Here is our ULTIMATE D-I-Y SOUTH CEBU GUIDE for 4 DAYS-4 NIGHTS via commute.
CEBU is one of the most traveled places in the Philippines which is located in the Central Visayas. It is well known for its white-sand beaches, awesome food (LECHON!!!), culture, people and a lot more. Last 2016, I’ve visited Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu before going to Bohol but for this post, I’ll share with you my SOUTH CEBU experience.
So here is my itinerary:
1830 PM ETD @ Terminal 3, NAIA, Pasay City
2000 PM ETA @ Mactan-Cebu Airport, Lapu-Lapu City
2200 PM @ Check-in at The Cebu Guest House, General Maxilom Ave., Cebu
0700 AM Breakfast @ The Cebu Guest House, Cebu City
0830 AM ETD @ ride a jabal-jabal from JY Mall going to Sirao Flower Farm
0930 AM ETA @ Sirao Flower Garden, Brgy. Sirao, Cebu
1100 AM ETA @ Temple of Leah, Brgy. Busay, Cebu
1200 NN ETA @ Taoist Temple (Philippine Taoist Temple), Brgy. Lahug, Cebu
1300 PM Lunch at Ayala Mall, Cebu
1400 PM @ Magellan’s Cross/Colon Street
1600 PM ETD @ Cebu Guest House (pack bags going to South Bus Terminal)
1700 PM @ South Bus Terminal travelling to Badian, Cebu (Bato via Barili)
2100 PM ETA @ Badian, Cebu (Check-in at The Guest House- Sigma/TGH-Sigma, Badian)
0530 AM Breakfast at TGH-Sigma (prepare to check-out)
0630 AM Ride jabal-jabal going to Kawasan Canyoneering at Matutinao Beach Resort
0730 AM ETA @ Kawasan Canyoneering HQ (ready for Canyoneering Tour for the day)
0800 AM ETD going to jump-off of Brgy. Kanlaob, Badian-Alegria, Cebu
0820 AM ETA Log-in and pay necessary environmental fee at Badian-Alegria
0835 AM Start Trek and Canyoneering and Kawasan Falls
1400 PM ETD @ Matutinao Beach Resort (late lunch and pack-up for hiking at Dalaguete, Cebu)
1600 PM ETA @ Osmeña Peak via jabal-jabal , Jump-off (log-in and prepare to trek) at Dalaguete, Cebu
1800 PM Dinner @ Dalaguete Town Proper
1900 PM at Town Proper (hail a bus with signage “Bato via Oslob“) bus ride going to Oslob Garden Stay
Beach Resort, Oslob, Cebu
2100 PM ETA @ Check-in – Oslob Garden Stay Beach Resort, Brgy. Lagunde, Oslob
0700 AM ETD @ Oslob Garden Stay to Oslob Whale Shark Watching (via tricycle)
0730 AM ETA @ Oslob Whale Shark Watching HQ (log-in and orientation)
1000 AM Tricycle ride back to guest house for Breakfast
1100 AM Check-out (Pack-up going to Simala)
1145 AM ETA @ Brgy. Simala (ride a jabal-jabal going to Simala Marian Monastery)
1300 PM Bus going to Carcar Public Market
1330 PM Lunch at Carcar Public Market
1400 PM Bus going to South Bus Terminal, Cebu City
1700 PM ETA @ SBT (Check-in at Naps x Adventures Hostel/Steve Hostel), Guadalupe, Cebu City
1730 PM Ride going to Taboan Public Market
1800 PM Ride back to Lodging house and dinner
0600 Breakfast at lodging house (Pack-up and Check-out)
0700 ETD @ Brgy. Guadalupe to Mactan-Cebu Airport, Lapu-Lapu City
0745 ETA @ Mactan-Airport (Check-in)
1000 ETA @ Terminal 3, NAIA, Pasay City
Since our trip consists of travelling on the road all the time, we choose to book our accommodation near our destination. We opt to spend a little budget on the lodging/accommodation part. We choose to look for a place where we can spend the night and wash-up for the day trip. I already included in the itinerary the websites/pages of our accommodation, for your reference. There were a lot of choices in Cebu, it is just you choose what you need and for us, we don’t need much luxury, a decent place to stay for the night is already okay.
For the Cebu City:
- The Cebu Guest House located at General Maxilom Avenue, Cebu City (it is strategically located beside the main road so commuting to Cebu City is less hassle). We stayed here for a night at around P600/Fan Room/per night. So far this is best for budget travelers who just need a decent place to sleep. The place has a pantry and offering tours at Cebu.
