Cambugahay Falls is a highlight of any trip to Siquijor, especially if you managed to plan it so that you have this place all to yourself! These pretty waterfalls (there are three tiers) are pure jungle paradise - lush green trees surrounding a series of bright blue waterfalls. It could be a scene from the Jungle Book!
However, this place is incredibly popular, having become Instagram famous in the last few years. And it’s not just the tourists who like it as the locals also love nothing move than diving off into the pools to cool off from the midday heat.
Best time to visit Cambugahay Falls, Siquijor
We’ve said it a lot, but in Asia going early pays off big time. This is true for Cambugahay Falls as you’ll likely have the whole place to yourself so long as you start early enough. There are no open and close times so you can come whenever you please.
We arrived at 7.30am and found that there were only four local kids in the whole place. The large upper pools were completely empty, meaning we could have this beautiful spot to ourselves. By 9am the place was already getting pretty busy (and this was in low season).
The different levels at Cambugahay Falls Siquijor
To reach Cambugahay Falls you’ll walk down a series of stairs before arriving at the lowest level. This is arguably the most beautiful part, the blue pool has a water colour that looks almost unbelievable! It shimmers in the sunlight and is flanked by a pretty (but small) waterfall in the background.
Most people see this and stay, especially when they clock the Tarzan swing on the right. However, there are two more levels to see, though the ones you will want to spend time in are the first and third.
The most rugged is the third tier and this seemed to be the locals favourite, who love nothing more than to dive into the pool at the foot of the falls. There is another epic rope swing here, as well as a raft to paddle about on and a pool big enough for a good swim. There is a decent area to chill in too when you don’t fancy swimming.
Cambugahay Falls Swing
Where there’s a waterfall in the Philippines, there’s a swing and Cambugahay Falls are no different. There are two to choose from: the bigger and most solid on the bottom tier and the slightly more flimsy looking one on the top tier! Either way, you’ll find a place to fly into the paradise pools, but check the depth before you dive as there are some shallow parts at Cambugahay, though we saw people using both swings with no problem at all.
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How to get to Cambugahay Falls
Cambugahay Falls are just outside of Lazi and really easy to get to. The best way to get there is by motorbike as the roads are in great condition and you can park within 50 metres of the falls. From San Juan town the 28km journey will take around 40 minutes, the road is excellent and not very busy.
Cambugahay Falls Entrance Fee
The falls themselves are free of charge which is refreshing if you’ve come from Cebu. You also definitely do not need a guide (the walk is a couple of minutes down one staircase…) although they will offer. We were charged 10 pesos (around 20 US cents ) to park our motorbike just by the steps to the falls.
Alternatives to Cambugahay Falls
There are quite a few alternatives to Cambugahay Falls in Siquijor but in our opinion this is the one not to miss. If you fancy visiting another falls in the area then head to Lugnasan Falls. While they weren’t as impressive as Cambugahay they were really quiet even when we went on a Saturday afternoon. For the most part we had the lovely jungle pool all to ourselves. It’s quite small but still big enough for a few lengths.
Where to stay in Siquijor Island
The great news is that Siquijor has plenty of good accommodation that isn’t too expensive. The bad news is that the best can sell out in advance, so you don’t expect to be able to just rock up to the best ones and haggle for a room.
Best choice - U Story
We really wanted to book U Story, but it sold out a long time before we visited Siquijor. The whole place is Balinese themed and instantly relaxes you when you arrive. The rooms are spacious, comfortable and in a really quiet location to rest and unwind.
The hotel is just a 10 minute ride by motorbike or tricycle from San Juan town, but the food at U Story is so good that you won’t need to go to San Juan for every meal! Whilst we couldn’t stay we ate there several times and not only was the food great but the setting was absolutely stunning. Think tables in the sand with lots of candles and twinkling lights.
Budget choice - Gold View
Having failed to get into U Stay, we opted to go to Gold View Resort. It is a good option as the hotel is set on a wilder beach than the likes of Paliton or Salagdoong, and it is really quiet and a nice place to rest after a day exploring.
The rooms are a bit spartan, but the beds are as soft as they come in The Philippines and are comfortable. The wifi can only be used at the restaurant area which can be a pain, but most wifi and phone signal in the Philippines is shocking anyway.
It is 15 minute ride (around 7km) from San Juan and down a short dirt track to the entrance. The staff were the friendliest we met in the Philippines (a famously friendly country) and the laundry was the best we had in three months in Asia.
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Are you planning a trip to Siquijor? Where are your favourite places in The Philippines? Let us know in the comments below!