If you have booked a piso fare going to Cebu, where do you want to spend it? Cebu Island has tons of choices from north to south, from west to east. But the rage right now is to go to the south. What’s in the south cebu side? A LOT of amazing waterfalls, white sand beaches, and exciting adventures.
I am a Cebuana though I’ve been a resident of Laguna for close to two years now, but still I go home to Cebu thrice a year, thanks to promo fares from Cebu Pacific and Air Asia Zest. Yeyyy!
When I have more time, I will be creating more diy itineraries like this so hope you subscribe to Penfires post through email or follow on Facebook.
This Cebu diy itinerary is best for 4D/3N with focus on the southern side of the island. Warning lang, medyo nakakapagod because there are activities after activities.
I’m crafting this post because my brother in law and gf are going to Cebu this April. Hope this IT I proposed to them can also help you.
Route will be from the airport straight to South Cebu bus terminal then Kawasan Canyoneering, Whale Shark Watching, then Sumilon Island day trip, then Carcar lechon, then Osmena Peak in Dalaguete, then Simala Monastery, then Crown Regency Sky Walk, then finally Cebu City Day tour on the last day.
Airport to Cebu South Bus Terminal
Ideally you will arrive at Mactan airport around dawn or earlier. Make your way straight to South Bus terminal.
I suggest that you take a taxi. Because it’s still early and the roads are empty of regular traffic jams, reaching SBT is fast, less than 30 minutes. Fare would be around P250 to P300.
There are white taxis available at the arrival bay area, as well as yellow airport taxis.
You can commute all the way to SBT but I don’t suggest this if you are arriving past midnight to early dawn.
June 18, 2018 Update: There is now a DIRECT BUS from Mactan airport to Cebu South Bus Terminal via Sugbo Transit. Fare is P40.
CERES BUS “Bato via Barili”
So you have reached the south bus terminal of Cebu, and assuming that you will follow our IT, you will need to hop on a Ceres bus bound for “Bato via Barili”
Do not take the “Bato via Oslob” if you want to go to the south-west side of the island. “Bato via Oslob” is for those who wants to go to south-east side.
“Bato via Barili” will pass by Carcar, Barili, Dumajug, Ronda, Alcantara, Moalboal, Badian, Alegria, Malabuyoc, Ginatilian, Samboan, then lastly Santader.
Bato is a barangay of Santander, the tip of Cebu mainland. This is also where you can find the Bato port if you want to cross to Tampi in Negros Oriental.
The buses from SBT with routes “Bato via Barili” and “Bato via Oslob” last stop is in Bato, Santander.
DAY 1: South Bus Terminal to Alegria for Canyoneering
The town of Alegria, which is next to Badian, is the gateway or jump-off point if you want to do the 4-hours adventure filled Kanlaob River to Kawasan falls canyoneering.
Tell the conductor to drop you off in Alegria town center. Once in Alegria, ask locals to be directed to your canyoneering operator of choice.
**Local ordinance requires prior reservation to do the famous Cebu Canyoneering. This is to protect the adventure trail and Kanlaob river and the falls from being exploited, and to regulate the number of guests at any given day. See this news link for the full details of this new ordinance which is already taking effect.
SBT to Alegria is about 3 hours and a half travel time.
Do the canyoneering, last leg will be the main falls of Kawasan. Most canyoneering outfit aims to have their guests take lunch at the main falls of Kawasan.
More details info on Kawasan Waterfalls on this post. If you want more info about kawasan cebu canyoneering read this piece by my friend Doi.
Another update today June 18, 2018. Doi did the canyoneering adventure again yesterday and this is her observation:
The canyoneering route has changed and instead of starting at Alegria, one has to ride a habal2x to get to the innards of Badian for like 20 minutes or so to get to the starting point. Another 30-minute trek ensues to reach the jump off point of the canyoneering adventure. The habal2x ride+trek was tiring but if there’s any consolation, it’s that the canyoneering activity is cut short by 1/4, I guess.
The exciting running cliff jump at the 3rd tier of Kawasan Falls is no longer allowed too. sad. But a swing and a slide has been added and an old man in the area collects P10/pax to get unlimited access to these.
We left the resort at 8:30 am and finished this activity at around 12nn 🙂
After Canyoneering, Where to spend the night?
If your Day 2 activity is whale watching in Oslob, here is a recommendation for you. My advice is for you to spend the first night in Brgy Tam-awan, Oslob. This is where the whale watching action happens.
