Southern Invasion: Exploring the Natural Gems of Four South Cebu Towns

First Stop : Immersing in the Contrast, the Hot “Mainit” Spring and the Cold Montañeza Falls in Malabuyoc


                 If you think of Cebu what idea pops up immediately? Is it the delicious dried mango or the great handicraft of guitars or the beautiful white beaches or the awesome  waterfalls? Do you know that Cebu has hot springs, too? In case you don’t know or you haven’t been there this write up will vicariously take you there. Here it goes…

         Inside the taxi cab, my friends and I were so ecstatic, loud and noisy about convincing a friend (Giovanni) to join our escapade to the southern part of Cebu  but we were all disheartened when he  gave a negative response because of a prior commitment.  The taxi driver overheard our chit chats and it so happened that he  had to go south  due to an obligation. He then arranged with us that he will let us ride with him with a negotiated fare. After inviting and convincing more friends (after Giovanni’s non-acceptance) to go with us in this Southern Invasion, only the three of us, Nina, Rowena and I proceeded with this adventure. So this is how I transformed into words our emprise experience.

         At 3:00 o’clock early in the morning we started to hit off the road. One of the lucky things we gained today was that the taxi driver named KuyaRodel decided to fetch us from our address. We had come to terms with him for a fare of P1,200.00 (one way). I got a little scared and anxious  because it was my first time going south riding a taxi cab and agreeing with KuyaRodel who was basically a stranger. (Yeah, of course I know what’s in your mind, a lot of “what ifs  and whatevs”) I guess we just had to trust him because it seemed proper to be true to an earlier agreement. We conversed with him almost all the time. So, basically I had no sleep at all. We talked and talked and then later I figured out that aside from driving a taxi cab he also offers tour package services. So he is proficient in touring  people to the most visited tourist spots in Cebu like Oslob, Samboan, etc. Knowing those things, we felt at ease. This is his contact number if ever you want to have a South Tour with him 09326417701.

          So after almost four hours we reached Malabuyoc, our first destination. A “Mainit Spring “sign was set along the road. That was our drop off point. We asked a “habal-habal” driver to take us to Mainit Spring.


  •           Tip no 1  Beware of opportunistic “habal habal “drivers. The one we hired asked us P 50.00 each but actually the fare was just P 20.00 only.


           As we headed towards Mainit Spring, the ambiance was kind ofweird, the day was gloomy though the weather was fine. The sky was grey and the sun was pale as it rose into the firmament. My friends and I argued that the glowing circle of light was not the sun but rather the moon. Nina said that if it was the sun why wasn’t it so bright as to hurt our naked eyes by looking at it. I told her it was the sun because it rose from the east where it rises daily. Later did we realize, it was in fact the sun. The smaze or the smoke and haze from the burned forest of Indonesia had reached the Philippines making the view abhorrent and depressing. 😦

*The smaze was annoyingly present  during our  trip in October. As of this time that I write this blog post, Cebu is SMAZE FREE! I am grateful for the wind and rain that made the smaze vanish .   . . .hope it will be gone forever.


          It took us less than five minutes to arrive in the area. We were the early folks. We saw the sign containing the rules and regulations. I am glad they put restrictions so that I have less tips to write in my blog, lol. 😛 😀  So these were the rules and regulations. If ever you’ll visit the place, please do follow.

Malabuyoc 9

          As the standard operation procedure, we signed our names in the logbook. We paid P 20.00 for environmental fee.

Malabuyoc 1

          As we moved foward, we saw another signage, the Do’s and Don’ts in Mainit Spring. We made sure we read all the guidelines.

Malabuyoc 8

          As I looked around the vicinity, I was amazed. The structures in the area were small huts portraying a rustic and natural environment. The huts were made of wood and bamboo  which blended beautifully with the surroundings. Just look at this hut. This is the therapy hut. Sounds relaxing right?

Malabuyoc 7

          If you want to use the toilet or change your attire, there’s nothing to worry because there are  restrooms and shower rooms in the area.

Malabuyoc 6

         Then if you do not want to carry  your things to the spring, you can rent a table there in the hut and lay down your things.

