Cebu: A four day trip for 6000php

One of the most visited places in the Philippines is Cebu, and if you are like me who heard that the hustle and bustle in this country is a lot like the crowded capital Manila, you would wonder why tourists flock to this highly urbanized province, until you yourself would have a chance to investigate it with your own pair of eyes. Thus, my friends and I went on a short trip to Cebu.

Disclaimer: it was worth it!

To be honest, we’ve waited for a year for this trip to finally happen. We booked a Cebu trip for four on September 2015 via Air Asia’s Piso Fare promo; when you are students overloaded by thesis considerations, only highly discounted fares could match your wanderlust!

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On the 28th of September this year, finally, our long wait is over! I was a bit worried prior to our flight because there was a heavy downpour of rain the night before, but luckily, there was no delay in our flight.

If it is your first time to travel locally, most of the Air Asia’s domestic flights would be at Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 4, which is now renamed back as the Manila International Airport. There are a very few stalls inside – Goldilocks and Dunkin Donuts, and a few non-branded but not-cheap food stalls to name a few. Travelers could opt to buy food at Jollibee just across the terminal. There is also Mang Inasal and Potato Corner, along with other known food chains I could not recall. There are also non-branded and not cheap food stalls directly outside. I gotta let you know because some people live in the saying that “Food is life <3”

Although a lot of flights were being cancelled that night, we were quite lucky for we heard no announcement regarding our flight until about an hour prior to our schedule. However, our take off was pretty off compared to the flights I’ve had before. The landing was worse!

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We were quite surprised though when we saw the taxi lane, and so we opted to hail via Grab. GrabCar was a bit pricey; I know because judging by the Google Maps, our destination was just near. we booked a GrabTaxi instead, and paid half of what we were supposed to pay if we booked a GrabCar!

We arrived at our pre-booked hotel by Magellan’s Bay, the Cleverlearn Residences. Upon arrival, we realized that it is primarily a place for foreigners who study the English language. After we were led to our room on the third floor (even if the door number started at 2), we went out to buy some midnight snacks. The place was actually surrounded by a few resto-bars.

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The staff members at Cleverlearn Residences were really accommodating. They responded quickly whenever I send them inquiries prior to our arrival, and gave me a mobile number which I could contact if necessary. My friend even left something but we were able to retrieve it through their help!

Day 01: Temple Tour

Mactan City, Cebu

We slept a little late but woke up early, just in time for the free breakfast. Yaaayy! They served pancakes, fried rice, and ham, as well as freshly cooked eggs. The scrambled eggs they made were truly delicious, and they had various flavored syrups for the pancakes!

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Although we had a comfortable stay and a scrumptious breakfast, we had to leave for Cebu City. Through the help of the security guard, we rode a jeepney going to the ferry port. We rode the ferry for about thirty minutes, and we were able to nap even if we had big bags and the ferry was primarily crowded.

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When we arrived at the Plaza Independecia which is in front of Fort San Pedro, we met Tita Ging Ging who offered us a city tour for 3500 php. Since I know how hard it was to commute to and from the places in our city tour itinerary, my friends and I haggled to a price which we can afford. Tita Ging Ging consulted her husband, Tito Boy, who kindly agreed to accommodate us. I can’t say how much exactly our deal was because I promised them to keep it as a secret; lest they will earn little to none.

Of course, it was a bit sketchy up until the last minute we were with them, but little by little, we grew comfortable in their presence. In the end, we gained a little more confidence in humanity!

Sirao Gardens, Busay, Cebu

They first brought us to the Sirao Gardens which was not part of our itinerary because it was farther north of Cebu City, but the place shouts of bright and brilliant colors!

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We enjoyed basking under the sunlight, amidst the colorful flowers and beautiful garden displays. Too bad the sunflowers were not yet fully bloomed.

Lantaw Native Restaurant, Busay, Cebu

Since it was already noon time, we asked them were we could have our lunch, and they recommended Lantaw Restaurant which was famous in Cebu City. The place overlooks the city of Cebu; absolutely stunning!

They told us that the food there was a bit pricey so somehow, we were worried, but upon arrival, we realized that the food there are cheap enough because they serve huge platters at group-friendly prices. The best part of our lunch was the citrus flavored juice!

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The temple was built as a reminder of Teodorico Adarna’s love to his deceased wife Leah, who are the parents of Filipino actress Ellen Adarna.

The place is filled with Greek inspired architecture and decorations.

