Cebu Island is full of adventures for those who are just willing to go out and explore. Some of the destinations below are suitable for a day trip, and some are perfect for a weekend. It just really depends on how much time you have. But rest assured, you will find the adventure that you're looking for in Cebu. In this post, I will provide you with a north to south guide of Cebu Island, for you to know which spots can be paired together, especially if you're planning a longer vacation.
Cebu is centrally located in the map, and is very accessible from any part of the Philippines. It's also cheaper to fly into than most places. It’s even relatively easy to travel by yourself. But if you want things to be smooth and convenient, especially if you travel in a group, contact a travel agency that specializes in packaged tours in Cebu that includes accommodation and transportation.
Hit The White Beaches Of Malapascua
Vacationing for just a couple of days? Malapascua, the northernmost island of Cebu Province, is an ideal spot. Getting there can be a bit time-consuming, as the bus to Maya port (northern point of Cebu) takes 4 hours, with an additional 45-minute travel by boat. But the long way will be worth your while because Malapascua is known for its perfect and quiet white beaches, particularly Bounty Beach.
Bounty Beach is a romantic place that’s ideal for you and your loved one. It has a selection of restaurants that you can choose from, as well as hammocks that can provide you with rest and tranquility. The whole island takes around one and a half hours to walk. You can even go on an island hopping adventure too.
Malapascua is also known for its scenic and world-class diving spots. It’s also the only place in the world where you can find a Thresher Shark every time you go underwater (only in a specific dive site).
Bantayan Island is the island of choice for many local Cebuanos and foreigners too. This ‘tropical paradise’ is also famously known for its white sand beaches and coconut trees (its landscape looks a bit like Malapascua’s). To access Bantayan via public transportation, you will need to take a bus from the north terminal of Cebu City to Hagnaya port. Travel time takes around 3 hours. From Hagyana, look for the regular boats that leave any time from 4 AM to 5 PM.
Sugar Beach in Santa Fe is one of the most popular beaches on the island, and is very close to the port where you will be dropped off. You can even explore the island, as it offers the following interesting sites like the 500-year old St. Peter and Paul Church, and the Fort of Kota Park (a perfect sunset spot). You can also try skydiving here, which costs PHP18,000 per tandem. Moreover, you will find budget accommodations in Bantayan, which is entirely, not an expensive place.
Be One With Nature In Durano Eco Farm Resort
The Durano Farm in Carmen Municipality offers two interesting sites: the pools and resort, and the farm. There are 5 pools in the resort, as well as several open cottages, tree houses, benches and other facilities. The water is fresh from the nearby spring, and is very clear (no chemicals whatsoever). You can also stay overnight in Durano by availing one of the tree houses. But make sure to bring or cook your own food, or ask the staff to make you whatever they have in stock (for a fee), as the resort doesn’t have its own restaurant.
The second site in Durano Eco Farm Resort is the farm itself, where the management offers walking tours to see their own produce (they grow 400 different kinds of plants and trees). The plantation is also an ideal setting, as it offers a cool ambiance from the summer's day heat.
The farm makes is a very reasonable and affordable place to visit, especially if you’re coming with a large group of family or friends, as the entrance fee is only PHP60. You can also avail of their tree house accommodation for only PHP300-500 a day.
An Outdoor Adventure In The Mountains Of Balamban
Less than an hour away from Cebu City is the mountains of Balamban (often called the ‘mini Baguio’ for its mountainous landscapes and cold temperature), where JVR Island in the Sky Resort is located. The resort offers a fun and adventure-packed place where you can explore nature, ride a zip line or cable car, walk on a colorful, 500-meter long wooden hanging bridge, or swim in the pool.
JVR resort is very affordable, and is a nice place for a day trip. Closed cottages can also be rented if you’re staying overnight. The price per cottage may just range depending on the guest capacity (i.e. PHP1,500 for 6 guests, PHP2,500 for 14 guests).
But if you’d like to rough it up a little, try Danasan Eco Adventure Park (DEAP). The park itself is a great outdoor escape, as it offers a lot of activities like wall climbing, rappelling, kart racing, driving of all-terrain vehicles, waterfall trekking (also including rappelling) and more.
They also offer rooms for the night, but camping outdoors is highly recommended (i.e. tents are rented out for just PHP350 a night). You won’t have a hard time staying here, as DEAP has several organized camping sites with grilling stations, water and CR. They also provide a shuttle service from Cebu City, if you’re looking for a faster way to reach the park.
The Lost Horizon Of The South
Camotes Islands is just an hour and 15 minutes away from Cebu. To get here, take the newest fast craft ferry that operates between Lapu-Lapu City and Consuelo Port in Camotes.
