Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Waterfalls of Maragusan, Compostela Valley, Philippines

Maragusan ricefields

I planned this trip a year before the actual travel.  
I've always wanted to explore, see, and do waterfalls chasing in Mindanao. The last time I explored Mindanao was two years ago. Among the places I visited was the falls in Lanao Del Norte, namely: Tinago Falls, Cathedral Falls, and Maria Cristina Falls and then the falls in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato. Year 2014,  I promised myself to visit the falls in Mindanao. Maragusan was not part of the plan but since I opted not to go to Asik-Asik Falls and Bani Falls in North Cotabato, I had to find an alternative for my adventure in Mindanao.
 This is my second time to visit Compostela Valley and it was the best option. 
This visit made a permanent mark in my memory.

How to get there

From Davao 

Take the bus going to Tagum in Ecoland Terminal or Gaisano Mall in Davao. Travel time to Tagum is 1.5 to 2 hours. You can ride the Davao Metro Shuttle, Bachelor Bus or any of the buses plying the Tagum route and alight at the terminal of the bus and proceed to the terminal of the buses going to Maragusan. Fare of the bus going to Tagum is P80 (ordinary bus) or P115 (aircon bus). From Davao City to Tagum it is 55 kilometers. 

In Tagum City, you can either take the van to Maragusan (2 hours) for P130 or the bus (3 hours) for P80. There are many bus companies servicing the route such as Maragusan Tours, Mencidor Lines, Jessa Mae Tours and De Perio Express. From Tagum to Maragusan it is 97 kilometers.

Van rental is also available with special rates  from Davao to Tagum City.

From Butuan, Surigao City, Cagayan De Oro

Honestly, I have no idea.But I think, Tagum City is still the focal point of destination. It is best to take the Davao route for proximity, unless your flight is from Butuan, Surigao City of Cagayan De Oro.

Town of Maragusan, summer capital of Davao

So from Davao City International Airport, I boarded the bus going to Tagum and then the Mencidor bus going to Maragusan. I chose to ride the bus going to Tagum since it was raining that time and the road was very muddy. It was a good decision. There were landslides along the way and some of the roads were not passable for other vehicles.

Along the way to Maragusan, I passed by Nagbunturan, Tandawan and New Bataan, Compostela Valley.

And finally, after more than 3 hours, we reached the town of Maragusan.

my place of stay
It was past 12 pm when we reached the town and my instinct told me that I have to find accommodation. I wanted to see the falls in Maragusan and then head off to Matti. But the jeepney trips to Matti are slated 8:00 am, 11;30 am, and 12:30 pm. In other words, I have to stay for a night in Maragusan to see the falls.

Haven's Peak
Contact Numbers - Remy 0916-8285-189; Edith 0926-719-7558; PJ 0905-651-0906; Freya 0927-800-7982

Tribal huts - P1,400/pax
Dormitory type - P350/pax
Tent with beddings - P250
Tent Twin sharing - P400
Campers with tent - P150

Rahim Radja
I went around the bus terminal and asked for a habal-habal tour/ride in going to the falls and luck was on my side. I was approached by a habal-habal driver named Rahim Radja (Contact No.0918-522-3987). I negotiated fro the tour. According to the locals, I have to pay P100 to see only 1 falls. But I have to see the three famous falls of Maragusan. And after a short negotiation, the price was P300 for 3 waterfalls and 2 other (cold and hot) springs.

Rahim is one of the best habal-habal drivers I have met in Mindanao. Aside from his prolific driving skills, he was very friendly, talkative, entertaining and accommodating. His sense of humor is phenomenal!

And I also asked Rahim for a place to stay and he brought me to the best accommodation - Haven's Peak. At Haven's Peak, I was told that the lowest room is P800 but I was told that they have a dormitory-type for 6 persons and the price is P350/pax. Without hesitation, I took the P350 accommodation. The trek towards the top of Haven's Peak was already an adventure!!

Marangig Falls

There are numerous falls in Maragusan. I was told by the locals that there are nearly 20 falls in town. Lake Sebu has 7 falls and Maragusan as 20!!! OMG!

Among the known falls in Marugusan are Ugong, Bisnar, Cesar, Tagbibinta, Pyalitan, and Marangig. The best three are Tagbibinta (Brgy. Coronabe), Pyalitan (Brgy. Mapawa) and Marangig (Brgy. New Albay).

You can visit the Maragusan Tourism Office (Contact Nos. 0906-113-4569 Sierel / 0905-715-1535 Dennis) for further inquiry. Unfortunately, the office was closed that day and I had to rely on the limited knowledge of my driver/guide.