- Naps x Adventures Hostel/Steve Hostel located at Guadalupe St., Cebu City (the location of the place is quite difficult to find since there still no signage when we stayed there but the owner thoughtfully fetch us from the long walk). This place is also beside the main road. We stayed here for a night before we flew back to Manila. The interiors of the hostel is so trendy and glam. They also has WiFi and will provide you towels for your stay. I did enjoyed my shower there! HAHA. Also good for budget-travelers (we did get an AC Room for P750-800/night). I’ve read that the hostel is also owned by Mon Confiado, an actor in the Philippines.
For the Badian (Canyoneering Experience):
- The Guest House – Sigma (TGH-Sigma) located at Patay na Acacia, Badian (bad-jan). When we told our close friend, Atty. Chris about our trip to Kawasan, he told us that his family owned a place in Badian that are open for travelers for a night or two to stay and this is the TGH-Sigma. We are very much thankful that the Gaudiano Family (including Tita Sue, daughters and staff) treated us like one of their family members. They are very accommodating and helpful in our travel adventure in Badian. I commend their staffs, Kuya Ine and Lemuel for being hospitable and alert in all of the needs of their guests. The TGH can accommodate guests by groups, solo/couple and family with kids. They all have Wi-Fi and AC rooms with bunk/queen and king beds. They also provided us towels and welcome drinks. They are also serving food (breakfast-dinner) and drinks, just tell them and they are willing to help out. It is also located near 7/11 convenience store that has ATM Terminal.
For the Oslob (Oslob Whale Shark Watching Experience):
- Oslob Garden Stay Beach Resort, this is located at Brgy. Lagunde, Oslob, Cebu just beside the main road of Natalio Bacalso Ave. and around 15-20 minutes tricycle ride to the famous Whale Shark Watching Headquarters. We booked the place ahead of time via Airbnb. The resort owner, Sir Tony was not in the area that time but the staffs are very helpful and kind. Though I noticed that the food and drinks there are quite pricey (i guess all whats in Oslob are pricey :'( ). We stayed here for a night at an AC Room with two (2) single beds and with private bath. We just have a problem turning on the AC the next morning, we assumed that it is auto-off because it is timed. We had our breakfast in the lodging house, well quite disappointed about their serving (so small for the price). The resort is beachfront, though we don’t have a chance to swim since we are running out of time to swim around.
TRIP AND COSTS-
Since our travel is a do-it-your-own tour, we happened to find the best way to travel on a budget (cheapest way).
From our accommodation in Cebu City, we contracted a jabal-jabal driver to tour us in Sirao Flower Garden, Temple of Leah, Taoist Temple for P300.00/each and Magellan’s Cross via jeepney going to Colon St. (I’ve read some blogs that they haggled for the day tour for around P250.00/pax).
SIRAO FLOWER GARDEN (Brgy. Sirao, Cebu)
This flower garden became very popular in Cebu for its unique arrangement of the Celosia Flower (“Celosia“, it comes from the Ancient Greek word κήλεος meaning “burning”; and it refers to the flame-like flower heads). The entrance costs P100.00/pax. The visitors has all the time to roam around and do picture taking though precaution is advise when roaming around since before they re-open for public last February 2017, the place was closed for quite a time due to the danger of landslide . The place is also open for rental for photo-shoots (i.e. Wedding Pre-Nup) and you can also buy flowers there for a fee.
It is like a little Amsterdam due to the Windmill built right across the garden except that Sirao offers a stunning view of celosia flowers instead of tulips.
There is a cafe inside the farm where you can stay for awhile to enjoy the surroundings while eating and sipping your fresh squeeze juice. Also, just across the farm I noticed that there are stalls selling fresh young coconut (buko) juice for P10.00 per glass.
TEMPLE OF LEAH (Brgy. Busay, Cebu)
Visiting this place gave me a throwback feels of a Ancient Romans-Greeks ambiance. It became a popular tourist destination because of its intricate structural and architectural design, the temple was built year 2012 as a “TRIBUTE OF UNDYING LOVE” of a business tycoon in Cebu named Teodorico Adarna to his wife Leah Albino-Adarna (She is the grandmother of the actress Ellen Meriam Adarna). The entrance fee is P50.00/pax. There are huts and benches available inside the temple, also there is a hotdog stand and refreshment available for visitors who wanted to grab a bite while touring inside the place. Since the temple is in the uphill, it can give you a nice view of the whole Cebu City.
For a certified millennial like me, I did enjoy touring the temple!
TAOIST TEMPLE (PHILIPPINE TAOIST TEMPLE)
The Cebu Taoist Temple is located inside an exclusive residences specifically the Beverly Hills Subdivision, near the JY Mall. As said, public transportation is not allowed to enter unless otherwise it is for private use. The Temple has no entrance fee but if you want a Chinese Ambiance, this place should be in your bucket list. Since this is a holy place for the Taoist Community, the visitors should follow and respect the policies and customs while inside the place. Reduction of noise and proper clothing must be observed.
(Inside the Temple – paying respect-to-Qukongkong)
From the Taoist Temple, we just walked until we get to the gate of the subdivision and then ride a jabal-jabal going to the main road for P10.00/pax.
