In the world filled with amazingly wonderful places, finding that one place which literally has EVERYTHING is a rarity. Lucky for us Filipinos though, we need not sail many oceans as that precious little paradise is just an hour of plane away wherever you may be in the more than 750o islands of The Philippines. Cebu! Yeah. You heard that right. Cebu just happens to be one of those rare and precious slice of heaven that fortunately for us is situated in the heart of the world’s 2nd largest archipelago, our beloved motherland.
As soon as you set foot on the grounds of Mactan Airport and get a glimpse of the bright lights of Lapu-Lapu City, that very moment is when you realize you are in for something great. Choosing where to head first can be your very first dilema as a plethora of delightful surprises awaits that are set to satiate your hunger for new discoveries and quench your thirst for adventure. Cebu, one of the many beautiful islands of Visayas, is also one of the most historic provinces in the country. It treasures a rich cultural heritage dating back beyond the Spanish Era. Complimenting that are virgin islands of pure untouch beauty and seawaters home to some exotic, near extinct marine creatures. And if what you are looking for is something to satisfy your much needed dose of adrenaline, look no further. Cebu got it all covered with its awesome adventures carefully designed to achieve that heartstopping and mindboggling moments.
I could go on for days telling you all the good stuff this exquisite province has to offer. And mind you, the list is yet filled to the brink since probably there is still plenty more delights we don’t know about. Needless for me to say but the best thing to do is just to pack your bags light and fly to begin one of the most epic travels of your lifetime. To save you the hassle, allow me to share with you my 5-Day Cebu Itinerary with a quick sidetrip to Manjuyod Sandbar in the Island of Negros Oriental for as cheap as P7500 for everything!
USEFUL TIPS TO TAKE NOTE OF
- Travelling to Cebu can be really steep and sometimes P7500 is the cheapest you can get unless you would skrimp on food.
- Expenses depend on the places you would choose to see and the activities you are going to take.
- Travelling alone is possible as the province has one of the friendliest locals, although not all of them have your best interest at heart.
- While travelling alone gives you more flexibility, in a place like Cebu, you would need to burden yourself with one or two of your annoying friends to have somebody to share the cost with.
- Give rewards where and when it’s due. Avoid rip off’s at all cost.
Did I miss anything? If not then let’s get to the nitty gritty. I do not need to tell you how to get there, do I? Well. here are your options.
- Manila – Fly via your preferred airline. To get cheap plane seats, watch out for seat sale happening all year round. Another option is board a 2GO Ferryboat and sail to Cebu!
- Davao – Fly either via Cebu Pacific or PAL
- Bohol – Ride a 2GO Fastcraft or any ferryboat plying the waters between Cebu and Bohol in Tagbilaran Port. There’s an ongoing promo called “Libre Balik” where you can get the roundtrip tickets for P800.
- Dumaguete – Ride a Ceres bus to Cebu
- Palawan – Fly via Cebu Pacific. Note that flights are limited so better to carefully plan your itinerary ahead of time.
- Boracay – Fly via Cebu Pacific from either Caticlan or Kalibo airports.
WHAT IS THERE TO SEE AND EXPERIENCE IN CEBU?
The province of Cebu is subdivided into several municipalities with each one having surprises ready to blow your mind away. Fasten your seatbelt as you are set for one heck of a roller coaster ride while I take you to some of Cebu’s finest.
Do a city tour. This may come with bits of redundance but going on a city tour is one way to know Cebu from its deepest corners and is an awesome starter for Cebu virgins.
Mactan Island. A not so distant island from the province’s capital but is one where the best of Cebu is showcased.
Bantayan Island. 4 hours of bus and an hour of ferryboats rides after, you will be taken to this magnificent island with just the right blend of history and nature.
Malapascua Island. This island alone is an eyecandy but what sets it apart from the rest of Cebu are the threasher sharks living and thriving in its waters.
Moalboal. The sea turtles aren’t just thriving in Apo Island. Complete your Central Visayas tour without leaving Cebu with a quick island hopping tour in Moalboal to get a glimpse of the adorable sea turtles and the abundant underwater heaven.
Badian. Canyoneering and Kawasan Falls is this town’s precious treasures.
Dalaguete. Wanna bask the glory and magnificence of the island on top of Cebu’s highest peak? Then a 30-minute trek to Osmeña Peak is what you need.
Alegria. Shimmering turquoise and crystal clear river waters? Alegria has one of the best in Kanlaob River.
Samboan and Ginatilan. Chasing waterfalls? There is no other place to do it best than in these 2 towns.
Oslob. Skip the whalesharks. There is more to this town than these magnificent giants. Instead, allow yourself to marvel at the unearthly beauty of its beaches and waterfalls.
