalls at around 3 pm) and our bus choices were slim to none, we ended up with an open, non A/C bus back to the city. For the most part, we didn’t mind that there was no A/C even though it was hot and humid. The two things that bothered us the most were the pollution and traffic! Imagine sitting in traffic for almost 4 hours, windows open and inhaling smog from every vehicle on the road. By the time we got back to our hotel our head was throbbing with pain, most likely from the air pollutants we were forced to inhale and endure for 4 hours. I seriously felt like I smoked 2 packs of cigarette – that’s how tight my lungs felt. I don’t know how the locals do it everyday. It’s so bad for their health! 🙁

What to expect?

Right when we got off the bus, we were immediately swarmed with locals rendering their services to us. We politely declined and proceeded to walk the 25-30 minute trail towards the falls. The road is not well-paved and with my flip flops clinging on for dear life, it made me wish I wore my water shoes instead. The walk to the falls was scenic and quiet. We passed by a village and a few small bridges before finally catching a glimpse of the cascading falls. It was even more beautiful in person! But my excitement faded quickly after seeing several man-made structures right next to the waterfalls. I turned to James, asking if we were in the right place. This was a classic example of “travel expectations vs reality”. Gone were the images of a tranquil waterfall in the middle of a jungle. All I could see was a hotel, restaurant and a store seemingly out of place in this beautiful setting.


Kawasan Falls: See it or Skip it

Image via Flickr by Johanna Alexis Naing


Kawasan Falls: See it or Skip it

Image via Flickr by Marion Paul Baylado

Hidden gem or Tourist trap?

As we inched closer to the waterfall, a few people approached us asking if we needed a guide or a table to put our things while we swim. I then realized that everything here has a price – table (Php 300), bamboo raft (Php 300), food (varies), life vest (Php 50), changing room (Php 10), etc. We couldn’t figure out where to have lunch so we ended up renting a table and since I had to change to my bathing suit, I was charged yet again to use their facilities. Now, I’m not knocking down anyone’s opportunity to make a living. I just wish that they didn’t charge for every single thing. As for the waterfall itself, well, it is absolutely stunning. There’s no arguing that. I tried to ignore the noise around me and took a quick dip into the turquoise pool. It was refreshing despite being cold. After a few minutes of treading in the water, I sat on one of their bamboo rafts, hoping to recreate THAT Instagram shot. It was nearly impossible to get an alone time with the falls but I finally did it! We only stayed for an hour or so before heading back to the bus stop.

Although the waterfall is gorgeous, the atmosphere kind of ruined the experience for me. Because of the proximity of the structures, the noise was a bit overwhelming. I really wish they didn’t build so close to it, making it seem like a waterpark. Should you see ir or skip it? It depends. If you solely focus on the fact that the waterfall is beautiful then you should definitely see it! But if you’re looking for a relaxing swim then this isn’t for you and you should probably skip it.


What do you guys think? Are you going to See it or Skip it?

Let me know in the comment section below.

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  1. Avatar


    April 7, 2016 at 5:05 pm

    Turned me off a bit!!! But that’s expected of Philippines isn’t it? They’ll do anything to get money out of anything. Such a shame that such a beautiful place is becoming a business.

    The reality photo shocked me! You don’t see that show anywhere. Damn.

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      April 14, 2016 at 12:25 am

      I get where you’re coming from but at the same time I understand their need to make money out of it. I just wish they thought it through. They could’ve built away from it and still made a profit. Now, it ended up looking like a waterpark.

  2. Avatar


    April 7, 2016 at 6:45 pm

    Thanks for sharing! That’s really good to know, i was kicking myself that i never made it here during my trip and promised I’d go next time. Its definitely something to consider! ?

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      April 14, 2016 at 12:27 am

      No problem at all Elaina! I’m glad you got some perspective from my post. If you do go, just make sure you go early in the morning to avoid the crowd.

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    Safari Junkie

    April 7, 2016 at 10:01 pm

    Photos with waterfall only look still great but once the surroundings is revealed looks like aqua park.

