Thursday, April 16, 2015

Aliwagwag Falls, Tinuy-an Falls, and Enchanted River in Just One Day of Adventure!

My main target - Aliwagwag Falls, Cateel, Davao Oriental 

Is it possible? 
I mean we are talking of two different provinces, namely: Davao Oriental and Surigao Del Sur. We are talking of kilometers of  bus, habal-habal, and tricycle ride!

Yes, I made it possible by using a habal-habal ride from 6:00 am up to 4:00 pm.

Cateel, Davao Oriental

I was billeted in Edar's Place in Cateel, Davao Oriental. I arrived at the hotel 10 pm from Davao City (using the Mati route of 8 hours!), slept past 11 pm  and woke up 5:30 am. Upon arrival in Cateel, I immediately hired a habal-habal driver named Edgardo Linaza (he has no cellphone) for my tour to Aliwagwag Falls.

I immediately took a bath and meal and we proceeded to Aliwagwag Falls. Normally, the rate for the 23 kilometer ride is P500 (round trip with waiting time of 2 hours). But since I promised that I will be taking only pictures and we will be staying only at the site for not more than 45 minutes, I was able to hire him only for P350.

We proceeded to the spot and it took us 45 minutes. The staff members were  still opening the compound when we got there. I immediately paid P50 for the entrance fee. 

Last time I was In Aliwagwag Falls was December 2014 and there was a typhoon when I had my first sight of the falls. 

I was accompanied by one of the staff members and we ascended to the hanging bridge. There are adventures available at the falls such as 680 meters zipline across the river (P225/pax) and 45 meter hanging bridge across the falls (P50/pax).

P50 - Adult
P10 - children
Below 3 years old - exempt

Chairs and table rental
Long table - P75
Small table - P50

 How to Get There

First, you have to get a flight to Davao City. there are several airlines servicing the route such as Philippine Airlines (PAL)  or Cebu Pac (Cebu Pacific), cheapest flight is through Cebu Pacific or if the other airlines offer their promo fare. Travel time is 1 hour and 45 minutes. Air fare ranges from PhP5.000.00 to PhP8,000.00 (all-in). It is better to book 6 months in advance to get the lowest possible rate. 

There are other airports in Mindanao aside from Davao such as General Santos, Cotabato City, Surigao City, Cagayan De Oro and Butuan. But if you choose any of these airports, you have to labor the long road travel to Cateel. And so the best choice/option is to have the Davao flight. Davao offers several flights (8-10/day) from Manila. The other airports only offer 2-3 flights a day or sometimes none.

Second step, from Davao airport go the Ecoland Bus Terminal or the Gaisano Mall Terminal and take the bus either via Mati or Compostela Valley. Several bus lines service the route such as Mallen Express, Lyra Express, and Bachelor Express.

Davao via Mati using the the bus is 8 hours using the Bachelor Bus. Then, van ride in Mati to Cateel for another 3-4 hours..

Davao via Compostela Valley (ComVal) using the Mallen bus is 5-6 hours or 170 kilometers.

The Compostela Valley route is shorter but during rainy season it is not advisable to use this route because of land slides along the ComVal.

From Agusan to Surigao via Cuevas it is 250 kilometers.

Upon reaching the town of Cateel, the next step is to hire the best ride in town and that is using the habal-habal. The town also offers private vehicles in case you are traveling as a group. Barangay Aliwagwag is more or less 30 minutes from the town. Habal Habal rent is PhP300 (one-way) or PhP500 (round trip). From Papag Bridge to Aliwagwag Falls it is 23 kilometers and from the town it is 28 kilometers. From the town, travel time using the habal-habal is 25-30 minutes.

In case you want to know more information about the area, Travel Teller is the best resource person since he grew up in Cateel.

picture of Aliwagwag Falls last December 2014 during a typhoon

I did not bother to avail of the zipline but I finished the hanging bridge. I stayed only for 30 minutes and I went back to Edar's Place.

I packed my bag, paid the bills and bid goodbye to Mrs. Edar. 

Normally, the rate for habal-habal ride from Cateel to Mangagoy is P800. But the bus ride is only P120. But there is only one bus schedule everyday which is slated 5:00 am and I missed the bus. I was left with only one option, habal-habal ride. But I was given a discount for P400 but up to Lingib only (the nearest town to Mangagoy).

town of Boston
After 30 minutes, we reached the town of Boston. Another 50 minutes and we reached Lingib. We traveled more or less 55 kilometers from Cateel to Lingib. From Lingib, I hired another habal-habal for P100 to Mangagoy and endured another 21 kilometers of habal-habal ride!