MAGELLAN’S CROSS AND COLON STREET
Magellan’s Cross is an important symbol of Cebu. It was planted by Magellan in the year 1521 when he baptised the first Christian Filipinos, Rajah Humabon and Queen Juana. The locals there said that people may request for someone to pray for them and can light candles inside the hall.
We also happened to pass thru the historical street in downtown Cebu City that is often called the oldest and the shortest national road in the Philippines. It is named under Cristobal Colon.
Later at around five in the afternoon, we straight ahead to the South Bus Terminal (SBT) for our travel going to Badian that day.
The major transportation such as taxis, jeepneys, Grab and Uber are all available in the City. Just take note that the traffic in the area might be a little problem when you’re in a hurry catching your bus or flight schedule. Please be aware that the last bus (with signage BATO VIA BARILI) will be at around 5:00-6:00pm and said to be in alternate AC and ordinary bus.
(ride going to SBT, we are really in a hurry since the traffic from our Magellan’s Cross strolling ate our travel time)
After we checked-in at TGH the night before, we were assisted by the staffs of our lodging house early in the morning to find a jabal-jabal to bring us to Matutinao Beach Resort (Kawasan Canyoneering HQ) and after our hiking at Osmeña Peak.
BADIAN CANYONEERING AND KAWASAN FALLS (Badian-Alegria, Cebu)
Weeks before our flight to Cebu, I did my usual research for activities that we are willing to take without risking our safety and I found that Canyoneering is a bit of challenge!!! Me and Anna (my friend) had managed even before to travel by ourselves to places and part of it, we usually indulge ourselves into water activities.
Canyoneering or Canyoning is said to be Cebu’s most adrenaline pumping adventure. It is a popular outdoor trek that involves traveling down creeks or streams within a canyon through variety of means including walking, jumping, swimming, climbing, abseiling and rappelling. Since this activity is said to be “can be very easy or extremely difficult, though emphasis in the sport is usually on aesthetics and fun rather than pure difficulty” (some of us became so conscious when we are in the moment though). There are a wide variety of canyoning routes that can be found throughout the world and surprisingly, it is said that it can be enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels (before we left the resort, we noticed middle-aged adults preparing to do canyoning).
I reserved a slot with Kawasan Canyoneering thru Pip via their official FB Account. We paid for the reservation of P500.00 and paid the remaining at the resort. The cost of the activity is P1,500.00/pax (inclusive of day tour, gears, snacks and lunch).
Since this activity will be prone to scratching, bruising and sliding, we ought to dress in our rashguards, leggings and hiking shoes. Those who will join the activity should wear proper gears (helmets, life vest, dry bags and floaters for your action camera) and footwear (aqua shoes, rubber shoes or trekking sandals/shoes). For those who’ll be wearing rubber shoes and trekking shoes, you should be willing to have your shoes totally wet since it will be mostly in the water.
We were advised by our guides, Kuya Loloy and Reynan that the canyon jumping will be measured at around 20ft to 60ft. We did our canyoneering activity for around 5-6 hours including the visit at the famous Kawasan Falls. What is nice about this activity is you’ve got a lot of chance to meet new people and conquer your fear.
Here are some of the shots in our activity:
This is one of the most amazing falls I’ve been! It is said to be a three-stage cascade of clear turquoise colored water and the highest point measured as 60ft. Surrounding the falls has cottages and food stations.
Overall our Canyoneering Adventure is awesome! Hopefully the beauty of the falls be preserved as is because as what I have noticed there are a lot of guests visiting/staying at the area.
Indeed following instructions are very important!
OSMEÑA PEAK (Mantolongon Range, Dalaguete, Cebu)
See the picture of the mountain ranges above this post? guess where is it? Yep! It is Osmeña Peak, it is said to be the highest point in the island of Cebu and standing at 1072 meters above sea level (masl). After our canyoneering activity, we rent a jabal-jabal going to the jump-off of Osmeña Peak which costs us P700.00/pax. We traveled going to Dalaguete for almost 2 hours. It is considered as the “Little Baguio of Cebu” since the weather there was like that of Baguio. When we went up there, the climate was a little bit foggy and cool.
We paid for the environmental fee for P30.00/pax, you can do dayhike or overnight and the guide fee costs P150.00 (4-5 persons). At that time, we noticed that the clouds are starting to cover the remaining daylight in the place, we can’t even see the view of Cebu because of fog but Thank God! Mother Earth heard our cry about sparing us a minute of good view in the place. 🙂
Well, thanks to our photographer Kuya Joy Gamboa for his expert skills! HAHAHA. Got this awesome view! Hooray!He also told us that maybe in the future, there will be a rock climbing site there and so yes, I love to be the first one to rock climb but nope, there’s no harness at all. Nope, don’t try this because its quite dangerous my friend.
