CEBU - ONE OF THE GEMS OF PHILIPPINES
Cebu is one of the most beautiful destinations in Philippines after Palawan ofc. There are a lot of attractions and activities to do in Cebu that you surely want to see and try. Exploring beautiful waterfalls, swimming with the gentle whale sharks, canyoneering , exploring white sand beaches are some of the most popular activities to do in Cebu.
HOW TO GET TO CEBU FROM MUMBAI
Several airlines fly from Mumbai to Cebu, some including Singapore Airlines, AirAsia , Cathay Pacific etc. You can get really cheap deals around 20-25K INR if you book at correct time.
PLACES TO SEE IN CEBU:
Cebu has a lot to offer for people who love adventure and is known for its blue waters everywhere. Below is the list of must-see places in Cebu.
1. CANYONEERING IN KAWASAN FALLS
One of the most popular thing to do in Cebu is Canyoneering in Kawasan Falls, situated in Badian which is around 3 hours away from Cebu city. Canyoneering or canyoning includes climbing, jumping, hiking and of course swimming in the canyons and the final destination is Kawasan Falls with super blue water. Its always better to book a tour in advance which includes pick up and drop, lunch , canyoning equipments. Wearing safety equipments is very important and compulsory. You are first taken by a motorbike to the top which is the starting point. Having a guide is compulsory and he will accompany you, ensure your safety and will click loads of pics There are many points where you can cliff jump while canyoning, but the jump at the start is compulsory to get you started. Dont worry its not that high.
The cliff behind me is the point where first cliff jump is done. And you would see bundle of tourists here since its the most popular place in Cebu. The next 2-3 hours would be the most amazing time of your life. You would be seeing beautiful rock formations, greenary and blue water all the time
Make sure you click a pic of yourself floating while this when no one is around :D
After canyoning for around 1 and half hours, i bet you would be soo hungry and there would be an amazing barbeque place having tasty chicken and pork. Be generous and buy one for your guide too :)
After some time comes the highest cliff jump point and the colour of the water cant get better.
If you dont want to cliff jump then dont worry, there is a swing if you go a bit down and you can swing like Tarzan directly in water :D There is a small waterfall coming now , just before the big Kawasan Falls. Tours usually stop at this point for lunch and there is a nice resturant too.
You can also rent this bamboo raft for some pesos and go directly under the falls. For lunch there are many options and i preferred having chicken gravy with rice, a nice salad , coke and in the end the guide got one nicely cut fresh mango which was very yummy. All this was included in the package.
After the lunch you are just few steps away from Kawasan falls.
You will see many tourists swimming here since many people who cant do canyoneering directly come to the falls and swim.
2. PESCADOR ISLAND HOPPING
Pescador island is close to Kawasan falls, so if you have enough energy left after canyoneering, you can go to this lovely island for snorkeling. Pescador island is known to have amazing underwater life. You will also be taken to turtle point and can also see millions of sardines which they call "Sardine Run"
Unlike other islands you cannot get down at this small island. Your boat will stop near this island and you can snorkel around it.
My guide got me two beautiful shells from the bottom for memory.
3. OSLOB WHALE SHARK WATCHING
This is another reason why people come to Cebu. Whale Sharks are gentle giants which you can see in Oslob and the most amazing part is that you can swim and dive with them too. Whale shark watching is done in Oslob which is around 3 hours away from Cebu city. Its always better to pre-book a tour package that includes pickup/drop, lunch , entrace fees etc. Most Tour Packages also offer trips to Tumalog falls and Sumilon island after whale shark watching. One thing to note is whale shark watching is done early morning, so most tours start around 4-5am.
The boatman in above pic feeds meat to the whale shark, so that we can see them up close.You will be taken on a small boat where you will see these giant creatures right from the boat. You can pay 500 PHP to swim with the sharks and can also rent underwater camera for 550 PHP.
Whale sharks are so huge yet gentle creatures that it is totally safe to swim with them.