Bislig, Surigao Del Sur

In Mangagoy past 12 noon, I hired another habal-habal ride for P1,000 (nromal rate is P1,200) for both the falls and the river. My driver/tour guide was named Helbert Santos (0948-238-3928). The fee is only P1,000 but the excess of P200 from the P1,200 is given to the driver of another habal-habal at the site of the falls.

So from Mangagoy, another 25 kilometer ride towards the falls or a 45 minute ride in habal-habal.

cottages are available at the site of the falls
Entrance fee is P50/pax.

The majestic Tinuy-an Falls!

How to Get There

From Butuan Bancasi Airport
From Langihan Terminal, ride a bus bound for Mangagoy (Bislig).

From Surigao Del Norte
Take a bus bound for Butuan and then take the bus bound for Mangagoy.

From Cateel, Davao Oriental

Take the Lyra Express or Mallen Bus to Mangagoy (once-a-day trip only at 5 am). Travel time is 2.5 hours and the fare is P120.00. In Mangagoy, you have to rent a habal-habal (single motorcyle) to Tinuy-an Falls. Travel time is 20-30 minutes from the town or 17-18 kilometers. The habal-habal can accommodate up to 3 passengers for a price of P100.00/pax or P500.00 round trip ride.

Should you opt to go to Enchanted River in Hinatuan, the price is P1,000.00 round trip back to Mangagoy, Bislig.

From Davao City

Take the bus going to Cateel either at Ecoland or Gaisano Mall Terminal. Better use the Ecoland Terminal. The fare is P300.00 for 200 kilometers and travel time is 7 hours. In Mangagoy, you have to rent a habal-habal (single motorcyle) to Tinuy-an Falls. Travel time is 20-30 minutes from the town or 17-18 kilometers. The habal-habal can accommodate up to 3 passengers for a price of P100.00/pax or P500.00 round trip ride.

Sidetrip to Awao Falls, Monkayo, Compostela Valley

From Bislig, it is 120 kilometers for the price of P135.00. Travel time is 2 hours and 45 minutes.

I stayed in Tinuy-an Falls for only 30 minutes. Thereafter, I went to my last destination and my grand finale for a very long and tiring day.

Hinatuan, Surigao Del Sur

I endured another habal-habal ride for 55 kilometers, more or less, just to go to my last destnation. Upon arrival, there were plenty of local tourists inside the site. I paid the entrance fee of P30.

Last time I was here was 2012, part of my first Mindanao tour. Even though it was a bit different since are so many structures inside, it was still a sight to behold!

How to get there

Book a flight to Davao, Surigao City or Butuan, then board a bus to Surigao Del Sur. Then, board another bus going to Mangagoy and alight at Hinatuan. Then, at the Hinatuan Bus Terminal, hire a habal-habal ride for P300. From the town, it will take you 25 minutes or 16 kilomters of bumpy ride!

I am lost for words to describe the Enchanted River!

Mr. Edgardo Linaza, my driver to Aliwagwag falls and to Lingib.

Mr. Helbert Santos (0948-238-3928), my driver in Tinuy-an Falls and Enchanted River.

With Ma'am Edar, owner of Edar's place.

Enjoy your adventure! =)


  1. Hello this is a good account of your adventures. However, our place place is called LINGIG and not Lingib. Thank you. :)

  2. hi! very informative! okay bang pumunta ng summer sa tinuy-an falls? baka kasi hindi malakas ang bagsak ng tubig?

  3. hi! very informative! okay bang pumunta ng summer sa tinuy-an falls? baka kasi hindi malakas ang bagsak ng tubig?

  4. how is the road along cateel to mangagoy.. semantado na po?

  5. Hello! just asking f Tinuy an falls by November malakas na ba ang tubig? kasi i have visited the place twice already. The first time i saw it 4 years past wow amazing but the last time in 2 years past also it was a great surprise no water anymore? Pls advice me, where planning to visit the place with our visitors.

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  7. Hi sir jun, pwede bang davao airport to hinatuan to enchanted river then tinuy an falls then back to hinatuan hostel, tapos kinabukasan morning to aliwagwag eco park? Meron po bang byahe na papunta eco park mula hinatuan?

    Tapos pabalik cateel to davao na lang