Chasing Waterfalls (Nalus, Bocay-il, Swagan)

One of the twin falls of Bocay-il

One of the twin falls of Bocay-il

Have you ever dreamt of a place that has the magic to soothe a weary soul and mind?  Then let me take you with me as I am going to reminisce my wonderful days chasing waterfalls in Kiamba, a small town in Southern Philippines. A place that is full of hidden natural reserves. We’ll explore Nalus Falls, Bocay-il Falls and Swagan Lino Lihek Falls.

Waterfalls hide somewhere that they require effort from us just to be able to see them. They are located behind, across or being tucked in the mountains, valleys or hillside. But in the end, they will reward us with something great, something different, some priceless moments. They have the magic to soothe and calm our weary souls and aching bodies.

These three waterfalls can be chased in one day as they are close to each other. But please don’t ask how many kilometers exactly they are away from the national highway. I really don’t know. All I can say is that they can be hiked if you have enough time, if you love walking and if you are in a group of cheerful people who wouldn’t mind walking a distance.

Along the way to reach these waterfalls are spectacular panoramas of rice fields; coconut, banana and corn plantations and some fruit bearing trees like lanzones, mango, durian, rambutan, guava and others.

Season of rice cultivation

Season of rice cultivation


Nalus Falls

It is the most visited waterfall as it is more accessible and was been open to the public for a long time. The water source is coming from a plateau then descends through the cascading rock formation.

What’s unique with this waterfall is that nature has made it spectacular that in the middle of the basin lays a wide boulder where people can simply seat and watch the waterfall or the fishes swimming freely on the water.

I felt eerie stepping down to the water, I preferred to seat on the bank. But that big boulder in the middle of the water seems to invite us to stay there for a while and contemplate. And so we did.

Contemplating through the relaxing waters of Nalus Falls

Contemplating through the relaxing waters of Nalus Falls

We walked down to a knee-deep water (it depends on a person’s height) and climbed to the boulder. And we just sat there gazing as the water gracefully fall from the rocks.

We weren’t able to leave the place without plunging into the water. It was good, because we have to walk to the highway to look for transportation. By the time we reach the road, our clothes were almost dry.


Bocay-il Falls

Bocay-il Falls are twin falls, as the locals say. I was so eager to see the place as photos weren’t enough for me to understand why it is called twin falls.

There will always be a first time- Me in Bocay-il Falls

There will always be a first time- Me in Bocay-il Falls

Thanks to a friend who drove me with his motorcycle through the ascending mountain path to the falls. I can’t imagine myself to hike few kilometers having a limited time though that would be fun if I’m in a group.

From a distance I can already hear the sound of water that flows down the stream until we reach the narrow path to see the cascading waterfalls. The water pools to an unknown depth. How I wish I brought with me my cousins who doesn’t know the word “fear” so I can ask them to go, swim and check how deep it is.

The pool then feed another slide waterfall towards a tub-like rock formation before the water will descend directly to a wider pool. I think this is the favorite spot of the young and old wherein they climb from the side of the rocks till they reach the big rock where the water passes through and slide down till they plunge to the basin of the waterfall.

Exploring Bocay-il Waterfalls

Exploring Bocay-il Waterfalls

I thought that’s all for twin falls of Bocay-il till we followed another path passing by the wild flowers, ferns and rich natural flora in the area. We have to cross a river also. Just be extra careful when passing through rocks as they tend to be mossy and even in the narrow roads, one wrong step and you’ll experience the unexpected. Don’t worry; I have my own share, too. I was so excited to cross the river and I didn’t notice the algae on the river rocks. Off the beaten track? Yes. I slipped off.

Rich flora surrounding the waterfall

Rich flora surrounding the waterfall

After crossing the river, we took few ascending steps and the sounds of the gushing waters were just around. And lo and behold, on the other face of the mountain I found the other falls with all its glory pouring its foaming water as it reach the base. It was amazing. And as I sat down on the rock, put my feet on the water and stare at the waterfall, it was magical like its legendary story. It was hypnotic. And when I’m done and look down, the water was crystal clear.

The story doesn’t end there. As the water pools, it will continue to flow through a stream leading to a big rock where the waters spread like a fan forming another basin at the foot of the waterfall.

Bocay-il is a twin waterfall, but for me, it was a total of four waterfalls.


Swagan Lino Lihek Falls

Swagan Falls is just adjacent to Bocay-il Falls but we have to go back again to the national highway and enter through the Badtasan road. We’ll pass by elementary school, vast rice fields, churches and houses of the locals. Just follow the road and it will lead you to the falls. However, at one point, the road was divided leading to different pathways. I forgot which road we took. But this is not a problem, just ask any of the locals and they can surely help you.

Upon reaching the entrance, we had to pass by the cottages till we had a glimpse of Swagan Falls. It consists of mini waterfalls where water pours from cascading rocks. We hiked through the boulders trying to avoid the strong force of flowing water. But there was a part wherein a wide surface of a rock is being bathed with gentle flowing water where you can sit or lie down under the beaming sunlight.

Conquering the boulders of Swagan Lino Lihek Falls

Conquering the boulders of Swagan Lino Lihek Falls

It was like unending sets of mini waterfalls and we end up on the levee where a lanzones tree is lavishly bearing its fruits. What happened next? Thanks to the teenagers who were there and climbed the fruit-bearing tree and harvested few baskets of lanzones so we were able to satisfy our cravings with sweet, juicy flesh of the fruit.