After we trekked, we’ve decided to take our dinner at the Dalaguete /Da-la-get/ Town Proper at Maria’s Batchoy.
We hailed the bus just across the Batchoy House with signage “BATO VIA OSLOB” going to our lodging house. The travel time going to Oslob is about one (1) hour and the bus fare costs us P38.00/pax (ordinary).
Good thing we had a good night sleep the night we checked-in Oslob Garden Stay Resort, because the prior activities drained all the energy we have for the trip. Mornings are indeed so good when you are just right in front of the beach.
OSLOB WHITE WHALE SHARK WATCHING (Brgy. Tan-awan Oslob, Cebu)
This encounter with the white whale sharks made me so conscious about how we should preserve our bio-marine life. White Whale Shark watching became really famous this past years due to the wide spread of social media features. I would say that somehow, I did enjoy swimming with this gentle giants BUT seeing how the local government do this as their business and they keep on feeding them to keep them on bay, I realized that something is not right. It really felt wrong.
We hired a tricycle from our resort for P100.00/pax/per way to the main Oslob Whale Shark Watching then paid P500.00/pax/for Filipino (fee for the 30 minutes watching and swimming, including the gears). I’ve noticed that there are a lot of foreigners in the area and its quite weird because no matter how the LGU tried to monitor the watching and swimming (they have orientation), some visitors are hard-headed to follow the guidelines. It is really irritating that simple guidelines, they can’t even follow.
NOTE: Those who are swimming with the sharks SHOULD NOT TOUCH, PUT SUNBLOCK, FEED THE SHARKS and should FOLLOW THE PERIMETER LINE ESTABLISHED BY THE LGU.
I tried really hard not to faint when I noticed that the shark started to get too close with us. As if he is playing! My heart is really pumping hard and it scares me much though. Our boatmen, Kuya Phanz and Kuya Vanie told us that the whale shark watching became their main source of income in the town and no matter how difficult and they have to stay long at the ocean in a broad day light (6am to 12nn) they will hold onto it.
And so we finished our 30-minutes whale shark swimming, we’ve decided to wash-up back at the resort. We rent a tricycle there at P250.00/pax/per way. I’ve noticed that due to the increment increase of the volume of tourists in Oslob, locals became so hype in doing all the business there and all of the services/food/lodging is quite pricey.
SIMALA MARIAN MONASTERY (BRGY. SIBONGA, SIMALA, CEBU)
We hailed a bus with signage (CEBU CITY) and alighted at Brgy. Lindogon, Sibonga, Simala, Cebu. We paid P74.00/per person and 45 minutes travel time. We rode a jabal-jabal for P40.00/person/per way to bring us in the Simala Church. This Simala Church is said to be a Miraculous Shrine in Cebu located at the Marian Hills, Sibonga. The church appeared to be castle-like because of its structure and it attracts more visitors because it gives you the feels of a “Royal”. Same as the Taoist Temple, the shrine encourages visitors and pilgrims to dress properly while in the vicinity and respect its customs and beliefs.
After the Simala Church, we have decided to eat lunch at Carcar City where the famous crispy lechon is found!
CARCAR CITY PUBLIC MARKET (CARCAR CITY, CEBU)
We then ride a bus going to Carcar City for P30.00/pax. We opt to ride the bus because our jabal-jabal driver keeps on insisting to hire their service for P250.00/pax just by going to Carcar. SERIOUSLYYYY!!! After 20 minutes land travel, we arrived at the Public Market. We opt to buy a juicy lechon and puso for our lunch. You may buy lechon there for 1kg.=P320.00! and you can dine in at any carinderias in the area for 15.00 service charge. We even bought the famous CARCAR CHICHARON! (we chose the Mat-Mat brand).
We are so full and sleepy though. HAHA.
We then ride a bus at the rotonda going to Cebu City for our last trip for the day. From Carcar City to Cebu City, the ordinary bus fare costs P50.00 and travel time would be around almost 2 hours.
TABOAN PUBLIC MARKET
After we checked-in our baggage in our hostel, we tried to catch dried goods stores at Tabo-an Public Market. Though in some blogs, the stores operates at 7am to 6pm, we are truly grateful that we still managed to catch few open stores at 8pm!
Sharing you few reminders:
- Research well on your travel destination.
- Stock cash whenever possible because there are only few ATM Terminals available in the towns of Cebu, just be always vigilant on where to keep it.
- Don’t be pressured on some people bugging you to buy things unnecessary or services they wanted to offer.
- Follow your guts especially when it comes to dangerous decisions.
- Try to immerse with the local life, live like a local, eat like a local and enjoy things freely.
- Cellphone signals are really difficult to some areas, but GPS is working to some devices.
- Cebu traffic is just like the traffic in Manila
Hope this helps! Enjoy South Cebu!!!