Recoletos Falls: A quick douse in its cold natural pool before going up to Mt. Tres Marias 


I really can’t find the right words to elucidate my appreciation for waterfalls. I constantly find it fascinating whenever I get the chance to gaze at its innate beauty. The brook gurgling sound that runs over the beam like rocks going to the deep and the cold catching basin is something that renders me a true peace and fulfillment. It is something that makes me go back no matter how steep the trail is, as long as I traipse my feet along its stunning beauty.

Truly, right after enjoying the cold and fine cloudy water droplets of Ulan-Ulan Falls, there’s actually another waterfall that has long been waiting for all of us. It is peacefully hiding above the Ulan-Ulan Falls and it has a cold and deep catching basin. I felt like I wasn’t satisfied enough with how I flirted with Ulan-Ulan falls because of the unfavorable leisure time that I should have had. And because of that, I was also thinking that travelling to the Recoletos Falls might fill my delectation.

Photo Credit: Sean of His Hidden Letters 

Recoletos Falls is located just above the Ulan-Ulan Falls and peacefully hiding in the lush scenery green forest of Sampao, Almeria, Biliran. Getting to this waterfall from the jump off area will take you approximately 30 minutes of a smooth trek and a 5 minute walk from the well known Ulan-Ulan Falls. While on your way to this waterfall, it provides you a beautiful scene that would surely mollify you. The stream of water that flows in the mountain of Almeria is somehow creates and hides a mass of amazing waterfalls and an awesome spot for Canyoning and river trekking. No wonder that Biliran is known for a great adventure which will surely unlock your wanderlust soul.

The Recoletos waterfall is estimated approximately 15 meters high. It owns a wide pool with deep cold water that is perfect for swimming and cliff jumping. There’s a wide and flat stone surrounding the catching basin, which is perfect for those that loves to commune with nature and a great spot for picnic. The area is surrounded by green foliage which provides an umbrageous spot to protect you from the clinging heat of the sun. It is said to be one of the reasons why the water is really cold.

Photo Credit: James of ASANASADSIJAMES

While on our way to Recoletos Falls, we were happily greeted by the stream of water freely flowing along the natural flume. The place is truly untouched and the solitary sign of development in the area is the not so narrow bridge which is used by most locals and visitors in order for them to cross to Recoletos Falls.


As shortly as I’ve seen the waterfalls, a wide and greenish water seemed to be so tempting. But before I decided to douse myself in its cold water, I try to capture some photos and it took me sometimes to decide whether I jump in its cold deep water or remain standing on the well designed rocks while watching my friends who have been enjoying the natural pool of Recoletos Falls. I saw how happy they were while swimming in the natural pool and some of them were courageous enough to jump from the high level of the cliff. Yes, there’s a perfect spot for you to jump if you want to make your Recoletos Falls experience awesome, but make sure to be extra careful cause climbing to the higher level is a bit slippery.


The defining moment came, I jump in its cold water and swim. Truly, the water is really cold and appears like a thousand of ice, which is brisk from the fridge has been thrown in the natural pool. I genuinely have enjoyed the whole time I drenched myself in its cold water. What I like about it aside from the cold water that gives me refreshing feeling is how wide the natural pool is and not herded, in fact, it was only our team who truly have enjoyed the waterfalls during our visit. I can truly swim freely without bothering to think about the crowd.


Our guide reminded us about our time, we then quickly set up ourselves for the coming backbreaking trek going to Mt. Tres Marias and dousing ourselves in the frigid water of Recoletos Falls before the first leg of our ascent to Mt. Tres Marias is really a beneficial choice. We may didn’t get the chance to stay that long in the stunning innate beauty of Recoletos Falls, but we all have been satisfied with what it has to offer to all of us. I will certainly be going back soon if I get the chance.