Malabuyoc 5

          We went on and  finally we reached the hot springs.

Malabuyoc 4 Malabuyoc 2

         We were not the only people in the spring because some locals were there ahead of us taking a bath and enjoying themselves.

Malabuyoc 11

         Ironically, the man-made pools were the hot springs. The natural streams that flowed outside the pools were cold. It was  like a Katy Perry Song, you’re hot and you’re cold la lala!

Malabuyoc 10

           Just look at this video, a smoke vapour is coming out. You can really tell it’s really hot in here!

         There were threepools with different temperatures for us to choose which pool has the temperature which we could sustain.

         First. We tried the 42.6 degrees Celsius pool.

  •          Tip No. 2 Don’t wear your slippers or shoes inside the pool.

Malabuyoc 14

           Based on my observation the water in the pool was one to two feet deep.

Malabuyoc 20

        Since I couldn’t contain my excitement any longer, I tried to soak my legs in the pool. It was really hot! Imagine it was  almost halfway to the boiling point. I was amazed because even if  Cebu is in a tropical country and I believe there is no volcano in Cebu why are there hot springs? Please do tell me if I’m wrong. I have no idea where these hot springs come from. They say it’s because of sulphur. Well I don’t want to trouble my mind about scientific reasons why hot springs exist in Cebu ,lol! 😛 I was just mesmerized and enthralled with my experience. Truly Cebu has so much to offer.

Malabuyoc 3
Rowena and Niña 🙂

         My friends and I couldn’t endure longer the heat. So we tried another pool.

         The second pool which was 36.1 degrees Celsius  had two people dipping and bathing in the hot spring. They were the locals who were benefitted by this treasure. Oh, how lucky they were to have easy access to this resort. ..  I feel envious… 🙂

Malabuyoc 19

          We tried the third pool which was 35.8 degrees Celsius. Finally, we could already tolerate the heat! This time we sat in the corner while soaking and immersing in the therapeutic sulphuric hotsprings. We were very relaxed. What a life!

Malabuyoc 12 Malabuyoc 13 Malabuyoc 21

          As you can see, the hot springs’ pools have  mini falls so the water continues to flow and not stagnate which makes it clean and crystal clear. 

Malabuyoc 22

         After 20 minutes of drenching ourselves in this relaxing and soothing hot springs of Malabuyoc, it was now time to trek to Montaneza Falls

  •          Tip no. 3 A guide is needed for this course of action. Even though the falls is just near Mainit Spring, a guide is needed for safety purposes. There’s a guide fee of any amount depending upon your negotiation.

          Unfortunately, as we proceeded with our venture, there was an advisory sign that going above to the seven falls is prohibited because rocks might fall anytime.


Malabuyoc 17

         I was crestfallen because I couldn’t be able to chase a waterfall. I really wanted to see that falls. I had sacrificed by travelling many hours on the road, without breakfast, with a few hours sleep… I felt half empty… *sigh

Malabuyoc 16 Malabuyoc 18

        This might be the reason why  I must go back to Malabuyoc as soon as the passage in going to the falls is in the best condition.

         The first falls was for the eyes only to appreciate. It was such a beauty!  Before our second stop, I wanted to feel the refreshing and revitalizing falls of Montañeza one last time. So, I soaked  my feet in the streams that the falls had made, feeling the sensation that loosened up my soul. But then, time flew so fast. It was time to go —  time to bid goodbye to Malabuyoc. We left Malabuyoc and we headed towards Alegria.

Malabuyoc 15

         I thank the Universe for all the amazing wonders that have been created. I am grateful for the experience despite the undesirable mood swings of nature.  I only live once so I keep on travelling, keep on learning. I am hooked…

How to get there

1. If by bus, go to South Bus Terminal.  Ride a bus bound for Malabuyoc. The fare going to Malabuyoc for non-air conditioned bus is Php 150.00 The fare for air-conditionned bus is Php 163.00
2. From highway to Mainit Spring, hire a Habal habal for a fare of Php 20.00.
3. Pay Environmental fee for Php 20.00.

Plan to take your bus trip early to avoid heavy traffic, save time and have a chance to maximize your trip.