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      April 14, 2016 at 12:28 am

      Yea, I agree. It’s just disappointing to see what’s really behind the scenes. 🙁

  4. Avatar


    April 8, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    Still pretty and worth a visit though. I’m finding a lot of the places I go to are a bit ruined in reality compared to photos I’ve seen, the magic of photoshop lol

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      April 14, 2016 at 12:30 am

      Some photos I’ve seen are not photoshopped though. This waterfall is really beautiful in person. It’s just the surroundings were not ideal and it ruined the experience for me. But it’s nice to know that you’ll still visit despite that. 🙂

  5. Avatar


    April 8, 2016 at 11:35 pm

    I love waterfalls, maybe because in my country we don’t have such 🙂 So while I’m living now in Indonesia, I try to discover some of them as well 🙂 What I understood till now that pictures most of the times lie a bit about reality 🙂 you need to wait for a long time if you need to capture something without any other people, as well many travelers likes to edit the picture – to make it more amazing that it is 🙂 I think main thing, go to places that you want to discover and not expect anything, maybe then will be a chance be surprised in good way 🙂

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      April 14, 2016 at 12:35 am

      Me too, Ria! I love waterfalls and I try to see as much as I can here in the US. We have tons of beautiful waterfalls here. Yes, I do agree about some travelers editing photos to make it more amazing but as for this particular waterfall, it really is beautiful in person. The only thing that ruined it for me was that it was too commercialized. And yes, I’ll definitely not expect too much anymore so I’ll just be surprised when I see it in person.

  6. Avatar

    Adonis Villanueva

    April 9, 2016 at 12:21 am

    Awww…I grew up in Cebu! Sad to hear it’s becoming like Manila! But, I’m probably going to check out that waterfall anyways because your photo is doing a terrible job of swaying me away hahaha! It’s pretty good!

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      April 14, 2016 at 12:37 am

      I loved Cebu, a looong time ago! But yeah it really changed drastically! Well, I’m glad to hear that you’ll still visit despite my experience. It’s better to see for yourself right? Get your own perspective. And thank you for liking the photos. It took a lot of tries! lol

  7. Avatar

    Meg Jerrard

    April 9, 2016 at 12:51 am

    I feel for you – this is exactly the reason we’ve actually started wondering whether or not it’s worthwhle traveling to our big bucketlist destinations. I have these magical visions in my head, for instance, of the pyramids of Giza in Egypt, but you know it’s overcrowded with hawkers with probably a McDonalds close by. Half of us doesn’t want to visit so the magic of what it could be like stays alive.

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      April 14, 2016 at 12:40 am

      That’s one of my dreams too Meg, to visit the pyramids in Egypt! A Mcdonalds close by? I hope not! haha but yea I get what you mean. I kinda feel the same way too. I guess that’s the price we pay nowadays. Everything has become so commercialized and everyone wants a profit. More tourists = more money!

  8. Avatar

    Svetoslav Dimitrov

    April 9, 2016 at 1:23 am

    I absolutely adore waterfalls, and I was checking your Instagram when I came across your article. What a coincidence (or not?) :)) It seems like a magical place, but yeah too many people and noise does sound bad. I admire you for taking a dip – not many people are courageous to go into cold waters 🙂

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      April 14, 2016 at 12:44 am

      I think the more we post about our destinations online, the more it becomes crowded. The power of social media! lol and thanks! It was pretty cold. I was feeling under the weather too but I just had to go for it!

      Thanks for checking out my Instagram btw! 🙂

  9. Avatar

    Toni | 2 Aussie Travellers

    April 9, 2016 at 1:24 am

    With so much of our travel planning now inspired by Instagram and other social media this unfortunately happens quite a bit. Somehow we expect this sharing by our ‘virtual friends’ to be more honest and realistic than the glossy travel brochures were, we knew and accepted that they were marketing. It still looks a beautiful waterfall and the colour of the water is stunning but the area is a little crowded for my tastes and I think the commercial aspect would put me off.

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      April 14, 2016 at 12:50 am

      I agree with you completely! I think with social media more prevalent these days, it’s bound to happen. I don’t mind though that some of the places I visit get crowded but what I don’t appreciate is the need for people to make a profit out of everything. That’s what I admire about the national parks I’ve visited here in the US, they protect beautiful features like this.