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If you are interested in the different religious practices currently followed by many people from different nations, pay a visit to the Taoist Temple in Beverly Hills Subdivision, Cebu City. The place boasts of its rich culture – from architecture to decorations.

After our temple visits, we passed by University of the Philippines Cebu. I think this has become one of the practices and/or goals of UP alumni, or perhaps it was just so for me and my friends. Tita Ging Ging and Tito Boy then dropped us at South Cebu Bus Terminal where we waited for a bus to Moalboal, down south of Cebu.

However, we first had our merienda at Elizabeth Mall a few meters away from the station, and we were able to catch a bus by 6:30 pm. On our way, we witnessed a part of Cebu City in flood because it rained quite heavily that night.

We arrived in Moalboal at around 9:30 in the evening and rode habal-habals (motorbikes) to our accomdation in Panagsama. Upon arrival, tricycle drivers were already tricking us about the fare so tourists better be wary. We almost walked three kilometers because we could sense how much they were tricking us, but thankfully, with the help of barangay tanods, we were able to ride habal-habal at a much lower cost.

Day 01 Expenses in PHP
Particulars Group Expenses for Four Expenses per person
Jeep to Cebu Mactan Ferry Terminal 10
Ferry Ride plus 1php terminal fee 14
City Tour (Sirao Gardens, Temple of Leah, Taoist Temple) 2000 500
Sirao Gardens Entrance Fee 30
Lunch at Lantaw Restaurant 1560 390
Temple of Leah Entrance Fee 50
Bus Fare to Moalboal 464 116
Habal-Habal to Johnnil’s Inn, Panagsama Road 20
Johnnil’s Inn Accomodation for two days 2400 600
Day 01 Individual Expenses   1730

Day 02: Nature Trip

Kawasan Falls, Badian, Cebu

The agenda for the day was a quick hike to Osmena Peak and then a relaxing dip at the Kawasan Falls. However, my friend, who was in for an adventure, had a sister who went canyoneering at the Kawasan Falls, so we eventually made our (or their) canyoneering experience.

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From our place, we were fetched by the two habal-habal drivers and brought us back to the town proper where we had our breakfast. My friend was already contacting her sister’s canyoneering guide, Kuya Frank, who told us how we could meet him for our trip.

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After breakfast, we rode a tricycle to Badian, the city where Kawasan Falls is located. We met Kuya Frank at the church outside the falls. He was with Kuya Cliff, the assistant guide for our tour. They assisted us and taught us in the different activities to be done at Kawasan.

Despite my lack of eagerness to go canyoneering, I still had great fun in the bright blue waters of the falls. I was quite indecisive because I wanted to be brave enough to jump but I was too afraid to fall badly. We spent most of our day at Kawasan, but by 3:30 pm, we made our way to Osmena Peak via a roller coaster habal-habal ride.

Osmeña Peak, Dalaguete, Cebu

The peak, which is located in Dalaguete, was really high up in Cebu. We saw beautiful mountains along the way. Sadly, a little before five in the afternoon when we arrived, the peak was starting to get foggy due to the unfavorable weather.

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It was a really quick trek up the peak. No sweat at all, with the help of the chill air.

We left at around 5:30, afraid that the dark would make it unsafe for the habal-habal roller coaster ride. We had the downhill roller coaster as the darkness consumed the city, but we made it home safely after more than an hour. We just had dinner and laughed much about our photos, and everyone dozed off to sleep because we were indeed tired.

Day 02 Expenses in PHP
Particulars Group Expenses for Four Expenses per person
Habal-habal to town proper 25
Breakfast 55
Tricycle to Basdian 300 75
Canyoneering Tour Fee 800
Lunch 825 206.25
Osmena Peak Registration Fee 40
Dinner and Breakfast 75
Habal-habal to Osmena Peak then to Panagsama Road 2200 550
Day 02 Individual Expenses   1826.25

Day 03: Historical Visits

Panagsama Beach, Moalboal, Cebu

After breakfast of cup noodles (there weren’t many stores outside where we could buy cooked food), we walked about a few meters to Panagsama Beach.

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There was a woman there with her dogs swimming with her. However, we were not able to take a dip because the waves were a bit harsh.

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We found out that the beach is primarily for scuba diving and snorkeling, so we rode a tricycle to White Beach.

White Beach, Moalboal, Cebu

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The sand in White Beach was fine and white; the waters crystal blue with darkening shades as you go further. There were only a few people at the beach that Saturday morning. According to Kuya Simo, the tricycle driver, most of the people would arrive by lunch time.

