DIY CEBU ADVENTURE TRIP: The Best Places to Visit on a Budget

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Have you been bitten by the travel bug? Are you looking for your next destination? If so, consider Cebu – a beautiful and affordable island located in the Philippines. 

Cebu is a Philippine island that is part of the Central Visayas Archipelago. It has gained the moniker “Vacation Garden of Eden” due to its splendor. The contrast between the gorgeous natural scenery and the historic structures is breathtaking.

Tourists should note that in order to enter the island of Cebu, they must meet certain requirements. 

  • If fully vaccinated, a vaccination card with a QR code and a valid ID is required. If there is no QR code, present the official vaccination certificate issued by your LGU’s local health officer or vaccination certification issued by the Department of Health-Bureau of Quarantine.
  • If you are unvaccinated, you must have a negative RT-PCR test result within 72 hours, a negative antigen test result within the last 48 hours, or a negative saliva test result within the last 48 hours (tests must be conducted by the Department of Health accredited laboratories)

Now that you’re all set with your travel requirements, let us start the vacation in Cebu!

Accommodations:

The best way to experience Cebu is by staying in one of its centrally located hotels. Whether you want a more luxurious or budget-friendly stay.

You can already find strategically positioned rooms within walking distance from all major attractions on Airbnb at very affordable prices – some as low as PHP 700.00/night (inclusive breakfast). For those who would rather save money without sacrificing comfort during their trip abroad; we recommend checking out local accommodation.

Transportation:

Jeepneys, taxis, tricycles, and buses are the most common modes of transportation in Cebu. There are no “bus numbers” or “jeepney numbers” in the Philippines, but you may read the names of the main terminals to find out where this or that jeepney is heading. In any case, the best option is to simply ask the driver.

Buses are also available, however, they are few and far between, serving mostly Cebu Mactan Airport and the surrounding villages. SM Cebu City is one of the primary bus terminals.

Grab is also accessible in Cebu, in addition to conventional modes of transportation. Although Grab’s service will only be available in major cities such as Cebu, Mandaue, Mactan, and other nearby towns, it is very reliable in the area, and you can even take advantage of the Cebu promo codes, which usually offer a lot in the region!

The first day of your Cebu itinerary

Colon Street

Let us begin in the heart of Cebu. There is Colon Street, which is the Philippines’ oldest street. Although there are no old buildings on this street, it is still well-known, and you can feel the spirit of the city here.

There are a lot of shops, malls, restaurants, street vendors, and other things that are typical of Philippine urban life. Yes, it may not be a favorite spot for those who enjoy natural tranquility, but if you want to get a first “feeling” of Cebu, this is a must-see area.

Basilica Minore del Santo Nino

This is one of Cebu’s landmarks. The Basilica Santo Nino is the Philippines’ oldest church, and it houses the country’s oldest relic, a small statuette of the Child Jesus. There’s a backstory to it. Magellan presented this statuette to the local prince Rajah Humabon in 1521 as a gift. However, only a few days later, Magellan was assassinated, and the Europeans left the Philippines.

You can walk around the church, both inside and out in the yard. There is a small museum with some relics and information about the city’s history. However, if there is a mass service, you cannot take photos everywhere outside, but only in designated areas.

If I were you, I would try to pray and make a wish. There is a saying that if it is your first time visiting a church, you will be given one desire if you sincerely believe and have good intentions.

Magellan’s Cross

Then, from the other gate, you can exit and see the small shrine of the Magellan’s Cross. It is a cross that was planted in this location by Magellan’s people in 1521.

It is currently unknown whether the current cross in the shrine is the original or a replica made later by the Spanish colonizers.

But one thing is certain: it is yet another special relic, a source of worship for the locals, who believe that this cross possesses miraculous powers.

Inside the shrine, you can often see people praying and worshiping. The shrine and the cross are now popular tourist attractions in Cebu.

Temple of Leah

It’s time to go on a road trip, which will be a lot of fun because we’ll be traveling along the Cebu Transcentral Highway.

Teodorico Soriano Adarna created this temple in 2012 as a symbol of his undying love for his late wife Leah Villa Albino-Adarna, with whom he had 53 blissful years!

Furthermore, the temple was inspired by Greek and Roman architecture. The Taj Mahal of Cebu is decorated with colossal lion statues and a majestic staircase with brass angels.

How to go: Take the shuttle from JV Square Mall to Dessert Factory in SSY Center, which is across from Watsons. The shuttle costs Php 120 per person for a round-trip journey. Simply look up the Temple shuttle service schedule to get your exact journey time and arrival time at the temple.

Visiting hours: 7:00 am to 6:00 PM daily

Entrance fee: PHP 100.00 per person (10 years old and below are free)

Parking fee: PHP 100 if inside the premises; free if outside but limited slots only

Sirao Flower Garden

20 minutes away from Temple of Leah is our next destination.

The Sirao Flower Garden, located in the Busay district, is a more elevated site. Going there is like visiting the Netherlands, which is why this tourist destination is known as “Little Amsterdam.”

The celosia is also known as ‘Burlas’ by locals flowers in flamboyant red, purple, yellow, and orange give it an Amsterdam feel. The erected windmill, as well as the cold breeze, add to the magnificent scene. As a result, the guests get a distinct, touristic vibe.

Entrance fee: PHP 60.00

Visiting hours: 6:00 AM to 6:30 PM daily

NUSTAR Resort and Casino

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Before the day is done, you can pay a visit to NUSTAR Resort and Casino, a premier integrated resort development that is set to elevate and redefine five-star luxury in gaming, entertainment, leisure, and dining.

The shuffle of playing cards, the excitement of the crowds, and the thrill of victory – playing at NUSTAR Cebu is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that everyone should have.

Mango Square

Mango Square is the place to go if you’re seeking nightlife.

Mango Square and the surrounding area are the greatest places to go out at night. It is densely packed with clubs, discos, and restaurants, so you may spend your evenings in Cebu here if you prefer that type of thing.

Itinerary for the Second Day

KAWASAN FALLS OF BADIAN

If there’s one place you should never miss when visiting Cebu, it’s Kawasan Falls, one of the Philippines’ most popular waterfalls

It’s easy to go to Kawasan Falls. Simply follow the steps outlined below.

If you’re unsure which bus to take, don’t be afraid to ask the bus terminal staff. Every day, buses to Badian run several times.

  • Going to the Bus terminal: Take a taxi or jeepney to Cebu South Bus Terminal to begin your journey to Kawasan Falls.
  • Seek out a Ceres bus headed for Bato via Barili. These buses pass through Badian, which is home to Kawasan Falls. Make sure you take the right bus because there is a Bato via Oslob that will not get you to your destination. (Time to travel: 3-4 hours, depending on traffic.)

For those who want to be certain, they also provide guide services. It’s not strictly necessary, but if you want a local to show you around the area, you can hire one.

  • Tell the driver or whoever takes your fare that you’re going to Kawasan Falls. They already know where you should be dropped off. The cost of a bus ticket is Php 185 for air-conditioned buses and Php 140-150 for non-air-conditioned buses.
  • You’ll see a large tarpaulin with a photo of Kawasan Falls indicating which way to go when you arrive.

Many people will offer to show you around, but decline because finding the falls is simple. However, if you want to hire someone to tour you, that’s up to you; just be prepared to shell out some cash.
You may get there by walking for around 15 minutes from the main road.

Getting to the Kawasan Falls
You won’t have to worry about starting the small hike because the road is well-built. I recommend getting there early so you can enjoy the waterfall to yourself. Starting from the city around 4:00 a.m. would suffice since you would most likely arrive at about 7 a.m.

What you will see first is a large stretch of river with crystal clear water and big trees then you will be approaching an area where you’ll have to pay a Php 45.00 entrance fee if you’re coming from the main road. As a result, don’t forget to set aside some cash.

After paying, simply walk till you reach some little bridges that connect to the other side of the river’s mini road. If you come across one, it means you’re only a few minutes away from the big waterfall.

As you continue heading to the Kawasan waterfalls, you will find some signboards indicating which way to proceed. So, if you don’t have somebody to guide you, don’t be concerned.

There will also be several mini-stores where you may rent life jackets if you want to swim around the Kawasan Waterfalls. You have the option of renting or not renting. Alternatively, you can bring your own inflatable. 

Price Range for rentals: Php 30.00 – Php 35.00

You’ll have arrived at the first level of the Kawasan Waterfalls at this point. Kawasan’s beauty and turquoise color will take your breath away.

When is the best time to visit Kawasan Falls?

The months of May to October are ideal for visiting Kawasan Falls in Cebu because they are the warmest.

What Should You Bring to Kawasan Falls?

You should be prepared if you’re going on an adventure to Kawasan Falls. After all, exploring the waterfalls (and their various levels) is not your typical excursion. Remember to bring sunblock so you can explore the falls and swim without getting sunburned. A towel and extra clothing are obviously essential as well.

You can bring your own food because the ones available on-site are more expensive. If you don’t want to bring your own food, there are restaurants that serve reasonably priced meals. After a tiring but enjoyable adventure at Kawasan Falls, you can also purchase coconut juice, soda, and water from those restaurants.

What are the activities available in Kawasan Falls?