The other tourist spots in Maragusan are Haven's Peak Highland Resort (Poblacion), Aguakan Cold Spring Resort (Poblacion), and Kanlawig Hot Spring Resort (Poblacion). Maragusan is also famous for the flower Rafflesia Magnifica or the biggest flower in the world. You can also do hiking at Mt. Candalaga Mountaineering Trail (New Albay and Coronabe).

closer view of the falls

And so after my check-in at Haven' Peak, I immediately started with my habal-habal tour. It took us only less than 15 minutes before we reached our first spot. And the trail to the falls was good only for 5 minutes.

I took some pictures and videos and we headed towards our next destination.

Registration area

The ride to our next destination was longer than the first stop and it took us nearly 20 minutes before reaching the jump-off point. 

There was no registration area in our first falls but there was in the second falls and the entrance fee was P10.00 only.

I guess the entrance fee is not for the falls but for the huge swimming pool in the vicinity.

Tagbibinta Falls
From the registration area up to the falls, it took me only less than 7 minutes before reaching the falls. Tagbibinta is taller than Marangig but the tallest according to the locals is Pyalitan Falls.

There are a total of 13 falls in the area but I visited only the first one due to lack of time.

Cesar's Falls

After Tagbibinta Falls, we were supposed to go to Pyalitan Falls but Rahim was not sure on the exact location of Pyalitan (he promised he will find it for me on my next visit) and so we ended up in another falls. We got lost in the banana plantation (banana is the number one product of Maragusan aside form mining and copra).

But nonetheless after 30 minutes of getting lost in the habal-habal ride and another 45 minutes of trekking, we ended up in Cesar's Falls.

It was already nearly 4 pm and I told Rahim that we had to go back to the town to see the other tourist spots.

Maragusan is surrounded by acres and acres of banana plantation and your trip will not be complete without seeing any of the numerous banana plantation, And I did!

private cold spring

Rahim brought me to several private hot and cold springs in the area as a bonus for my tour in Maragusan.

Kanlawig Hot Spring
After 20 minutes of going around the banana plantation, we reached our fourth spot. I paid P25.00 for the entrance fee but I asked that my driver be spared from the fee and the staff was kind enough to oblige. I told the staff that we will be staying only for 10 minutes and we did.

Last stop for that day since it was nearly 5 pm was the Aguakan Cold Springs Resort. Kanlawig and Aguakan have the same owner and I was spared from paying the entrance fee this time.

After seeing 5 resorts (private and public), I can conclude that Aguakan is the best resort that I have seen in Maragusan.

It was past 5 pm and I told Rahim that we have to go back to Haven's Peak because I will be shooting the sunset. Unfortunately, it was cloudy that day and instead Rahim brought me to one of the mining tunnels in Maragusan. The road to the tunnels was perilous and the ride was very uncomfortable. But after seeing the tunnel, it was enough to compensate for the effort.

Tagbibinta was the best spot for the day since I did not see Pyalitan Falls. But as a whole, Maragusan is one of the best tourist spots that I have visited in the Philippines. And the Haven's Peak offers one of the best accommodations in Mindanao.

 In sum, Maragusan offers the following:

1. numerous falls
2. good place to stay and do swimming (Haven's Peak)
3. hot springs
4. cold springs
5. tour of the mining tunnels
6. tour of the banana plantation, and
7. best ride in town - habal-habal

Things to do in Maragusan

Joint venture with the Maragusan Tourism Office /Council
Falls Hopping / Trekking
Mountain climbing (3 days, 2 nights) at Mount Candalaga
Swimming at hot and cold spring
Cultural enrichments at Mansaka Village
Rafflesia Watching - the biggest bloom in the world
DOLE Stanfilco Banana Plantation
PYGSAWITAN Festival every 3rd week of November

It's More Fun in Compostela Valley!



  1. Sir is it safe to travel in Compostela Valley for a lone traveler like me? Like you, I love to visit the many beautiful areas in the country, thanks for sharing your adventure its really awesome and worth visiting....Do you think June will be a good month to travel the area? Kudos to your blog.......

    1. Hello. Sorry for the late reply. Been busy in school as a teacher. Yes, it is safe to travel to ComVal. June or July will be a good month. Wala sanang bagyo at ndi naman inter-island.

  2. good morning sir.. mg.punta kame sa maragusan dis october.. can u tell us kung mgkano yong budget for our trips ? thanks :)

    1. Mura lang naman dito sa Maragusan. P3,000 - 4,000 budget for one pax in 3 days will do.

  3. hi sir, me and my friend will be planning to go to maragusan to see haven's peak and some tourist spots in the area, were both female, is it safe to go there. we'll be commuting and most probably we'll be riding habal-habal.

  4. Wow.. My next place to visit.. Thanks for sharing your experience..

  5. Pamintaran gold mining was my first point visit last 6 years ago hoping to come back in see more good attraction place on that place very soon despite of long travel but it worth it, days has coming down cant wait to See you maragusan..

  6. Good afternoon po , what time last trip Davao to maragusan if mag commute lang po? Thanks po