The province of Cebu in Central Visayas is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Philippines. Most tourists associate Cebu with religious and historic sights and dining and entertainment establishments in the city. But those aren’t the only things you can do there. Just a couple of hours from the city, you can access dive sites and beach resorts, trek to waterfalls and mountains, and visit many beautiful natural attractions.
Here are just ten unique and interesting things you can do in the province of Cebu.
1. Visit Cebu City’s Iconic Landmarks
In case it’s your first time in Cebu or you just have limited time in the city, you may want to just visit the most famous landmarks and religious sites. Points of interest include Magellan’s Cross, Sto. Nino Basilica and Fort Pilar.
2. Hike Up Osmena Peak
For an easy day hike, Osmeña Peak in Dalaguete, the highest point in Cebu island, offers a majestic view of jagged karst formations. Getting here involves a bit of a drive, but it’s an easy 15-20 minute hike from the jump-off point reachable by habal-habal (motorcycle taxi). For motorcycle riders, it’s a very scenic road trip if you’re driving yourself from the city. Hardcore hikers can also opt to camp out overnight and traverse back by foot to Kawasan Falls.
Aside from Osmena Peak, there are many other mountains and trekking destinations in Cebu including Casino Peak, Mt. Kapayas and many more.
3. Swim in Kawasan Falls
Kawasan Falls is one of the province’s most beautiful and photographed waterfalls. The waterfall has a basin with stunning turquoise waters where guests can swim or go rafting aboard native rafts.
Aside from the main waterfall, Kawasan actually has several cascades and higher levels that you can easily trek to. Getting to the main waterfall is an easy 10-15 minute hike from the jump-off point along the highway where buses pass, making it a popular destination with backpackers.
4. Try Canyoneering
If you’re not content with just admiring the waterfall from the rafts and cottages nearby, one of the most fun activities you can try is canyoneering downstream from a jumo-off-point in Alegria through Kanlaob River leading to Badian. This offers one of the most beginner-friendly canyoneering sites in the country with spectacular views of canyons.
Take note that this activity has become very popular with tourists, so it can get crowded during weekends with all the groups who want to try it out.
5. Chase Waterfalls
Speaking of waterfalls, for those who like to chase waterfalls, you’re in luck because this province has at least 90 documented waterfalls in the province. You can visit several beautiful waterfalls in South Cebu including Ginatilan Falls, Inambakan, Binalayan Falls, Aguinid Falls and Dau Falls.
One of my personal favorites here is Dau (or Dao) Falls in Samboan. Getting here involves a 30-minute to one-hour hike from the jump-off point accessible by motorized vehicle. But the view going here, passing groves of coconut trees, hanging bridges and pristine river streams, is just spectacular.
READ MORE: 5 Stunning Waterfalls to Visit in South Cebu
6. Bask on the Beach
Cebu is home to many beautiful beach and resort destinations including Bantayan Island, Camotes Island and Sumilon Bluewater. Sumilon Island Resort is a secluded island that boasts of white sand beaches, a lagoon, a hiking trail, a cave, and top-class resort facilities including swimming pools overlooking the water.
You can visit this on a day tour or opt to stay overnight in their luxurious villas. They even offer glamping (luxurious camping) here.
7. Go to Moalboal
Many tourists are interested in going to Oslob to go swimming with the Whalesharks. I’ve seen the site myself and I don’t want to recommend it. For further information, read 5 Reasons Not to Swim with Whalesharks. A better alternative would be to go to Moalboal.
Moalboal is a small but lively coastal town southwest of Cebu City ideal for backpackers. Its craggy coastline is lined with shoreside bars and restaurants and you can go snorkelling and encounter outstanding marine life (including Moalboal’s world-renowned sardine run) right next to the shore.
8. Try Rock Climbing
Cebu is considered one of the country’s premiere rock climbing destinations. Cantabaco has over 60 different routes of varying difficulties.
The Poog crag offers a more beginner-friendly experience for novice climbers, with over 30 bolted routes.
READ MORE: Rock Climbing in Cebu
9. Go on a Photowalk to Photogenic Destinations
I personally prefer more action-oriented activities to just sightseeing, but there’s no denying that some spots in Cebu have become very popular because of their striking and photogenic qualities which appeal to millennial travelers. The most popular destinations for lifestyle shoots and pre-nup pictorials seem to be:
- Sirao Flower Farm with its multi-colored flower fields
- Temple of Leah with its Roman-inspired columns and architecture
- The Taoist Temple with its Chinese pagodas and statues
- The castle-like Simala Church in Sibonga
- 10,000 Roses Cafe in Cordova (inspired by Dongdaenum Design Plaza in South Korea)’
READ MORE: The Most Instagram-Worthy spots in Cebu
10. Feast on Unique Cebuano Delicacies
For foodies, Cebu is usually associated with lechon, dried mangoes and danggit. Larsian, an open air night market is popular with locals and tourists who want to indulge in barbecue and puso or hanging rice (rice cooked inside coconut leaf wrappers).
Looking for something more exotic? Try tuslob-buwa, a stir-fried dish made mostly of pig brain, pork liver or intestines, onions, oil, soy sauce or fish sauce and other various seasonings.
The craft beer scene in Cebu is pretty vibrant with at least four homegrown breweries originating from here including Turning Wheels, The Cebruery, The Monastery and Cebu Brewing Company. Brewery Gastropub (originally from Iloilo) and even Baguio Craft Brewery have branches in Cebu as well.
These are just a few suggestions of the many things you can do in Cebu based on various visits to Cebu including a solo backpacking and solo motorcycling trip for Wrangler’s #TrueWanderer 2016 competition last year. There are still lots of places that I haven’t visited yet. I’ve heard there are good mountain biking trails here with tours offered by Cebu MTB Adventures which I’d love to try next time. But hopefully these will give you a few ideas to help you plan your trip there.