take me back, cebu! + tips and guide on what to do in cebu

Wednesday, December 25, 2019 Cebu, Philippines

It feels like an eternity since I last posted on my blog. Lol. But since I traveled to Cebu last November, I believe this deserves to be posted. I still feel like I haven’t really moved on because I wanted to stay for just a few more days but of course we have responsibilities, amiright?

Oh. My. Gosh., Cebu. Where do I start? 

This is actually the first time my boyfriend and I traveled by plane together. We’ve been to Baguio, La Union, Pampanga, Manila, Batangas, and Mt. Ulap together but never outside Luzon. Thankfully, we scored a cheaper flight during the Cebu Pac sale. With just less than 1500 PHP each, we were able to book our roundtrip ticket for Cebu.

Tip #1: Turn on notifications for airlines such as PAL, AirAsia, CebPac and more so you can be updated on seat sales. 

I had a really bad experience before with CebPac circa 2015 during our flight to Palawan. My brother and I, together with my Uncle and a churchmate, slept on the floor of NAIA Terminal 3 because apparently our flight got delayed and was moved the next day. Good thing though, we didn’t experience that on our Cebu trip last month. Cebu Pacific also notifies you of changes in flight schedule ahead of time on your email and even through text so be sure to put your correct contact number and email when booking. 

Believe me, there were so many epic moments during our whole Cebu adventure. I "slept" around 10pm last Nov. 6 at my boyfriend’s tita’s house. We were supposed to commute the next day at 1am to Clark International Airport but I couldn't really sleep. When sleep finally hit me, oh boy did it hit me hard, the next day at around 1:30am, I was awoken by a loud banging on the window. Alas, I was already late for our call time.

We rode a bus going to DAU Terminal, and from there we took the jeep going straight to Clark Airport. The fee was 100.00 PHP for each passenger. I was nervous that we wouldn't be able to get there on time but good thing we arrived at around 3:30am there. Our boarding time was at 4:15 am. I don't know if it's "the norm" in Clark Airport, but our baggage wasn't weighed though we were only allowed to have a 7kg carry-on bag. By the way, we also paid 150.00 PHP for the terminal fee which is fairly cheap compared to other airports.

Tip #2: Arrive an hour or two earlier at the airport to make sure you won't miss your flight.

OKAY, so we arrived Cebu at around 6:00am and we were supposed to ride MYBUS which only costs 50.00 PHP going to SM City Cebu but when we asked some of the staff in the airport, they said that we would have to wait until 7:00 am to ride so we opted to book a grab going to our accommodation.

Tip #3: If you booked a tour without accommodation, you should try booking an Airbnb. Make sure you book ahead of time so that you will be able to score great places to stay. If you want to have an extra discount of up to 2,200 pesos on your next booking, register through my link here.

Our first day was actually what we consider a "rest day" because basically, we wanted to get settled first before going to different places AND we were really tired so we rested first. Ate Cleah, who is a close friend of mine, and I planned to meet in Cebu because she was relocated there for her job and fortunately, we got to see each other! We dined at this cute restaurant in IT Park called The Pyramid. It's like Louvre Pyramid-inspired. The food was good and they have promos, too.

Oh, and by the way, we booked two joiner tours, Cebu City and Oslob, at Cebu Affordable Tour which is way cheaper (if you're only 2-4 pax) than the private tour—that is if you don't mind being with strangers, of course.

DAY 1 (of Tour)  — Nov. 8, 2019 | Cebu City

We started the tour at around 10 in the morning which was the Cebu City tour. Here's the list of the places we went to:
📍 House of Lechon
📍 Pasalubong Center
📍 10000 ROSES

OKAY FIRST, since you have plenty of places to go to, the tour guide will only let you wander around the specified locations for 30 minutes so make sure to take photos fast because the time allotted is really short.

Sirao Flower Garden/Flower Farm. This was the first place we went to and the place is Bali and Amsterdam-inspired. Make sure to take photos on the "big hand" concrete though it may look scary, just don't look down and you're good. Lol. You should also try their Bali-inspired nests!

There are stalls there that sell souvenirs and snacks. I recommend their fruit shakes, they're very refreshing! I also bought sweet corn which is my favorite.

Temple of Leah. Out of all the places we went to on the City tour, this one is my favorite! Temple of Leah is actually owned by the family of Ellen Adarna and currently, some parts of it are still under construction. This place is just instagram-worthy and you get a view of the city, too!

Props to my instagram boyfriend for taking my photos lol.

Tip #4: Bring extra clothes during your tour for photoshoot purposes! Lol. I really wanted to change my clothes but we were running out of time since I took many photos here. Anyway, you should bring two sets of clothes to change! 

Taoist Temple. I wasn't able to take many photos here because we were already tired. #oldies haha! But you should try the binoculars there, just insert a 10-peso-coin and you will be able to see the view.

House of Lechon. The ambiance was really nice and they have these cute kaldero for their rice. We actually ordered Lechon because, well, Cebu is known for their infamous Lechon but sadly, we weren't given any since they ran out of stocks. Thankfully, people from our table offered us so we got a taste of the Lechon. 

We also went to a pasalubong center but the items there were so pricey. It wasn't worth it to buy. I really don't know where to buy cheap souvenirs in Cebu but you can buy straight from the airport at Island Souvenirs, the items there are cute and affordable, too! Shirts have very nice design and they also have dried mangoes.

Sto. Nino Church and Magellan's Cross. Both of these are just in one location. It is believed that the Sto. Nino Church or the Basilica del Santo Nino is the oldest Roman Catholic Church in the country. When we went there, there was a mass going on so we didn't stay too long. There are some people who sell keychains here too and it's way cheaper than buying from pasalubong centers.

Fort San Pedro. Originally, this is a military defense structure built under the ruling of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. It has a museum inside where you can see portraits of Magellan, Lapu-Lapu, and others.

1000 Roses. I've seen photos of this one on instagram before and yes, it's pretty in person but I wasn't able to appreciate it more since I haven't seen it during day time. It has a cafe, but we weren't able to try it because it was already closed by the time we arrived.

Oh, and by the way, those aren't real roses but led-powered roses and I'm not sure if there are really 10,000 of them. Lol. Anyway, all entrance fees were already paid by our tour guide so I'm not sure how much is the entrance fee.

Tip #5: From my own experience, the tour was really tiring since you'd be in 9 destinations in just one day and in just a short amount of time on each location. I suggest you just create a DIY tour and choose which locations to go to. For me, Temple of Leah and Sirao Flower Garden are must-go places for IG-worthy pictures. 😉

DAY 2 (of Tour)  — Nov. 9, 2019 | Oslob & Sumilon Island

For this tour, we got up at 2AM and waited for the van that will send us to Oslob. There were only six of us in the van including the driver for the tour which was actually nice because we get to sleep comfortably (since it was spacious) during the 4-hour-ride to Oslob. 

When we arrived at Oslob, we had to walk for at least 5-min to get to the registration area. We didn't have to register, actually, because the agency already did it for us. We only had to wait a few minutes before it was our turn.

I can say that the whole experience was surreal and a once-in-a-lifetime thing. It was amazing to see these big creatures you only used to see in pictures now before your eyes. Although this was a nice experience, there are long term effects for this kind of tourism and I only got to know about it after our trip. If you ever want to try Oslob Whale Shark Watching, you should read this article first.

After Oslob, we headed to Sumilon Island which is approximately 20-min boat ride away from Oslob. Sumilon is a beautiful white-sand island and the water is amazingly clear.

There's actually a sandbar, but our guide said that since it's habagat season, the sandbar is nowhere to be found. But if you visit during summer (March to September) you'll be able to see it.

We arrived at the airport at around 6 PM and we were actually nervous that our baggage was too heavy because we didn't purchase additional baggage but thankfully, we didn't have any excess baggage. Cebu was really a beautiful place and there are still places I want to visit like Bantayan Island, Kawasan Falls and many more. I really cannot wait to come back hopefully next year! 

If you want to see snippets of our trip to Cebu, watch my vlog here: 

Have you been to Cebu? What's your favorite tourist destination there?

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