"[the Philippines] has the competitive edge in tourism in its natural wonders and the extraordinary hospitality of its people" - Gloria Arroyo
Gloria Arroyo was, of course, right. An island nation, the Philippines is a treasure cove full of natural wonders and has some of the nicest people we've ever met on our travels!
Cebu is the most important island in the Philippines’ Visayas region and is home to the nation’s oldest city – Cebu city. Cebu island may not be as high as Boracay or Palawan on a Philippines travel wish-list, but that is a good thing! Without the publicity of it's two more popular neighbors, Cebu feels a world away from the organised tourist industry - making it the perfect island escape
Looking for more Philippine travel guides? Check back soon for some more on the Philippines!
Where to stay in Cebu!
The best place to stay in Cebu completely depends on what you want to get out of your trip. A lot of what we wanted to do was in the South of the island, which suited us perfectly as it meant that we could base ourselves in Moalboal, a small town along the white sand beach more on that coming up!). It was about 3/3.5 hour taxi journey from the airport (around 2,500 Philippine pesos in a white taxi) each way, but it meant that once we arrived we could rent a motorbike and use that to get around - something some tourists staying in smaller villages couldn't do.
If, however you don't want to stray too far from the city lights, there are a number of international resorts up in Cebu City too!
Whew, now that that stuff is out of the way, here's our list of some of the best things to see and do in Cebu!
White Sand Beach
Quite possibly the best beach in Cebu, Moalboal's White Sand Beach is exactly what comes to mind when you picture a relaxing Philippine getaway. Here in Moalboal, a narrow stretch of white sand sits between the green palm trees on one side and the clear blue water on the other, making it the perfect place to relax in Cebu. Throw in some beachfront cabanas for a drink or two as well as the fact that Moalboal's white sand beach is the perfect place to watch the stars at night, and this beach easily made its way onto our Cebu travel guide!
Oh, and if lounging around soaking in the sun just isn't your thing, then be sure to sign up for some of the diving trips organised on the beach front and kick your beach trip up a notch.
Inambakan falls is easily one of Cebu's must-sees and should easily make it into any Cebu itinerary. While the sight of the main waterfall cascading into the pool below is worthy of the drive by itself, Inambakan's unique selling point is that it is actually 5 separate waterfalls, each with their own rock pool deep enough for you to dive into with reckless abandon. The perfect way to escape the island heat!
Add to all of that that we basically had the place to ourselves (save for the small group of Filipino teenagers having the time of their lives diving into the rock pools) and Inambakan Falls was by far our favorite thing on Cebu.
Looking for other places to dive into some waterfalls in South East Asia? Check out our Bali guide for more!
A 10 minute bike ride from the Inambakan falls is Dao fall, an unmissable waterfall that cascades down into a stunning blue pool and more than worthy of a spot on your cebu itinerary. A world away from the crowds at Kawasan, Dao waterfall stands out in large part thanks to the beautiful hike to get there. Cross over the bamboo bridge from the car park and, from there, it's around 30-minutes of walking through crystal clear blue water surrounded on each sides by lush green forest as the canyon walls close in. As you get closer to the waterfall itself, there is a raised walkway to get out of the stream but it can get super slippery so be careful!
We'd probably recommend going either during or just after the rainy season though to make sure the stream is in full flow as it can get a little lackluster in the dry season!
Okay, so not really a travel "thing to do" in the strictest sense of the phrase but would I really be being honest to who I am if I didn't include at least one cafe on this list?! Shaka has 4 locations across the Philippines and specializes in healthy breakfast bowls that both look and taste great! (No seriously, if you're the kind of person that takes pictures of their food then 10/10 Shaka is the place for you) Add to that the fact that they serve proper espresso (a rarity) and are a stone's throw away from the beach and you have yourself a winner on every front! The perfect breakfast before you head off exploring.
If you Google "things to do in Cebu", then Kawasan Falls is probably the top result and it is definitely something you should do if you have the time in your Cebu itinerary. Full disclosure, we had the intention to go canyoning at Kawasan but when we drove past it was fairly busy so we chose to continue South to get some waterfalls to ourselves first (Inambakan to yourself is paradise!). By the time we turned around to head to Kawasan the sun was getting ready to set and it was too late. Next time! But, if your Cebu itinerary has the space then go for it and be sure to tag us in some posts about it to make us super jealous at the same time!
Looking for some more travel inspiration? Be sure to check out our travel blogs for around the world here, and let us know if there's anything you want added! Until next time!