Cebu is absolutely a one-stop destination which has everything you might look for from beaches, mountains, caves and city tour. We are really fortunate since we don’t need to travel for so long just to get into beautiful places outside the country as most of the paradise-like destinations are already here in the Philippines and one of them is the province of Cebu.
Additionally, tourists can explore the whole province of Cebu in just 5 days. This includes canyoneering in Alegria-Badian, witness the sardines run in Moalboal, see the beauty of Kawasan Falls, swimming with the whale sharks in Oslob, experience the white sand beaches in Bantayan Island, visit historical places and many more. Cebu wouldn’t be dubbed as “The Queen City of the South” for nothing.
I compiled all of the information that may help you in planning your trip to South Cebu. I hope this South Cebu travel guide will guide you throughout your journey in Cebu.
CEBU TRAVEL GUIDE: HOW TO GET TO CEBU FROM MANILA
Going to Cebu is easy. The fastest way to get to Cebu is by plane. You can book a direct flight from Manila to Cebu via Cebu Pacific Air or Philippine Airlines. Traveling to Cebu is just an hour away from Ninoy Aquino International Airport to Mactan – Cebu International Airport. Aside from the plane, you can also get in Cebu via bus and ferry.
MACTAN AIRPORT TO CEBU CITY
Mactan International Airport is about 45 minutes to 1 hour away from Cebu City. You can either book a Grab or ride a Taxi. We used Grab on our latest trip and it only cost around PHP 200 going to our hotel in Cebu City. If you are in a group, you can book a shuttle service from Mactan International Airport going to Cebu City proper via Klook.
3 Days 2 Nights SOUTH CEBU SAMPLE ITINERARY
Here is the sample itinerary for our South Cebu travel guide. This may vary depending on your flight and schedule.
ACTIVITIES AND PLACES TO VISIT IN CEBU
I put all of the interesting places, destinations, activities in one place in this South Cebu travel guide. I hope it could give you ideas about what to expect at each place and destination in the southern part of Cebu.
Pescador is a small island and part of the municipality of Moalboal in the Tañon straight. This Island is approximately 20-30 minutes of boat ride from the mainland. It is famous for snorkeling activity because of its rich marine biodiversity and a once in a while opportunity to see the sea turtles and stunning coral reefs made Pescador island popular for divers. Different species of fish is one of the main attractions in this island and the abundance of fishes in the area are one of the reasons why seasoned divers and snorkelers always wanted to visit Pescador Island.
It is one of my favorite destinations here in Cebu due to its hidden marvelous scenery underwater and abundance of fishes living on the surrounding coral reefs. The boatman feeds the fishes with a piece of bread so they can come over and visitors could capture better photos with them. We snorkeled for almost one hour, good enough to witness the mesmerizing shoal around the area.
After snorkeling in Pescador Island, we headed to another beach to see the famous sardines run. Sardines Run is another must-visit spot in Moalboal. You wouldn’t believe me if I’ll tell you that they are located just off the shore on Panagsama Beach. Yes, the first time I visited Cebu, I thought the sardines were located somewhere in the middle of the ocean but they actually gathering a few meters away from the shore making it very accessible to the tourists.
You will be amazed if you see sardines up close. Sardines run is also one of the best spots for freedivers and snorkelers since hundreds of thousands of sardines can be seen underwater. The abundance of giant sardine ball is one of the amazing things you can see here in Cebu.
Entrance fee: Free
Turtle Point: Sea Turtle Watching
I never thought that turtle watching would be more fun and exciting. As per our guide, there are only three sea turtles in the area, but they might be a little bit shy at that time that’s why we only saw one sea turtle. We chased the sea turtles but it is so elusive. I feel pity for them at the same time because their natural habitat is being distracted by humans.
HOW TO GO TO MOALBOAL FROM CEBU CITY
Go to South Bus Terminal then ride a bus bound to Bato via Barili. Inform the driver to drop you off at Moalboal Municipal Hall. The bus fare is around ₱ 120-130 per head, one way. The travel time is around 3 hours.
