Outside of Cebu city, there is so much beauty on this island. When I think of Cebu, I think of walking past a school yard and all the children running to the gate to wave hello, waterfalls everywhere you look, and karaoke playing in the background from the moment you wake. The water is blue and the people are happy. It is a great place to start or end your trip in the Philippines as it is just a ferry ride away from many other beautiful islands.
LANGUAGE: Filipino (Tagalog) and English
CURRENCY: Philippino Peso
CLIMATE: Tropical (warm & humid), Dry season: Nov – May
DRESS CODE: Casual
GETTING AROUND: Grab, Jeepneys, Tuk-tuks, Local taxis
COST OF VISITING: $ – Hostels start at $4 per night and street food is a little as $2 to $3 (USD) per meal
TIPPING: The Philippines are a non-tipping culture, For taxis, feel free to round up but this is not necessary
SAFETY: Cebu city is generally safe but be mindful of your phone, purse. Surrounding areas safe as well.
PACKING ESSENTIALS: Mosquito repellant, Sunscreen
VISA: Visa on arrival, 30 days, No cost for US passport holders; Must have ticket to prove exit out of country
Cebu airport is located about 15 km away from the Cebu city center. With traffic it will take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes.
BY BUS – Walk out of the arrivals hall and turn right. You will see a bus stop about 100 m down the pathway. Buses run every 20 minutes and should cost you about 25 pesos. ($0.47 USD)
BY TAXI – The taxi stand is located across from the bus stand. There are two types of taxis available, white and yellow. Both are legit, the yellow taxis are just a bit newer. Expect to pay 200 – 300 pesos. ($4 – 6 USD)
BY FERRY – Cebu city center is about 3
OSLOB/BOLJOON (Southern Cebu)
While traveling in Cebu, I spent most of my time in this area. My hostel was located in Boljoon, which is where I went straight from the airport.
BY BUS – Take a taxi from the Cebu airport to the South Bus Terminal. Buses run until around 10pm (as of Sept 2018) and the trip takes around 3 hours. Total cost for the trip is around $5 to $9 USD. My flight arrived too late to take a bus, so I am unsure about how often they leave for Boljoon but I was under the impression it was pretty frequently.
BY TAXI – Taxi is a more expensive way to travel as the trip is close to 3 hours, but is convenient for those with a lot of luggage or who have been traveling a long way and just want to relax. Taxis can be found right outside the arrivals terminal at the airport and prices can be negotiated with the drivers. Expect to pay around $50 to $60 USD.
WHERE TO STAY
This hostel was absolutely amazing. It is located directly on the beach with lounge chairs right on the water. There is a bar on the beach as well as a pool. While here, I met a lot of amazing travelers and we spent most nights hanging around the hostel bar or in the pool. The hostel guard will happily flag down a local bus for you or help you grab a tuk-tuk to explore surrounding areas or to go waterfall hopping. The only downfall is that there are not many restaurants to eat around here but luckily there is a restaurant on site. It is a little more expensive relative to Philippines pricing but convenient as you can charge everything to your room and pay at the end of your stay.
I stayed here one night before a flight and the atmosphere was great. If you are looking to meet other travelers, this is a great place to stay. You get a free beer when you check in which is great after a long day of traveling. While I was there, the staff arranged a flip cup tournament which was entertaining to watch. There are also places to chill out if you don’t want to participate in the beer drinking activities going on on the patio. Location is great, located walking distance from a huge indoor/outdoor mall space with many dining and shopping options.
WHAT TO DO
ILI ROCK (Also known as Eli Rock)
Walking distance from Noordzee Hostel, Ili Rock is a natural rock formation located at the edge of the Poblacion. It is one of the most popular landmarks in the Boljoon area and was believed to be a natural fortress during pre-historic times. The climb is moderately steep but with stairs and a railing to help you up to the top. The views from the top are amazing.
I didn’t get the chance to go here, but many of the others I met did and had nothing but good things to say. It is one of the more touristy waterfalls, so expect there to be more people there than some of the other hidden falls. Floating on a bamboo raft, this is a great place to snap a shot for your Instagram. If you are into that kinda thing.
Entrance fee: ~40 pesos
You will find 5 levels of waterfalls here and I highly recommend paying to climb to all 5 of them. The climb is not as bad as they describe, suitable for all levels of climbers. (There is a rope to help you, along with your tour guide) You are required to go with a guide who will take you along to each of the levels. Payment for the guide is up to you at the end (we gave 100 pesos as a group of 5). They will try to sell you shoes on the way up to not slip. These are not necessary to purchase, just be careful and know that some of the rocks can be slippery.
Entrance Fee: ~40 pesos
BINALAYAN HIDDEN WATERFALLS
This was my favorite waterfall as it is lesser known and we had the entire place to ourselves! It is a very peaceful hike and there are resting areas and a tire swing.
Entrance Fee: ~40 pesos