Cebu, one of the most sought after destinations in the Philippines, satisfies adventurers, foodies, and thrill-seekers from all over the world. A city where all the people I encountered are friendly. Where all dried mangos seem to have originated from. Where lechon (roasted pork) is highly praised, and for good reason. Where I experienced canyoneering and jumped off waterfalls and cliffs for the first time. Where I swam with whalesharks, sea turtles, and saw the sardine run. Also a place where I suspect everyone has mighty thighs due to hover squat toilets where no clear plumbing exists, but more on that later. I had the pleasure of exploring some of what Cebu had to offer for a long weekend, and that was hardly enough.
Fun Fact: this is the place of the world-famous lechon (roasted pig dish), and their famous dried mangos.
When to go: Summer is known to have high temperatures, whereas the Winter gets windy. I found mid-October to be the sweet spot to visit.
Modes of Transportation:
Hired driver, Uber, or Grab. For Uber, use code: evangelinec493ue to get free rides.
How Many Days to Spend: 2-3 days
Safety: Although horns are used quite liberally (total understatement), and stray dogs wander across streets every few minutes, definitely heed the warning of looking both ways when crossing the streets here. The people here are incredibly friendly, and my tour guide, Raymund, was conscious of my safety the whole way.
What to Wear: It rains quite often, and in every direction, so forget about that umbrella, (it won’t do you any good really) and wear fast-drying clothing, and rash guards for water activities.
Tip: Work out those thighs, and bring toilet paper with you. Toilets are mainly a porcelain hole in the ground with no seats or plumbing. Also, there will be mosquitos, so bring bug repellent to keep yourself sane. I know Deet is terrible, but it works. I used Off Deep Woods Insect Repellent Wipes 12 Towelettes – 2 Pack for my trip, and it worked like a charm.
Suggested 2-Day Adventure Itinerary
Pescador Island Hopping
Canyoneering at Kawasan Falls
Swimming with Gentle Giants
Our day started at 6:30am, with pouring rain, but nothing could still my excitement to see the biggest fish and shark in the world. It took about an hour to get to Oslob from Badian by car, then another ride by boat out to sea. Nothing could better prepare me for the moment where I put my snorkels on in the ocean, and stuck my head under the water, realizing that the whale shark was chomping away directly towards me like a whale-sized Pac-Man. It scared me as I felt my feet instinctively scurrying away, inches from its enormous mouth, but soon realize that they are truly docile creatures, and that they are just feeding on plankton. FYI: No sunblock is allowed to avoid polluting their natural habitat, so put on a rash guard instead for sun protection.
Seatbelt, headlights, and helmets optional!
Getting to the Tumalog Falls, we all had to hop onto the back of a motorbike, and the designated rider would take us down the path to the waterfall. It was raining, and rather cold, so this was definitely the best way to get there, despite seeing people walk. All the motorcyclist had a number on their back, or would let you know their number. Make sure to remember that number, because that same motorcyclist will be riding you back up. I had rain coming at me from every direction, feeling like pin-pricks, even riding at a low speed, so you can understand my expression when I pointed the GoPro at myself. Here is the footage of the ride: How to get to Tumalog Falls
Island hopping is as exciting as it sounds!
We started the day early since we had a jammed packed itinerary, and headed for Moalboal. We took a boat, starting with Pescador Island where the marine life and corals were colorful and majestic. It was still raining, but being already in the water, it made little difference.
Tip: Take earplugs and motion-sickness medication with you. The currents can be strong, and the motor on the boats are LOUD! I forgot them that day, but I like using these: 3M 1100 Foam Ear Plug, 20 Individually Wrapped Pairs, Uncorded, 29 dB Noise Reduction Rating
Experience the natural phenomenon of the sardine run
At this point in my trip, I have yet to scuba-dive, but swimming in the home of millions of sardines, it wasn’t necessary to. The school of sardines glistened and swam as they pleased, and made way for me, acting almost like an invisible forcefield for them, when I swam towards them.
They say jump, you say how high?
Of all the research I have done for my round-the-world trip, I am not sure why I did not look deeper into what canyoneering actually meant. I would not consider myself a natural outdoorsy woodsy adventurer, so I definitely was unclear of what it consisted of until I was face to face with the activity. I had pictured floating down a stream on a raft, which I eventually got to go on, but definitely not this. You could see the sheer terror in my eyes when I realized that I had to jump off cliffs, flow down streams, and trek to get to the bottom of the waterfall. After the first jump into the beautiful turquoise water, I felt all the fear I had collected with fervor along the years in my life slip away. Finally getting to the raft at the end was such a treat to this entire excursion.
When it comes to lechon.. what diet?
Also, don’t miss out on Cebu’s famous dried mangos. You can find the 7D brand in stores everywhere in the Philippines, and conveniently on Amazon. They are almost sold out! Get a taste of Cebu dried mangos here.
To ensure a fantastic experience in Cebu, reach out to the ultimate tour guide of Cebu via Facebook: Raymund Sande.
Raymund is the single definition of the perfect tour guide. It wasn’t until I had a poor tour guide in other cities that I realized how important having a good tour guide is. Note that his communication stye is relaxed and easy-going, but will have everything on point, even if he does not respond to you. He is quite the popular guide, and is usually out on adventures, so for the perfectionist’s guide to planning, just trust him. He is funny, caring, and fun-loving — Essentially the whole package.
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