Cebu is a province of the Philippines, in the country’s Central Visayas region, comprising Cebu Island and more than 150 smaller surrounding islands and islets.
It is an island-province where you can find the sweetest mangoes, pristine beaches, luxurious resorts, jungle trails leading to beautiful waterfalls, and turquoise-like colored water forms.
How to get to Cebu?
We had booked our flight tickets at Cebu Pacific Air, and we were lucky enough to get ours at a very low or discounted price. You may want to check for the rates months before your desired travel date to get the best deal for your flight tickets!
Where we stayed in Cebu?
We stayed in a very comfy and decent place called Horizon101 Condominium Cebu City. A perfect place to rest before starting to explore the wonders of Cebu!
Where to go, eat, and explore in Cebu?
Let’s get on to the places we’ve been and the food we ate! We arrived at the airport at around 6 pm, so we headed directly to the 10,000 Roses (artificial led-powered roses) because Kuya Jham told us that it is better to go there during dusk to night hours.
It is located in Cordova, Cebu (beside Lantaw Floating Restaurant where we had our dinner). I have to say that you must try their “Cordova express,” it’s a seafood concoction in coconut milk and moringa leaves. It is unique and delicious.
I am actually craving it right now! You may not want to miss out on the souvenir shop and cafè beside the 10,000 Roses.
The next day…
We woke up early and started our tours to different temples, churches, gardens, and must-go places, including Temple of Leah, Sirao Flower Garden, Taoist Temple, Ancestral House, Cebu Heritage Monument, Cathedral church, Port San Pedro, Magellan’s Cross, and Sto. Niño Church.
Lunch at Carcar Special Lechon
During our tour, our guide took us to Carcar Special Lechon, where we had our lunch. It was delicious, and it’s been a long time since I had taste Lechon this good!
Canyoneering at Kawasan Falls, Badian Cebu
The next day is the most exciting part for me because we had our full course (with a diploma! just kidding! lol) Canyoneering and Kawasan Level 1, 2, and 3 in the town of Badian.
It has three levels where the height and difficulty of cliff jumping or diving goes up. The trail is jungle-like and requires the assistance of a professional guide. It is more or less 10km of walking, swimming, hopping, cliff jumping, and the feeling of getting lost in paradise.
Although it is nerve-wracking, the full gear needed was provided and included in the package (the life jacket, of course!) and the rewarding feeling of jumping off every cliff you will traverse.
We also had a chance to go to Pescador Island, do snorkeling, sea turtle encounter, and watch the sardines run in front of our very own eyes! For me, this is the most tiring but the most memorable experience when you go to Cebu.
By the way, we stayed at Allegria Inn for our convenience as we were leaving for Oslob the following day, tomorrow’s destination, and the encounter with a whale shark. We were always on the lookout for local food cafeteria or karinderya to try their local cuisine.
So, we woke up early to go to Oslob for the whale shark encounter. We went there before the sunrise, but there was already a long queue. We had bulalo first for our breakfast in one of the local eateries in the area.
Our guide suggested that we go to Sumilon Island first and be accompanied by one guide while the other monitors our turn for the whale shark encounter. We followed their advice, and we went to the Sumilon Island sandbar first. Sumilon Island sandbar is just a small island, but with crystal clear water; some call it a luxurious resort, but I call it a gem, a paradise. After dipping ourselves in the crystal-clear water, we went back for our whale shark encounter at the signal of our guide.
Oslob Whale Shark Tour
We arrived just in time for our turn. By the way, our boat was hand-paddled to protect the whale sharks. We are not allowed to put on sunblock lotion as well. The area where they feed the whale sharks was just a few hundred meters away.
We were advised that we should not touch the whale sharks, no swimming right in front of them (I guess it should a 3-4 meters away from the huge sharks). Our boatmen pointed and alerted us that we can now go down into the water to see the nearby whale sharks and boom! A face-to-face encounter left me speechless (aside from the fact that I cannot literally speak underwater); I was in slow motion because of my fascination.
You may have a good view of the sharks from the boat because of clear water, but it is more dramatic when you go down. You will realize how huge they are until you have seen them underwater. Personally, I was a bit afraid of going underwater without holding onto the boat because I am wary that their tails may accidentally swipe me. We were allowed to watch and stay for 30 minutes. As they say, they are gentle giants and not dangerous at all.
Whale shark watching hours are limited from 6:00 AM to 12:00 PM. We were finished by 11 am, so we went directly to Oslob Cuartel Heritage and church, Simala church, Car-car, and Tabuan Market.
Try some Puso
I have to say that you should also Cebu’s “puso,” rice wrapped and boiled in a triangular casing made of woven coconut leaves. It is also called hanging rice because it is often hung in bunches. It is considered one of the practical street foods because it is very affordable (Php3.00 to Php 5.00), and you can eat it straight out of the leaves; it is clean and free from flies and human hands.
Hike to Osmeña Peak
Of course, you should not forget the highest mountain in Cebu. Osmeña Peak is the “peak” spot from which you can get stunning 360-degree views of Cebu island. It’s the most famous and beautiful viewpoint on Cebu. There is no fixed price for the tour guide.
Luckily, we had ours included in the package, but our guide said it starts from Php150 and above for a 20-25 minute hike. Personally, I said that the view is like pieces from different places I have been, as the cliff ridges in Itbayat, Batanes, the chocolate hills formation, and the scenic green 360-view.
The weather up there is chill and very relaxing. If I could sleep for hours, I would! Additionally, trust the photography skills of your guide, and you will be amazed. We dropped by some churches as well before we headed back to our unit.
Before we went to the airport, we dropped by malls, pasalubong centers (I must say you ask for your guide to bring you to the 7D’s cheap store), and we ended the site hopping at La Vie Parisienne. It was dubbed as the little Paris of Cebu. It offers not just pastries and wines but a French-dining experience—a perfect stop before going back to the busy city life.
Lastly, if you want to go to Bohol, which is a ferry away, you can add around a thousand or less which will cover almost all expenses like Chocolate Hills, butterfly garden, tarsier, hanging bridge, man made forest, phyton, Baclayon church and museum, and blood compact.
Be the unrestrained backpacker you’ve always wanted.
Land tours and Travel Packages in Cebu
For hassle-free tours in and around Cebu, you may contact Mr. Jham Letigo of Byaheng CEBU Budgetarian. They are very affordable and very flexible when it comes to their packages.
In our case, we modified our itinerary based on the preference and consensus of the group. And they are open to it. They also offer big discounts for larger groups! Details will be provided later for the itinerary, rates, and contact details.
Jham Letigo | 09159967909 | FB Page https://www.facebook.com/Cebudgetours/.
About the Author:
I am MJ Gonzaga, a grab-my-backpack-and-go budget traveler. It feels great to be at the summit of a mountain, or jumping and hopping on rocks, or getting an adrenaline rush as I go deep down the caves. Swimming in crystal clear water relaxes me, and it gives me a sense of clarity as I swim farther away from the shore. My love for travel is equally the same as my love for photography, which is why I always document my travel adventures through photos. That is how I preserve the memories I’ve had at a specific place and relive the feeling of being there again. It also reminds me that I am the unrestrained backpacker I have always wanted to be!