The ultimate weekend roadtrip in South Cebu!

  • Monday, July 10, 2017

Let me begin this post by saying that it’s great to be back to blogging once again. I was so inspired with my latest trip in southern Cebu last weekend that I feel very enthusiastic to write about it. I’ve always known the province since childhood when my parents, who are devotees of the patron of Cebu, used to bring me to the Basilica de Santo Nino to attend mass and pay homage to Senor Sto. Nino. My subsequent visits were just confined to the metro either for work or just a stopover for a trip to the neighboring provinces. That was all I know about Cebu without really knowing what lies beyond the perimeter of this concrete jungle. Little did I realize back then that there is actually more to Cebu than just a progressive IT hub. 
A yummy cold treat to jump start our weekend road trip. Panagsama Beach, Moalboal, Cebu.

My desire to go on a road trip around Cebu started when I travelled with a Canadian friend in El Nido a few years back, and she was raving about how gorgeous the beaches of Moalboal and mountains of Dalaguete. Her enticing road trip stories about Cebu sparked my interest of touring the island. Then I started to do some readings and found out that Cebu has always been a popular tourist destination, not only because of its bustling economy but more for its natural wonders and opulent historical landmarks. 

All set for this weekend road trip! =)

So when my bisdak friends planned to fly to Cebu for the weekend, I made my entire weekend free and decided to tag along with them and convinced them that we go on road trip around South Cebu. Just a weekend for the entire south Cebu? Why not! Although I'm not a fan of rushing things during travel, i believe it can be done with extensive research and right planning. Given our very limited time and budget, we decided to just picked the places that interests us and started planning how to get there and how much money and time to spend in every area. 

Enjoying the sights along the way on board Ceres bus heading to Moalboal, Cebu.

Going around south Cebu is fairly cheap and easy, thanks to the comprehensive bus route around the area, so you never have to worry wasting your precious time waiting for the next bus to arrive as buses come by every 15-20 minutes along the highway.  Roads in the south are well paved and mostly coastal so you can expect a pleasant ride that will surely be a visual treat especially for a traveler and beach person like me, as the beautiful and pristine beaches along the road will surely delight one’s eyes.  The white sandy beaches are often times empty, devoid of resorts or frolickers, just fishing boats lining the coastline. I can’t help it but think of how lucky are the people living here because they get to wake up to this view everyday of their lives. 
Look how gorgeous the view of the shoreline along the highway!

So if you’re planning a road trip with family or friends anytime soon, Cebu is a perfect place to do it. Actually there are several ways to achieve it depending on where you are coming from and where you intend to go. What we did was to do a round-the-south route which started in Cebu city going towards the western part by Cebu via Samboan route and then transferred bus in Ceres bus station of Bato in Samboan circling the southern tip of the island via Oslob advancing towards the eastern part then back to Cebu city. 
An outline summarizing the route we did on this weekend road trip. Photo credit to the owner of the photo.

Oh yeah! It was pretty ambitious idea and a bit hardcore, but we wanted to cover as many tourist spots as possible. So instead of going through each and every town’s tourist attractions, which I must say is very ideal but only if you have your own car and you have the entire week to do it, we just chose the major must-see attractions in South Cebu that interests us.

There we go again, maximizing our experience by making a groupfie anywhere and everywhere! Lol =)

For this post, I rounded up all the places that we included in our itinerary and the activities we did in this 4-day south Cebu road trip. This list will give you an overview of the numerous tourist destinations South Cebu has to offer.

Go into the deep in Moalboal.
Exploring the underwaters of Pescador Island.

Our first stop was in Moalboal, considered as one of Cebu’s finest dive sites. We took the plunge and explored the unique underwater configuration of the flourishing marine ecosystem in Pescador Island. Pescador island is just 10-15 minutes boat ride from the mainland and a home to thousands of sardines, groupers, eels and even white sharks. You can opt to do snorkeling if you’re not trained to dive, just like what we did, and still appreciate the rich marine life underwater as colorful coral formations can also be seen in its shallow waters.

Traverse the river canyon on adrenaline rush in Badian.
Canyoneering in Matutinao River in Badian.

Warning. This is not your ordinary excursion on waterfalls but an adventure for thrill seekers. Armed with a lot of guts and physical vigor, this adventure entails traversing Matutinao river between two mountain canyons and ends downstream in Kawasan falls. Be ready to hike, climb, jump, swim, and dive across the freshwater blue lagoons and be in total awe with the canyons unique rock formations. I must say the experience was worth all the injuries and body pains we got after this activity!

Make friends with the gentle giants in Oslob.
Face to face with one of baby whale shark or Butanding of Oslob.

Set aside your fear of drowning and dive to meet the whale sharks of Oslob. Seeing these gentle giants face to face and swimming with them has always been my dream. This adventure is one of the most unforgettable experiences I’ve had on this trip. It was so special that until now I’m still thinking and talking about it. I feel lucky to have this opportunity to see them up close but I was also saddened with what I saw and the alarming condition of the whale sharks. This feeling of ambivalence I will discuss on my next post.

Get a shower massage in Tumalog Falls.
Groupfie at the stunning Tumalog or Toslob Falls in Oslob.

Just a few minutes away from the whale shark watching area is the majestic Tumalog  waterfalls, where you can take a dip and enjoy a back massage under the waterfalls. A short trek uphill across the cliffs and lush forest will bring to this stunning nature’s creation. It is a great place to swim too, as the water in the basin is just shallow which is totally safe for non-swimmers. But the most admirable thing about this eco-park is how it was able to maintain its natural state devoid of any concrete structures.  The place was so picturesque, it was perfect for selfies and photo-ops!