Tumalog falls is situated in south cebu and is usually covered after whale shark watching. This waterfall looks soo beautiful especially with the sunrays falling on it.
4. SUMILON ISLAND DAY TOUR
Just a few kilometers away from Oslob lies Sumilon island which has a natural sandbar and is a privately owned island. Bluewater Sumilon island resort has luxury rooms for those wanting to stay on this private island. Package includes boat transfer, Island Activities (kayaking, snorkeling – free use of mask and snorkel, island trekking and fish feeding) Use of resort facilities including beach, infinity pool, payags and shower rooms. They also provide amazing buffet lunch with one round of non-alcoholic drink.
One of the resort staff will give a short introduction about the island and explain the map before boarding the boat. The sandbar looks absolutely gorgeous.
This island has many places to explore on your own and you can do a lot of activities here.
You can Kayak in the beautiful lake.
You can also feed the fishes in this lake, they give us a big bread to feed the fish. Snorkeling kits are also available if you want to have a swim.And have an amazing buffet at this place. Lunch had good variety of food and also nice desserts.
Imagine having lunch here with this amazing view <3. In case you dont want to spend 1500 PHP you can also negotiate with the boatman and just use the sandbar. Usage of sandbar is free for public but they cant enter the resort.
5. MACTAN ISLAND HOPPING
Mactan is just 1 hour away from Cebu City and then from the port you will have to board a boat which takes you for island hopping. Unfortunately my trip to Mactan Islands got cancelled because the sea was very rough that day and boatman were scared to take their boats out. It was so disappointing, luckily i got half refund, otherwise tour agencies dont give anything back. I had heard so much about these islands esp Nalusuan island, was totally disppointed to not able to see it. The island hopping tour usually stops at 3 islands which are Nalusuan Island, Hilutungan island and Caohagan island, with an option to go to Pandonan island with extra charge. Nalusuan Island is a fish sanctuary. The resort that operates in Nalusuan maintains and regulates the activities in the island. Nalusuan is a good choice for snorkeling as well as beach bumming activities.
Since i didn't go there, i am just sharing few pics i have found.Other 2 islands are also very beautiful. All islands have entrance fees, its better to conduct a day tour which is all inclusive.
6. BOHOL COUNTRY-SIDE TOUR
Bohol is in south east part of Cebu Island. Its a perfect place with White Sand beaches, Chocolate hills and Philippine Tarsier which looks like a small monkey. Chocolate hills : These are actually hills covered with green grass that turns brown in dry season which makes them look like chocolate hills.
Philippine Tarsier: You can see this cute little tarsier in Bohol.
Loboc River Cruise :
Loboc River is one of the cleanest river in Philippines where one can get on board a floating restaurant and enjoy the Loboc River cruise with buffet meal. The package also includes a short cultural show by the local community.
Look how clean and beautiful the river looks.
These are the places which one must see while in Cebu. There are many other beautiful islands in Cebu like Malapascua, Bantayan, Camotes , but they were very far from where i was staying and it dint fit my itinerary. Also do note that weather can be very unpredictable in Philippines and your tours can be cancelled if the sea is very rough in case of Mactan island or Pescador island and tour companies usually dont give any refund for that.
PLACES TO STAY
There are many options to stay in Cebu city, i personally stayed in Cebu Southpole Central Hotel which was a nice small hotel with super nice staff. Link to book this hotel :
Cebu city is central to all the places mentioned above but traffic can get pretty heavy in the evening so a return journey of 2 and half hours can also become 4. Thats why i would recommend you to stay in Cebu city and its also not very far from the airport.
PLACES TO EAT
People in Philippines love rice just like indonesians. There are many western joints in cebu city and fast food chains too. I tried a local fast food joint which was very famous called JOLLIBEE and tried fried chicken with rice, cheesy fries and mango pie. It was pretty good and yummy.
The thing i loved about Cebu is that the people here were so polite and loving esp the hotel staff, tour guides etc. They really respect the tourists and are very hard working and dedicated. I totally recommend all adventure lovers to visit Cebu since its not very popular amongst Indians yet.