With not much time to take off work, we hit the main sights that were close to each other. However, if you have more time to spare, Cebu and its surrounding is perfect to explore for diving, beach, snorkeling, oh joys of life.
1) CEBU CITY
We landed in Cebu city at 4am in the morning, took the cab and got to our hostel within 30 minutes. We stayed with Tr3ats Guest House on this first day before heading to Oslob and Tune Hotel on our last two days in Cebu City.
1A) STAY OPTION 1
*Tr3ats Guest House ( 785 V. Rama Avenue, Cebu City 6000, Philippines / +63 32 422 8881 / UDD15 for TWIN room with private toilet )
*This hostel provides basic AC accommodation, clean and is within walking distance of a Jollibean and Chowking. Book online at Hostelworld or directly on their website
1B) STAY OPTION 2
* Tune Hotel (Archbishop Reyes Ave, Lungsod ng Cebu, Philippines / USD 30 for a room)
*Hot tip : Book on Agoda a day in advance for half the price. We did a walk in for 1 night and paid about USD 60 in the end. Boo!
*Walking distance to Ayala Mall!
1C) BUS TO OSLOB
* Take the cab to south terminal bus station (approximately 100 pesos or more / 3-5 USD from our hostel) and aim to reach before 3.30 AM
* CERES Bus from the south terminal bus station leaves on time and we were so lucky to catch it as we entered the bus station. The next bus leaves in an hour’s time! (150 pesos / 3.5 USD for an AC ) – Be on time!
CERES Buses that come with AC is quite awesome – FREE WIFI and Movies, yes you heard right! (Does not apply to CERES Buses with no AC – if you are able to get one with AC, do yourself a favor as journies are long and the humidity can be quite uncomfortable, sometimes with smells and sights of vomit from unfortunate and unintentional motion sickness 😦 )
1D) APPROXIMATE COSTS INVOLVED
* Cab fare @ 5 USD from the airport to hostel
* Tr3ats Guest House @ 15 USD for a private twin room
* Tune hotel @ $30 USD for a room
* Cab fare @ 5 USD from hostel to south terminal
* CERES Bus to Oslob (150Pesos / 3.50 USD)
One of the beautiful things of getting on a 3.30am bus and arriving to Oslob at 6am was waking up to the coastlines of Oslob!
2A) WHALE WATCHING
CERES bus will drop you beside the road, near the whale watching spot.
*Should you have luggage or backpack with you, do check out one of the guesthouses near the whalewatching gathering spot and pay for the “entrance” fee, which allows you to store your valuables with them, your backpack, and a place to shower after your dip in the sea! We went with Sunrise View and am glad we did this instead of leaving it at the whale watching spot.
*Hot Tip if you are not local – Purchase your whale watching tickets at the Guesthouses for half the price (500 pesos while buying them at the whale watching centre will set you back at 1000 pesos)
*Purchasing your tickets at guesthouses also mean that they will provide the boats and guides (kuyas) to bring you out! (Convenience, much)
Remember not to put on any sunblock as they harm the waters for the whalesharks, and put on a dose of curiosity and a good water proof camera! Because the experience is amazing, and everyone wants a selfie with the gentle giants.
2B) SUMILON ISLANDS
The guest house (Sunrise View) also charters boat across to this “private” island at 1500 pesos per boat ($35 USD) split among the 5 of us.
Personally, I may give this place a miss unless you come at low tide to catch the sand bar, but we went in the morning right after swimming with whale sharks, and upon reaching the island, we realized we needed to pay an additional 2000 pesos to the “restaurant” that owns the island in order to enter the island. We ended up swimming around the waters and going back shortly. So it was quite an expensive trip for a 10 mins boat ride, and I felt other places could offer similar too.
That said, the water was so clear! And all our selfies were amazing here 😉
2C) TUMALOG FALLS
* We took a jeepney from Sunrise View to Tumalog Falls @ 20 pesos, whereafter we took a motorbike up (2 girls with 1 driver on a bike) @ 20 pesos one way.
Tip : Do not hike up if you are tired, it is a long walk up and on the bike, you get to enjoy the stunning views below!
The motorbike left us off at the entrance of the Falls (20 pesos for entrance fee) and we walked about 1 km down (steep walk down, I was trying not to think about the way up! In the end, we did walk back up, doable!).
Place instantly changes when we were down there, much cooler and the majesty of the falls was so soothing to the soul.
Perfect place to read a book and have tea, for me, I kinda dozed off as it was so calming, and maybe because we were up at 2.30am that morning and still standing by the afternoon.
Take the heat off by jumping in the water, if you are up for it:)
Ooh I really like this place, which is only a short ride away from Tumalog Falls! Boasting a church and beautiful ruins by the sea, what also captured my attention was the grass to lie on and the soothing mountains at the back!
I was completely maxed out by 4pm and just prepped out my backpack as my head rest and dozed off on the grass facing the mountains. Sun was out, weather cooling, simple bliss. Don’t miss out on this place!
2E) APPROXIMATE COSTS INVOLVED
* Whale shark watching @ 500 pesos / 11.50 USD
* Rental of locker, shower etc at Sunrise View @ 75 pesos / 1.75 USD
* Boat to Sumilon Island @ 1500 pesos for the whole boat / 35 USD
* Jeepney from Sunrise to Tumalog Falls @ 20 pesos / 0.50 USD
* 2 ways motorbike ride up @ 40 pesos in total / 1 USD
* Entrance fee to Tumalog @ 20 pesos / 0.50 USD
* Jeepney from Tumalog Falls to Cuartel @ 20 pesos / 0.50 Cents USD
* NO entrance fee for Cuartel!