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HOW TO GET TO  RECOLETOS FALLS

From Naval Town Proper

Ride a motorcycle (habal-habal), or bring your own vehicle to take you to Barangay Sampao. Travel time is about 20-30 minutes going to the drop off area. At the drop off area, you’ll be finding out a signage leading to the waterfalls. You can trek all by yourself if you’re traveling alone going to the waterfalls or you can hire a local guide just near the drop off area.

DIY TRAVEL GUIDE TO RECOLETOS FALLS 

Motorcycle from Naval going to the Jump off area of Recoletos Falls and Ulan-Ulan Falls in Sampao is Php 80 to Php 100. Mostly, when you get back to the jump off area after exploring Recoletos Falls and Ulan-Ulan Falls, you probably be struggling to ride a motorcycle going back to Naval. I suggest that you better hire the motorcycle driver for your entire time of visiting Recoletos Falls and Ulan-Ulan Falls since both are just close to each other. The price is around Php 300 or you can haggle the price.  If you also decide to hire a local guide, Php 100 is I guess enough.

ENTRANCE FEES 

  • Ulan-Ulan Falls and Recoletos Falls (Local and Foreigners) – Php 20
  • Climbers (Mt. Tres Marias) –  Php 50

Things to do in Recoletos Falls and Ulan-Ulan Falls

  • Swimming
  • Canyoneering
  • River Trekking

TRAVEL TIPS 

  • Be careful with the wet rocks, for they are very slippery.
  • There is no mobile signal in these places. Just make sure your phone or camera is fully charged for picture purposes.
  • There are no cottages along the sides of the stream and it is not a place to stay for overnight.
  • Don’t ever go River trekking alone. Wrong direction of your feet could lead to bruises or anything that would cause you regret.
  • Make sure you stick to your guide’s instruction. Don’t create your own system, then follow.
  • Better halt the activities when the sudden rain arrives because the water can create fast currents that would result to dangerous situation.
  • Hypothermia can be a real risk. If you’re the person who’s  not used of staying long in a cold water for too long, then you better wear wet-suits and pay attention to your body’s response.
  • Wear your comfortable trekking shoes.
  • Bring enough water, and make certain to have your stomach filled before going to Ulan-Ulan Falls and Recoletos Falls
  • Please remember to leave no trace behind. Take good care of our mother nature. Just enjoy and be responsible enough.
  • Above all PRAY before going to the waterfalls for God’s guidance and protection.

 

Note: This is part of our Independence adventure that happened last June 9-12, 2017 from summit to sea. Trekking to Mt. Tres Marias and exploring Sambawan Island and Lake Danao.

 

POSSIBLE TRAVEL EXPENSES FOR THE WHOLE TRIP 

  • Boat fare from Cebu to Ormoc via Roble – Php 510
  • Cebu Port Terminal Fee – Ph p25
  • Ormoc to Naval via Van- Php 130
  • Breakfast – Php 60
  • Ormoc to jump off area via Van – Php 70
  • Lunch – Php 50
  • Entrance Fee (Mt. Tres Marias)- Php 50
  • Fare from the Drop off area of Tres Marias – Cawayan – Php 100
  • Food, Guide Fee and Boat going to Sambawan Island (Food – Php 289, Boat (2,500÷12) = Php 208,  Guide (1500÷12) = Php 125) = Php622
  • Entrance Fee Sambawan Island – Php 100
  • Cawayan to Ormoc City – Php 250
  • Snacks – Php 75
  • Ormoc to Cebu – Php 420 (sitting)
  • Jeep rental from Ormoc to Danao Lake  (Php 1,500÷9) = Php 167
  • Lunch – Php 115
  • Lake Danao Environmental Fee – Php 5
  • Lake Danao Entrance Fee- Php 25
  • Lake Danao Cottage, mini Boat and Life buoy, (Cottage – Php150, Boat Php 100,Salbabida or Life buoy Php 50 = Php 300 ÷ 9 = Php58) – Php 58
  • Dinner in Ormoc – Php 55
  • TOTAL – Php 2,987

Note: All expenses are split up into a number of people who joined during the entire trip. We are around 12 excluding our 1 guide to Mt. Tres Marias during this trip.

