South Cebu travel guide: 5 days DIY in low budget

The day before this trip, I was somewhere in Quezon City getting drunk for our store’s late Christmas party. I still wanted to drink but I had to leave my friend’s house by 2:00 AM if I wanna catch my 7:00 AM flight. When I went home, feeling a bit tipsy and without any sleep at all, I grabbed my backpack and sprint all the way to the airport.


Our plane arrived at Mactan Airport at around 10:00am. The 7:00am supposed to be flight was 2 hours delayed so when we got off the airport, we didn’t know what to do. We were already late and the whole itinerary was already messed up. I remember we were hungry so we rode a bus (P25) to SM City for our lunch to change the whole plan.

After an hour of discussion while having our brunch, we thought it would still be a wise idea if we will still stick to plan A. Time to leave the city immediately so we rode a cab (fare around P80-P100) to South Station where buses going to Badian are parked. By 1 pm we left Cebu City going to Badian (that’s where Kawasan Falls is located) the trip to Badian was roughly a 3-hour bus ride so I suggest you take your heavy lunch first before the trip. The bus fare is P126.

We reached Kawasan Falls at 4:30pm just to eat and have a dip (we’ve been traveling for almost half a day and we felt sticky already so we thought we needed to take a bath!) There was an environmental fee of P20, and a 10-minute walk from the road to the actual location of the falls. You can ride a habal habal going there but I suggest you to walk. I swear, walk. Because when I was walking going to the falls, I never felt how heavy my bag was because the river that was a few meters away from me was enchanting. The sound, the smell, and the view itself! You know that feeling when you’re starting to hear the sound of the falling water? It was beyond words. And when I finally saw it.. good boy!

So we relaxed, swam a bit, ate a light snack and took a lot of photos! We were still finalizing the plan for the night and the plan for the next day; where to stay and what activities to do the next. I never liked swimming in cold waters to tell you the truth, but I was literally enjoying the frosty turquoise water!

We left the place before the dusk.

From there, another 1-hour to 1 and  1/2 hour bus ride (P50) going to Oslob. I was so sleepy! I haven’t got enough sleep since yesterday when I was still in Manila. And bus rides are the only time I can sleep (though sometimes it was really hard to fall asleep because the view outside was just beyond perfection) You will need to ride a habal habal for P50 from Oslob’s bus terminal going to the hotels near the whale shark watching. There are plenty of cheap rooms around the area, you just have to be friendly and ask the locals where the cheapest hostels are. We had to find another hostel because the hostel that we’ve been eyeing online was fully-booked already. As far as I remember, we had a reservation with this particular hostel. But the funny thing was it was fully booked! Thank goodness for the good hearts of the drivers of the habal habal for not leaving us there. By 10:00pm that night, we were already checked in to a nearby hostel.

The plan that night after finding a place to stay was: eat, get cleaned up, and drink. The karinderya that we saw before check in was already closed so we walked outside to find some place to eat because we were so hungry! 10 minutes away from our hostel, we saw a cluster of karinderyas. Of course we dined! And the cool part was, we ate just beside the ocean under the open night skies. My friends probably didn’t mind how perfect the moment was but I did, secretly, while eating my late dinner.

We were planning to drink. But when we get back to our room by past 12 midnight, we just decided to call it a night. For it has been a very long, tiring but fulfilling day in Cebu. My plan was to take a warm shower but the air-condition was just so good and the bed was, well, not very soft but who cares, right. And so was my body telling me to just accept the bed in front of me. So I just slept thinking about our 5:45am alarm for the activity first thing in the morning.


Swim with the Whale Shark starts at 6am (that was our first activity for the day. Exciting!) to noon time ONLY. So if you’re planning to do the activity, you have to be at Oslob the night before. We had the activity at 7:00am (the activity will cost you P500 if you’re a Filipino and P1000 for foreigners. It’s cheaper if you’ll just going to watch, but why watch? Swim with them!) inclusive of boat ride, goggles and snorkeling equipment. Don’t miss this one! Swimming with them was life changing. Whale Sharks are gentle giants, but they are still terrifying up close! I remember when I swam deep in the ocean, I was enjoying the corals and small fishes until 10 meters away from my right foot, one very big whale shark was coming towards me!

We went back to the hostel to have our breakfast. The breakfast was nice. I think I have a deep relationship with tocilog and black coffee. I’m not sure. And by 8:15 am, we went to Tumalog Falls via habal-habal (both the 20-minute habal-habal ride and the falls entrance will cost you P140) Tumalog Falls is stunning. Pepsi blue and ice-cold water is waiting for you after a 5-minute walk from the drop off of the tourists. It was a pretty nice sight. I didn’t spend too much time swimming in the water because it was very cold! By the way, I remember I saw a lot of cute travelers and tourists when I was there so again, it was a pretty nice sight! We left Tumalog Falls at 10:00 am to go back again to the hostel.

