Read my DIY Travel Guide to these two beautiful provinces below! Thanks to BOP and DIY groups for inspiring me to try this adventure.
FIRST DAY: Cebu City Tour
I roamed around the city with my tour guide friend, Rey Mark, using habal-habal (motorcycle). Habal-habal is a popular mode of transportation in Cebu as well in other provinces in Visayas and Mindanao. Since it was my second time touring Cebu City with him, we went to places we haven’t been (West 35, Zubuchon, Fort San Pedro and Ancestral House) except for Sirao Garden, Tops Lookout and Temple of Leah. We just never got tired of visiting those places all over again.
“Special thanks to my friend, Rey Mark, for accommodating me. I highly recommend him if you’re looking for affordable and safe Cebu City Tour (Php 600 per head for solo traveler). You may contact him at 09060231546 or visit Cebu’s Affordable Tour Guide Group“
Cool Down at West 35
West 35 is an eco mountain resort in Balamban, Cebu. The place is surrounded by greeneries and mountain ranges. It’s far from the City (an hour travel at least from Cebu City) so expect fresh air and a relaxing view.
See Flowers in Bloom at Sirao Garden
Sirao Garden is a hillside piece of land in Busay. It can be called the “Little Amsterdam” or the “Mini Holland of Cebu” because of its look. You find vast flowers in bloom all over 8,000 sqm land (peak season: April-May and October-November).
Enjoy the Overlooking View at Tops Lookout
This is at Nivel Hills overlooking Cebu City. Tops Lookout will offer you a panoramic view of Cebu City and other places (Mactan and Olango). This place is great for sunset and an escape to the busy city.
Experience a Glimpse of Greece at Temple of Leah
The Temple of Leah was built for the undying love of Teodorico Adarna (father of Ellen Adarna) to his wife Leah Villa Albino-Adarna. It is Cebu’s latest attraction and will offer you an intricate Roman architecture.
Taste One of the Best Lechons at Zubuchon
How can one go to Cebu without tasting the famous roasted suckling pig or Lechon? We tried ours at Zubuchon after our city tour.
Zubuchon is one of the most popular lechon places in Cebu so make sure to drop by any of their branches for your food trip.
Address: N Escario St, Cebu City, Cebu (It’s located near Maxwell Hotel Cebu)
See Cebu’s Version of Intramuros at Fort San Pedro
Fort San Pedro is a Spanish stronghold much more of a resemblance with Fort Santiago in Manila, City. It will offer you a historical tour of how it was back in the Spanish era.
Visit the Ancestral House
The Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House is believed to be one of the oldest existing houses in the Philippines and was constructed around 1700. It’s formerly known as “Balay nga Bato ug Kahoy”.
Ancestral House was built by Maria Florido and Don Juan Yap and today, it serves as a museum.
Address: Mabini Street, Cebu City
Where to Stay in Cebu City
The Maxwell Hotel Cebu
- Php1400 per night
- Booked online through Agoda
- Address: N Escario St, Cebu City, Cebu, Pilipinas
SECOND DAY: South Cebu Tour (Moalboal, Badian, Oslob)
My second day in Cebu was probably the most exhausting but most exciting part of my trip since my itinerary for South Cebu tour was more on water adventures (Island Hopping in Moalboal and a 5-hour Trekking/Canyoneering in Badian).
For the second time, I joined Ms. Leyla Pagbabago‘s South Cebu Tour again. (My previous tour with her group was last September 2016 and tried only “Half-Canyoneering”). This time I decided to try the “Full Canyoneering”, not because I was brave enough to do it, but more of not having a choice since the group that I was with wanted to do the full-canyoneering and of course, for a change.
Pescador is an island 10-15 minutes from Panagsama Beach. This is where the main diving spot located.
A spot a few meters away is the Sardines Run where you could find hundreds or thousands of sardines swimming together.
Canyoneering is an activity for the brave heart. You will travel the canyon by walking, jumping, climbing and swimming different creeks and streams until you reach the famous Kawasan Falls.
Where to Stay in Oslob, Cebu
MB Sunshine Resort
- Address: Natalio Bacalso Avenue, Oslob, Cebu
- For my 2-day South Cebu Tour, I only paid Php2500 (including the Canyoneering, Moalboal Island Hopping, Sumilon Island and an overnight stay in MB Sunshine Resort.
“Special thanks to Ms. Leyla Pagbabago for giving me a big discount and for pushing me to try the Full Canyoneering 🙂 . For affordable South Cebu Tours, I highly recommend you to join in her tours. She’s a very accommodating and friendly tour guide. You may contact her at 09056553307 / 09335723395.”