Kawasan canyoneering in Badian has grown in popularity among both international and domestic tourists in recent years. People who enjoy adventure and seeking an adrenaline rush might decide on Cebu canyoneering.

Then you can get to enjoy the 3 levels of Kawasan Falls

  • The first level of Kawasan can get crowded especially on weekends and holidays. Being early is the key to enjoying this area. 

If you’re traveling with a lot of baggage, feel free to rent tables at Kawasan. If you’re only carrying one bag, you may just not rent out a table to save money.

Table Rentals range from  PHP 300.00 To PHP 400.00 depending on the area.

  • The beauty of Kawasan does not stop there, if you are into an adventure like us, you should head up to the next 2 levels. If you do want to do this adventure soon, don’t wear slippers as the road may be slippery at some points. Expect a smaller crowd than the previous one.

  • Finally, we arrive at Kawasan Falls’ final level. The third waterfall is a little more difficult to reach because the stairs are narrow and slippery. The journey to the third level is simply incredible!

It would provide you with the most exciting adventure that a low-budget trip to Kawasan can provide. While walking, keep an eye out for any unnoticed areas that can be incredibly Instagrammable!

Although this waterfall is not as striking as the first and second, you may still swim and rest here. The water is also not very deep, which is a plus.
You may also “Swing and Slide” here for only PHP 10.00, which includes limitless swings!

Reminder: If you need to go to the restroom, there are toilets accessible for PHP 10.00 or PHP 20.00 per person. However, if you want it for free, go to the bathroom near the trail’s entrance, where you pay the entrance charge.

SUMMARY OF THE BUDGET:    
Bus Fare (from Cebu to Badian):  ₱                       185.00 PHP145.00 to PHP 150.00(NON-AC)
Entrance Fee:   ₱                          45.00  
Vest Rentals:   ₱                          30.00  
Helmet Rentals:   ₱                          50.00  
Table Rentals:   ₱                       300.00  
Tour Guide/ Hauler Fee:  ₱                       200.00  (first four hours)
TOTAL  ₱                       810.00  

The best way to experience everything that Kawasan Falls has in store for you is by starting your trip at 4:00 a.m., reaching the attraction around 7:00 a.m, and completing it by 12:00 noon! You’ll have plenty of time after lunch before taking another bus back home, arriving at about 5:00 p.m

Itinerary for the Third Day

Mactan Shrine

When you arrive in Mactan, don’t waste time and start your adventure by going to this first stop; if you are a foreigner interested in monuments, go to the Mactan shrine. It is only 11 minutes from the airport. There are two monuments here: Magellan and Lapu-Lapu.

Along the nearby Punta Engano road, you can also observe a décor with various Lapu-Lapu images.

The Mactan beaches

If you want an instant relaxing break after your flight, head straight for Mactan Beach. 

There are numerous resorts with private beaches. The beaches are small and sand-covered. The water is clean and calm, with no waves, making diving ideal.

Every beach charges a fee, which is not necessarily inexpensive. The price ranges from 120 to 350 PHP. Mactan North, Maribago North, Maribago South, and Mactan South are the principal beaches. There are also luxury resort-hotel complexes along Mactan’s coast.

10,000 Roses of Cebu

This stunning location in Cordova, Cebu’s Day-as Barangay Rd, has gone viral on social media. This particular Roses Café & More is surrounded by 10,000 artificial LED-powered roses.

The majority of visitors choose to visit at dusk to enjoy the gorgeous sunset as the roses are lit up at night. In addition, the café’s owner, who is also an interior designer, hopes to create a romantic atmosphere for couples.

The café serves delectable food that you may eat while sharing a romantic moment with your partner.

How to go: Outside the airport, take a yellow multi-cab to Savemore Opon Market. The cost of a multi-cab fare is PHP8.00, and the journey takes only 10-15 minutes. Take a multi-cab from Opon Market to Cordova for PHP15.00 and 30-40 minutes of journey time. Riding a trisikad from Cordova to 10,000 Roses Cafe costs PHP10.00 and takes 5-10 minutes. Pay the PHP20.00 per pax environmental charge once you’ve arrived at 10,000 Roses Cafe.

Entrance Fee: PHP20.00/person

Visiting hours: 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM daily.

See the complete cost of a three-day trip to Cebu.

Note: This is a one-person calculation, with the exception of the hotel stay and food, which are estimated costs.

So there you have it – our take on the best of Cebu adventure tourism. We hope this post has given you a taste of what’s available and that you are now itching to get out there and explore all the island has to offer. If you enjoyed this post, please share it with your friends and travel buddies – we would love to see them experience the magic of Cebu for themselves!

What are you waiting for? See you there!

 

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