The stunning cascades of Aliwagwag Falls

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map_caraga.gif Aliwagwag Falls in Cateel, Davao Oriental is a wonder. A first time viewer is easily struck dumbfounded, speechless and awed by the spectacular sight. Just imagine, a series of 84 falls forming almost a hundred steps cascading from the forest to the edge of where it enters Cateel River and empties to the coast. The total height of the falls is said to be 1110 ft with varying drops of between 6 to 100 feet and is a declared protected area by the national government.

What’s more, its very accessible as it can readily be viewed along the road connecting this town with Trento in Agusan del Sur. The bridge over the river is a good viewing area to this waterfalls considered the most beautiful in Mindanao. It is also said that there are parts in the forest just near here where one can find the burial grounds of the Mandaya, the tribal group in this area which can be reached by hiking.

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This area, a few feet from the main road is a good bathing spot where the locals come to enjoy a good splash. Aliwagwag Falls is way off the tourist map and are known mostly to locals and intrepid adventurers. It is not even listed in international guide books maybe because its Mindanao and many foreigners are discouraged from going here even if its relatively safe.

Like most provinces in the Eastern part of Mindanao, there are other beautiful and taller waterfalls but these are, again, not so known.

Estan Cabigas is freelance photographer, blogger and writer based in Makati City, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London) and other publications. He is also a peripatetic traveler and has traveled to all 81 Philippines provinces. I'm open for work, collaborations and inquiries, including hotel, restaurant and site features and reviews.

24 Comments

  1. Sidney
    February 7, 2008 @ 12:06

    Mindanao is indeed a bit “problematic” for foreigners. You hear very conflicting stories about the same places.

    By the way, what is “relatively safe”?
    Sound quite unsafe to me! 😉

  2. estan
    February 8, 2008 @ 17:29

    its safe sidney 🙂

  3. rhoen
    February 8, 2008 @ 18:33

    very nice! is this place near the Mangagoy, Bislig area?

  4. estan
    February 10, 2008 @ 1:54

    rhoen, Bislig is not really near but maybe around 2 – 3 hours away?

  5. Ferdz
    February 12, 2008 @ 12:08

    Beautiful cascades there. It just proves mindanao has really a lot more hidden wonders. If only people have that sense of security in the area, a lot more would be traveling these routes.

  6. dodong flores
    April 10, 2008 @ 9:40

    I should explore these Mindanao destinations before going to “other” places. It’s a shame a Mindanaoan traveler like me never heard of this in the past. The place is very beautiful as can be observed from your photographed. thanx for sharing, Estan 😉

  7. Dante
    July 26, 2008 @ 0:34

    Even if i grew up in Davao Oriental, I was able to visit Aliwagwag only once due to poor accessibility of the place back then. Having lived in Manila for some time now, I know that access has improved with the opening of Cateel-Compostela road. During that visit to the falls(about 10 years ago), my group was accosted by a bunch of rebels who just wanted our left over food. They were not threatening and, yes, the place is safe. Just be ready to share your baon with these people lurking in the forests that surround the falls.

  8. cateeleño
    October 4, 2008 @ 21:47

    wow,cateel is not just the home of the talented,intelligent,corteous people but is the nest of breathe-taking sites.
    for the information of everybody, our beautiful place is the safest place in davao oriental compared to caraga,baganga and etc . . .
    it has a lot to offer,many stunning sites and beautiful views . . .
    it wasnt found in the tourist maps because the department of tourism are not trying to access the place . . .they were to afraid of going there maybe because of their false idea about those rebels.
    it is also the hometown of the 2 successive governors,very outstanding,malanyaon and palma gil . . .
    to the author,what do you mean with “relatively safe?”
    you got to use the right term….hehe
    thank you for promoting my hometown’s asset . . .;>

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    March 18, 2009 @ 16:59

    […] in Batad, Banaue after a long downward hike, or marveling at the longest cascade in the country, Aliwagwag Falls in Cateel, Davao Oriental or the three tier Tinuy-an Falls in Bislig, Surigao del Sur is enough to […]

  10. OLAN
    June 1, 2009 @ 22:06

    AS TRUE SON OF CATEEL, i thank dearly for taking time writing about our dear pride Aliwagwag Falls. Indeed this is God’s gift to us. A gift we must cherish, take care and nurture! To all, please do come and visit this Wonder. After all, there no other joy than seeing “Stairways To Heaven” like Aliwagwag Falls.

  11. Tolits
    January 27, 2010 @ 22:46

    Thanks for featuring the beautiful Aliwagwag falls. Hope you will also feature hagmit falls of Samal and Samal Bat Cave.

    Davao Real State Properties

  12. estan
    January 27, 2010 @ 23:51

    tolits, thanx. hope i’ll be able to visit there soon.

  13. donni
    May 19, 2010 @ 21:47

    I will be here this weekend!! I’m so excited to see this wonder of nature!!!! 🙂

  14. estan
    May 19, 2010 @ 23:36

    donni, good luck and do enjoy aliwagwag falls 🙂

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    September 28, 2010 @ 14:38

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  16. Lourdes
    November 9, 2010 @ 13:53

    Hi! Was there in Aliwagwag Falls last Novemeber 03, 2010…Place is so nice and very refreshing to stressful souls…Really a God gift to us. Hope the government can still conserve this beauty for our grandkids to marvel and cherish….

  17. hurmahanhurma
    January 19, 2011 @ 3:39

    its a shamed to say that i am a local siblings of this place but i never explore this wonderous creations of ‘HIS’GOD.yeah its very true to say it was really very beautiful…amazing….. in my upcoming vacation i will make sure spending my family together in this place.!!!!!

  18. » Marinawa + Binanwahan = Maribina Falls | Langyaw: Sojourns and Off-the-Beaten Path Travels
    February 22, 2011 @ 12:25

    […] to the cascade. The waterfalls is not as grand as Tinuy-an in Bislig, or mesmerizing as Aliwagwag in Cateel, but way better than Epol in Davao […]

  19. merwin
    March 20, 2011 @ 22:59

    estan, mayron pa isang falls sa cateel tinatawag ngayon namin na “mantunao eco park”.. you may also visit said place.. thank you for promoting our home town.

  20. Bing
    June 4, 2012 @ 8:24

  21. estancabigas
    June 4, 2012 @ 9:27

    sorry bing but I haven’t been to Mati in ages and don’t know anyone na. Maybe you can arrange with the local tourism office.

    Estan

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    September 8, 2012 @ 9:35

    […] It’s not always that a waterfall is that accessible and located beside a major road, like Aliwagwag Falls. Typically. waterfalls that I’ve been to are hard to go to and entails hiking or walks along […]

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