Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Awao Falls, Monkayo, Compostela Valley, Philippines

Municiapl Hall of Monkayo
Mindanao is blessed with having numerous waterfalls. In fact, should there be an official listing of the top ten falls in the Philippines, Mindanao will get more slots since it boats of the following falls, namely: Asik-Asik Waterfalls and Bani Falls in North Cotabato; Maria Cristina Falls, Cathedral Falls, Limunsad and Tinago Falls in Lanao Del Sur; Aliwagwag Falls and Campawan Curtain Falls in Davao Del Norte; Tinuy-an Falls in Surigao Del Sur and the Maragusan Falls of Compostella Valley. 

But there is another one which a traveler, blogger, adventurer, waterfalls chaser or a simple tourist should see before he dies, and that is the Awao Falls of Monkayo, Compostela Valley.

Skylab shed (5 minutes away from the Municipal Hall)
How to get there

From Davao City, take either the Bachelor Bus, Metro Davao Shuttle or van ride to Monkayo.. The bus ride is good for 3 hours. Fare in the aircon bus is P140. In Monkayo, you have to rent a skylab towards the falls.

From Butuan, ride the bus going to Davao and the bus ride is good for 3.5 - 4 hours, then alight in Monkayo.



You can choose from the following lodging establishments, namely: Rayous, JRC and Jovir.

I was billeted in Rayous (Contact Nos. 0943-130-2752 / 0917-723-5753) . The cheapest aircon room is P600.There are other rooms at the price of 700 and 1,000. But they have non-aircon rooms for backpackers dormitory room at the price of P180/ head.

I took the P600 room which has a television and a wifi

with Mamay, the driver
Skylab Ride to the Falls

Mamay (Contact no. 0946 738 4210)

You have to rent/charter a skylab ride towards the falls.

P200 one way ride
P400 round trip ride

Considering that the road is extremely rough, perilous and muddy (during rainy season) and from the town it is more than 18 kilometers, the P400 price is not that expensive.

Captain Bacolod's house
I was in Mindanao chasing waterfalls. And the town of Monkayo was the last stop before going back to Manila. 

I was looking further for an adrenalin pumping adventure and I got it here in  Monkayo! 

The Skylab ride towards the falls is a bit dangerous, uncomfortable (at times) and physically draining but it's all part of my adventure here in Monkayo. I will not hesitate again to have this experience. 

Going towards the falls, there was only one passenger but along the middle of the journey, we stopped at Mamay's former house and he asked for companions towards the falls. It was a lot easier for him having 3-4 passengers rather than having only one passenger. He had to balance the skylab and I was a bit heavy for the ride. After an hour, we reached the residence of Barangay Captain Moises Bacolod of Barangay Awao (Contact No. 0948-897-2495). Coordination with the barangay is a must and the barangay provided me with a tour guide (Price is P100-200 according to your own discretion, I gave P150.00). The name of my tour guide is  Noli Iyana (he has no phone). 

River crossing

From barangay hall, we had to cross the river and travel for another 15 minutes or 4 more kilometers before reaching the jump-off point towards the falls.

Again, it is a must that you have to coordinate with the barangay officials not only for safety reasons but because of the river crossing. It there is a flash flood, the river is not passable

jump-off point to Falls No. 1

Finally, after 1 hour and 15 minutes from the town of Monkayo, we reached the jump-off point. There is an entrance fee of P15.00 but I did not pay since there was nobody on duty that day.

From the jump-off point, you can already see the falls. According to Noli, the tour guide, there are a total of 3 falls and our first destination is Falls No. 1.

The descending trek towards Falls No. 1 is good for 15 minutes. But since it was muddy and slippery that day (thanks to Typhoon Seniang), I was able to reach the falls in 20 minutes.

Mid way of the trek, the presence and the might of the falls can be heard and the size of the falls can also be seen. And what a sight it was!

After 20 minutes, my effort was rewarded with the beauty, splendor and grandeur of the falls. Behold Falls No. 1 of Awao Falls!