  10. Avatar


    April 9, 2016 at 2:31 am

    So many places that I want to see but seem to be ruined by the mass tourism. This waterfall looks amazing, and I’m glad you included pictures of what it really looks like with all the people. I feel this way about much of Costa Rica – it is such a beautiful place, but it has been overrun with tourists and I was really turned off!

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      April 14, 2016 at 12:52 am

      Oh my really? Costa Rica’s actually one of my top places I want to visit this year. I’m actually really surprised about this. 🙁 Could it be the month you visited? or is it crowded and overrun with tourists all year long?

  11. Avatar

    Vicki | MakeTimeToSeeTheWorld

    April 9, 2016 at 2:50 am

    It’s a shame that such a place of natural beauty can have the shine taken off by unscrupulous hawkers charging for everything and the noise pollution from the nearby structures. But I think this is the way of the world now and we just have to incorporate that into our expectations. I’d still go (because I would also like an attempt at getting THAT shot!) but it’s good to have the heads up about what it is actually like!

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      April 14, 2016 at 12:55 am

      It really is a shame Vicki. I feel for them, and for their need to make money in some way. But what I don’t get is their need to built so close to the falls that it ultimately ruined its atmosphere. You’re right though. It is the way of the world right now, we just need to avoid expecting so much. Glad you would still visit! The waterfall is really beautiful and the water is so refreshing!

      Yea, definitely. I wish someone gave me a heads up too so I didn’t expect so much.

  12. Avatar

    Bernard Tan

    April 9, 2016 at 3:46 am

    I have been seeing a lot about Philippines, but have never been to Philippines. I would likely be planning a trip next year! Awesome post!

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      April 14, 2016 at 12:55 am

      Thanks! Yeah, you should definitely check it out. There’s so many islands for you to explore!

  13. Avatar


    April 9, 2016 at 4:06 am

    It’s a shame that such beautiful places are almost always outshined by mass tourism. I mean, I understand where it comes from, but sometimes it would be nice to have so peace as well. It’s too bad that you didn’t fully enjoy your trip to the waterfalls but I hope the rest of your Philippines’ trip!

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      April 14, 2016 at 12:57 am

      Despite this minor flaw in my itinerary, my Philippines trip was amazing and definitely an eye opener! There’s still so many beautiful islands to explore so I’ll definitely come back next time!

  14. Avatar


    April 9, 2016 at 7:17 am

    I recently wrote a blog about how Instagram ruined travel for me (check if you are curious what I had to say about it) and after seeing this from you, I realize even more how Instagram is trying to show us a perfect world, that is not in fact perfect at all. After reading this, I would probably skip the falls, even though they are pretty and your pics are stunning, I’d be so annoyed by all the people there…

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      April 14, 2016 at 12:59 am

      Thanks for sharing your link! I’ll definitely check it out. And I’m glad you agree. I love Instagram and all but it’s become more of a facade in some way. But that’s what we have to live with! Social media is really powerful these days.

  15. Avatar

    Ajaya Kumar Rout

    April 9, 2016 at 8:11 am

    Beautiful pictures.Waterfalls are really amazing but the commercialization of such beautiful places are sad thing we have to live with.

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      April 14, 2016 at 1:01 am

      Thanks for admiring the photos! And yes, unfortunately you’re right. It just sucks that it has now become this thing we have to live with.

  16. Avatar

    I Left Home

    April 9, 2016 at 8:16 am

    I have had similar experiences in places where I had been looking forward to visiting a site (knowing to some extent that it was a popular tourist destination) and expecting it to be a magical gem but having the crowds and other visitors killing my vibes! It can be really disappointing, but I guess it’s something we will all experience and have to take into stride when travelling.

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      April 14, 2016 at 1:03 am

      Its nice to know other’s experiences as well so thanks for sharing. And yes, I agree with what you said that we just have to take into stride these unfortunate circumstances. I just wish it doesn’t take away too much from the beauty of the destinations we visit.

