The Tumalog Falls in Oslob is absolutely worth visiting. Not only will you get rewarded by the breath taking view, albeit after an arduous walk from the parking area to the falls, but you’ll be soothed after a refreshing dip in its cold water. It makes you glad you visited the place.
The falls is located close to the whale shark briefing center and is often included in tour packages that are offered by the hotels and tour operators.
Since we went there with our own scooter, we didn’t need to hire any vehicles. So from the national highway we went up very steep and winding roads towards the falls. There’s a large sign pointing to the direction of Tumalog Falls at the side of the national highway, it’s very hard to miss. While climbing up, the view from the peak of the mountain offers you an overview above Oslob’s beautiful coast line. The gate to the falls is a bit tricky though, you just have to ask people around. Once you’re there, you pay an entrance fee of ₱20 (around 0,30€). Apparently, non-locals are not allowed to drive their vehicles to the site, only the local habal-habal drivers are allowed.
A place like no other
From the gate/parking area, you walk for around 500 meters towards the falls, first, on a very steep road, then on an unpaved road. You could even begin to see the top of the falls halfway in.
When we saw habal-habal motorcycles parked right beside a stream under tall bamboo canopies, we knew we were there.
We followed the stream until we saw tourists milling about in the distance. The place, though, resembled a very tropical forest setting, with tall bamboos and tall trees at the edges. We even saw a gecko sunning on top of a rock right beside the stream. How tropical!
We continued walking until we saw a short wall. The wall serves as a dam to regulate the flow of the water. On the other side of the wall is the pool which was being fed by the waterfalls.
What we loved about that place was not only its picturesque setting of the steep waterfall, the turquoise water, and the forest around it; we loved that it was so authentic. No cafes, no souvenir shops and no other touristy surroundings (as compared, for example, to Kawasan Falls). It is nature at it’s best.
The waterfalls itself is like from a movie set; where the protagonists, stranded on a tropical island take their noontime dips under the gently cascading spray of water. It is the image of a stereotypically romanticised tropical waterfalls, and I mean this in a really good way. This is what makes it like no other.
For a group or a family, there are a couple of tables at the bank of the pool where you can set your food. It is directly facing the waterfalls and the pool so that parents can keep watch of their kids at all times. For everyone else, their are many nooks and crannies all around the area where you could set your things up.
We were planning to go there early in the morning but ended up going there at noontime. As an aside, due to the heat and intense bright sunlight, noontime is usually the worst time for any activities in the Philippines. But in this case, it turned out to be perfect: the sun at the overhead position highlights the spray of the waterfalls perfectly; while the fresh, cool water means a very refreshing swim at the hottest time of the day.