Ronda and I arrived in Cebu excited for a relaxing island stay mixed with Filipino excitement. With 3 nights at an amazing Air BNB and an eyeful of adventure it was sure to be a great stay. The Philippines are a perfect place for backpackers on a budget or flashpackers like ourselves ready to spend a little more. If you’re heading to Cebu you’re sure to enjoy these top favorites from our stay! Our Air BNB was in a town called Ronda just north of Moalboal. Les Maison’s estate is amazing. We stayed in Studio Poseidon with a Sea View and loved it!
1) Swim with the whale sharks – This was the highlight of my stay and the big ticket item that drew me to Cebu in the first place. For a paltry 2500 pesos ($50) they’ll pick you up at your hotel and head to Oslob near the southern tip of Cebu. (It’s a 1.5 hour ride from Moalboal and a hair longer from Cebu City) Whale Sharks are a protected species as the world’s largest fish. They skim the surface for zooplankton and are always available for tourism since local fisherman feed them from 9am-12pm.
Tourist Spots in the Philippines
Snorkeling with these monsters can be intimidating for some but once you’re in the water you forget about all that as they swim past you. Symbiotic smaller fish tag along creating a diverse assortment of life. Careful near the top; I got a few jellyfish stings but nothing bad enough to spoil this magical experience.
2) Rent a motorbike – In Moalboal you can easily find a motorbike rental for about 500 pesos/day. Make sure to check the breaks and don’t forget your helmet! One of the biggest mistakes tourists makes when motorbiking keeping their sandals on. If you’re good on a bike it probably won’t matter but if you’re new then be sure to wear real shoes in case you have to bail.
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Once you’re on the bike you can tool around the local villages, head to the beach or waterfalls! I highly recommend grabbing a dozen snacks at a street-side shop. Every time you see a wandering kid hand out some food and you’ll make their day! The smiles were rewards enough for Ronda and I 🙂
3) Stop by Kawasan Falls – just under 20 km south of Moalboal you’ll find Kawasan Falls. There’s a giant sign on the left where a local will try and convince you to park the bike for 50 pesos and then guide you to the waterfall for another 150. It’s unclear if you really need to pay these fees since a few hundred meters later you’ll see the actual entrance for another nominal park entrance fee. Following the crystal clear river you pass through a tiny village and might find some massive insects and spiders hiding among the leaves. Don’t let these critters scare you away because the massive waterfall is just around the corner.
At Kawasan falls you can have a snack at the restaurant, swim in the beautiful water, or pay to ride a bamboo raft beneath the wall of water. They also run canyoning adventures here but we decided to pass in lieu of some more time on the motorbikes.
4) Bathe in Tumalog falls – Tumalog Falls are just outside of Oslob and the perfect pairing with a whale shark tour. Most tours take you to both places and I would highly recommend booking one that includes Tumalog. This massive fall towers above the jungle as a beautiful spray dances slowly down to the bathing pool below. It is a steep walk from the parking lot to this landmark but for 50 pesos each way you can jump on the back of a motorbike.
Holiday in the Philippines
Looking for other great spots in the Philippines? Check out the 15 best islands in the Philippines here!
5) Explore Moalboal – Moalboal is a gem tucked away on Cebu’s western coast. This tiny little town is the perfect stop for those wanting to go to Oslob, visit a beach some waterfalls and get away from the bustle of Cebu City. Stay overnight in one of the backpacker hostels, grab a hotel or book an Air BNB like we did. In Moalboal you can easily rent a motorbike, book a tour or jump or a dive boat. White beach is just around the corner and this village has the best restaurants in the area.
Tourist Spots in Cebu
6) Relax on White Beach – Moalboal’s white beach is pristine with a westerly view. It’s the best beach on Cebu and perfect for all of your beach activities.
7) Canyoning – Unfortunately we didn’t have time to try Canyoning in Cebu but we hear it’s an amazing way to explore the jungle. Tours bring you to a river, gear you up and give you a chance to hike the waterway and descend through a series of waterfalls. Definitely on my list if I return to Cebu!
Where to Stay in the Philippines
Would I go back to Cebu? Hell yeah! But honestly I might pick a different island for a return trip to the Philippines. Cebu is a gorgeous island in an archipelago of paradisical wonderlands but it just doesn’t hold its own when compared to Boracay or Palawan’s beaches. The great thing about Cebu is the variety of adventurous activities available and if you’re like me and drawn by the whale sharks then be sure to explore these other great excursions.
Have you been to Cebu? Tell us what you liked in the comments!
Are you in the Philippines? Check out this amazing Street Food Guide!