ITINERARY FOR THE WHOLE TRIP 

DAY 1

  • 10:00 PM – Boat ride going to Ormoc City
  • 04:30 AM –  ETA Ormoc City
  • 04:40 AM – Depart for Naval, Biliran
  • 06:30 AM – ETA Naval, Biliran
  • 07:00 AM – Breakfast
  • 08:00 AM – Buying food for Lunch
  • 08:20 AM – Depart for Tres Marias Drop   off area.
  • 08:50 AM – ETA Drop off area
  • 09:00 AM – Registration and Stretching
  • 09:30 AM – Start trek
  • 10:00 AM – ETA Ulan Ulan Falls
  • 11:00 AM – ETA Recoletos Falls
  • 11:40 AM – Depart for Lunch site
  • 01:30 PM – Lunch
  • 02:30 PM – Depart to Camping site
  • 04:30 PM – ETA Camping site
  • 05:30 PM – Prepare for dinner
  • 07:00 PM – Dinner
  • 09:00 PM lights off

Day 2

  • 05:00 AM – Prepare breakfast
  • 06:00 AM – Breakfast
  • 06:45 AM – Trek to Tres Marias Summit
  • 09:00 AM – ETA Mt. Tres Marias Summit
  • 09:30 AM – Depart for Camping site
  • 11:00 AM – ETA Camping site
  • 11:20 AM – Prepare for Lunch
  • 12:20 PM – Lunch
  • 12:45 PM – Depart from Camping site
  • 05:20 PM – ETA Jump Off Area
  • 05:30 PM – Depart for Cawayan
  • 06:30 PM – ETA Cawayan Port
  • 07:00 PM – Depart for Sambawan Island
  • 07:45 PM – ETA Sambawan Island

Day 3

  • 05:00 AM – Waiting for Sunrise
  • 09:00 AM – Breakfast
  • 10:00 AM – Depart for Cawayan Port
  • 11:00 AM – ETA Cawayan Port
  • 11:10 AM – Depart for Ormoc City
  • 01:20 PM – ETA Ormoc City
  • 02:00 PM – Depart for Lake Danao
  • 02:30 PM – ETA Lake Danao
  • 05:45 PM – Depart for Ormoc City
  • 06:30 PM – ETA Ormoc City
  • 07:20 PM – Dinner
  • 08:10 PM – Strolling around Ormoc City
  • 09:20 PM – Ormoc Port
  • 10:00 PM – Depart for Cebu City
  • 04:00 AM – ETA Cebu City
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42 thoughts on “Recoletos Falls: A quick douse in its cold natural pool before going up to Mt. Tres Marias 

  1. Wow! This is just gorgeous!!! I love the pics of waterfalls that you take! The misty, foggy white beauties in the turquoise blue or emerald green background is just breathtaking! Its awesome that its not a difficult trek to reach this beautiful place.

    Like

  2. It`s such a wonderful feeling to know that there are still many falls and streams that are untouched. Many beautiful beaches are so commercialized nowadays. Your photos are really alluring. Nature really offers the best places.

    ❀ Grace ❀

    Like

  3. You are very brave jumping in that cold water, but I guess you would regret it later if you didn’t take a swim in such an idylic location. Your images are stunning and I love the fact that you took the time to use a slow shutter speed option and really capture the essence of the place.

    Like

  4. Nice scenery. Beautiful location. what more can I say! Waterfall always amuses me. We can see how much you enjoyed your trip. 🙂 Informative post and nice photos. Thanks for sharing.

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  5. Whoa! How do you find out such gorgeous falls! The place seems so untouched by touristy stuffs. This must be the fav holiday place of locals. Thanks for the elaborate break up of cost and time.

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  6. Cold like a thousand ice cubes! I do not think I can withstand such cold water. I will have to stay on the sidelines only if I go there.

