Late last year, I was so upset with the idea of Mark’s possible work abroad (which, thankfully, didn’t push through… yet) that I decided to impulsively book a flight going to Cebu. I asked Cza if she’d like to come, and she said yes in a heartbeat — which is definitely something that made me feel better, as I really don’t know anyone who would like to come with me for a trip somewhere far. For 6 months, we idly wait, and then 2 weeks before the trip, we decided to finally have a concrete plan. And this is where it brought us…
Booking a Flight
We were seated in the front, just behind the cockpit.
It was a cold morning in December when I decided to impulsively buy a ticket through Air Asia’s promo. Ours wasn’t as cheap, as we decided to choose a convenient date and time for the flight.
ETD (MNL): 14:30 / ETA (CEB): 15:55
ETD (CEB): 12:45 / ETA (MNL): 14:05
As we’re doing the itinerary, I kinda realized that I should’ve booked an earlier time of departure in Manila, and a later time of departure from Cebu. As it is, our activities were kind of squished into a two-day exploration, which could’ve been longer… if only I’ve created a better choice.
Imparting you some of my learning when it comes to booking a trip (my previous travels were all pre-booked and this was the first one that I did it firsthand):
- It’s always best to leave early going to your destination (the earlier, the better).
- It’s always best to go home at a later time.
- Booking early is the way to go because discounted prices and possible promos
- You don’t need to have a check-in luggage if you’re only traveling for a 3D2N trip. This will save you a couple of bucks.
- If you are traveling with a companion and you ditched the extra Php 200+ pesos for the reservation of seats, there is still a huge chance that the two of you would be seated side by side if you check in early.
How to go around Cebu
- Jeeps. Jeeps are just all over the city. They have various routes, and you really have to familiarize yourself when it comes to the roads and landmarks of your destination. After we had the walking tour, we just took the jeep going to South Bus Station, where we rode the bus going to Moalboal. Usual fare: Php 7.50; varies depending on destination.
- Bus. During our trip, the only buses that we saw are those that traverses the long distances going to South Cebu. I’m not quite sure about the other routes, but by far, I was only able to see provincial buses. We took our bus from South Bus Station going to Moalboal. There are ordinary and air-conditioned buses to choose from. Usual fare: Php 100+, depending on destination.
- Taxi. Although the most convenient, this is also the most expensive one to take whenever you travel (in the PH, that is). We only took the cab twice during our trip: from the airport to Plaza Independencia, and from the market going to the airport. We ditched riding the cab as long as we’ve seen buses and jeeps going around in the city. Usual fare: Php 200 and above, depending on destination.
- Tricycles. To go to different barangays and resorts in Moalboal, you would have to take the trusty tricycle. If you happen to have an early flight and you need to travel on the wee hours of the night, you may also contact them and ask them to fetch you up. Earliest trips would be at around 5AM (from their terminal near Panagsama Beach), while the latest ones would be at around 12MN (from the bus stop). Usual fare: Php 100.00; Php 200 up for special trips.
View from the back of the motorbike
- Motorbikes. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can rent a motorbike to go around the city. In our case, since we do not know how to ride a motorbike, we rented out Kuya Arnel, who gladly took us around Moalboal and to our destinations for a reasonable cost. It’s also fun riding the motorbike as we were able to enjoy the scenery, plus it was more flexible and hassle free on our end. Rental starts at Php 500.00.
- Car rentals. If you know how to drive and want to embark on a road trip, then you can easily rent a car to go around the province. Rental starts at Php 2,000.00.
Where to stay
Cza and I stayed at Moalboal Backpackers Lodge in Panagsama Beach. If you plan to bum around the beach, though, I personally recommend renting out at Basdaku area, as Panagsama is pretty much the home of divers, and there isn’t really a ‘beach’ to hang around.
We stayed at the Blue Gecko room which has its private bathroom, a small balcony, and a hammock outside. Although we weren’t really able to hang at the hammock because of the little flies, the room is pretty affordable considering that we rented it out for Php 750.00 a night. There are cheaper accommodation available at Moalboal Backpackers Lodge, like the dorm type, which can be as cheap as Php 275 a night.
Our bed, featuring the kulambo :p
They don’t serve food so you would have to go outside for breakfast and other meals. It really is perfect for divers who hang around outside most of the time, as there aren’t many activities available in the hostel. The area is also filled with diners and they also have Chili Bar where you can hang out and mingle with other travelers.
Our 3D2N activities in Cebu
Cebu City Tour
When we arrived at Cebu, we took a cab and immediately went to take a tour of Cebu’s historical sites. Cza is a huge fan of indulging into history, so it was definitely booked as one of our activities. We just walked around for an hour or two before proceeding to South Bus Station and travel to our hostel.If you wanna see the detailed walking tour itinerary (and map!) check out this post: Explore: Cebu City’s Historical Spots.
