It was 1988, the height of my obsession with collecting butterflies that started as a Biology project and I was aboard a bus bound for Barili, one of my first solo travels around Cebu.
At just 2nd year high school, I was determined to visit Mantayupan Falls, never mind if I haven’t been there before. My feet were itchy and, armed with a map committed to memory, I was off, counting towns and then alighted at a place I thought Barili.
And I was right. It was indeed Barili. Hiring a habal habal, those motorcycles that cram in 5 people, I was brought to the waterfalls and when I saw it, I was just utterly disappointed. No huge cascades, just a shower as most of the waters were diverted to a hydro power plant. But I did collect a few butterflies.
23 years later, I was determined again to visit the town and take images of the waterfalls, after many times that my past schedules were postponed. Multibac from Tabunok in my home city of Talisay then a habal-habal, I came to a place much more changed than I’ve first visited. There were already signages, landscaped gardens, some huts for overnight accommodations and even an entrance fee of P10 per adult.
The main waterfall was just beautiful. High, at 98 meters, pouring from a single point on the rock wall. It has a huge volume and aquamarine waters. It is more beautiful than the multi cascade Kawasan Falls in Badian which, unfortunately, have been strangled with built structures. It’s vertical wall brought memories of Marmol Cliff in Tuburan. The second level, on the other hand, is just 14 meters high.
As it was a Sunday, there were lots of locals having a picnic at some of the huts. There was even a couple who had their prenuptial shots taken with the cascade in the background. The waterfall area is well developed with cemented pathways and stairs. No need to go rough here.
Mantayupan Falls in Barili can be reached by private and public vehicles via good and well paved roads. It is around 1.5 – 2 hours from the city serviced by lots of buses, usually bound for Samboan, at the western side. From the town center, one can hire a habal-habal at just P20 per person or P30 if you prefer to ride alone. The waterfalls is just around 2 kilometers from the town center.