SLEEP AND EATS
Oh geez! I’m afraid I couldn’t write you a budget accommodation review nor a fearless foodie guide for Cebu. We were constantly on the move that we spent most of our nights on a moving bus, aboard a ferry or some place with free wifi and cheap coffee. In fact, our most decent sleep in Cebu City was in a 3-hour quickie room of a love motel near South Bus Station! 😂 As for food, we were probably too famished that we didn’t bother to take note of the restaurant’s name and their bestsellers or too full that after we ate, all we wanted was a sweet spot to recharge. 🐷
Anyhooo. I do plan to publish a compilation of all budget inns and hostels in Cebu as well as the best and cheapest places to grab a bite so just stay tuned.
SO HOW DID WE DO OUR EPIC 5-DAY CEBU ADVENTURE WITHIN P7500?
DAY 1: CEBU CITY: Getting To Know “The Queen City Of The South”.
When visiting the Province Of Cebu, the most essential part of your bucket list is roaming around the city. Cebu wasn’t dubbed as the “Queen City Of The South” for nothing. In fact, it is one of the most significant cities in our country’s history and one where our cultural heritage is the richest. This city has the right blend of the old and new. Old churches stood amidst the hustle and bustle along with exciting new attractions which draw in a fair deal of both local and foreign visitors everyday.
While taking public transportation to visit all the amazing spots in the city helps you cope easily with the city’s culture, riding a motorcycle is another cheap and comfortable way to get to each scenic spots. You can either rent a motorcycle and drive on your own or hire someone to drive you around.
|PLACES TO VISIT||Sirao Flower Farm
Temple Of Leah
Top Skyline Garden
Sto. Niño Church
Fort San Pedro
|DAY 1 EXPENSES||Bus Fare Airport To SM - P25
Breakfast - P60
Cebu Tour @ P800/2 - P400
Entrance Fee - P110
--Temple Of Lea P50
--Fort San Pedro P30
Lunch - P80
Dinner - P100
Cab Fare To North Bus Station - P70
Total - P845
|CONTACT PERSON||Kuya Marvin Tenajora - 0943 224 2835 or 0995 210 8385 (Motorcycle)|
Recent Update: Due to the brand new regulation implemented by the city hall wherein motorcycles are only allowed 2 passengers (the driver and the other passenger), effective rate is now P700/pax/motorcycle.
DAY 2: BANTAYAN ISLAND: A Fair Beauty With A Steep Price Tag
Bantayan Island was not part of the original itinerary since we were supposed to explore South Cebu all the way but Rhea, my bestie and travel buddy, persuaded me so I was forced to allot a day for this island without doing prior research. The plan was to travel first thing in the morning and spend the rest of the hours of Day 1 experiencing some Cebu City night life. Thank heavens for sending us angels who told us that what we had in mind was the worst idea of all since the island is 5 hours of travel away from the city and we might as well be wasting time if we are to wait until morning given our limited time. So after a little dose of Cebu’s lively night life, off we went to the North Bus Station instead of the hostel and took the first trip to Bantayan Island at midnight.
|WHAT TO SEE AND DO||ISLAND HOPPING
-Snorkel the rich waters near Hilantagan Island.
-Explore Hilantagan Island and check the locals
-Do some beach loving in the untouched Virgin Islands
-Have a sumptuous lunch in one of the many restaurants in the island
-Bathe in Ogtong Cave's subterreanean pool
-Explore the long stretch of powdery white sand beach in Sta. Fe
-Drop a visit Obo Ob Mangove Garden
-Drop by the most beautiful spot in the island which they call Pantalan
-Visit Bantayan Church which is percieved to be the oldest church in Cebu
-Spend solitary hours in Kota Beach home to Camp Sawi
|DAY 2 EXPENSES||Island Hopping Tour @ P700/2 - P350
Inland Tour @ P700/2 - P350
Entrance Fees - P250
--Virgin Island - P100
--Ogtong Cave - P100
--Mangrove Garden - P50
Food - P390
--Breakfast - P15
--Lunch - P310
--Dinner - P65
Roundtrip Fare - P560
--Bus @170/way - P340
--Ferry & Terminal Fee @110/way - P220
Sleep - P200
Total - P2100
|CONTACT PERSON||Kuya Junjun - 0910 488 7575|
Note: We left Bantayan Island at 6PM catching ourselves the last trip back to Cebu as we were headed to Oslob the following day. We arrived in the city at 11PM, had a quick dinner and dozed off in a nearby motel. Hence the additional P200. Cheaper option is to wait at the bus station for the first trip to Oslob at 3AM and sleep on the bus but we were just tired AF!