Visiting these places on weekdays will give you more chance to be alone and feel the solemn ambience.

However, if you love crowds and want to have fun with other people, explore them during weekends which is Saturday and Sunday or during holidays as the locals are also visiting these places to unwind and relax. You can also play with the children who love to show off their skills in swimming and their unbelievable courage to jump or slide from the big rocks following the flow of the descending waters.

Waterfalls have their own unique features and they’ll never be the same. We cannot really tell how strong is the pressure of the gushing waters or how deep the water is, unless we challenge ourselves. One thing is for sure, it is difficult to resist the tempting clear, cold and refreshing waters. Sightseeing only? It is impossible. For me, I won’t leave any of these places without being able to plunge in the waters or I will have only regrets that start with “what if.”


Waterfalls will always be one of my beautiful weaknesses. And I’m grateful, that beyond chasing dreams, waterfalls are always there to remind me this verse, “For I will pour water upon him who is thirsty, and streams upon the dry ground; I will pour My Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessings upon your descendants.” Isaiah 44:3

Louiela Ann

A dream chaser… Louiela is an OFW based in UAE…
A small town girl from Kiamba, Sarangani Province…
A Nurse by profession who injected herself with much wanderlust.
You can find her easily online.


  • Carmelo Mallare Velasco says:

    Bocay il is 3.2 kilometers from hway, the word bocay-il is local term which means clear water. The first falls that you will encounter is locally known as hikong betang-il (overflowing water) and the other one is called hikong klayab (forest covered). According to the people at bocay-il there is another falls in the upstream of hikong betang-il and they called it hikong lemo (5 stairs falls) but till now remains undocumented.
    At badtasan, you can explore the upstream of hikong limo, just a 5 minutes walk and you will see swagan falls and the beautiful forest of badtasan…

  • Louiela Ann Louiela Ann says:

    Thank you for these facts po… With your permission, can I update the post with these added info? Maraming salamat po,,,

  • Arni says:

    I’ve never been to these parts in the south yet. These falls look immensely calming.I can imagine it to be possible during the week days when you can enjoy your own thoughts while lingering there.?

    • Louiela Ann Louiela Ann says:

      You’re right Arni… They’re such a paradise to escape all the stresses… I’m from the South, yet I’m guilty of not having to explore the too many hidden places as well…

  • Christina says:

    Looks like a lovely spot that is green and lush. There seems to be so many places in the Philippines that are relatively undiscovered and this looks like one of them.

    • Louiela Ann Louiela Ann says:

      And they’re actually close to each other… Lucky are the locals, they are enjoying these places with less crowd. Come and visit some other times…:)

  • Christina says:

    Chasing waterfalls is one of my favorite activities! The hikes in to see the falls sound so beautiful with all the various views it has to offer.

    • Louiela Ann Louiela Ann says:

      One of the amazing gifts of nature… If you are around Southern Philippines, you’ll never ran out of waterfalls… Tell me if you have plans, we’ll go and chase after them :))

  • Vyjay says:

    The waterfalls are splendid. I love waterfalls, the sound of the gushing waters is soothing. A sight of a waterfall always alleviates the spirits. It is indeed a soothing experience.

  • Indrani says:

    Waterfalls have magic in the air around them… soothes all tired nerves, refreshing and relaxing. The pictures say it all. and you jumped real high!!! 🙂
    I am reminded of my visit to Soochipara Falls in Wayanad, Kerala.

  • Ferna says:

    I bet the color of the nature in actual is more than beautiful. I love how you took time there. I never been to this place yet, but, I do hope to visit one day. Thanks for the facts and for sharing. All The best!

    • Louiela Ann Louiela Ann says:

      Experiencing them is far more beautiful, you’re right…
      Southern Philippines has more to offer, visit Mindanao soon.. 🙂

  • Jan Michael says:

    I have never been to Mindanao and too bad that I am missing so much of natural wonders in the South. Your experience sounds really awesome and I hope that we can also visit these falls soon. But first, we need to book a flight to Mindanao and start exploring.

  • Sheena says:

    3 waterfalls in 1 day? That’s my idea of a perfect day! Awesome photos, I bet the scenery along the way was beautiful too.

  • Marge says:

    I don’t think you mentioned where exactly in the southern part of the country this is so that’s what I’m ask. This is the first time I heard about these falls and I want to see them myself, they look gorgeous. How to get there?

    • Louiela Ann Louiela Ann says:

      Thanks for your interest Marge,,, the nearest airport is General Santos City which is around 90 kms far…
      Then you can head to Ablog Terminal, take a van going to Kiamba.
      Kiamba is one of the municipalities of Sarangani Province.
      Peope’s Champ and Senator Manny Pacquiao built two grandiose houses in this place.

  • Kat says:

    This is the first time I’ve heard of these waterfalls. I agree with the others that there’s still so much left undiscovered here in the country, at least by tourists. Even in Laguna, majestic falls such as Hulugan Falls have been opened to the public eye only late last year. 🙂

  • Sally says:

    I just got back from the Philippines but unfortunately didn’t get to go much further than Manila, Boracay and Cebu. I would love to be able to explore some more of what this country has to offer and chasing waterfalls sounds perfect!

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