Do you want to swim with a whale shark? Do you long for relaxation in a turquoise lagoon with a waterfall? Do you love watching sunrises from above? If you answered yes to all the questions, I recommend the Cebu Island in the Philippines to all ten of you. It is a place full of adventure.
Do you want to explore the Philippines? Fly to Cebu first
If you are flying to the Philippines from Europe, you will probably fly to Manila first. I recommend flying to Cebu – undoubtedly the best entry point for traveling in the Philippines. Why? There is an international airport in Cebu. The company Cebu Pacific Air flies from Cebu, with which you can get to any Philippine island for a few euros. Sometimes directly, sometimes with a transfer in Manila.
For example, if you are going to visit the Bohol Island, which is as popular as Cebu and is just around the corner – I recommend flying first to Cebu and from the port to neighboring Bohol by speedboat. It’s comfortable and cheap.
As for Cebu City and Manila, these are not exactly the tourist destinations you will remember with love. Upon arrival here, I recommend leaving both cities as soon as possible -except a few monuments, there is really nothing special there and they have personally left a rather negative impression on me – dirt, stink and shady neighborhoods all over the city. So hurry away from those places.
Swimming with a whale shark in Oslobe
Probably the most famous attraction on the Cebu Island is swimming with a whale shark. It’s all happening in the southeastern part of the island – the center for snorkeling and whale shark diving is the village of Oslob. Trips are organized by hotels, travel agencies, they can also be arranged individually, but in all cases it is true that a huge mass of people go there every day – so be prepared for it and do not be disappointed.
Whale sharks swim to Oslobo every day in the morning – so they were taught by the local fishermen who feed them. They stay here from six o’clock in the morning until twelve o’clock at noon. The whale shark is protected by law in the Philippines, so locals treat these animals with respect and the same should apply to tourists.
It is forbidden to swim with sunscreen right after you put it on, it is forbidden to leave any waste or food on the beach, and under no circumstances do you try to touch the animal, among other things you can be fined.
It is about an hour’s trip during which you board a special boat and after a few minutes of sailing you jump into the water and swim with these huge animals. You don’t have to be afraid of them, they only eat plankton and not people ???? It’s a great experience and not even the mass of people who swim with you wonˈt spoil it.
Cebu is an island of beautiful waterfalls
Kawasan, Mantayupan, Binalayan, Aguinid and Tumalog. These are the five waterfalls that have fascinated me the most. They are scattered in the southern part of the island or inland, and all of them can be visited in one day, if you plan it all nicely in advance. Turquoise lagoons, refreshing water await you and you will take great experiences and unforgettable photos from there.
I recommend having several swimsuits, a quick-drying towel, anti-slip water shoes, drinking water and a waterproof case for the camera, mobile phone or cameras. You will appreciate all these things, believe me.
At some waterfalls you will meet self-proclamed guides. I recommend using their services especially at the Aguinid waterfalls, where you go through various levels until you reach the highest waterfall. They know all the pitfalls and often help you up, take pictures, give you advice. In the end, of course, they ask for gratuities – but Filipinos are very nice people and they enjoy every gift.
Canyoning is especially popular here. You can also arrange a trip on the spot, but you can negotiate the price in advance. It’s usually a few hours of fun, where they lend you everything – from equipment to gopro camera.
There are plenty of beaches on Cebu. However, the question is which one to choose. First of all, you have to visit the Mactan Island, which is the epicenter of the beaches – but a bit artificial. I recommend to go to the surrounding islands, you will find the best there.
Head to Bantayan, Malapascua, Sumilon or Camotes beaches. You will find beautiful resorts, crystal clear water and snow-white sand.
My favorite is the Sumilon Island, where there is an amazing white sand tip and the sun shines here almost all day. Take a trip here early in the morning, you will hardly meet anyone here. The ideal option is to stay directly on the island, there is only one resort.
Sunrise from the highest point of Cebu – Osmeña Peak
If you love hiking and it attracts you feel tempted by the hills even during an exotic vacation, Cebu will make you happy. There is an amazing place to watch the sunrise. The highest peak of the island called Osmeña Peak, which is good accessible from the west and east and you can get here by many ways.
You will either use habal-habal, which is basically a motorcycle taxi, or a classic taxi will take you here, or you will step up from one of the nearby villages.
I recommend studying the maps in advance, I personally like the route the most, where you can be taken by motorbike from the east of the island to the top – from there you will climb Osmeña Peak. Then you can climb all the way to Kawasan Falls. It is necessary to have suitable low hiking boots, some repellent and determination (a hike on foot from the sea can take you 6 hours).
Camping on the beach on the nearby island of Sumilon
One of the TOP experiences for me was camping on the beach of the Sumilon resort. It is a small island that borders Cebu and one day is enough for you to get to know it. It offers guests free transfers to and from the island, all-inclusive dining and leisure activities such as kayaking, snorkeling, hiking and a beautiful infinity pool views of Cebu.
The resort offers classic accommodation in traditional Filipino apartments and then accommodation in air-conditioned tents with a private beach and absolute privacy. A night in an all-inclusive hotel with all the mentioned services costs 200 euros (for 2 people together), but it personally brought me one of the most beautiful experiences in the Philippines.
There are only five tents on the beach, and by the time I was there, no one else was staying in the tents.
Diving with sardines in Moalboale
Moalboal is a popular community for divers from all over the world. Do you want to swim with thousands of sardines? Do you want to go chasing dolphins? Great, stay in one of the apartments or hotels in Moalboal and all your diving dreams will come true in a few days.
The fact that tourists from all over the world come here means, for example, that you will also find McDonald’s, a number of exchange offices, an ATM and the whole thing is oriented to the western style. Among other things, it is a great place where you will definitely meet a lot of interesting people and taste delicious food and fresh delicacies right from the sea.
Tips for traveling in Cebu
Taxi ride. Taxi drivers are very persistent in the negotiations, they often did not even want to debate and left after disagreements. Driving prices are higher than usual in Southeast Asia. However, Uber or Grab works here, so feel free to use it and save money.
Transport to Cebu. If you’ve ever been to Asia, you know that traffic is, in the vast majority of cases, very chaotic and confusing for Europeans. Cebu is even more extreme in this case, I actually experienced it here and saw a bunch of lunatics who drove very fast and ruthlessly.
That’s why I don’t recommend riding a scooter or motorbike in Cebu City. Better get a habal-habal (motorcycle taxi) or jeepney (something like tuk-tuk). The roads are not in good condition and there are almost no highways, so prepare for the fact that it will take you several hours to cross the route of 100 kilometers.
Food on Cebu. Hundred people, hundred tastes. Personally, the cuisine of the Philippines almost didn’t suit me at all, it consists mainly of rice and many kinds of meat, but what I definitely recommend, these are seafood and fish, which are really exceptionally good here. Food is very cheap in the Philippines.
Money for Cebu. If possible, he will come to Cebu with cash and then exchange it either at the airport or somewhere in the city. There are ATMs here, but they often have a problem with European payment or credit cards. Personally, I have experienced that they worked 50:50. It is ideal to have several types of cards – VISA, Master Card, etc. You can pay by card in hotels and shopping malls, very rarely elsewhere.Zdroj fotografií: Shutterstock, Dreamstime, Unsplash.com