  17. Avatar


    April 9, 2016 at 5:56 pm

    Wow, I really appreciate reading a post where you were so honest about your experience instead of just posting the Instagram shots you got (which are beautiful, by the way!). I am planning a trip to the Philippines and after this I think I will skip this waterfall, so I much appreciate the heads up! 🙂

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      April 14, 2016 at 1:09 am

      Thank you for saying that. I try to be really honest and truthful about my experiences and that’s what I want my readers to see/read. So I appreciate you for letting me know. And thanks for liking the photos! It took a lot of patience and tries to recreate THAT instagram shot. 😀

  18. Avatar


    April 9, 2016 at 8:42 pm

    What a great post. Thank you for sharing the real story of the falls and the experience. Pictures tell so much, but not always the complete story. Sharing your experience is wonderful. Cebu is planned for later this year. After reading your post, thinking perhaps “not.”

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      April 14, 2016 at 1:12 am

      Thank you so much Rosemary! Glad you liked the post. Yeah, definitely. I’ve been on the receiving end so many times that I think it’s great to share my experiences so others can see the full picture. But don’t get me wrong. Cebu is beautiful and I heard there are other islands you can visit and explore – less commercialized and fewer crowds. So I hope you still visit Cebu. Just not Cebu City lol.

  19. Avatar


    April 9, 2016 at 10:24 pm

    Its a new place for me and thanks for sharing.
    I have lately started to feel that Public Transportaton is a better way to explore as it also gives you chance to interact with locals during travel.

    Great shots.

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      April 14, 2016 at 1:14 am

      Yes, definitely! Whenever we travel, we should definitely do it the way locals do. I just wasn’t having a great time inhaling smog for 4 hours and I’m sure the locals didn’t too. 🙁 And thanks for liking the photos!

  20. Avatar


    April 9, 2016 at 10:55 pm

    That was a huge effort – sorry it was so disappointing on arrival – I would have felt the same way. Like some of the comments above good on you for sharing the true experience. I wish more people would do that. I would probably only visit if I could stay nearby and arrive at dawn hopefully before the crowds did.
    Gorgeous photos though so worth waiting for the right time 🙂

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      April 14, 2016 at 1:16 am

      It really was. We spent more hours on travel time than being there in the waterfalls. I wouldn’t do it again. But it was a great experience! Great for storytelling hehe. Yea, definitely do that. I think the best time to visit is early in the morning. I think the time we got there wasnt ideal. We arrived after lunch so maybe that’s why it was really crowded.

      And thanks for liking the photos! 🙂

  21. Avatar

    Laura @ Sometime Traveller

    April 10, 2016 at 1:39 pm

    Ah, what a shame after such a long journey! It’s always interesting to see how things look in real life compared to the Photoshopped or filtered version – while it’s understandable that locals would want to make the most of the tourist trade, it’s shame they’ve set up so close to the waterfall. Slightly ruins the natural beauty of the area!

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      April 14, 2016 at 1:18 am

      It really was disappointing to say the least. Almost 8 hrs of travel time, only to stay for an hour. Probably won’t do it again. I’m glad you agree! I don’t have a problem with anyone trying to make a living but I just wish it was done more thoughtfully. It definitely ruined the natural beauty of the waterfall!

  22. Avatar


    April 10, 2016 at 2:18 pm

    Aww it’s always disappointing when this happens, but with so many travel photos being photoshopped these days it’s bound to happen more often than not unfortunately! I always still like to go and see for myself though!

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      April 14, 2016 at 1:20 am

      I get what you mean but this particular waterfall though, photoshop or not, is really beautiful in person. It’s just the atmosphere was ruined by the commercialization. And yes, you definitely should see it for yourself! It’s better to form your own opinion about it. 🙂

  23. Avatar

    Bernard Tan

    April 10, 2016 at 5:55 pm

    Very nice placed being ruined by the tourist and tour operators again!

  24. Avatar

    Mar Pages

    April 10, 2016 at 8:43 pm

    I sometimes look through Instagram for itinerary ideas as well, although you’ve made me more aware of the high possibility of expectations falling short. Its always a shame for natural beauty to be interrupted by tourist traps. Your photos look great though!

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      April 14, 2016 at 1:22 am

      I think with social media being prevalent these days, most of us end up doing that. Its such a shame though that people dont respect nature. Thank you Mar for liking the photos! 🙂

  25. Avatar

    Marta Cunha Grilo

    April 11, 2016 at 4:15 am

    I think I would see it! Even though it’s getting more touristic everyday, it’s still stunning. In Azores, Portugal, we have a very similar one!

