epol falls

A mini cascade, Epol Waterfall in Davao

Not as spectacular and lofty as other waterfalls, its an easy trip from Davao City

It wasn’t in the plan but my friend, Raegan, world authority on Philippine Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies) invited me for a trip to the hinterlands of Davao City to see Epol Waterfalls and check out the beetles found in this area. Although I have lived in this bustling regional capital for a total of two years, I really haven’t gone to the cascade.

Epol is in the mountainous Marilog District, homeland of the Matigsalog tribe and is adjacent to Bukidnon and North Cotabato provinces with their own tribal groups. It is high altitude with some parts reaching 4,000 feet above sea level, cool and pleasant weather where many go for treks, vegetables and just to escape the humid and punishing heat in the lowlands.

Trail leading to the waterfalls from the main highway

A curculionid beetle (genus Pachyrhynchus) on a tree bark along the trail

Epol Waterfall is not as lofty and as spectacular as others like Aliwagwag in Cateel, Davao Oriental or Tinuy-an in Bislig, Surigao del Sur. However, it is a good introduction to trekking as the trail leads you to a slight descent passing secondary forest, stand of tall trees as well as passion fruit farms.

For those interested with insects, there are many butterfly species including the beautiful and big Delias fluttering overhead with its many hued wings of yellow, white, blue and red. Small and yellow Euremas pass slowly along the trail while fast swallowtail butterflies dash. For beetles, there are small and colorful weevils. Of course, delicate damselflies hover above streams.

One unusual plant that can be seen along the trail are pitcher plants, genus Nepenthes, growing on trees. The leaves terminate with pitcher like receptacles that traps and digest insects unfortunate enough to fall inside. Compared in other areas, this species found here are large and spectacular.

Epol Waterfall is reached by taking the road from Davao City to BuDa, the Bukidnon – Davao boundary. While it is much easier to have your own vehicle, one can just ride the bus from the Ecoland terminal to Bukidnon for two hours. Tell the conductor to drop you at the starting point at Epol, just below the Smart relay station perched on a hill.

This trip was made possible with my win in the Wandering Juan Travel Blog Awards, Culture and Heritage Category. Visit the official site.

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.


  1. Kristine
    September 28, 2010 @ 20:05

    Wow. I’m not really the outdoorsy person but this is just breathtaking. 🙂

  2. Chris Walker-Bush
    October 10, 2010 @ 17:38

    Those photos are just fantastic. Did you take them?

    Always interested to find another off the beaten track place to visit. Waterfalls, in particular, just blow my mind.

  3. estan
    October 10, 2010 @ 20:07

    @chris, @christine, thanx 🙂

    i take all the images in my blog

  4. Lois
    October 28, 2010 @ 14:43

    Wow estan, your series on Davao has left me wondering what other places I haven’t explored in my hometown. I think 3 years is too long to be away from Davao. Perhaps it’s time I head back…

  5. estan
    October 28, 2010 @ 18:25

    @lois, kulang pa gali na ang series sa davao. i’m sure there are still great places and food to be discovered there. kulang lang jud ko sa oras. head back 🙂

  6. Marinawa + Binanwahan = Maribina Falls - langyaw
    January 16, 2015 @ 23:58

    […] The waterfalls is actually four major cascades with the highest and bigger volumed at the topmost. It empties into a deep pool and pours fourth to the next and not too deeper pool. Between the third and the fourth, there is a huge rock, no, a boulder, that provides a counterpoint 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 City. […]

Tell me what you think

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.