On our second day, we decided to pay a visit to Kawasan Falls in Badian, Cebu. About 30 minutes or so from Moalboal, the falls is usually the start of point for one of the most famous activities in the area: canyoneering. We were too scared to try out canyoneering, and we were also looking forward to snorkel around Moalboal, so we saved that activity for next time. Instead, we took the plunge and swam around the crystal clear water of Kawasan Falls. It was utterly satisfying.To read more about our Kawasan Falls adventure, check out this post.
One thing that we really looked forward to when planning our itinerary was seeing the majestic underwater scenery at Moalboal. We rented out a boat for Php 2,500, and set out to the seas of Cebu. There were four destinations during the island hopping: Pescador Island (fish sanctuary), Turtle Bay (where we, unfortunately, missed out the turtles), Sardine Run watching (it was b.e.a.u.t.i.f.u.l.), and Coral Reef Sanctuary. The tour took about 3 hours or so, complete with the lengthy photo ops. Hehe! More details here: Under the Sea: Snorkeling at Moalboal, Cebu
But of course, no beach trip would be complete without gorging yourself with the pristine white beach of Basdaku. The water is pretty shallow, but there are a couple of corals here and there on the shore. We stayed here until the sun goes down — Cza sitting down and contemplating about life, and I, on the other hand, dipped myself into the crystal clear water, trying not to look stupid as I bask my hidden fats under the Cebu sun.
On our last day at Cebu, we dropped by Taboan Market to buy some pasalubongs for our friends and family. I obliged myself with a couple of dried mangoes, while Cza, on the other hand, went all out buying dried danget (Php 800/kg), among many others. She sure loves to buy pasalubongs as she ended up going home with a box (which we eventually checked in).Taboan Market is a bit hidden, as you would have to walk two blocks from the highway. Ask the conductor to drop you off near South Bus Station. From there, you can easily walk your way through. The prices are way cheaper compared to those that you could buy at the airport, so I highly recommend you to drop by the place if you’re big on pasalubongs.
Food Trip in Cebu
Given our limited time in Cebu, we were only able to explore very little of the food scene. Moalboal doesn’t have many eateries as we’ve expected. Apparently, if you want to indulge in food, Carcar is really the place to be. Either way, we were able to try two places in the city, and the experience was just okay.
Right before we were dropped off by our taxi driver, we asked him of a place where we can eat decent but affordable food. He told us to check out AA BBQ (which we’ve seen around while we’re on the road), and so, we did. We ordered their barbecue and sisig, and it was just okay. Nothing too spectacular, but I surely liked the fact that there are minimal fats on the meat. Rating: 2.5/5
We tried this one on the airport, and I’m not quite sure if there are any difference with the ones that they’re serving there and the ones from the original branch. I find the lechon a wee bit salty (or maybe I’m just not used with salt, that’s all) but flavorful and tender. I’m not really sure if I dig it, but it sure is a little pricey for a small amount of serving. Rating: 2/5
Here is our breakdown of expenses, including the fares.
- Php 2,000.00 – Plane Ticket (AirAsia round trip tickets)
- Php 400.00 – Taxi to Plaza Independencia
- Php 100.00 – Lunch at AA BBQ
- Php 60.00 – Entrance to Fort San Pedro
- Php 7.50 – Jeep to South Bus Station
- Php 108.00 – Bus to Moalboal
- Php 200.00 – Tricycle going to Hostel (special ride since it’s already 8PM)
- Php 100.00 – Tricycle from Hostel to Bus Station
- Php 45.00 – Breakfast at palengke
- Php 700.00 – Motorbike tour with Kuya Arnel (Moalboal Bus Station – Kawasan Falls – Basdaku Beach – Lodge)
- Php 2,500.00 – Island Hopping (624/head)
- Php 30.00 – Entrance fee to Kawasan Falls
- Php 50.00 – Parking fee at Kawasan Falls
- Php 50.00 – Lunch at karenderya
- Php 180.00 – Dinner at a nearby diner
- Php 60.00 – Tricycle from Lodge to Plaza
- Php 108.00 – Bus going to Cebu City
- Php 450.00 – Pasalubong (Dried Mangoes)
- Php 300.00 – Taxi to Airport from Taboan Market
- Php 200.00 – Lunch at Zubuchon
- Php 1,500.00 – Accommodation (750/night)
TOTAL EXPENSE PER HEAD: Php 5,647.50
And that’s about it! It took me a while to finalize everything, but I hope our itinerary helps you out on planning about your visit to Cebu. If you have any questions, feel free to put a comment below. 🙂