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  7. The entrance fee is so cheap for something so beautiful! It amazes me that there are so many waterfalls in the Philippines that I haven’t been to yet. Funny that you mentioned that the water is cold, lately I visited some waterfalls and I noticed that their waters were not as cold compared to those that I visited in the past.

    How do you make that blurry effect on the water by the way?

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  8. I love the way you have given the detailed breakup including the timings. I prefer this kind of information. Coming to the pool, it is not just natural, but naturally so beautiful. And so are it’s surroundings.

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  9. This looks like an amazing experience I love waterfalls and would like to cool off in the water there. I like how you have shared the travel expenses this is really useful when I am planning my trips.

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  10. Lai, another detailed post you got here! This is what I totally love on your articles, we got to know every detail up to the last peice of information that we need to know. I never tried trekking for days even if my husband has been doing it constantly — because Im always afraid to be the burden of the group. But looking at these places that you’ve been to, I may try this one out! Love the streamsand falls that you featured! It’s nice to stumble upon your blog again. See you soon! 🙂

    Like

  11. Biliran is such a small island yet filled with amazing waterfalls and adventures. Stunning photographs you have here and the flamboyant narrative made me feel as if I’m part of the story. Thank you for sharing this. Hope to see these beautiful falls in Biliran soon. 🙂

    Like

  12. A waterfall as a reward after a good trek sounds brilliant. I think you planned it well–a trek should have a goal, not just a journey, and a beautiful and refreshing endpoint makes it better.

    Like

  13. You have narrated all what Recolectos falls may offer to lovers of nature. You are indeed splendidly been satisfied by the falls. It has captivated you much and it seems your satisfaction and happiness are endlessly. – Gil Camporazo

    Like

  14. The landscape around the waterfall is so beautiful. I love the softness of the water, the greenery and blue tints all around. You have prepared such a nice, detailed itinerary. I would love to trek to Tres Marias Summit some day. Cheers!!

    Like

  15. This is such a beautiful place, the crystal clear waters, and its color is awe-inspiring. The secluded Recoletos falls and its pool nestled amidst the wonderful nature is a marvelous spot. We would love to explore this place when we visit the Philippines.

    Like

  16. Never would have thought of jumping into a cold pool. Hot springs, yes. Cold pools, no! But your experience has sure made us curious! Might just try it ourselves.

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  17. I loved your pictures. The bluish green water with cliffs, greenery all around is making this place so serene.I too would love to swim in this natural pool but jumping from a cliff scares me out. I am in love with the Philippines, so many hidden gems. Wow!!

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  18. I’m a sucker for waterfalls. This one is another beautiful one you’ve explored after the Ulan Ulan falls. The water looks pristine and its great that this place is quiet and peaceful

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  19. i found something new again on your blog Lai! list keeps on growing and growing here lol Anyway, did you spent almost 3000 pesos for this trip alone? I know you said there’s some split bill but if on yourself alone, would it cost the same?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, 3,000 pesos for the whole trip, which include the fare from Cebu, climb to Mt. Tres Marias, Recoletos Falls, Ulan-Ulan Falls, Sambawan Island, Ormoc City and Lake Danao, also our food and everything. 3 days and 2 nights of adventure.

      Like

  20. one thing I love about this place is how unspoiled this natural pool is.. the water reminds me of the Batlag Falls in Tanay Rizal.. i had my first hiking experience few weeks ago and there’s also a stop over in a natural pool but sadly, the water was not that clear because it rained but it was truly a great experience and I would love to do it again

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  21. You never fail to bring out another dazzling gem whenever you dive into the treasure chest that is the Philippines. The Recoletos Falls is another sheer ethereal falls. The clear blue waters and the pristine surroundings make the place look like paradise. Having virtually traveled with you across the beautiful islands, beaches and waterfalls of the Philippines, I seem to have had a ringside view of the beautiful country.

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