Check here for rates on Oslob Hotels :
You can also stay overnight in one of the beach resorts in Badian or Moalboal, but might not be the greatest idea especially that Oslob Whale Watching is best done early morning.
Check here for rates on Badian and Moalboal hotels and inns:
Back to our Cebu itinerary sample, because Kawasan Canyoneering is about 3 to 4 hours, more if you decide to stay longer in the waterfall area, chances are you will be done late in the afternoon.
The not so great news is this – buses are rare in the late afternoon for route Kawasan going back to Carcar City or Cebu City.
**Some prefers spending the night in Carcar town then head to Oslob real early the following day.
If I am on your shoes, what would I do? From Kawasan I will head to Bato, Santander. Cebu’s tip.
KAWASAN FALLS To Bato / Santander roundabout
Since buses are rare or full from Kawasan back to the city at late afternoon. It is best to go to Oslob to spend the night, instead of staying overnight in Carcar.
To do this, catch a bus that is going to “Bato”. Disembark at the last bus stop which is usually near the Bato port.
As mentioned earlier, all bus routes ends in Bato for routes coming from the city, and starts in Bato for those going to Cebu City.
Ride a bus bound for Cebu City from Bato, make sure signage says “via Oslob”. If you ride a bus “via Barili” you are going back to Kawasan area.
Or you can also try to catch jeepneys that plies town to town.
You can already find pension houses or resorts in Tam-awan. Select one that fits your budget.
DAY 2: Oslob Whale Shark Watching
Wake up early the following day. Make your way to the briefing center for whale watching, register and listen to the rules.
After the 15 to 20 minutes mandatory briefing, you will now head to your boat to catch a glimpse of the gentle giants, the butandings.
Whale shark watching normally runs for just 30 minutes. Take as many pictures as you want but at all times follow the rules.
By the way, there is another payment if you will bring underwater camera and swim with the whalesharks. A point and shot camera (not underwater) is free to bring. There are snorkeling gear for rent.
Whale Shark Watching to Sumilon Island Day Trip
Because whale watching is just a few hours activity you have ample time to go for a day visit to the fame sand bar of Sumilon island.
*If you have the budget an overnight stay in Sumilon Island Bluewaters Resort would be a real treat. Or a day trip to Sumilon Island but this will cost you P1,500 per pax on weekdays, P2,000 on weekends. Overnight stay is A LOT more expensive.
**But the good news is you can still go to the sandbar, this is open to the public. However, exploration of the resort area is strictly restricted to its guests.
There are already boats available in the whale watching area that can take you to Sumilon, price are negotiable but usually P1,500 for a whole day boat rent. You can rent one for yourself or group, or hook up with other groups to save on the boat fare.
If you will go for a day trip in Sumilon Resort, ride a tricyle from Tam-awan and go to Bancogon Port where you can find the official boats of Sumilon Bluewaters.
Stay as much as you want in the sand bar.
Assuming that your next item on your Cebu itinerary is to go to Dalaguete to trek to Cebu’s highest point, the Osmena Peak.
Where to spend the second night?
You can take a bus from Oslob and go to Carcar so you can eat their famous carcar lechon for dinner before you rest for the day.
Or stay overnight again in Oslob.
Either options work. The following day start early because the goal will be Osmena Peak and Simala Monastery visit.
**If you are done early in Sumilon, you can head straight to Dalaguete right after if you want to attempt catching sunset in Osmena peak. But your body might demand you rest. Hehe.
DAY 3: Carcar or Oslob to Dalaguete Osmena Peak
If you opted to stay the night in Carcar from Oslob, just catch a bus that is bound for “Bato via Oslob” in the morning. Ask to be dropped off in Dalaguete town center.
If you opted to stay the night in Oslob, catch the “Cebu City” bound bus, ask to be dropped off in the town center of Dalaguete.
You can already catch a habal-habal or motorcycle-for-hire to get from Dalaguete town center all the way to the jump-off point of Osmena Peak. Fare per person round trip would be P200 to P250. Negotiate if you want.
You’ll be passing charming mountain sceneries along the way. Once you pass by Mantalongon vegetable market, the jump-off point is near, less than 20 minutes on habal-habal ride.
Make sure you tell the habal-habal driver to drop you off in the jump-off point. Why? Because some drivers will only drop you off in Mantalungon market and then you have to walk close to 3 kilometers to the jump-off place.