We enjoyed the saltwater for just about an hour and rode our way back to our rented inn where we quickly took our baths and prepared for our trip back to Cebu City.

Zubuchon, Cebu City

We rode a bus back at Cebu City and arrived at 2 in the afternoon, after the three-hour ride. We were very hungry, and so we quickly replenished our pockets then hailed a car via GrabCar, since I got a promo code in Cebu. We had our lunch at Zubuchon; we were almost disappointed when they told us that the lechon skin would not be as crunchy because the fresh lechon would be delivered only by 5 in the afternoon, but our stomachs were already excited to be filled. Thankfully, the lechon, as well as the other food we ordered, were undeniably delicious, my friend even ate the fried rice!

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We then proceeded to Taboan Dried Market to buy pasalubongs. I learned that pasalubongs from Cebu are quite expensive in comparison to the pasalubongs I bought from Singapore! My pocket cried. Lol.

                                   Selling Price of the usual Pasalubongs from Cebu
Dried Mangoes 80
Shamrock Otap 120
Turrones 180
Peanut Kisses 75

After sometime of picking up goodies to bring home, we went to visit the historical markers in Cebu City, with our big and heavy baggages!

Magellan’s Cross, Cebu City, Cebu

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Upon entering the grounds near Magellan’s Cross, located beside Basilica Minore de Sto. Niño, we were surrounded by people selling key chains and refrigerator magnets.

Fort San Pedro, Cebu City, Cebu

We then proceeded to the Fort San Pedro and enjoyed looking at the photos of historical figures we recalled from our History classes back when we were young.

When we arrived at Cleverlearn, we rested for a few minutes and upon the insistence of one of my friends, we went to the resto-bar beside our accommodation. We stayed there until the rains poured down to cap off our Cebu trip.

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Day 03 Expenses in PHP
Particulars Group Expenses for Four Expenses per person
Tricycle to White Beach 20
White Beach Environmental Fee and Entrance Fee 90
Tricycle to Moalboal Town Proper
Bus Fare to Cebu City 116
GrabCar to Zubuchon 150 37.5
Lunch at Zubuchon 1200 300
Taxi Fare to Taboan Market 100 25
Taxi Fare to Magellan’s Cross 80 20
Entrance Fee to Fort San Pedro 30
GrabCar fare to Cleverlearn Residences, Lapu-Lapu City 245
Accomodation with free Breakfast at Cleverlearn Residences 2440 610
Day 03 Individual Expenses   1248.5


Day 04: Back to reality

After breakfast of pancakes (they then had maple syrup!) and bacon (ultimate yum yum!), we were busied by trying to reach Air Asia to buy extra baggage, but since we weren’t able to reach them, we repacked our things to be able to bring our pasalubong back home.

We hailed a taxi to Mactan-Cebu International Airport and spent our last pocket money to buy coffee. Unlike Manila International Airport, there are a lot of food chains inside Cebu’s airport. There is a Jollibee food stall, Zubuchon, Dunkin Donuts, Seattle’s Best Coffee, Starbucks, Potato Corner, among many others.

Day 04 Expenses in PHP
Particulars Group Expenses for Four Expenses per person
GrabCar to Mactan-Cebu International Airport 120 30
GrabCar from Manila International Airport to Pasig City (200php off with GRABNAIA) 91 22.75
Day 04 Individual Expenses   52.75

Good to note:

  • Wait for Grab promos when in Cebu. I think the GrabTaxi booking I made paved way for me to receive GrabCar promos. Also, there is no booking fee for GrabTaxis!
  • All of the people we’ve met (accommodation staff, tour guides, drivers (habal-habal, tricycle, van, GrabTaxi, GrabCar) used Globe sim cards. This would be useful for a more convenient way of contacting them.
  • If you want to try the famous Cebu Lechon, try to know their delivery time. Also, the price you can view on the internet is not updated. As of writing, Zubuchon’s Lechon costs 330php for half a kilo, but it would be enough for 3-4 people.
  • In Lantaw Restaurant and in Zubuchon Restaurant, they have this really small sili, which, according to them, is still sili labuyo, but is extremely spicy! You wouldn’t believe such a small chili could be that spicy!
  • Both Cleverlearn Residences and Johnnil’s Inn provide towels

ITINERARY:

Cebu 1Cebu 2Cebu 3

You may also view the itinerary here.

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