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      April 14, 2016 at 1:25 am

      That’s awesome that you would still see it! I’m not trying to discourage anyone from seeing it, I’m just merely sharing my experience. Maybe we will have the same experience, maybe not. The only way to know is to see it for yourself. Oh no! Which one in Azores, Portugal?

  26. Avatar


    April 11, 2016 at 5:09 am

    I totally get it. I visited Boracay, Philippines back in January and it was kind of the same feeling. You see all these amazing photos of pristine beaches, but the reality was not quite the same. Definitely still beautiful beaches, but what’s a beautiful beach if you’re being hounded by vendors every 3 seconds? Luckily, we stumbled upon some other quieter and relaxing beaches that were virtually empty.

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      April 14, 2016 at 1:27 am

      That’s exactly why we avoided Boracay. I’m glad though that you guys found a quieter beach area that’s virtually empty! That’s awesome! Maybe when I visit next time, I’m going to try and go to that one instead. 🙂

  27. Avatar


    April 11, 2016 at 6:28 am

    The pictures look stunning! But I would have to go there to see for myself and make my own decision on it 🙂


    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      April 14, 2016 at 1:05 am

      And I respect your decision. I’m like that too actually. I take into account what others say about the places I visit but at the same time I try to form my own opinion about it and then I decide if I do agree or not. 🙂

  28. Avatar

    Lily Travella

    April 11, 2016 at 8:11 am

    I do the same, instagram is a fantastic guide book haha. Well at least it’s great for inspiration! Cebu looks amazing!

  29. Avatar

    Bianca @itsallbee

    April 11, 2016 at 9:53 am

    Beautiful pictures. This place has been on my list for such a long time now. Hopefully I get to tick it off next year.

  30. Avatar

    Jessica {The Bohemian Diaries}

    April 11, 2016 at 10:41 am

    I am totally guilty of planning trips and excursions based on Instagram, too. I guess that’s why some of the best accounts get paid to advertise to us 😉 The hardest thing to do, though, is to stay creative rather than recreate a great shot you saw on Insta if you do make it to the same place. Show it in a different way. If there were a million people there, it would be interesting to see the contrast of the tourists against the natural beauty of the place. Or, if you felt disappointed, show the reality of your experience on Instagram for the next person who comes along and is considering whether to see it or skip it! Great post! Cheers 🙂

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      April 14, 2016 at 1:29 am

      That’s true! Everyone seems to have the same photos on Instagram nowadays. But yea, it was pretty hard to get creative in this one coz it was too crowded. It took a lot of patience and tries to get a few shots of the waterfall with just me in it. 😀 Thanks for liking the post!

  31. Avatar


    April 11, 2016 at 3:52 pm

    Sounds like a nice option when visiting the area, depending on the number of days one has in the area. Thanks for all the good information!

  32. Avatar


    April 12, 2016 at 12:24 am

    Thanks for all the practical info. I really love visiting watefalls in Asia and Kawasan falls look stunning. I must come back to Phillippines, I really love that country.

  33. Avatar


    April 12, 2016 at 1:54 pm

    I often decide on place to go or eat based on Instagram. If there is an Instagram addiction club I should probably join it. Especially for restaurants and cafes, it is priceless.
    The waterfall looks amazing! I wouldn’t want to skip it.

  34. Avatar


    April 12, 2016 at 8:39 pm

    I am a big fan of Waterfalls! I enjoy it more than beach. I will certainly see it. Cebu and nearby places are undeniably stunning cities – lots of worth to travel sites.

  35. Avatar

    Elizabeth @ Compass & Fork

    April 14, 2016 at 10:29 pm

    I am not sure I would travel that far for a waterfall. Probably depends on how much time I have in the area and the other options- but it is lovely.

  36. Avatar


    May 12, 2016 at 12:25 am

    I completely agree! The restaurant and structures directly next to the waterfall and all the fees definitely put a damper on the beauty of the waterfalls. Luckily I was there on a quiet day with few tourists so I still thought it was completely worth it. Although, I think that if it had been really crowded, I wouldn’t have enjoyed the experience as much.