From the Moalboal Municipal hall, there are local guides there that you can ask and tell them that you want to go to Pescador Island, Sardines Run and turtle point.
Alegria – Badian Canyoneering
The canyoneering in Badian is the most exciting and adventurous part of our journey in Cebu. For those who are looking for an extra extreme and death-defying activity, I would suggest trying canyoneering in Badian. Canyoneering is something like traveling in canyons using a variety of techniques and outdoor skills required for some adrenaline-pumping activities. These activities include cliff jumping, downclimbing, hiking, and swimming and Canyoneering is frequently done in remote settings places like in Badian in Cebu.
We were so lucky because we were accompanied by awesome guides that could also take great photos for us. Our guides are really helpful and they assist us with every obstacle and challenge along the way. They will never let you put on risk.
The activity starts in Alegria and will end to Kawasan falls which located in Badian. Upon approaching the area, we were filled with joy and excitement as we heard the relaxing sounds of the river flowing down the stream, the voice of people shouting and screaming like nobody is listening and the natural sounds of nature really make the activity exciting.
Before you start canyoneering, you must follow these house rules:
- Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints.
- Follow your guide’s instructions at all times.
- Do not go ahead of your guide
- Wait for the person behind you for safety reasons, wear your life vest and helmet at all times.
- Stay low when you’re going down.
- Bend your knees when jumping and fold your legs when jumping in shallow waters.
Kawasan Falls takes away all of our exhaustion after the three hours straight of canyoneering. The beauty of Kawasan falls is truly majestic and extraordinary. It is absolutely a kind of reward after the long journey from canyoneering. The water coming from the falls is so cold that it will give you a very refreshing feeling. I would say that Canyoneering to Kawasan Falls is a must-have in your itinerary when visiting south Cebu.
HOW TO GO TO KAWASAN FALLS
Actually, you can also visit Kawasan Falls directly without the canyoneering activity.
If you are coming from Cebu City, go to the south bus terminal then ride a bus bound for Badian. Ask the driver if it’s heading to Bato via Barili. Make sure it’s via Baliri since Bato via Oslob will take another route and won’t pass by Kawasan Falls. Inform the driver to drop you off at Kawasan Falls jump-off point. The travel time is roughly 3 hours. The fare from Cebu City to Kawasan falls is PHP 150 This information is based on our tour guide in Kawasan Falls.
If you are looking for a less hassle tour, you can book a canyoneering plus Kawasan Falls package tour at our Facebook page.
WHAT TO BRING IN KAWASAN FALLS
- Action Camera
- Water and Snacks
- Sandals, Aquashoes or running shoes.
- Drybag for phones and power bank.
- Money since there are several stores in the middle of the canyon
Whale Shark Watching in Oslob
Whale shark watching in Oslob is one of the reasons why I would go back again and again in Cebu. We all know that whale sharks are the largest fish and the biggest of all sharks species on the planet. The whale shark is a slow-moving harmless shark and notable for its unique dotted pattern that serves as their identification just like a human fingerprint.
The boatman lures the whale shark to the line of watchers by giving food back and forth. It’s actually fun and exciting. However, there are also valid reasons why not swim with whale sharks. You can check my previous article here.
Sumilon Island Sandbar
Sumilon Island is a small island located in the southeast part of Cebu. If you are already in Oslob, I suggest visiting Sumilon Island since it’s just about 20 minutes boat ride from Tan-Awan in Oslob. The Island is quite a paradise not only for us but also for the marine life living around Sumilon Island. In addition, some part of the shore is a bit rocky, so always wear your slippers or aqua shoes. Sumilon Island is privately owned by the Bluewater Island resort that is why the access is only restricted to the sandbar.