A walk through history in the Spanish cuartel in Oslob.
Posing inside the unfinished Spanish cuartel in Oslob.

Get a glimpse of what was life back during the Spanish era by visiting the oldest street in Oslob, Calle Aragones established in 1879. It is also the home of three remarkable heritage sites in the area which includes the 17th-century Immaculate Conception Parish, the Cuartel de Infirmaria and the Spanish watchtowers.

See the spectacular heritage town of Boljoon.
Overlooking the well preserved heritage structures in Plaza Bermejo in Boljoon, Cebu.

On our trip going to Dalaguete, we passed by the historic town of Boljoon, whose historical landmark is so impressive that you cannot afford to miss it. The historic Spanish fortress Plaza Bermejo perfectly stands at the foot of mountainous cliffs, facing the coast of Bohol strait and just along the highway. I was able to do a guided tour around the area with one of the local historians which made me realized that this impressive town is just overflowing with anecdotes and history embodied in its remarkable structures that has survived & remained intact through centuries. I'm glad that efforts are being made to preserve this heritage town in order to continue to show our history to the future generations.

Conquer the highest peak of Cebu in Dalaguete.
The breathtaking view of jagged mountains at the summit of Osmena Peak deserves a groupfie. Ayt!  =)

See the highlands of Cebu and conquer its peak in Dalaguete. Dubbed as the vegetable capital of the province, the village of Mantalongon is located high above the mountain ranges of Dalaguete which is the jump-off point to Osmena Peak. Located 1,013 meters above sea level, Osmeña Peak is considered as the highest point in the island of Cebu. A 1-2 hour trek towards the peak and less if you take a “habal-habal” or motorcycle, you will be welcome by the cool climate, sight of thick fog covering the towering mountains, giant pine trees and lush foliage, and vegetable farms alongside. After a few minutes of trek to the summit you will be greeted by the stunning view of these jagged hills with the stunning 360 degrees view of the neighboring islands of Bohol and Negros.

Go on a spiritual journey in Cebu’s castle of faith.
Feel the sacredness and solemnity of this castle-like Marian monastery on top of the hill in Simala, Cebu.
March your way towards the holy hills of Lindongan, Simala and see the Marian monastery which looks like a gigantic castle from afar. Hundreds of people visit the place every day to offer a prayer and light candles with their special intention. The places is believed to be miraculous especially among Marian devotees as evident by large displays of testimonies; wheelchairs and medical supplies of healed devotees; including pencils and pictures of those who passed their board exams. It also houses several collections of the image of Mother Mary from all over the world.

Final Thoughts
The southern part of Cebu is ruggedly beautiful. It gives you another face of the highly urbanized city which most tourists and locals often ignore. What stood out for me in this backpacking trip is the great amount of adventure opportunities you can do in the area which mostly requires a great deal of guts and physical stamina. So be ready to hike, climb, jump, dive and swim. And we did all of it! Don't worry, you can do it too. :-)> This is just a short weekend trip and there are still a lot of things to see and experience in this part of the island. Don’t limit yourself with my list above, it’s just a teaser of what awaits for you in Cebu. One thing is for sure though, I will definitely hit the road south once again!

Archie’s Notes:
  1. Familiarize yourself with Cebu’s geography or better yet download a map and store it in your smartphone or tablet as reference so that you can easily access it even without internet connection.
  2. When traveling, bring handy food like biscuit or crackers and bottled water. Use your empty bottle to refill water in restaurants that serves complimentary water or in water dispenser in order to save extra money.
  3. Don’t rely on your credit card and make sure you have extra cash to spend as there are no ATM machines available on small towns.
  4. Make sure your iPod/ MP3 player is stuffed with all your favorite travel music as you’ll be hooked up to it most of the time.
  5. Bring a good book to kill boredom during waiting and travel. 
I hope you enjoyed your time here. This is just a roundup of our south Cebu adventure and the best is yet to come. I am making a series of post about our trip in the coming days so watch out for it. You'll love it. Promise! Feel free to drop me a comment and share your thoughts about your experiences and travels in South Cebu or traveling in general. And if you like, please stop by my instagram @archieoffduty and find more travel ideas for your future travels. I would really appreciate it. Thanks! ;-)>

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  1. Hello! Magandang umaga!

    Meron po ba kayong file ng itinerary nyo for your Southern Cebu trip?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Nica,
      I apologize for the late reply. Im happy to tell you that i made a detailed itinerary from our South Cebu Trip. You can read about it on this link

      hope this helps. =) Archie

  2. Hello Archie!

    I was just wondering if you have the Breakdown of Expenses for your Southern Cebu Trip? It would also be a great help for us (the people who find your blogs very informing) in planning for our own trips. Especially those who have a certain budget in mind. Thank you so much! :)

    1. Hi Angie. I did wrote a separate article to summarize our expenses throughout our trip. You can check it out here

      Happy Travels!

  3. Bro. need to ask about the bus going back to cebu city. is it 24 hours passing by the hiway? just in case that after the canyoneering, we would want to go back to the city for the early flight the next day

  4. I'm going to Cebu this October.. Booked the cheapest flight tickets so I'll be there for 11 start planning n hopefully the monsoon won't be too bad this year..

  5. Wow! Great blog. This is the best places indeed to see in South Cebu.