Actual trek to the highest peak of Cebu island is less than 20 minutes normal walk.
But of course, kahit easy trek na puedeng puede sa beginner, kamuntikan pa din akong mahimatay. Lol. Read the story here.
OSMENA PEAK to SIMALA MONASTERY in Sibonga
Once you get your fill of the O’Peak. Head back to the town proper so you can catch a mini-bus bound for Sibonga.
Simala Monastery is in Sibonga. Observer proper attire please.
**You can actually interchange the Day 3 IT, Simala first before Osmena Peak.
For particulars about visiting Simala, please read this dedicated post.
Make your way to Cebu City from Simala in the afternoon.
So on Day 3 at night time you are already in the city, why not try our famous lechon choices here or how about Larsian, aye? Heheh.
To cap the night and if you still have budget go to Crown Regency for the SkyWalk or Edge Coaster.
If you are looking for a hotel that is near the tourist spots of Cebu, check choices here .
DAY 4: City Tour and Pasalubong Shopping
It’s your last day in the Queen City of the South!
So what to do? Check your departure time, if your hotel is in Cebu City, leave the city at least 3 before your trip to have a ‘traffic allowance’.
If you still have ample time, say your flight is the last flight of the day at close to midnight, then you can still do a city tour.
Check this post for possible Cebu City Tour activity or this Heritage Walking Tour. Or this one for Taboan pasalubong shopping.
ALTERNATIVE TO OSLOB WHALE SHARK ACTIVITY
If you don’t want the Oslob Whale Shark watching, an excellent alternative would be heading to Moalboal from Kawasan. But again the problem I see is the dearth of bus bound for Cebu City from Kawasan, which will pass by Moalboal.
Alternative: You can rent a tricycle “pakyaw” or “special trip” but it will set you back anywhere from P200 to P300. If you can catch a jeep that goes to Moalboal all the better so you can save on fare.
*Town to town jeeps exists but also rare.
There are lots of pension houses and lodgings aside from regular resorts in Moalboal. What’s in Moalboal? The famous sardine run at Panagsama Beach and Pescador Island, it’s also a diving haven that attracts locals and foreign divers.
*My free diving friends who frequents Moalboal for the abundance of healthy corals, a sunken airplane, sharks and turtles, deep coral reefs, etc., recommends for swimmers to don on a full body suit to avoid jellyfish stings.
From Moalboal catch a “Cebu” bound bus to get to Carcar or to go back to Cebu City.
If you get lost, ask a local. They will help. 😀
Going to Cebu? Hope this post helps you a bit in crafting your DIY itinerary.
You can also start researching about discounted accommodations in Cebu City via this search box:
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Hello! I would like to ask what bus route do we need to take in Carcar going to Dalaguete for Osmeña Peak? Thank you. 🙂
Cille Anne says
Hi Fatz, take a bus with ‘Oslob’ signage, then inform konduktor to drop you off in Dalauguete poblacion.
Hi, I love your itinerary, I would love to use this.. But do you have like a budget break down, so that I will have an idea on how much money I will bring, thank you in advance
Cille Anne says
Hi Rachel, naku, I don’t have the travel expense breakdown for this. :/
Hi! i like your Itinerary a lot 🙂 this by far is the most helpful blog! it covered all the place that i want to visit, i just have a question , is it possible to do the osmena peak and canyoneering at the same day? hehe we will arrive at cebu by 4am …
Cille Anne says
Hi Cham,regarding your question, I had to refer it to my more adventurous friend travel blogger Doi of TheTravellingfeet. 🙂 She says you can if you are ‘adventurous and fit’. Also, its best to do the canyoneering first, then after lunch, take a habal-habal in Kawasan/Badian (just ask around there) to take you to the base of Opeak. There are habal-habal that can traverse the mountain range from west-to-east,from Alegria to Mantalungon it’s about 45 mins Doi’s says. Have the habal-habal wait for you at the base so after, you can go to Dalaguete town proper to take the Cebu City bound bus (if that’s your plan. Enjoy! 🙂
Jea Elive says
hello! how much did you spend for this trip? 🙂
Cille Anne says
Hi jea, wasn’t able to take note of all the expenses per leg of the journey :/
Maureen ann Tobia says
Hi! Ask ko lang, saan mo iniiwan mga gamit mo? Hehe.
