ALIWAGWAG FALLS: The Tallest Waterfall in the Philippines

2013 • 08 • 07

Not a beach but definitely worth a visit!

Widely regarded as the tallest waterfall in the Philippines, the 84-tiered Aliwagwag Falls reaches 1,110 feet. This spectacular site can be found in Barangay Aliwagwag, Cateel, Davao Oriental.

“Half an hour’s ride from the main town will take you to the Aliwagwag Bridge, overlooking the massive cascades,” Edgar Alan Zeta-Yap of EAZY Traveler, who visited the waterfall last year, shares. “This is the best vantage point from which to take photographs, though it would take some time for you to hike down the river and up a boulder to perfectly position yourself.”

The EAZY Traveler at Aiwagwag Falls
The EAZY Traveler at Aiwagwag Falls

Cateel-born travel blogger Olan Fernandez Emboscado is more than proud of his hometown. “Folklore has it that the waterfall is a gift by the gods to the Mandaya Tribe of Cateel. It is their source of living and fountain of their lives,” he recalls. “When I was a kid, I never had the privilege to see the beauty of the falls.  It wasn’t easy to get there before. No roads, no trails. Riding a boat passing the scenic Cateel River was the only way to get there. So, as kids, we contended ourselves just listening to stories about how beautiful and alluring Aliwagwag Falls was. How enchanting it was. So, every kid during my age wished to set foot there one day.”

When Typhoon Pablo hit Mindanao in December 2012, Cateel was heavily devastated. Aliwagwag Falls was not spared. The forest surrounding the river was left almost unrecognizable but the cascades retained its natural charm. Emboscado helped launch the #HelpCateel Movement, which aimed to rebuild the town through tree planting activities and “volunTourism,” merging the concepts of tourism and volunteerism in an effort to get the place back on its feet. Today, along with the rest of the town, the glorious Aliwagwag has been recovering.

Olan of The TravelTeller and the #HelpCateel movement
Olan of The TravelTeller and the #HelpCateel movement

Here’s another photo shot and submitted by follower Ana Guan Hing Arquiza.

aliwagwag falls



  1. Thanks for this Yoshkie. 🙂 This means a lot to me and to my people. Aliwagwag Falls will forever be a great source of pride for all of us Cateeleños despite what she suffered from the rage of Typhoon Pablo. We know in HER time, in Natures’ time, she’ll come back to her shape again – more beautiful and enchanting than what she was before. 🙂 Again, my deepest thanks. 🙂

  2. kulotz says:

    is it safe to go there with foreigners? how we can reach cateel from davao city?

  3. Esperanza Sabben Sutton says:

    The Philippines has to be one of the most beautiful places to visit and even make your home .. terry

  4. Lily Marie says:

    Actually its a 5hrs ride from davao city via compostela valley road…one of the best falls!

  5. May Muñoz says:

    Aliwagwag Falls. after Typhoon Bopha(Pablo) made land fall last December 2012. Taken last July.

  6. Rumors of CBS TV scouting Davao for a location of the show “Survivor”. They’ve filmed 2 seasons in Caramoan, two seasons in Polanqui in Northern Luzon and they’re currently filming in Caramoan, again.

  7. Bryan Niel Sarveda Niog says:

    Wew i had been there last july of 2012 to the majestic Aliwagwag Falls in Cateel, Davao Oriental (y)

  8. jeenalyn says:

    id like to ask, is it safe to visit aliwagwag falls in the afternoon? what time safe enough to go back to cateel from there?

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