Spanish Cuartel in Oslob Cebu
The Spanish Cuartel in Oslob was built in the Spanish era around the 1800s, the cuartel serve as a barracks for the Spanish troops or Guardia Civil assigned in Oslob. Unfortunately, when the Americans arrived in the Philippines, the Spaniard left the cuartel and the construction was terminated. It’s just amazing to think that even a long time has been passed, even after facing a war, a large number of earthquakes and typhoons happened, the church and remains of the cuartel were still intact.
I have already written an article about Spanish Cuartel before. You can check it here.
The Simala Church
The Monastery of the Holy Eucharist, or popularly known as the Simala Church. The Monastery of the Holy Eucharist shrine was built in 1998 after the episodes miraculous events, including Mama Mary’s shedding of tears. Because of the said miracles, Simala Shrine became so popular, devotees hoping that their prayer requests would be granted. This shrine also became popular for its amazingly unique design.
If you visit Simala Church, you will notice a lot of crutches and wheelchairs inside the church. The crutches and wheelchairs were owned by devotees who have been healed by the miraculous church of Simala. There are also board exam passers and testimonies of students who passed their exams.
Entrance Fee: Free
The 10,000 Roses in Cebu City
The 10 thousand roses are one of the newest attractions in Cebu, located in Cordova, Lapu-Lapu City. The place is actually a café and its main attraction is the 10,000 artificial LED roses. Many tourists visit the Café not only because of its delicious food but also tourists and visitors want an “Instagrammable” picture with the roses.
Entrance fee: PHP 20.00
Sirao Flower Garden
There are a lot of changes from the last time I visited Sirao Flower Garden two years ago. Sirao Flower Garden or Sirao Farm was dubbed as the “Mini Amsterdam” since Amsterdam in the Netherlands is popular for its beautiful flower gardens.
The Sirao Flower Garden located at Sitio Tawagan, Barangay Sirao. Most of the flower that you can see in Sirao farm is called Celosia, the name of this flame-like flower was derived from the Ancient Greek word “kḗleos” which means burning. The Celosia have different colors, some colors are red, orange, purple, pink and some are yellow.
BEST TIME TO VISIT SIRAO FARM
- The peak season is April – May, and October – November.
- This place is best to visit when sunny days so you can take a perfect picture of the flowers.
- The best time to visit Sirao Farm is when the sun is up, don’t go there when it’s already 5:00 pm, the closing time I think is 6:00 PM.
- Entrance fee: PHP 30.00
Temple of Leah
The Temple of Leah symbolizes the exceptional and undying love of Mr. Teodorico Adarna to his wife Leah V. Albino-Adarna. I remembered the story of Nebuchadnezzar II, a Chaldean king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire who built Hanging Garden of Babylon also to his wife Queen Amytis. Temple of Leah and Hanging Harden of Babylon are just an example of what a man can do for love.
Inside the temple, you can see the 10ft tall bronze statue of Queen Leah Albino Adarna wearing a crown and holding a flower. The Temple of Leah has an art museum, gallery, and library where all of the lifetime collections of Leah Albino-Adarna are showcased in the 24 chambers of this Temple principally for the members of the family who cherish her memory.
Temple of Leah is still under construction but tourists are already welcome to visit the temple.
- Entrance fee: P50 per person
- Visiting hours: 6:00 AM to 11:00 PM
Taoist temple is a non-catholic shrine in Cebu which is very popular because of its architectural design and proximity to the city proper. The architectural design was derived from the typical multi-tiered Taoist temples in China. Taoist Temple in Cebu has an elevation of 300 meters above sea level.
Non-worshiper are also welcome to enter the temple. The spectacular view of the modern and crowded city of Cebu can be seen from the deck of the temple.
- Entrance fee: Free
- Visiting Hours: 9 AM to 5 PM
Top of Cebu
If you want to see the panoramic view of the Queen City of the South, you must visit the Top of Cebu. It is a restaurant located at Barangay Busay, Cebu City that does not just offer delectable foods but also a great experience being on the top of Cebu.