THIRD DAY: South Cebu Tour (Oslob) and Off to Dumaguete (Dumaguete City Tour)
We continued our activity in South Cebu with Whale Shark Watching in Oslob. After which, we went a 1-hour stay at Sumilon Island since I needed to go to Dumaguete in the afternoon. From Cebu to Dumaguete, I rode a ferry from Liloan Port in Oslob. I checked-in at Harold’s Mansion and did the Dumaguete City Tour in the afternoon (Dumaguete Cathedral, Belfry Tower, Rizal Boulevard, Silliman University, and Sans Rival Cakes and Pastries Shop.
Oslob Whale Shark Watching
In Tan-Awan, you can swim with the gentle giants called Butanding (Whale Shark) for about 30-minutes.
A 15-minute ride from Oslob, Sumilon Island is a privately owned place with a resort, you can do a day tour since the resort is a bit pricey. The place has a sandbar which is best to experience during low tide (morning).
Sibulan Port in Dumaguete
- Travel time from Liloan Port (Cebu) to Sibulan Port (Dumaguete) is about 20-30 minutes (Php 70.00)
- From Sibulan Port, you can ride a multi cab going to Harold’s Mansion (Php 20.00)
- Travel time from Sibulan Port to Harold’s Mansion is about 15-20 minutes
Getting Around Dumaguete City
- Tricycle is the mode of transportation in Dumaguete
- Fare is Php8 from Harold’s Mansion to Dumaguete Cathedral/Rizal Boulevard or Robinsons Place Dumaguete
- When you arrive at Dumaguete Cathedral, you can just walk going to Rizal Boulevard, Siliman University and Sans Rival
St. Catherine of Alexandria Church or Dumaguete Cathedral is the oldest stone structure in Negros. It was built in 1754 to 1776 and was reconstructed in 1885 and 1936.
A few steps away from the Cathedral is the Belfry of Dumaguete.
A prominent stretch of road in Dumaguete where you can do a lot of activities like eat at restaurants, walk or run, and just enjoy the coastal view.
Silliman University is one of the biggest universities in the Philippines built in 1901 and is recognized internationally.
Sans Rival Cakes & Pastries
Sans Rival Cakes and Pastries Shop is a must stop in Dumaguete. They are well-known for their sans rival and sylvanas.
Where to Stay in Dumaguete
The Harold’s Mansion
- I only paid Php700 per night (Dec 2016)
- Booked online through Agoda
- Address: 205 Hibbard Avenue, Brgy. Looc, Dumaguete, 6200 Negros Oriental, Pilipinas
- They arrange tours for Apo Island (Php 1200 per head including all snorkeling gear and free lunch)
FOURTH DAY: Apo Island Tour
Apo Island is one of the reasons why I wanted to go to Dumaguete. This is where you can find giant sea turtles and other marine life. Swimming with the turtles was exciting and amazing as some of them are my size. Apo Island is a protected marine sanctuary in the Philippines so big boats are not allowed in the area. I had to swim for about 20-30 minutes just to go there. It was very tiring but it was okay since I saw different types of marine life as well as corals while swimming. Once you’re in the zone, you can take selfies and videos with the turtles. You cannot touch them though and you have to be very cautious in maintaining order in the area. I didn’t swim back to the boat, I just let the tour guide pull my salbabida (floating equipment) to save my energy. There are two more islands to visit but since I was still tired from Canyoneering and swimming, I decided to stay on the boat, talked to other travelers, took some photos and videos, and just enjoyed the view.
Note: The Island tour offered by Harold’s Mansion was from 7 am to 4 pm. (This is different from Apo Reef which is in Mindoro).
Additional Travel Tips:
- Before you go to Apo Island, be sure to eat your breakfast. You need it to have more energy for your island hopping and swimming with sea-turtles
- Bring bottled water and some snacks. Free lunch only includes pansit, boiled egg and 1 slice of watermelon.
FIFTH DAY: Pasalubong Shopping and Last Day
Visiting new places is not complete without buying t-shirts and ref magnets. I went to Robinson’s Dumaguete to go to Island Souvenir shop and buy my t-shirt and some ref magnets. Dumaguete is known for their Sylvanas so I stopped by at Sans Rival again. I had to do all these shopping in the morning since I needed to go back to Cebu (my flight back to Manila was still in Cebu). After lunch, I went to Sibulan Port to return to Cebu (Liloan Port). From Liloan Port I rode a bus for Php185 (4-5- hour travel depending on the traffic condition) going to Cebu City Bus Terminal and from there, to the airport (Mactan International Airport) going to Manila.
I actually planned to visit Siquijor since the island is near Dumaguete (1.5-hr fast craft trip). The problem was I can’t fully enjoy exploring Siquijor since I have to spend one whole day there for the tour. So I decided not to go to Siquijor. I’ll just visit it the next time I return to Dumaguete. Yes, I’ll be touring Dumaguete again soon to visit Manjuyod Sandbar and Tierra Alta Resort.
UPDATE 2017: I went back to Dumaguete last March 2017 to explore Siquijor. Read my travel guide to Siquijor!
UPDATE: 2019: I just had a Negros Island Trip (Bacolod + Sipalay + