Last November 1-5, 2018, Ron and I celebrated my birthday at the Queen City of the South, Cebu City.
This is one of the special adventures we’ve had because it was the first time we traveled by airplane – the farthest place we’ve been to (yet!)
And as a woman who wants everything perfectly planned, I planned this trip SIX MONTHS ahead of time. From drafting the itinerary, booking accommodations, and checking the transportation and routes.
All thanks to some travel blogs I came across, they were really a big help for me as I drafted our itinerary. Also, Google Maps – Ron’s best friend in checking routes, landmarks, and traffics.
Day 1 – South Cebu
Departure time: 4:55 AM
Arrival time: 6:35 AM
From Mactan-Cebu International Airport, we rode a taxi to South Bus Terminal where we rode a Ceres bus going to Oslob.
The South Bus Terminal reminded us of Partas Bus Terminal going to La Union. The lines were CRAAAAZY!!! We didn’t even feel like we’re in Cebu. It took us almost 2 hours (I think?) there and 6 hours on the road because it was a holiday thus, the traffic.
Since this was 7 months ago, I can’t remember where we had our lunch or if we ever had lunch this day?? All I remember is that I was having migraine in the bus because of the traffic, heat, and hunger.
At last, we arrived in Rising Sun Pension House at Oslob by afternoon. The host of the place we’ve stayed in was very helpful and accommodating, she recommended a tricycle service, Kuya Dado, who we hired for our whole South trip. Yes, malakas mga makina ng tricycles nila.
After we settled our stuff in our room, we then went out to visit the nearest tourist attractions there.
Kuya Dado dropped us off in Oslob Heritage Park.
It was a peaceful afternoon and there were quite a lot of people there having a picnic and enjoying the holiday.
Baluarte which were built in 1700s. These were standing since the Spanish era. Just beautiful.
After we strolled around the place of Calle Aragones, we walked the nearby streets for our early dinner. We enjoyed walking there like locals in our pang-bahay clothes.
We stumbled upon this eatery which I forgot the name along Natalio Bacalso Ave. Since we really don’t think that they’re serving Cebu’s special dishes, we just ordered their sisig and shrimp gambas. After dinner, we went to a nearby classier restaurant and had a few drinks to cap off the day.
We got back to our room, unpack stuff we’ll be needing for the next day, and wasted time on our phones.
Ron must have been waiting for midnight, but we need to sleep early so he surprised me with his birthday gift!
I literally ugly cried while reading what’s inside of this tiny book. 💛
It’s my birthday and we woke up around 5:30 AM to start our adventurous day. Kuya Dado picked us up and dropped us off to our first destination: Oslob Whale Shark.
We arrived around 6:00 AM there and the place was already jam-packed with lots of tourists. According to our driver-slash-tour-guide, the Oslob Whale Shark Watching supposed to start early as 6:00 AM but the waves are too strong at that time. For the meantime, he got our names listed and then we had our breakfast.
Just in time, we finished our breakfast, the Whale Shark Watching started but the place got 100x more crowded. It seems impossible to get our turn before lunch, so we just decided to skip it off and head to Sumilon Island.
This view on my birthday? Not bad. Maybe next time, whale sharks.
We rode a mini truck going to Sumilon Island, paid for our boat ride, and wore our safety vest before getting into the boat.
The boat is large enough and can occupy up to 50 people, I guess? The travel time takes up to 30 minutes.
We were welcomed by this stunning view.
It was somehow unfortunate on my side because I was not able to swim and snorkel due to the fact that it was the 2nd day of my period. How unlucky, right?!
Still, I wouldn’t mind looking and enjoying this kind of view with my person.
When Ron finished with his snorkeling, we took a last look to the sandbar and went back to Oslob.
Badian was our next destination, and Kuya Dado drove us there for almost 2 hours. That’s like 90 kilometers of tricycle ride. Lakas ng hangin, friend!
We arrived at Kawasan Falls by afternoon. We bid farewell to Kuya Dado as he will be driving back to Oslob, while we’re going to stay in Badian.
Ron and I didn’t plan to try the Canyoneering because it’s my period week and we feel like we’re not for that kind of extreme adventure. So, we just went to the first and largest of the three Kawasan Falls instead.
Of all the places we’ve been to in Cebu, this is where we got disappointed. Yes, we were amazed by the turquoise water, but the place was too crowded and commercialized. There are tables, chairs, and restaurants by the waterfalls, you can’t even picture it as a paradise. Not at all.
To our dismay, we only stayed there for about 15 minutes and then we left.
But first, fresh buko, because why not?
We booked a room in Badian Lodging & Tours for an overnight stay. A lovely place with a mini garden full of cacti, perfect for backpackers.
After taking baths and enough rest, we head out for our dinner. We took a bus going to Moalboal where we found a mall with McDonald’s! That’s the first mall we’ve seen in the South and that’s what we ate for my birthday.
After eating spaghetti and chicken (very birthday talaga), we rode a bus back to Badian and grab a few drinks in a 7eleven store to cap off the night.
Woke up late but feeling refreshed. We weren’t in a hurry that morning, so we had enough time to have breakfast with our leftovers, roasted chicken from our late lunch in Badian, and coffee. Good thing there’s a common kitchen in the place we’ve stayed in.
