Mantayupan Falls

Visiting Mantayupan Falls after 23 years

The beautiful Mantayupan Falls in Barili, Cebu

Huts for rent provide shade for visiting locals

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.

Second tier with lesser water. Most have been diverted to the hydro power plant

Habal-habal driver

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.

I’ve been to many waterfalls in the country, like Maribina in Catanduanes, Tinuy-an in Bislig, Aliwagwag in Cateel, to cite a few, but this is one of the beautiful cascades.

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.

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.

3 Comments

  1. Marky
    September 29, 2011 @ 10:10

    I agree that the structures (eye sore) built around Kawasan Falls lessens its appeal…this one is beautiful, tsaka parang safe pa mg swimming di masyado nakakataot yung tubig…tama lng yung current at ganda ng kulay.

  2. Plypox
    October 5, 2011 @ 14:32

    Yeah, I do agree that the falls is nice. its a better place than going to kawasan, I hate the long hike going to the topmost part of the falls.

  3. » Sentosa cable cars and Jewel Box atop Mt. Faber | Langyaw: Sojourns and Off-the-Beaten Path Travels
    October 11, 2011 @ 12:33

    […] Faber is the third highest in Singapore at 105 meters, just a little higher to Cebu’s Mantayupan Falls. It is also a very popular tourist destination because it afford a panoramic view of the central […]

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