Quiet and tiny Kabankalan is definitely an off-the-beaten-path tourist destination. As a matter of fact, I was probably the first foreigner they had seen in a while, everywhere I went I saw happy and welcoming faces. The city in itself has not much to offer but that’s what’s around that’s interesting. It’s the perfect place for nature lovers.
What to do in Kabankalan area :
Meaning smokey falls due to the fog appearing in the evening, Mag Aso fall is the most famous attraction in Kabankalan. The best time to go is during the week to avoid the crowd on weekends. The blue of the water is just amazing, probably thanks to a mineral that makes the water color looks almost unreal. The dip is also super refreshing, perfect with the hot weather.
From Kabankalan just take a jeepney bound to Mabinay (20 pesos) or a bus bound to Dumaguete if you want more comfort. Ask to be dropped off at the crossroad, from there you’ll have to take a tricycle to the fall (100 pesos). Just get the driver’s phone number for when you want to come back, there’s not a lot of traffic near the fall.
When you arrive, you’ll first pass the resort area, where they built a couple bungalows and a pool using the water from the river. The waterfall is easily accessible, you just have to go down some stairs. The water is super refreshing and perfect for a swim. There’s also a cave you can visit, you can see the entrance across from the stairs. It’s one of the deepest caves in the Philippines (150 meters) and is also pretty big with a span of 430 meters. If you want to go all the way you’ll need to have proper equipment.
Next to the cave, you’ll see a super steep « path » going up, take it, then go right, there are other waterfalls there, you can keep climbing and reach the top of the waterfall. It does like a loop so you can reach the resort from there, you don’t have to go back. It’s a bit hard to see where the path is, you can ask someone to guide you (100 pesos) or maybe you can start at the top, and go down to the main waterfall, it’s probably easier that way. But be careful, it’s really steep, you’ll have to be ready to hike.
Mabinay is not really close to Kabankalan (about an hour) but it’s definitively worth a day trip. Mabinay springs is also a resort so you can spend the night if you want. The water is as blue as in Mag Aso falls. Here, they dug up the original spring to make it bigger. The spring is really enticing and inviting.
Mabinay is also famous for its many caves surrounding the area (more than a 100), you can hire a tricycle to drive to a couple ones, the driver will know where to go. Bring torch lights.
Balicaocao Mountain Resort
Only a short drive away from Kabankalan, this resort is located 500 feet above sea level and offers an amazing view over the area. The best view is when riding the zip line. On clear days you can even see Guimaras.
There’s also an old Muscovado Mill you can check out, not far from Kabankalan, located in Hacienda Bino, in the barangay of the same name.
Visit an oysters farm
The region is famous for its seafood, and Ilog is supposed to have the best oysters in the Philippines. Go to Baranguay Bocana, pick a restaurant and order. They will go down in the mangrove to get fresh ones, boil them for a minute and drop everything on your table. Filipinos eat them dipped in soy sauce and vinegar. Enjoy.
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