We checked out by lunch time and waited for a bus going to Carcar City for almost an hour or two. Note: buses rarely pass in Santader-Barili-Toledo Road, so be prepared to wait for quite a few hours.
The traffic going to Carcar City was manageable and we arrived there around 2:00 PM. We hired a tricycle that will take us around. First, we head to one of Carcar’s specialties: Cebu lechon.
If you’re going to try the ever-famous Cebu lechon, don’t go to the restaurants. Go to Carcar Public Market where they sell the legit-tasting Cebu lechon.
Forgive me, I was quite hangry (hungry + angry) at this time so I didn’t think about taking pictures. All I want is to eat that lechon.
We bought half a kilo of lechon for around 350Php. There’s a lot of karinderya around and they allowed to bring outside food like the lechon.
After taking our late lunch, our tricycle driver took to another specialty of Carcar: chicharon.
Not much a fan of chicharon, so we bought only for pasalubong.
Enough with the food, we then headed to Simala Church.
Up to this date, I’m still in awe of Simala Church. It was the largest church I’ve ever been to. It took us a long walk around the castle-like church with the station of the cross in every area.
We ended our stroll by lighting a candle and saying our prayers. It was almost their closing time when we left the place and took a bus going to the city.
After 3 days of being immersed with South’s nature, we’re finally in the city!
We booked a unit in Avida Towers within Cebu IT Park through Airbnb wherein we stayed for another 2 days. Upon arriving in South Bus Terminal, we rode a taxi going to Cebu IT Park. Cebu IT Park looks and feels like Makati or BGC, Ron and I were laughing because we felt like we’re in Manila already.
After staying in different rooms in the South, we can say that the unit we booked was a luxury for us.
After changing to our pang-bahay clothes and taking enough rest, we headed down to check out the Sugbo Mercado. Sugbo Mercado is basically a food market which you can see anywhere here in Manila. It was drizzling that night, so we just bought shrimp, barbeque, cheese tart, and a Vietnamese coffee for our dinner, and then went back to our unit.
We took advantage of the TV and free WiFi by binge-watching Key & Peele on YouTube.
Day 4 – cebu City tour
We bought eggs, instant noodles, and instant coffee last night for our breakfast. We don’t want to shell out more money somewhere for breakfast, so we just cooked instead.
After prepping up, we headed down to meet the host of the car we rented. Ron opted to rent a car for our city tour because Cebu city has a confusing transportation system. Their jeepneys have different codes identifying as their routes, and we don’t want to waste our time taking different and maybe the wrong jeepney.
Our first stop for the day: Temple of Leah.
It was a cloudy Sunday, so there’s a lot of tourists and visitors there.
I really loved how big the Grecian columns are, making me feel smaller.
We strolled around it for about half an hour. We seated by the tables and chairs outside – giving us a wider view of the temple.
It’s almost after lunch when we bid goodbye to the place and headed to Balay Sa Busay where we had our lunch.
Balay Sa Busay is located along Tops road. It was, for me, like the Upper Antipolo of Cebu. There were so many restaurants to try, and it was foggy and quite cold.
We ordered their unique-looking Adobong Binisaya ni Bebe, baked cheesy scallops, and Garlic rice.
Their Adobo is a must-try! You wouldn’t find it elsewhere.
Baked cheesy scallops? Hands down.
The table we’re seating by has this beautiful view of the city. It’s not the usual Cebu we’ve experienced for the past days, because there’s fog and the weather’s windy and quite cold up there.
After eating, we people-watched for a couple of minutes, and then drove to our second destination: Sirao Flower Garden.
There are two Sirao gardens and I honestly don’t know which one is the usual garden I’ve been seeing on the internet, so we chose to go to the second one instead. Though they are not far from each other, we’ve only picked one to visit because of the car parking. It was a Sunday and the gardens are jam-packed.
It was too late when I realized that we missed the Little Amsterdam which is the first garden. Lesson learned: screw car parking!
We toured the Sirao PGCS for the entire afternoon and went down to the city for our pasalubong shopping and failed attempt to visit the Magellan’s Cross.
However, we were able to drive around the Cebu City Hall and got a glimpse of the Magellan’s Cross. There were too many people walking around enjoying the Sunday afternoon, so we didn’t bother trying to get closer.
We finished buying pasalubongs at Tabaon Public Market quite early, so we decided to visit SM Seaside to kill time and enjoy the remaining hours before our flight the next day.
We ended our day by packing up our stuff and watching videos on YouTube.
Day 5 – Bye Cebu!
Made our way to the airport a few hours early to have our lunch and get our bag checked-in.
Arrived Manila around 4:00 PM. And that concludes our Cebu trip.
Since this trip happened 7 months ago, I totally forgot all our expenses. So, I’m sorry if this won’t help you with your own Cebu trip. But just to give someone who’s been reading this an idea, I’ve prepared 10k for my pocket money.
If you’re interested in hiring Kuya Dado for your Oslob tour, here’s his contact number: 09275649093.
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Where to next? We’ll see on my next birthday trip! 💛