Day 3: OSLOB & SAMBOAN – The Underrated Jewels Of The South
When we speak of Oslob, first thing that would come to mind to many people are the whalesharks but little do they know that this quaint little town down south of Cebu has more to offer than merely swimming with the gentle giants whom we unfortunately expose to harm in the process. To get started with our tour in the south, we headed first to Sumilon Island. I was tempted to sign up for the P1500 day tour offered by Bluewater Resort but I figured a cheaper way to do it. It wasn’t entirely cheap for my standard but it was the only option we had at the time. After coming from Sumilon Island, we then rented a tricycle to tour the city and chase waterfalls in Samboan and Ginatilan.
|WHAT TO SEE AND DO||-Explore the beautiful Sumilon Island Sandbar
Binalayan Hidden Falls
-Visit Oslob's Heritage Park
|DAY 3 EXPENSES||Sumilon Island @ P1200/2 - P600
Chasing Waterfalls And Oslob Tour @ P800/2 - P400
Food - P400
Entrance Fees - P70
--Aguinid Falls P20
Guide Fee Aguinid Falls - P100
Fare - P300
--Ferry to Sibulan Port P75
--Trike to Dumaguete P60
--Bus To Oslob P165
Sleep - P250 (Harold's Mansion)
Total - P2120
|CONTACT PERSON||Kuya Alex - 0933 134 6985 (Motorcycle)|
Note: After kicking off our South Cebu tour, we then travelled to Dumaguete to get a glimpse of Manjuyod Sandbar and the dolphins the following morning. For super saving tips, wait for other groups to share the cost of the boat to Sumilon Island. The boat isn’t exclusive to you so there’s really not a need to pay so much just to see a freakin’ sandbar! Okay… It was beautiful. 😘
Day 4: BAIS CITY – Home of the playful dolphins and our country’s version of “Maldives”
When in Central Visayas, one thing you wouldn’t want to miss is to see the dolphins and marvel at the beautiful stilt houses while afloat the knee-deep turquoise water of Manjuyod Sandbar. To dubbed it as Maldives Of The Philippines is overrated but I gotta say, it has its own kind of charm that would easily sway those beach loving bums.
|WHAT TO SEE AND DO||Dolphin Watching
Visit Manjuyod Sandbar
Drop by the nearby Talobong Mangrove Garden
|DAY 4 EXPENSES||Dolphin Watching and Manjuyod Sandbar Tour - P600
RoundTrip Bus Dumaguete-Bais - P106
Tricycle - P50
Lunch - P75
Dinner at Sans Rival Bistro - P250
Sleep - P250 (Harold's Mansion)
Total - P1331
|CONTACT PERSON||Kuya Rey - 0997 100 7184 (Tricycle Driver. He can arrange your Manjuyod and Dolphins Tour according to your budget)|
Note: For this tour, you can save a lot if you are going to join other groups. Large boats that fit up to 20 people is priced at P6000 for a day tour to Manjuyod Sandbar and to see the dolphins. Just be ready to be kind of flexible especially with your time.
Day 5: OSMEÑA PEAK & KAWASAN FALLS – Just The Perfect Adventure
As a mountain enthusiast, there is no way I’m going to miss Osmeña Peak! And when it’s complimented with my other love – a visit to a nearby waterfalls, there could never be anything more perfect. That’s exactly how we capped off our Cebu Tour. Joining us was a good childhood friend, Phoebe who added a big plus to the epic ending of our Cebu adventure.
|WHAT TO SEE AND DO||Trek to Osmeña Peak in Dalaguete
Visit Kawasan Falls in Badian
|DAY 5 EXPENSES||Motorcyle Rental to O Peak and Kawasan Falls - P400
Entrance Fees - P50
--O Peak P30
--Kawasan Falls P20
Fare - 365
--Bus & Ferry Dumaguete-Dalaguete P175
--Bus Badian-Cebu P165
--Bus Airport 25
Food - P215
Total - 1030
Note: Habal-Habal in Osmeña Peak has a standard tariff of P800 (O’Peak and Kawasan) and P400 (O’peak alone) good for 2 people. What’s disappointing is one will pay the same amount even when he’s on his own. 🙁
SUMMARY OF EXPENSES AND SAMPLE ITINERARY
|DAY 1: CEBU CITY: Getting To Know “The Queen City Of The South”.||P845|
|DAY 2: Bantayan Island Day Tour||P2100|
|Day 3: The Best Of South Cebu||P2120|
|Day 4: The Adorable Dolphins & The Maldives Of The Philippines||P1331|
|Day 5: On Top Of Cebu & Kawansan Falls||P1030|
Our epic Cebu trip was not as perfect as we had planned. There were many mishaps, bad decisions and unfavorable turn of events. Well, what did I expect? It’s us. The crazy and the whole screw up have always been a usual part of our travels. Our misadventure may have been too disappointing at times and it may have cost us more than we intend to spend for this trip but it definitely marked another milestone to me and my bestie’s friendship. After two decades of putting up with each other, I can finally say that true friends aren’t really hard too find. The most genuine friendships begin when you have finally come to know the right ones to keep. 😊
There you go lovelies. There’s definitely a lot more to Cebu that we have yet to see and explore. It has just been a couple of months since we first set foot to this exquisite island province but we can hardly resist the thoughts of going back soon. There’s just no getting enough of it.
Have you been to Cebu or is planning to go there soon? Let me know your thoughts. Leave me your stories and comments and I will be happy to chat with you.
Until next time. Ciao. 🙂