Oslob, Cebu Island, The Philippines
Seeing as we were done swimming with the whale sharks at around 8:30 AM, we decided to head out to a nearby water fall. Tumalog Falls is only a 12 minute ride from the Butanding viewing center and is accessed by a steep, paved road that lies on the western side of the National Road. Like Twin Lakes on nearby Negros Oriental (our home), it is a pleasant ride, with sweeping vistas of the surrounding mountains to the west and the glittering sea to the east. You’ll arrive at the top of a hilltop with a gorge to your right. Parking is available and you can either walk down the sometimes precipitous concrete road to the falls or hire one of the habal-habal guys for 20-40 pesos to take you down on his bike. You pay your 20 peso entrance fee here, and there is also a small sari-sari to stock up on water and snacks, as there is no place to buy that in the falls area. Seeking the full experience (and being somewhat kuripot), we decided to hike down, a decision that eventually necessitated Michell taking off her fashionable yet not too functional high-heeled flip flops.
There is a small covered picnic building at the bottom of the road, built of native materials and furnished with sturdy bamboo tables and chairs. Just beyond that is a small pool of a gorgeous color that reminded me of the pools over at Kawasan Falls. After taking a few photos by the pool, it was time to head over to the actual falls which lies just a short ways away.
Unlike Kawasan Falls, Tumalog Falls is VERY misty. As the water falls from the top, it strikes a number of umbrella-like formations on the way down, spreading the flow out like umbrellas so that most of it reaches the bottom like falling rain. I took the GoPro in and got some footage, but mist droplets forming on the lens cover limited the coverage. Same with our cameras. Nonetheless, we got some good pics for posterity.
There is a large pool at the bottom of the falls that makes for good swimming on a hot, sunny day. The day we went it wasn’t all that sunny (and we had left our suits and towels back up on the YBR), so we didn’t indulge in its cold, mountain-fed waters. Others did, however, and there is a small spot where you can set up mats to sit down and have a little picnic.
Tumalog Falls also differed from Kawasan Falls as there are no commercial buildings in the area. Kawasan has a number of little concrete hotels that detract from the natural beauty of the place, but there seems to be some sort of zoning stricture against that at Tumalog. This is a good thing, and eco-tourists in particular will appreciate it. Unfortunealty, there is the usual amount of trash left by inconsiderate tourists which is a shame as there are actually trash cans around the falls area (something you don’t often see in the Philippines).
Hiking back up the hill was a bit of a bear. As it does often in the Philippines, it started raining with a sunny sky in front of us, but thankfully it soon tapered off. We huffed and puffed our way up the incline and finally reached the top. Vans of tourists were just arriving to the parking area as we caught our breath and geared up the motorcycle to head back home.
There are a number of things to do in Oslob, but checking out the whale sharks and Tumalog Falls should be at the top of your To-Do list. Trust us when we say that they are experiences that you will truly never forget!