For years, people have been traveling the distance to the Cebu South – to Oslob for the breathtaking Tumalog Falls, or perhaps to Badian for the more popular Kawasan Falls. But farther, there’s this unexploited treasure of a spot in the neighboring southern town of Samboan – the Aguinid Falls.
Samboan is about 3 to 4 hours drive from Cebu City, depending on whether the transportation taken is the public bus or private vehicle. It is the second-to-the-last town on the southwest tip of Cebu. The road trip itself is already fun, owing to the various picturesque sights along the way.
Several road signs make it quite easy for any stranger to locate Aguinid Falls, in Barangay Tangbo. And the local people are very generous in giving directions, too. In no time the visitor is well on his way to the very spot.
The sound of water flowing and of birds chirping are just some of the rewards to compensate for the slight gasping for breath and quickening heartbeat of the visitor. More actually lie in wait at the Falls.
When one reaches the area where there’s a covered basketball court, it’s a mere three minutes more to the reception area where a minimal entrance fee is collected; 10php for local visitors, 20 for foreigners. Then, the visitors are assigned a local guide for their whole excursion.
Aguinid Falls has five levels. Expectedly, each level is not as high as it would be if it was just one straight drop. It is not as high as Kawasan Falls, but definitely no less awesome. The unique, bridal-veil-like shape of each level of the Falls is just so beautiful to see.
The best thing about the Aguinid Falls is that it is still very much untouched. Not many tourists have discovered it yet, although on a trip there one is likely to see several backpacking foreigners around. It is commendable how the barangay (LGU) keeps the place so clean and non-touristy; there are no cottages or noticeable trash around.
Visitors are free to climb all five levels of the Falls, depending on one’s energy levels or physical capacity. But exploring just one or two levels is fulfilling enough for some. Climbing five- to ten-meter high limestone rocks through cold, rushing waters is quite an adventure. In progressing through every level, one can’t help but be overwhelmed by the beauty and revitalizing power of nature.
Like in any excursion, Aguinid Falls is great to visit with a small group, to have others to frolic with and help one up another level of the Falls. It is good to be there early in the morning, around 8 a.m., because by then there is probably no one yet around, so the group can have the Falls all to themselves and take their selfies with no clutter in the background.
Just as reaching the top level is so rewarding, so is going down really a test of nerves. From the top, the acrophobic is confronted with his worst fear – heights. But then again, the view is really worth it.
After an exhilarating time, it is only proper for the visitor to give a reasonable tip to the guide. That is sure to brighten up the guy’s day. And so everyone is happy.
The way back to the city may be timed for the sunset, which is more dramatic on that side of the island. And early dinner at one of those budget-friendly seaside eateries by the road is a good idea.
**This article was originally published on The Freeman in 2015, back when I was still writing for the paper, and this wonder of nature was unheard of. If any part of this piece is not anymore true to the current state of the site, please feel to leave a comment for the information of all readers. I would love to hear from you!