  37. Avatar


    January 2, 2017 at 6:01 am

    Thanks for the honest post! Although I love the Philippines (lived there 7 years of my childhood – can almost say I’m a Cebuana!), I do try to lower my expectations. The Philippines is beautiful in every way, you just need to see through all the poverty. Since Filipinos rely a lot on tourism, this is bound to happen. I haven’t been there in 7 years (last time was just a quick visit to say hello) – so I’m expecting more traffic, tourists and pollution. But I’m eager to show my boyfriend the beauty within! If I want to see Kawasan falls, should I go there early in the morning? At what time were you there?

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      January 5, 2017 at 10:37 pm

      Hey Melissa, Thanks for stopping by! I love the Philippines as well. I was born there and lived there for 18 yrs before I moved to the US. You’re definitely right about lowering expectations especially in this time and age. Instagram gives a wrong impression sometimes so I’ve learned not to totally depend on the photos. Anyway, you will love Palawan and Bohol. Those are the two places I enjoyed when I visited. Cebu reminded me a bit of Manila and not in a good way. But if you really want to visit Kawasan Falls, you should def visit early in the morning. We made a mistake of going there after lunch and it was crowded. You’d probably enjoy it more minus the crowd.

  38. Avatar


    February 2, 2017 at 7:12 pm

    We agree there are better (less crowded) waterfalls around the island, and the “plus, plus” fee mentality drives us bonkers. Guests often ask why our tour prices are high, it’s because we take all the plus, plus we pay out of the equation to make it an easier experience. But it is a classic Philippines waterfall with amazing blue water, just have to hit it at the right time… Or see one off the beaten path.

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      February 5, 2017 at 12:29 pm

      I agree, it depends on the time too. Maybe an early morning trip would’ve been better so it was less crowded. The place is gorgeous dont get me wrong. I just really wish they built away from it instead of being so close to the waterfalls which kinda ruined the experience for me. I bet it wouldve been different too if we did the canyoneering. Thanks for stopping by Chris!

  39. Avatar


    November 4, 2017 at 5:59 am

    I love Kawasan Falls, but you are right! It became very touristy and indeed the annoying part you said that you need to pay for everything that they can get from you. It is really shame that this is how they treat tourist, I understand that people need to make a living but not in a exaggerating way. Sad to say that it is not only happening in Kawasan Falls but most part of the Philippines.

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      November 20, 2017 at 9:45 am

      Yeah it’s too touristy but I guess that’s the price we pay for having technology these days. It’s become too popular on Instagram!

  40. Avatar

    Alina Andrei

    February 21, 2018 at 6:31 am

    I had exactly the same experience as you and was somehow tampted to post something similar as you did. Especially after all the wonderful photos you find on Instagram, it’s somehow a pity to see that it’s not reality at all. My experience also was ruined because of the crowds there, I really can’t recommend the spot. We loved Tumalog falls and other waterfalls much more in the Philippines. Very nice article though, I wish more people would be that honest. 🙂

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      February 27, 2018 at 11:41 pm

      We didn’t get to go to Tumalog falls but now I wish we did. Kawasan falls is beautiful don’t get me wrong but unfortunately, due to high volumes of visitors everyday, it became too touristy. But I guess that’s what happens when something becomes Instagram famous. 🙁

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    August 11, 2018 at 7:12 am

    Love your honesty! I’m nearly finished with planning my solo trip to Palawan and Coron and decided to give Cebu a miss. I was thinking I may be making a big mistake then came across your article which reassures me that I’m making the right decision, thank you ?

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      August 14, 2018 at 12:56 am

      Hi Carol! Thank you for stopping by! I’m not bashing Cebu as a whole because I heard some of the islands outside the city are gorgeous. I wish I had enough time to visit those instead. But I’m glad you liked this post and appreciated the sincerity of it. I hope you have a great time in Palawan! I loved our time in Coron. 🙂 I have an article about it if you want to check it out.

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    May 10, 2019 at 2:54 am

    Well done for making the trek. It sounds like typical Philippines for sure, too many hawkers. The beauty of Philippines lies in the unspoilt beaches I reckon

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