Backpacking South Cebu for the BUDGETarian

I’ve been receiving a lot of inquiries from our recent South Cebu trip and because sharing is caring, I would like to share our awesome 3 days 2 nights visit to the south of the Queen City of the South. South Cebu has a lot of activities to offer for different types of travelers from the famous whale sharks to chasing waterfalls to the best beaches to awesome marine life.

*Please be reminded that this is a DIY tour. Budget breakdown and sample itinerary are at the bottom. Enjoy reading!

Day 1 – Whale Shark Watching and Sumilon Island

Tears are rolling down the window as we landed at Mactan, crap it’s raining why such a cold welcome Cebu? I was already thinking of an alternate plan (I have plans from A to Z) in case it continues to rain during our stay but it’s already over as soon as we stepped out of the airport.

Knowing that the first Ceres bus to Oslob leaves at 3 am, we hurriedly grabbed a taxi to South Cebu Terminal to catch it but well, we failed, it was already full when we got there at 2:30 am. The next bus arrived after 15 minutes and got full within ten minutes, seems like everyone’s excited to see the whale sharks. Make sure to advise the conductor to drop you at the whale shark watching area.

We were dropped in front of Aaron Beach Resort after a three-hour bus ride. Swimming with the whale sharks costs 500 pesos per person while the resort’s entrance fee is 100 inclusive of service, locker and shower room.

The locker is quite small for our bags but we were lucky to meet two new friends, M&M who let us invade their room (sweet! thank you girls). If you’re not so lucky you can leave your things in their office or check-in, they have fan rooms for 1200 pesos and AC rooms for 1500 pesos good for two persons.


Good morning Mr. Sun!

We were ready to go to the orientation area at 6:30 am, early birds we’ve thought of ourselves but boy, it was a blockbuster. Looks like someone else has caught the worm.


After 30 minutes…

This is it! Jumping in 3, 2, 1…


woaaahh! wait, pwedeng bumalik sa bangka?

While I was staring at them from the boat, I thought “these guys are not really gigantic” but when I jumped into the water I almost pee in panic (but I did not okay?!). They are HUGE, perhaps about a size of a bus. There were probably six of them (or maybe even more) but I stopped counting to savor the moment.


The biggest of them all, must be the mother

Every group has only 45 minutes including the ride to and from the shore and ours has just ended (medyo bitin).

Swimming made us hungry so we had our breakfast before proceeding to our next stop – Sumilon Island.

Boat rates to Sumilon:
1500 for 1 to 5 pax
2000 for 6 to 10 pax
2500 for 11 to 15 pax

To bring down the costs of our boat rental we invited our new Taiwanese friends to join us and M&M.


“Take a dip” – clear water welcoming the guests

It was a perfect sunny weather, the sea reflects the vivid blue skies and the high tide allows us to swim on crystal clear shallow waters just perfect for non-swimmers and kids. Just a word of caution, water suddenly goes deep on one side of the sandbar.

After taking some sexy shots of my girls (I can send you the photos but you know the drill) we headed back to the resort to eat a very late lunch. We enjoyed eating our generously cooked food and talking to M&M that we didn’t realized it was already 6:00 pm, we still have a long way to go.


Goodbye for now Oslob.

It took us 30 minutes to get to Bato terminal by tricycle and another 1 hour and 45 minutes to reach Moalboal. Tricycle drivers immediately offered us a ride for 200 pesos as we stepped out the bus. I was disappointed that they are overcharging their fellow Filipinos (what more for foreigners?) it was only 20 pesos per person during daytime but since it was late, we just agreed to pay 150 pesos.

Day 2 – Moalboal Island Hopping and Visit to Carcar

Our room at Cabana resort (Panagsama, Moalboal) was big and cozy and has a good view of the neighboring roofs *HAHA. Kidding aside, it was nice except that it was away from the sea.


view near the restaurant, sardines run is behind that yellow cabana

At sharp 6 am (our first record of not being late :P) we met Raymund Gaudiano Sande at The Veranda for our island hopping tour. We geared up then the boat stopped in front of our resort while kuya Raymund signaled us to jumped (and we were like, eto na yun?!). Apparently sardines run is just in front of our resort and there are thousands of them (or probably millions?). The marine life in Panagsama was just stunning I could stay here for day. You’ll appreciate the marine life even more if you can free dive but if not, snorkeling is enough.


Guess what those white strips are? Those are sardines.

Trivia from the receptionist of Cabana Resort, “school of sardines migrated from Pescador Island to Panagsama after Typhoon Yolanda hit”.