4. If by taxi, negotiate the fare. It is usually a “Pakyaw” system if by taxi. In our case our fare was 1,200.00 (one way).

Suggested Itinerary for the South Invasion in Cebu





03:00AM– (via bus) meet up at the South Bus Terminal, ride bus and depart for Malabuyoc

07:00AM– arrive at Malabuyoc,

07:10AM– ride habal- habal

07:15AM arrive at Mainit Spring, register, change swimming attire

07:30AM immersing at the hot spring, trekking to Montaneza Falls

08:30AM ride habal habal to Alegria

09:00AM arrive at Alegria police station/park, inquire

09:20AM breakfast, pack up

09:40AM– ride habal habal to Cambais Falls

10:20AM– arrive cambais meet uide

10:30AM– register, trek to the falls, swim at Cambais Falls

12:00AM– pack up, ride habal habal to Badian

12:45PM– arrive at Badian, trek to kawasan

01:00PM– sightseeing, picture taking at Kawasan Falls

01:30PM hire habal habal to Moalboal

01:50PM lunch at MCDO

02:00PM hire tricycle to Panagsama Beach

02:15 PM snorkel/swim with the sardines

03:00PM hire tricycle to Moalboal highyway

03:15PMwait for the bus

04:00PM depart from Moalboal

08:00PMarrive in CEBU

Estimated Expenses for the South Invasion in Cebu

( Malabuyoc, Alegria, Badian and Moalboal)

Php 151.00/pax – fare for the ordinary bus to Malabuyoc

Php 20.00/pax – fare for the habal habal to Mainit Spring

Php 20.00/pax – environmental fee in Mainit Spring

Php 240.00/pax – fare for habal habal (alegria and badian) *subject to haggling

Php 30.00/pax – entrance fee in Cambais Falls

Php 100.00/pax – guide fee in Cambais Falls

Php 20.00 /pax– entrance fee to Kawasan Falls

Php 66.00/pax – fare for the habal habal to Moalboal *(Php 200 /3) subject to haggling

Php 50.00/pax fare for the tricycle from Moalboal Town to Panagsama Beach *(Php 150.00/3) subject to haggling

Php 100.00/pax rental fee for snorkeling gears

Php 50.00/pax – fare for the tricycle from Panagsama Beach to Moalboal Town*(Php 150.00/3) subject to haggling

Php 107.00/pax – fare for the ordinary bus from Moalboal to Cebu

A total of Php 954.00 per pax

*food, souvenirs, tour guide tips and miscellaneous fees are not included


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Chasing Potatoes

Why Chasing Potatoes? I’m Chasing Potatoes. I chase time and opportunities because just like round potatoes they roll and get lost. I chase them to store memories to last a lifetime. I make haste, running after them, fearful that they might be gone. That’s why I go places on land or in water.My story tells about the journey of chasing time and saying yes to wonderful opportunities.

34 thoughts on “Southern Invasion: Exploring the Natural Gems of Four South Cebu Towns

  1. The fascinating pictures leaves me spell-bound! Every detail of your journey to the four south Cebu towns gives a clear picture of your great experience. One of the fun elements of your trip that sounds really interesting is the dip into the hot spring.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Very nice entry! We were able to climb up to the 7th waterfall (called Montaneza Falls) a few years ago. There were no trails, the place was not developed, and everything was wild. It was such a memorable adventure; it was like a mini-canyoneering trip! We hope the advisory is temporary.

    As seen in your photos, the place is still nice, but it has become commercialized. We hope there will be some sort of control that will be implemented; too much commercialization can destroy the place and raise fees to ridiculous levels.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, that’s what I first noticed. The place has been commercialized. I think it’s part of the development especially, if a lot of tourists flock to the place. Changes are inevitable to enhance the accessibility of the place and to provide human conveniences. Consequently, the place will be modified. It will no longer be totally in its original rustic state. Lucky for you. You have seen the place in its original phase. 😀


    1. Unfortunately, we were not be able to go there for we had very limited time. Thats why I have to go back to Malabuyoc. There are so many nice places to explore there. Anyway, thanks the Island Boy for dropping by. 😀


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