Honestly, I do not know how tall and big is the falls but based on this picture, you can have an idea on how big the falls is. Noli was dwarfed by the size of Falls No. 1.

. Falls No. 1 is the tallest and biggest among the three falls in Barangay Awao.

Even my companions were amazed by the size of the falls and they could not help themselves from staring at the falls.

Jump-off point for Falls No. 2

After taking some pictures and videos, we climbed back towards the jump-off point and headed towards Falls No. 2 and 3. According to Noli, there is a passage in Falls No. 1 leading towards Falls No. 2 and 3 and the trek was more than 30 minutes. 

The trek towards Falls No. 2 was good only for less than 5 minutes. Falls No. 2 of Awao Falls reminded me of the numerous falls in Laguna.

After seeing Falls No. 1, I was no longer excited to see Falls No. 2 since Falls No. 1 is taller and bigger but the nonetheless, the shape of the falls captured my attention.

half-way in my climb to falls No. 3

I thought the fun and adventure ended in Falls No. 1 until my guide told me that we have to climb Falls No. 2 itself in order to see Falls No. 3. I told myself this guy must be out of his mind, imagine the path!

This is the adventure!

I asked if there was another path towards Falls No. 3, and I was told that it was the only one. Again, another buwis-buhay (death-defying) adventure for me! It's December 30, 2014 and it will be New Year, the following day and I convinced myself, "You can do it!" With all the strength and courage, I climbed but I was very careful. One mistake and I will fall and I will be taken by the strong current of the falls and who knows if I will survive or not the fall!

After more than 15 minutes, I reached the top of Falls No. 2 and was surprised to see the curtain falls of Falls No. 3! The sight of the falls was enough to compensate for the effort, pain and sacrifice in climbing the falls. 

Descending from Falls No. 3, I was more careful since I can now see where I will fall! And after 15 minutes, I was at the base of Falls No.2 and I shouted, "Praise the Lord!" hahaha

Going back, I saw skylabs carrying timbers from the forest and I was shocked on how these skylabs could carry the weight of the timbers!

After reaching the barangay hall of Awao,  I paid the guide and my other companions also alighted. And this time, Mamay loaded the skylab with other passengers. I did not complain for two reasons; first, there was no other mode of transportation for the locals and second, I want to experience it. According to Mamay, the maximum passenger of the skylab is 8-10 passngers. But there was a total of eleven passengers! Yes, 11 passengers onboard the skylab going back to the town of Monkayo!

The Skylab experience, the long and winding rough road towards the falls, 11 passengers, and the sight of the 3 falls were MORE THAN ENOUGH for the adventure that I was looking for in Mindanao!

Thank You Monkayo!

Total Expenses for the Tour

Skylab rent - P400
Tour guide (Noli) - P150
Photographer/Videogapher named "JR", a local - P120
Hotel - P600
Round trip bus ride - P280
Food - 300


  1. Nice! Thanks for sharing your experience!

    1. Hi Jun, possible ba na d n magovernight stay sa monkayo? May masasakyan pba ako pauwi davao city from monkayo 5pm?

  2. Have you been at Aliwagwag? It's also amazing there :)

  3. Have you been at Aliwagwag? It's also amazing there :)

  4. What time ang first trip going to Monkayo? Also yung pabalik ng Davao City mayroon ba the same day?

    1. pwede po kayo sumakay ng bus going Butuan, dadaan po yan sa Monkayo.

  5. Hi sir. Thanks for your very informative blog. Pede po humingi ng suggestion. Kaya po ba ung ganitong sequence: tinuy-ann falls ng bislig then awao falls ng compostela then aliwagwag falls ng cateel then proceed sa dahican? Or may mas madaling route po na pede gawin? Thanks in advance :)

    1. ang mas okay i think...goodluck

  6. Pano po ang mode of transpo from bislig to awao falls ng compostela valley to aliwagwag ng cateel then dahican ng mati po?