More than 7000 islands belong to the dreamlike Philippines, but one, Cebu, has particularly impressed me. It is the perfect destination to spend a relaxing beach holiday, finally swimming with whale sharks or discovering hidden waterfalls and other inland locations. Off to Cebu!
Are you planning a trip to the Philippines and looking for the right island where you can experience a lot and relax wonderfully? Then Cebu is the right holiday destination for you, because hardly a Philippine island knows how to unite so many flavors and opportunities, as the island in the heart of the Visayas archipelago. What awaits you here and how to reach the island in the most uncomplicated way, you will learn now.
That makes the holiday on Cebu perfect
Arrival to Cebu & Visa for the Philippines
Before the holiday can start in the Philippines, the arrival is first. Anyone who thinks that it takes a long journey to reach such an exotic destination as Cebu, I can reassure, because many holiday destinations in the Philippines are now served by many airports.
For example, from Europe’s best with a stopover in Dubai, you can reach Cebu comfortably with the Emirates airline, making your long-haul flight as enjoyable as possible. Alternatively, you can also travel to the capital of the Philippines, Manila, from the Americas. Upon arrival, you will be issued a visa directly at the airport, allowing you to spend 30 days in the country. All you need for this visa on arrival is a passport that is valid for at least six months and a return or return ticket.
Once you have arrived on Cebu, you should rent a scooter to quickly and inexpensively come to your accommodation and the highlights of the island.
Great accommodations on Cebu
Speaking of accommodation: On Cebu, as in other Southeast Asian countries, you can book one-time low-cost accommodations through Airbnb. If you are looking for something more luxurious than in the backpacker hostels, you should take a look at the following accommodations, which are exemplary for many apartments and rooms that you can rent in the capital, Cebu City, and on the surrounding small islands renting rates start at US$15 per night so your holiday can start as relaxed as possible after the long-haul flight.
If you prefer to relax in a resort or hotel on Mactan island check out the ones that I can highly recommend you here
Sights & Excursions on Cebu
Once you have left the jet lag behind you, you should definitely start your expedition on the island. Already in Cebu City, there are some places you can see during the first days of your vacation.
Attractions in Cebu City
- Basilica del Santo Nino: The basilica in Cebu City preserves the wooden statue of Santo Nino, which the famous Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan brought to the island in the 16th century as a gift. Meanwhile, the figure, which has survived several decades and also a devastating fire, is an important relic in the Philippines and is one of the main cultural attractions in Cebu.
• The Magellan Cross: If you want to continue on the trail of Magellan, you can see the cross, which was placed by the sailor after his landing on Cebu in 1521, in a small chapel near the Basilica del Santo Nino. Incidentally, the landing of Magellan gave the starting signal for the Christianization of Cebu and the cross is still symbolic of proselytizing to this day.
• Taoist Temple: A small contrast to the Christian Cebu are the Chinese buildings of the Taoist community of Cebu. The typical Chinese temple was built in the 1970s and has since become a popular destination for worshipers and visitors.
The most beautiful waterfalls
The island of Cebu has become particularly known through the Kawasan Falls, which have already been visited and photographed by many bloggers and Instagramers. Although the Kawasan Falls look magical and somehow enchanting with their blue water, this formerly so quiet place is now a real tourist hotspot that you have to share with many other visitors especially on the weekends. Visit the Kawasan Falls best during the week, then you have a largely undisturbed view of this great natural spectacle.
In the south of the island, between the towns of Samboan and Santander, there are two more beautiful waterfalls that you should definitely see: the Tumalog Falls and the Aguinid Falls. While the Tumalog Falls flow from spectacular heights into a pool that invites you to bathe after the hike, the Aguinid Falls are more reminiscent of a cascade fountain on whose plains you can even climb.
Of course, not only the waterfalls on Cebu are a real highlight, but also the nature you will find in the interior of the country. Sometimes you accidentally stumble over small waterfalls and bathing places that you have for yourself. If you do not want to find the waterfalls on your own, you can also join different tours that are offered in the cities for little money.
The most beautiful beaches on Cebu
A turquoise blue sea and a white, fine sandy beach, framed by palm trees – most probably imagine the paradise like this. Good that you have decided to visit Cebu, because this is exactly what you will find on the beaches of the main island and the smaller offshore islands. And best of all, the beaches are not overcrowded, so you can enjoy paradise in peace.
Beautiful beaches on Cebu are located, for example, in the south of the island near Oslob. From here you can also translate within a short time to the island of Sumilon, where you will find a paradisiacal beach with coral reefs that invite you to snorkel. On the small island there is a hotel, the Sumilon Bluewater Island Resort, where you can book a glamping tent. So you can enjoy the island even if the day trippers have left. A romantic getaway under the stars on a deserted island, what more could you want ?!
With the islands of Bantayan, Guintacan, Tawigan, Malapascua and Kalanggaman you have five additional paradise beaches north of the main island of Cebu. You can reach them with a trip on a typical Philippine boat, Banka, or stay one or two nights on some of the islands. If you fancy island hopping, you can theoretically head from one to another island every day.
Off the coasts of Cebu there are many small islands with beach paradises … A dream!
Locals who bring you to the islands for little money can be found on the beaches or directly at your hotel.
A trip to Bohol
Finally, I have a little excursion tip for you: southeast of the island of Cebu is the island of Bohol, which has made it with their hills, the so called “Chocolate Hills” which are at the list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The hills, which are actually overgrown with green grass, turn brown in the dry season and look like they are bathed in chocolate. You can watch the natural spectacle in the heart of Bohol after a ride on the ferry between Cebu City and Tinangnan. From the harbor it is still about 45 kilometers ride to the Chocolate Hills.
Cebu is just one of the more than 7,000 islands in the Philippines and has since become one of the most popular holiday destination island’s in South-East Asia. You want to learn more about the Philippines or get a full picture of other new trend destinations in the Philippines? Then take a look in my travel blog, here you get also more adventure ideas and useful tips for your travel tour to Cebu.