Entrance fee: PHP 100
Fort San Pedro
Aside from the Spanish cuartel in Oslob, there is another amazing Spanish structure that you can be found in Cebu, located near the Plaza Independencia, in the pier area of Cebu City. While there are several Spanish structures were built around the country the Fort San Pedro is known as the smallest and the oldest fort in the Philippines since Cebu is where the first Spanish settlement took place. Based on the plaque written on the gate, the purpose of Fort San Pedro why it was built it’s because it serves as military defense and also used as a prison for local rebels during the time of the Philippine Revolution.
Entrance fee: PHP 30.00
Magellan’s Cross is one of the most popular and famous landmarks in Cebu. The original Magellan’s cross was encased in a tindalo wood to protect from people who get small parts of the cross for a souvenir or in the belief that the cross possesses miraculous power. When you are already in the Magellan’s Cross, you can also visit the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebu, the oldest Roman Catholic church in the country. Basilica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebu was built on the spot where the image of Santo Niño de Cebu was found during the expedition of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi.
Entrance fee: Free
It blow my mind when I learned that Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House is already 376 years old. Built-in the late 17th Century, despite surrounded by modern houses and buildings, Yap-Sandiego Ancestral house has remained its original state even after centuries and generations. Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House is said to be the first Chinese house built outside of China. The house was located at Lopez Jaena corner Mabini Street, Parian, Cebu City.
The house was originally constructed out of coral stones and woods. Time after time, they still preserved the house and the original materials were still intact. You will also notice antiques and several Santo Niño around the house symbolizes the faith and devotion of the family. The master bedroom is located on the second floor of the house and the current owner is still sleeping there every weekend.
Another thing that amazed me was the old radio built around the 1920s and still working. There is also a huge antique mirror on the second floor which is 350+ years old. At the back of the house, there is a deep well that gives me an odd and bizarre feeling. Nevertheless, there’s more interesting stuff to explore inside the house that will surely bring you to the Spanish era. I highly suggest visiting Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House if you are already in Cebu.
- Visiting Hours: 9 AM to 6 PM
- Entrance Fee: PHP 50
WHERE TO STAY IN CEBU
Budget – PHP 1,000 – PHP 2,400
- Island Breeze Hostel
- TSL Unit H Cebu City
- Dynasty Tour Inn
- San Remo Oasis Cebu
- OYO 491
- Skyline Suite
Midrange – PHP 2500 – PHP 5000
High-end PHP 6,000 to PHP 15,000
SUMMARY OF EXPENSES
This budget is only applicable if you are in a group and prices may vary depending on rates and fares.
|ACTIVITIES||IN PHP PER PAX|
|Airfare: Roundtrip via Cebu Pacific(Depending on the promo)||PHP 2,500|
|South Cebu Package Tour(Depending on the No. of Pax)||PHP 4,200|
|3 Days & 2 Nights Food Budget(Rough estimate)||PHP 2000|
|Pasalubong(Depending on your budget)||PHP 1500|
|Miscellaneous(Snacks, Beer, Utensils, Etc)||PHP 1000|
MUST-SEE ATTRACTIONS IN CEBU CITY – SUMMARY
- Magellan’s Cross
- Temple of Leah
- Top of Cebu
- Sirao Flower Garden
- Taoist Temple
- Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House
- Cebu Heritage Monument
- Fort San Pedro
- 10,000 roses
- Blood compact
PACKAGE TOUR IN CEBU
If you want to visit Cebu without any hassle. I highly suggest booking a package tour through a travel agency. You can contact us on our Facebook page. Just click the image below.
SOUTH CEBU TOUR PACKAGE TOUR INCLUSIONS
- 3 Days 2 Nights (3D2N) package Exclusive Tours
- 3 Days Transport Van, Car or Motor w/ driver + fuel
- 2 Nights Room Accommodation
- Free pick up Hotel / Airport
- Free All entrance fees
- Free All Activity fees
- Complete Snorkeling gear & Lifevest
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