Cille Anne says
Hi Maureen, dala dala konti lang kasi gamit at backpackers talaga. 🙂
Hi, I am just wondering if these activities (e.g. canyoneering) can accommodate me – I am planning for a solo travel. Do I need to pay higher for canyoneering or do I need to be in a group to pay the 1500 for canyoneering? Or, will they allow me to have these activities when I am alone?
Thanks for your help.
Cille Anne says
Hi Roy, I’ve just confirmed with a Canyoneering outfitter, you will be group with others, minimum of 5 person per group. Unfortunately, individual price is now at P2,300 per pax; try to contact more canyoneering organizers as you might find a lower rate. Have a great travel!
Thanks for all of these super detailed and helpful hints!!! If I were to go to Bohol after exploring southern Cebu like you suggested, would you think I could just catch a bus after whale shark diving to Cebu and take a ferry over in the same day? Thank you 🙂
Cille Anne says
Hi Aly, yes you can do that 🙂
Assuming that your whale shark watching ends at 10 AM and you will head right away to Cebu City via bus, you will arrive in South Bus Terminal around 2 to 3 PM. From SBT take a taxi to go to Pier 1 if you want to take the OceanJet FastCraft (last trip at 6:45 PM). Or taxi to Pier 4 if you plan to take Supercat Fastcraft (last trip is 7:40 PM).
Have a great vacation!
Hi! I am going to Cebu alone this July for 4 days. Just wanted to ask if I could still fit in a Bantayan Island day tour. Thank you and Godbless. 🙂
Cille Anne says
Hi Jayson, if you are doing the South Cebu spots it would be very challenging. Bantayan is on another island, on the North of Cebu.
From South Cebu area it will take you about 10 to 13 hours to go there (factor in waiting time for bus and ferry). See this Bantayan Island Guide to give you more details of the commute there.
Thank you for sharing this experienced you have. We’re also planning to go to Cebu for 4 days on July. Ang dami naming inquire kasi ang mamahal ng offers.
Cille Anne says
Hi Cepolinar, you can do-it-yourself all the way except for the canyooneering coz you really have to contact an operator ahead to reserve slots. In case you diy and you get confuse, ask the locals, they will assist. 🙂
Hello, Ms. Cille. Your blog is very informative… My friends and I are planning to go to Osmena Peak this month. May I know which route is safest? is it the one in Dalaguete junction or the Mantalongon route. I am worried about habal habal rides and I am also not fit as a fiddle and definitely a new climber, do you suppose I can survive the Osmena Peak Trip. Thank you very much.
Cille Anne says
Hi Lyn, you will be passing by Dalaguete junction before you get to Mantalongon. Mantalongon is one of the barangays of the town of Dalaguete. The hike to the peak is not really hard, plus it’s a short hike. On the habal habal ride just make sure to inform the driver not to go fast. Habal habal is the fastest and easiest way to get to the Osmena Peak jump-off point.
Hello, Ms. Cille… my friends and I finally went up Osmena Peak yesterday… Our fears about having to ride the habal habal were gone when we were told there was a multi-cab that also plies the route to the jump-off point of Osmena Peak. And fortunately it was the next mode of transportation that was accommodating passengers that very time ..So… it was such a relief. It was however not a very bright day but the weather did permit us to see the peaks as the fog slowly were blown by the winds. It was such a sight to actually see the peaks in all its glory. . Our female guide was very helpful and made sure we were heading on the right trail going down. Thank you very much for inspiring us to go on with the journey. More Power!
Cille Anne says
WOW! Awesome Lyn, you guys made it to OPeak!!! 🙂
Thank you for leaving a comment about the multi-cab availability to Osmena Peak jump-off point. I’ll be updating this guide soon with your added input. Daghang Salamat!
Hi, again, Ms. Cille… I am not quite sure if the multi-cab that took us to the foot of the Osmena Peak ply the route on a regular basis but we were really fortunate that it did that very day. Thank you.
Cille Anne says
Thank you Lyn for clarifying, I’ll also try to ask around, pero sana regular na yang multicab laking tulong not only sa tourist but also sa locals.
Hello Cille Anne,
Thanks for your reply on my previous question.
I have another question – I am planning to be at Osmena Peak at late in the afternoon to catch the sunset (will be photographing) and I am not sure about what’s the best thing to do after that – should I stay overnight at the peak or should I go down and find a place somewhere in Dalaguete? Is it okay to go down at night, let’s say 7pm?
Thanks for your help…