Visiting Camotes from Cebu City is quite easy, which also makes for a wonderful day trip. But what can you find there? In Camotes, you will get to experience ‘Boracay-like’ white beach islands for just a fraction of the price. Its most famous shoreline, which is located in Santiago Bay, has the longest white sand beach in the four islands of Camotes. Here, you will find some bars and restaurants (some that offer videoke); as well as exciting beach activities (i.e. volleyball, football).
There are plenty of beaches in Camotes, as well as caves (there’s around 8). But if you want to see something really special, go to Lake Danao (the Lake of Lovers), as it’s considered as the cleanest lake in the province. To access the lagoon, you can rent a minivan by the pier.
Find The Kapre In His House At Balay Sa Agta
The house of the Kapre (a mythical creature that is described as a Tree Giant) in Balay sa Agta, which is a huge 400-meter long cave, has two waterfalls, one small lake, plenty of stalactites and stalagmites, a huge "skylight" (hole in the ceiling), and many deep dangerous ravines. It may be one of the biggest caves in Cebu and probably one of the most spectacular. Though it is neither for the fainthearted nor for the unfit to try and explore. But should you want to try your limits, you will need to talk to the Argao Tourism Office (032-485-8063) a few days ahead of your visit, to assign a tour guide for you (PHP500 per guide).
The Chocolate Hills of Cebu
The Chocolate Hills of Cebu at Casino Peak can be reached from Dalaguete. You can travel from Mantalongan Public Market, or take a habal-habal ride going to the registration area of Osmeña Peak trail. If you start from the market, expect to go on a 2-hour hike. But if you start from the registration office, it'll only be a 30-minute easy hike.
These numerous hills that stretch all the way to Badian are considered the ‘Twin of the Chocolate Hills of Bohol’. Do yourself a favor and visit this site, especially if you’re skipping the entire trek to Osmeña. The fact that it's not that touristy like Bohol’s Chocolate Hills, makes it much more enjoyable to visit, as you get to avoid the rush of sightseers.
Moalboal And Badian
Moalboal is one of the best areas in Cebu if you’re a thrill seeker. The main attractions here are snorkeling in Pescador Island, and canyoneering in the Matutinao River, all the way to Kawasan Falls. These two spots are right next to each other; so visiting both sites will definitely make for a great day trip.
If you’re thinking of doing a daytrip from Cebu City, make sure to leave at around 4 AM (don’t forget to book your tours ahead). Doing this trip over the weekend is actually much more enjoyable, as you won't need to rush things. You can even squeeze in some relaxation time in between activities.
Pescador Island on the other hand (in Moalboal as well), is also famous for its beautiful corals and abundant marine life (distinctively known for its Sardine run) – a marine sanctuary that is present and well-protected all-year round (no one is allowed to fish here). The boatmen that are usually hired for this type of trip will tell you to jump into the water once you're there. It might look murky from the surface. But believe me, the plunge will be worth it, as soon as you’re surrounded by millions of shining, silver Sardines.
Aside from Pescador Island, there’s also Badian, where the famous ‘Kawasan Waterfalls’ is located. The falls have three tiers. The first two falls have a taller and stronger rush, while the third one has a shorter and calmer flow.
You can also go cliff jumping in Kawasan Falls, as the highest point is 17-meters tall. So if you’re looking for the most thrilling adventure, the full canyoneering tour is highly recommended (tours start at 8 AM).
Oslob - A Perfect Day Trip From Cebu City
Visiting Oslob can be classified as a classic day tour, especially if you’re driving your own car or renting a van (if coming from either Cebu city or from Moalboal/Badian). But if you’ll be riding via public transportation, it will be best to travel in the evening and spend the night here because the best time to get into the water with the whale sharks is at 6 AM, when it's not too crowded. This is the main attraction in Tan-Awan Beach.
A trip to Oslob is also best paired with a trip to Sumilon Island, which is just a short boat ride away. It is a private island with a beautiful white beach, and a nice restaurant and resort. A stay here can be quite expensive. But you can always skip this, and do a short hike to Tumalog Falls instead. The waterfalls look spectacular, as the strong flow of the water creates a white, curtain-like effect, which rushes all the way to a turquoise basin.
What Did I Miss?
While these are my personal picks, there are still plenty more places in the province of Cebu that you can visit. With this north to south guide of Cebu, you can now easily plan your next vacation on the island. Now to sum it all up, if you're looking for a beach vacation, the northern part of Cebu is the place to go. But if you’re looking for adventure, head to the southern part of Cebu.
Did I miss any good spots? If you know other beautiful spots in Cebu, please share it on the comment box below.
Note: This is a sponsored post.