Philippines (Republic of the Philippines)

Languages: English, Filipino

Currencies: PHP · Philippine peso (₱)

Capitol: Manila

Continents: Asia

More useful information

Area: 342,353km2

Population: 109,581,085

Traffic/driving side: right

Landlocked country: No

Independent country: Yes

United Nations member: Yes

IDD Prefix: +63

Timezones: UTC+08:00

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Last updated on April 28, 2024

Cebu is a paradise island for memorable experience! It is a haven for water enthusiasts and one of the most adventurous islands in South-east Asia. Cebu province is one of the most visited islands in Philippines, it’s a spectacular place to meet and interact with magnificent marine biodiversity and nature treasures. After exploring every corner of the island I have put together complete Cebu Island travel guide with best places to visit and information on top activities that will stay with you for years!

The island has it all – killing beaches, heaven waterfalls and one of the nicest people in this part of the world. What’s more the local tourist infrastructure and transportation are very well set to accomodate your travel itinerary even if you are on a tight schedule.

Cebu Island travel guide - getting around.

BUS. Local buses are the best transportation option I can advise! They are cheap, comfortable and run frequently to every destination on the island. And what is best you don’t need to search for bus stops, you can stop them in the middle of the road.

TAXIS – if you are looking for a more private way of traveling, taxi is widely accessible in Cebu. However you will not be able to whitness daily life and routines of the locals. 

HABAL-HABAL 🙂 the motorcycle taxi, it’s just a great fun. It’s more a local transport, I was using it up to 20 km distances. They should have a taximeter, otherwise agree the price in advance (it should be very cheap!). 

Best adventures on Cebu Island.

There is plenty of activities that will satisfy your love for adventure. I have lived really memorable moments and I’m giving a detailed description of every single tour in this Cebu Island Travel guide. I’ve seen heaven waterfalls, lived the canyoning adventure, trek beautiful canyons and explored amazing underwater world along diving and snorkeling with Whale Sharks.

Canyoneering in Kawasan Falls or Alegria.

For thrill-seekers, canyoneering in Badian is an absolute must. You will jump off waterfalls, hike upriver through tropical forests, and swim in natural pools.

In September 2023 Kawasan Falls were closed due to maintanace (this is NOT unusual) and we were offered Alegria Canyoneering instead. Honestly, I don’t see any difference. Alegria scenery is equally beautiful.

We have contacted few companies to check prices and services, and eventually picked Kawasan Canyoneering Operator, which has top reviews and the experience was magnificent! 

The canyoneering adventure will begin with a motorbike/habal-habal ride going to the starting point – and begins with a cliff jump!  

Alegria Route Canyoneering tour package cost 1500 PHP/per person with local agency. We were shocked how well all organized, the company was very professional and like most tour operators it included pick-up and drop-off from the nearby towns, which is extremely handy.

The package includes:

  • life vest
  • safety helmet
  • tour guide (fully trained professionals – that’s true!!)
  • entry fee
  • free locker
  • access to shower and comfort changing rooms
  • and FREE lunch, which was delicious!
  • water shoes rental for 100 PHP.

Only transportation from Cebu is on additional cost/due to the distance.

Our guide was the best! He was extremely helpful, caring and encouraging, which made the highest  challenges easy and doable 😉 He really provided an incredible and memorable Canyoneering experience in Alegria! 

Canyoneering in Kawasan Tour.

The whole experience is about 3 hours, including short safety introduction, registration, motorbike ride to the starting point. Canyoneering tour includes number of cliff jumpings from 3 – 8 metres high. I did the 7 metres jump but skipped the 8 metres one (which is the last)- let’s say because of the low water level at this time of the year ;))) You can alternativelly take a path down if you don’t want to do any jumps. Anyway there’s going to be lots of rappelling, swimming through the cliffs, sliding and caving! 

The adventure ends with a lovely lunch, the food was surprisingly good. 

Explore Cebu City.

Cebu is a heavy port city and it gets really busy with traffic. It’s a transportation hub for sea and air travelers. But not many know it also holds a huge piece of history including Spanish and Portuguese flavour. Cebu used to be Spanish colonial capital. Ferdinand Magellan landed in Cebu port in 1521. It was almost completely damaged in World War II but succesfully rebuilt and enlarged. Some top sites are Magellan’s Cross and Minor Basilica of the Holy Child of Cebu. 

We arrived to Cebu by ferry from Bohol and flu out to Manila. 

Best way to travel within the city is taxi. GRAB is available too, however we find it more expensive sometimes than regular taxis. If you prefer to explore the city with on eof the tours, top pick would be Cebu City Private Day Tour with Simala Shrine or  Private CEBU rediscovery Tour! Brilliant option if you want to explore the city best spots.

If you are traveling by bus to another city you need to go to South Bus Terminal in Cebu. Buy a ticket in the counter, they will also tell you all information on  the departures and travel routes.

Island-Hopping in Philippines.

Cebu is a great gateaway for number of destinations across Philippines. We have traveled to Bohol island for few days (I still think it’s a very interesting remote island) – but a day-tour would be sufficient as well. Here are very affordable, TOP rated and best tour options for CEBU City I would highly recommend doing: 

Oslob - swimming with Whale Sharks.