I really like this part of Cebu, island life feels so good.
Wake up, snorkel and dive, eat at a place with awesome ocean view, shower and chill, walk around to explore, drinks with sunset, eat more and end the night with drinks beside the sea. What not to like, you tell me 🙂 Oh, plus, you get to happily say hi to the new friends you made when you passed them on the streets, everyone knows everyone soon enough.
3A) BUS FROM OSLOB TO MOALBOAL (VIA BATO)
We did not spend the night in Oslob after hitting up 4 spots in one day (Really felt like we were on the amazing race) and took the CERES bus to MoalBoal with two changes in bus, one from Cuartel / Oslob to Bato (another nearby city) and one from Bato to Moal Boal.
Last bus from Bato to Moal Boal leaves around 7.30pm~8pm, check with the friendly locals and get there early!
And really, take an AC CERES if possible, our ride from Bato to Moal Boal was the start of non-AC CERES buses, but frankly I was too tired to care about my hair whipping in my face every second, sweaty skin and head flinging around with every bump and swap of the bus.
CERES Bus will drop you in the town of Moalboal and from there take a motorbike ride towards the Panagsana beach @ 40 pesos for a motobike ride. (We ended up sharing a tuk tuk @ 20 pesos with other random strangers as I thought it was only a short walk from the map and that driver was trying to rip us off, I was wrong. Its a long ride in and if you have a luggage, simply pay more for the tuktuks that allow you to place you backpacks in @ 75 pesos. This tuk tuk driver was so kind in retrospect & I feel bad, slowing down just for us and then picking us up after we finally decide to stop walking.)
Our accommodation for that night was Moal Boal Backpackers Lodge @ 300 pesos / 6 USD for one night, if you are traveling alone and want to make friends or not spend too much, this place is ideal!
if you are looking to splurge, there are gorgeous villas around this area for cheap too, approximately @1500 pesos / 35 USD
3C) DIVE / SNORKEL / SARDINE RUN
Highly recommend Nelson’s Dive School! Prices are similar across all the dive schools and the kuyas here are so friendly and go the extra mile! One decided to be my guide after I snorkeled back to the boat after 20 minutes, and so thankful I am because I saw 2 huge turtles, a furry yellow jellyfish fighting with a Nemo looking fish among the many other fishes he pointed out! & another Kuya decided to give me his oxygen breathing thing so I could free dive down deeper! Not only once but a few times! (like a mini scuba dive which is so much better than snorkeling, I am a convert now, and need my dive license ASAP!) And took pictures for us!
Well, I did not experience this in Gili T while snorkelling there and felt I was charged for everything but here, the hospitality is simply quite touching. PLUS, the diversity of marine life, the clarity of the water is wayyyyyyyyy better than what I experienced in Gili T! I secretly think for now, Philippines will be my go to place for the best diving / snorkeling experience and exploring the mighty ocean.
Also, I have read that the sea near Love Guest House or where all the private villas are offer better snorkel / dive experience. Personally I have not done any snorkel here but check it out if you have the time.
3D) EAT / DRINK
SO many places here with different price range. And every one boasts an awesome sea view to enjoy the gorgeous sun rise, mid day blue sea, or evening’s splendid sunset.
We ate at Chili Bar with reasonable prices for Food and Drinks. At night, wind down with some cocktails (they put some serious alcohol in your drink, generous) or play pool if you like.
One eatery at the end of the stretch had some huge ass fish (like really huge), that went for about 800 pesos / 20 USD for the whole thing, grilled or cooked whatever way you want!
For more exclusive areas, walk on further down to Love Guest House area where all the private villas and there are many places that serve up your fare of pasta, curries and such.
3E) KAWASAN FALLS
I absolutely loved this place! Sunburnt skin healed and soothed in the waters.
We took a CERES bus @ 40 pesos to the falls and walked all the way in. It is quite a walk in (1-3km?) but so worth it, we left happier!
Go past the first fall and head up to the 2nd one with lesser people.
Should you want to leave your bags on the chairs or tables, it is an addition 300 pesos / 7 USD to do so. We simply left our bags on the ground in a corner, strip and had a relaxing time in the green cold water. Take note that the currents near where the water is falling from the top is much stronger and if you want to ensure you can get behind the water, go from the side.
Dont forget the life vests if you are not a strong swimmer, we forgot about those. Rental for life vests are about 300 pesos / 7 USD too.
3F) APPROXIMATE COSTS INVOLVED
* AC CERES Bus from Oslob to Bato @ 150 pesos / 3.5 USD
* Non – AC CERES Bus from Bato to MoalBoal @ 75 pesos / 1.75 USD
* Tuk tuk from Moalboal town to Moalboal Backpacker Lodge @ 20 pesos / 0.50 cents USD
* Accommodation at Moalboal Backpacker Lodge @ 300 pesos per night / 7 USD
* Rental for mask and fins @ 200 pesos per day / 4 USD
* CERES Bus to Kawasan Falls @ 40 pesos / 1 USD
* Entrance to Kawasan Falls @ 10 pesos / 0.25 cents USD
* CERES Bus back to Cebu City (Seriously, take an AC bus for this 3-4 hours journey. Not kidding. They only come at certain times so do ensure you be there on time by the side of the road or wait for another hour or two for the next AC bus) @ 75 pesos (1.75 USD)
Finally, wherever you choose to go in the end, keep calm and enjoy every moment!