To be honest, I didn’t quite pay attention to our last discussion about what’s going to happen on our day 2 in Cebu. When we got back to our hostel, I thought we were just having island hopping. So I pulled out my eco bag and put there all the things that I will be needing. One of my friends told me if I was good to go. I said yes and she was like “WHERE ARE YOUR THINGS? WE WILL BE LATE!” so loud to my face! That’s when it came to my mind that it was time to move to another place. After I packed my bag in less than 5 minutes, I found out that we were going to Sumilon Island! The owner of the hostel has been so good and was very hospitable to us he offered an almost free transfer from our place to the dock going to this island.

We paid P1500 for a package going to Sumilon. Worth it. The package is inclusive of back and forth boat transfer, buffet lunch (delicious, I promise!) kayaking, trekking, pool, snorkeling, fish feeding, cottages, volleyball, and many, many more. You can actually use all the facilities. It’s a gorgeous island, and the people are very nice and hospitable. You will never run out of activity! And the good thing was, they have a  happy hour from 2 pm to 4 pm. Perfect! My chance to drink. I just had a few bottles of beers because it was already 3:00 pm when we got back to the bar coming from the other part of the island. I love this place so much. While on the boat leaving the island, all of their staff were on the dock waving their hands telling us to come back again soon. That was very sweet.

7:00pm after the early dinner, we could have just rode a bus going back to Badian but we got lost (and almost had to spend the night in Dumaguete haha! But getting lost is fun every once in a while right?) It was pretty scary. It was getting late and we were undecided and no clue at all. But thankfully, the tour guide that we met at Badian the day before just saved our sad ass from somewhere unfamiliar. We rode at the back of his pick up truck for an almost 2-hour drive under the starry sky. UNBELIEVABLE. That long drive was pretty awesome. Not to mention how cold it was. But looking up, it was fantastic. We checked in at around 12:00mn. The room wasn’t nice. I didn’t like it that much. But we were beside a beautiful falls so why not?


We woke up 5:30 am to start the day. Not enough sleep, again. Canyoneering’s price will depend on how many are you in the group. In our case (there were 7 of us) we paid P800 each (which was very very cheap) that’s inclusive of habal going to the mountain, safety gear, and the whole tour. If you’ll be exploring the southern part of Cebu, please don’t miss this one! Canyoneering is a 3-4 hour activity. You’ll just have to take a 5-minute walk until the real adventure starts: countless jumps, crystal clear water, incredibly beautiful nature all around you. This activity is no joke. It was cold and very dangerous. But it’s all about fun and adventures as well. By the way, I jumped from a 30 feet cliff! Very intense. I consider our group a slow-moving group because we loved every point of this activity and of course.. photos! So after almost 5-hours, you will exit at Kawasan Falls and there, I am telling you, there are BBQ and seafood waiting for you. Grab it. Eat heavy lunch while listening to the sound of the falls.

At 12:00 pm that day we went back to Cebu City and that’s another 3-hour bus ride for P125. Almost 3:00 pm when we arrived in the city. You can now explore Magellan’s Cross, go to churches and eat lechon belly (highly recommended!) The flight back to Manila was scheduled at 11:00 pm so there were plenty of things to do like buying hell lot of danggit and dried mangoes for pasalubong. All up to you!

P.S. Me, Mark, and Koko ditched our flight back to Manila that night and stayed for another 3 days for the opening of Sinulog Festival. While my other friends, Ericka, Keenan, Lewis, and Myka went back.

TRAVEL TIPS if you’re planning to go to Cebu:

  • Plan your trip ahead because it’s hard if you don’t have a proposed itinerary.
  • Pack light with just one backpack.
  • Take lots of photos (it’s free, why not)
  • Always try to haggle for a much cheaper prize
  • There are lots of cheap but delicious food everywhere (it will save you money)
  • Get enough sleep while you can
  • Drink beers if you can!
  • Whatever happens, just enjoy the trip.

If you have other questions, please let me know. Safe travels!

Love always,



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  1. Peachappi

    Hello Marron. Do you have the number of the tour guide you met at badian? We’re only 3 pax travelling on Nov. Thanks!

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  2. Jane Gealy

    What a great blog! I helped people achieve their dreams for 12 years and will be posting on me and my partner’s adventures in Sumatra, Mongolia and the Grand Canyon (to name a few). Good luck with your travels!

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