Oslob Whale Shark experience allows you to swim alongside the gentle giants of the sea. This is a top attraction in Cebu that attracts travelers from all over the world to come to the island. I’ve done both: snorkeling and diving with whale sharks – you’ll find all information in my Cebu Island travel guide.

This is one of the most spectacular activity I’ve done in my life. These giant and extremely gentle creatures are swimming just in front of you. My heart was pounding but it’s one of the most beautiful feelings and scenens to experience. Here is top rated Oslob Whale Shark Watching Experience in Cebu.

Comparing those two tours – surprisingly snorkeling might provide a bit better interaction with whale sharks than diving. They are mostly swimming at the surface where you can see them clearly due to water visibility.  

Everything you need to know before swimmin with Whale Sharks in Cebu and how to get to Oslob & registration point – check this step by step guide here. 

Diving gives you a different perspective (equally beautiful) observing the whale sharks swimming above your head. Deep Zone Dive Centre, located just near the registration office for Whale Shakr swimming is class – the guys are very experienced and will take you for a long dive with the whale sharks and lots of other spots around. Snorkeling with Whale Sharks cost 500 PHP, diving is 2500 PHP, which is still relatively cheap. 

Best place to stay in Oslob?

In the above post there is greatest piece of advise I can give you after being there for few days. The crowds for Oslob Whale Shark swimming can be enormous! In September 2023 it wasn’t that bad but you still have to queue from 4am to be one of the first to go into the water. Read the above post if you want to make this experience easy and pleasurable. To easier the registration proces and make the best out of the whole tour – it’s best to stay is 489 Seaside INN (located next to the registration point) with wonderful Luigi, who will help you out with everything ahead of the tour. Here few another very nice accommodation options also next to the registration point with lovely beach view:

If you are looking for accommodation onsite, go and check the rooms first, as some are really low standard. Few other stays close to the Whale Shark Registration spot:

Budget but amazing stay: Stay N save B&B

Mid-range: Casa Bonita Inn Oslob

Resort: AJ’s Place Beach Resort.

How to book Whale Shark Watching?

The whole registration thing can be a hassle and you need to know in high season the crowds are enormous. There are few ways to book your  adventure:

  1. Stay with Luigi – 489 Seaside Inn 😉
  2. Tour is a great option here because they are covering all formalities for you, making sure you have an early slot for Whale Watching. Book top rated Oslob Whale Shark Watching Experience in Cebu.
  3. Go on your own early in the morning and queue for the registration – see the steps.

Moalboal - best gateaway for Cebu adventures.

Moalboal is a papradise hub for watersports and beach activities. It’s one of the most populat spots in Cebu Island due to white sand beaches and crystal clear water … and snorkeling with sardine balls! It’s thousands of sardines swimming together shaping in one big ball. Pretty cool! This activity happens all-year-round so you have a good chance to whitness it. You will more likely meet the turtles in the Turtle Bay. Check Pescador Island Hopping Private Tour from Cebu, Mandaue, Lapu Lapu, and Mactan Island.

How to get from Cebu to Moalboal?

There are plenty of ways to travel from Cebu city to Moalboal but the cheapest and most adventurous and recommended is definitely by a local bus. Moalbaol is only 85km from Cebu, howwever the bus ride will take 3h. We paid 175 PHP (3$)/per person/one-way bus ticket. If you decide to take taxi or a shared van it will be much more expensive but not much quicker. The car ride still takes around 2.5h. You would need to reach Cebu South Bus Station, tickets are available at the counter.

  • Bus from Cebu City to Moalboal runs from 6.00am-2.00pm. 
  • Bus from Cebu City to Bato goes through Moalboal and runs from 3.00am till 6.30pm (2023). 

Tumalog Falls near Oslob.

Tumalog Falls are breathating, it’s a great destination for a half-day trip. No matter if you are staying in Tanawan or Oslob, the easiest way to get to Tumalog Falls is by renting a bike/scooter. If you do not wish to drive yourself there are plenty of motorbike taxis that will take you up the hill (just agree the price in advance and bargain). It’s max 10 minutes drive from Tanawan main road (near the Whale Shark Watching Point).

You will drive up to the top of the hill with a check point with dedicated motorbikes (100PHP paid on your return), taking you to the entry gate where you buy ticket for 50 PHP.

Tumalog Falls are opened: Monday to Sunday from 7.00am to 4.00pm. There are heaven pools with huge waterfalls, picnic area and short hiking trail. It’s a stunning place!

How to get from Oslob to Cebu city?

Cebu island travel guide

Same recommendation – by bus – the easiest and cheapest way to travel in Cebu. Olsob is located 130km from Cebu city. The bus ride takes 4h but there are 2 stopovers on the way to Cebu, so you’ll be able to get lunch or fresh fruit drinks. The bus was almost empty, it’s a coast route so try to sit on the right side to admire the incredible sea shore. 

I didn’t see any bus stops in Tanawan, all you need to do is wave for the bus to stop. Buses run really frequently and are well maintained. Ticket was something around 170PHP/per person. 

Sassari Sardinia

Hey - I'm Eva!

Hiker, adventurous traveler and the author of this blog. My biggest joy is mountaineering and writing reportage travel stories here on this blog, to help you create a unique travel experience. Traveling is freedom, allows you seeing the world truly, meet communities, grow. Taste it!