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Aliwagwag Falls Davao Oriental: Most Beautiful Waterfall in the Philippines

ALIWAGWAG FALLS

Getting lost in Aliwagwag falls, Cateel, Davao Oriental

A photo posted by thelostkidsph (@thelostkidsph) on

 

Aliwagwag Falls is one of the most visited natural attractions in Davao Oriental. It is also considered as the country’s highest waterfalls. The falls, made up of more than 100 cascading waterfalls, is located just 30-40 minutes away from Cateel (pronounced as ka-ti-il). It is made up of rock formations varying in shapes and sizes. The current is strong; you will be treated with different drops at every level. Definitely a must-visit since it’s considered as one of the most beautiful falls in the Philippines, and we agree!

Just beside the highway
GETTING THERE

via Cagayan de Oro

  1. Book a flight to Laguindingan Airport. This is the main city airport of CDO located between the cities of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro. Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines have direct flights to Laguindingan from Manila and Cebu.
  2. From the airport, take a shuttle to CDO City Proper. We took the LAX Shuttle which stops at Centrio Ayala Mall and Agora Integrated Bus Terminal. Drop off at Agora Eastbound Integrated Bus Terminal. Travel time is 1 hr.
  3. From Agora Bus Terminal, ride a bus to Butuan City. Bachelor Express and Rural have hourly trips to Butuan. Drop off at Butuan City Integrated Bus terminal. Travel time is 5 hours.
  4. From Butuan, ride a Bachelor Express bus to Bislig. Ride a bus with signboard to Mangagoy. They use the signboard Mangagoy which is the commercial center of Bislig. Drop off at Mangagoy bus terminal.  Travel time 5 hours.
  5. From Mangagoy bus terminal, ride a tricycle to the bus terminal for Cateel or the Lyra/Mallen bus terminal near the public market.
  6. Ride a mini bus to Cateel. Go down at Cateel Ingrated bus terminal. Travel time is 3 hours. Buses to Cateel from Mangagoy is only once a day make sure you inquire about the bus schedule immediately after alighting at Mangagoy bus terminal.
  7. From Cateel hire a habal-habal to Aliwagwag falls. Travel time is 40 minutes.

We entered Mindanao via CDO as part of our 9-day Mindanao adventure to Davao Oriental, Surigao del Sur, Butuan, CDO, Iligan and Camiguin. CDO is probably the farthest entry point. Other possible entry points are via Davao City, Tandag City or Butuan City flights. From Davao you may ride Bachelor Express bus via Mati or a Mallen bus to Cateel. You may also fly in to Butuan or Tandag instead of CDO to cut-off the 5-hour bus ride from CDO-Butuan.

WHERE TO STAY

The town of Cateel in Davao Oriental is the nearest town to Aliwagwag Falls Eco Park. There are number of inns in town ranging from fan to air-conditioned rooms. We stayed at OAR Inn, around 10-minute walk away from the plaza. Their aircon room with two single beds and private comfort room costs P800/night. The town is quite small so looking for restaurants wouldn’t be much of a problem. They have eateries and ihaw-ihaw (grilled food) near the plaza.

ITINERARY

Aliwagwag Falls is one of our stops for our 9-day Mindanao adventure to explore Davao Oriental, Surigao del Sur, Butuan, CDO, Iligan and Camiguin. We entered Mindanao via CDO and went to the farthest stop first which is Aliwagwag falls in Cateel then explored all spots en route back to CDO. Traveling to Cateel via CDO is probably the longest route possible. You may fly in at Davao (nearest), Butuan and Tandag as well.

Bus to Cateel will pass by a couple of towns, including Boston

Remember to allot allowance time when traveling, as the bus schedule from Mangagoy to Cateel is not consistent. We arrived at Mangagoy at around 7:30am expecting a Mangagoy-Cateel bus ride at 9am. Apparently the schedules we’ve seen online are already outdated. The next trip to Cateel was still at 11:30am. Having some free time, we decided to explore Tinuy-an Falls (Read more: Tinuy-an Falls Surigao del Sur: Niagara Falls of the Philippines) first which is just a 40-minute habal-habal ride away from Mangagoy.

Upon arriving at Cateel Integrated Bus Terminal, we checked in at OAR Inn since we’re going to stay at the town for the night. We hired a habal-habal going to Aliwagwag Falls. Do not worry about finding a habal-habal driver to bring you to the falls, there are a lot in Cateel’s bus terminal. From Cateel we took the Compostela Valley road and travel time was only 40 minutes.

Aliwagwag falls viewed from the bridge

The foot of the waterfalls is just along the national highway. You may take photos of this beauty from the bridge. If you want to swim at its basins, enter the Eco Park (pay entrance fees). Aliwagwag Falls Eco Park is well maintained and designed. It doesn’t take away the beauty of the waterfalls. Walkways and the overall design is majorly made of wood which complements the waterfall’s charm.

One of the drops viewed from the view deck
The current is strong so swimming at designated areas is a must

They have a trail going up along the left side of the falls. You may see and take photos of the different drops from different view decks along the trail. Remember to swim only at designated swimming areas as the waterfalls current is really powerful. Other possible activities are crossing the 45-meter Monkey bridge over Aliwagwag Falls and 680- meter Zipline across Cateel river. They also have designated eating areas, a public toilet, shower areas, food concessionaires and restaurants.

One of the calmer swimming area with the powerful falls in the background

Half a day is enough to enjoy Aliwagwag Falls. You may be forced to stay the night in Cateel since most bus schedules are only once a day. You may bring in food and snacks and eat at designated areas inside the park.

BUDGET
  • Transportation: Bus fom Mangagoy to Cateel P100, Tricycle to OAR Inn from bus station P10, Habal-habal to Aliwagwag Falls P600/habal-habal round-trip
  • Accommodation: P800 aircon room at OAR Inn, 2 single beds with private comfort room
  • Entrance Fees: P50/head adult, P10/head children ages 12 and below, Children below 3 feet is free
  • Other Activities: Table and Chair Rental P75, Zipline P200/head, Monkey Bridge P50/head, Zipline with Monkey Bridge P225/head
Aliwagwag Falls ends in Cateel River
TIPS
  1. Check the weather before visiting Aliwagwag Falls. Avoid typhoon season.
  2. Signal at the park for all major networks is consistent.
  3. Swim at designated swimming areas since the current is really powerful. Sometimes they have stationed lifeguards. Children must be supervised at all times especially when swimming.
  4. Park is only open from 7:00am to 5:00pm.
POSSIBLE SIDE-TRIPS
We made a list of must visit waterfalls in the Philippines! 26 Waterfalls to Visit in the Philippines

6 thoughts on “Aliwagwag Falls Davao Oriental: Most Beautiful Waterfall in the Philippines

  1. Hi, we’re planning to visit Surigao del sur soon and I really want to do a side trip to Aliwagwag falls. But Im seriously having some second thoughts because I heard that the area is NPA infested? Is it safe to visit Cateel? Do you happen to know if there are a lot of buses from Cateel to Davao City or is it just once per day as well? Thank you!

    P.S. I love your photos! Seriously beautiful! =)

    Like

    1. Hi Getz!
      – Not heard about the NPAs, didn’t face any problem when we visited. We even walked at night and around the town’s plaza. Of course you should be careful always. aliwagwag falls is inside an eco park. There were a lot of tourists when we visited the park.
      – Not sure about the number of buses, but we saw a davao bound bus at around 4am. While waiting for our bus back To Mangagoy.
      Thanks!
      Hope this helps!

      Like

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