Kuya Raymund then brought us in the middle of the sea in the hopes of seeing dolphins, however they are quite timid that day. With no luck we just headed to Pescador Island for snorkeling and cliff diving.

Strong currents welcomed us in Pescador Island making it difficult to snorkel and killing our chance to cliff dive, I guess we’re really unlucky that day.


A sea snake coming up for air

Our next stop is Basdaku white beach, Moalboal it was beautiful if only it was clean. We didn’t like the ambience so we stayed shortly.

Turtle watching was the final leg of our island hopping experience but we were tired so we just asked Kuya Raymund to video the turtle for us. From the photo below, I can tell he had a hard time chasing this turtle.  Kudos for keeping up with Mr. Turtle.


Mahirap maghabol kapag siya na ang lumalayo.

We checked out at Cabana by 2 pm and boarded a bus to Carcar. All buses whether air-conditioned or not are already full when it gets to Moalboal so we had no choice but to stand for two hours. The winding road adds up to the already grueling situation.

Getting a bus to Cebu city from Carcar is as difficult as that in Moalboal, most air-conditioned buses are full so the most convenient option is to ride a non-aircon bus, it’s better than to stand for hours.

Day 3 – City Tour and our Last day in Cebu

Tired from our two-day awesome adventure we woke up kinda late on our last day, the homey bed is to blame *HAHA. It was supposed to be a city tour but the traffic was as bad as in Manila and rain poured heavily just when we’re about to start.

When the weather cleared at around 2 pm, we hired a habal-habal to bring us to Sirao Flower Farm (about 45 minutes from JY Square). From what I’ve seen on some Instagram posts Sirao Flower Farm is tagged as Little Amsterdam so I expected a little too much.


Top photo from here

Looks like I need to return between September to October, the flower season.

We headed to Temple of Leah afterwards, but it started to rain again before we’ve even reached our destination. Whew! Cebu welcomes us big time. Another 30 minutes have been wasted just waiting for the rain to stop.

The question for many including myself is, who is Leah?

This temple is a symbol of an undying love of a husband to his dearest wife, so romantic.

To cap off our Cebu tour we bought dried mangoes, danggit, dried pusit for pasalubong at a Taboan market.

TRAVEL GUIDE for 3 days 2 nights South Cebu Tour

                                                         Sample Itinerary for DIY tour:

                                                              Expenses for DIY tour:

If DIY is not your thing, kuya Raymund has package tours available.

Rates for Canyoneering:
1200/person min. of 2 pax
1000/person min. of 6 pax
900/person min. of 10 pax

New canyoneering rate is 1500 pesos per person.

Raymund: 09151392249/09433200118
Ivy: 09972148381/09326079016

Side notes

For South Cebu bus schedule, kindly check this site.

Expect abundant jelly fish when traveling during the rainy season.

We were advised not to go to Tumalog falls because it was affected by El Niño instead they suggested Aguinid falls for 300 pesos inclusive of service and entrance fee.


Curtain-like Tumalog falls. Photo by Augy

Bluewater Sumilon Island Resort is the only resort in Sumilon. Day tour packages during weekdays cost 1500 pesos and 2000 pesos on weekends.

Canyoneering is suspended from June 1 to August 1, 2016.

At this point, it is worth mentioning those irresponsible tourists who left their trashes (diapers, bottles of red horse) in between rocks of Sumilon Island as well as in the shore of Basdaku white beach, Moalboal. Always remember to be a responsible tourist, PLEASE!

We would also like to express our gratitude to the family who entertained us on our last day in Cebu.

The dramatic ending

Tears are rolling down our eyes as we get closer to Mactan airport, our wonderful trip has just come to its finale. We were expecting it will rain before we left, like it always has since we came but it didn’t, not even a drop to bid goodbye. It could have guessed we will be coming back (yes rain, we will be back but please don’t shower us on our return).

P.S. We didn’t really cry, I just thought it would be a good ending. 

Daghang salamat Cebu!


3 thoughts on “Backpacking South Cebu for the BUDGETarian

  1. Great blog! It was very helpful, we will use your itinerary on our visit.
    btw, do you have any other contact in Moalboal and Canyoneering? we find it hard to contact Raymund. Thank you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Mhay, thanks for dropping by. There are a lot of canyoneering tour operators in Cebu, you may check Kawasan Canyoneering (a friend of mine availed their services) or Raymund Sande Canyoneering facebook page, they are very responsive to messages. Also, please be mindful of the half-canyoneering tours offered in Cebu. Hope it helps! 🙂


  2. Pingback: Dumaguete – Siquijor – Cebu for less than 5000 pesos – Gála ng Galâ

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