46: Cebu, Central Visayas

Queen City of the South

Cebu, known as the “Queen City of the South” is one of the oldest names among Philippine provinces being the battleground of Filipino natives and conquistadors in the 1500s. The island is a frontier to some of the best views in the Philippines. In June 2019, we got a chance to visit and meet friends.


Samboan is part of the 2nd Disctrict of Cebu, belonging to a group of towns situated by the southernmost part of the island. Cebu has always been a place of curiosity. We explored far south to witness the fine gush of Da-o Falls in Suba, Samboan, 3 hours drive from Cebu City. We took the long ride via scenic road, along the hills, by the coastline viewing Tañon Strait, and passing by a number of old structures in 12 towns of the island.

South Bus Terminal at N. Bacalso Avenue, Cebu City

Take the bus going to Oslob — PhP 200+ (non-aircon) PhP 150+ (Ceres bus) *we recommend that you try both and get ready for non-stop swerves and local music

Pullover at Samboan/Dao Eskina *definitely ask the conductor from time to time

Take habal-habal at town proper — PhP 100/head in every waterfall destination. You may also reach Kuya Sonny (+63)9993249656 is you want to secure a ride early.

Register in the Tourism Office located at the Dao Falls trailhead — PhP20.00 *visitors may leave not-so important belongings at the Tourism Office. Lockers are available for visitors.

After registering, visitors are assigned one guide per group who are paid on a ‘tip’ basis. Be cautious of your hike time. If you get there by lunchtime, it is recommended to bring snacks for your group and the guide. Also, trash bags for responsible explorations.

Guides are ready upon registration. They have been equipped and trained by the LGU of Samboan. Visitors are oriented on the difficulty and usual duration of the hike. In Dao Falls, particularly, guides are paid on a ‘tip‘ basis. On a personal note, we should avoid bargaining with guides in any place we visit. Tourism basically provide jobs for the locals and most times, these areas are being taken care of by the same people.

Ronnie, our guide, has been working with the LGU as guide for three years. He’s seen the improvisations and the growth of tourism in Samboan provided by these infamous waterfalls.
Some areas are slippery. Wearing non-slip shoes/sandals is recommended.
Clear waters from the trailhead.
Railings were installed by locals for safer passage going up Dao Falls. The actual blue color of the pools in the area are quite milky and clearer as water flows down the water passages.
Freshwater fish can be found in the pools of Dao Falls. A good move, however, the LGU of Samboan has been prohibiting fish catching activities to conserve the biodiversity in the area.
Anticipate picturesque rock formations. It is, in every angle, a beauty.

Dao Falls, Suba, Samboan, Cebu

This waterfall is a huge gush of natural spring that created a blue pool best for a late morning cold soak. We made it after 3 hours of bus ride along the scenic coastline of Southern Cebu and a 30-minute hike up along man-made stairs and rails. Accessible, safe, and above all, Samboan locals are welcoming.

For more Samboan experiences, you may check out this article from My Cebu enlisting the top scenes and sites in this peaceful town south of Cebu.


Complete your itinerary and drop by the town known for the “Sardine Run”, Moalboal, Cebu.

Facing Tañon Strait, Moalboal is a peaceful town short miles away from Negros Islands. We chanced a short break from the long bus ride back to Cebu City and took the scenic route to Moalboal’s White Beach. It’s next on the list. Southern Cebu has so much to offer in terms of biodiversity and sustainable tourism.

White Beach, Moalboal, Cebu

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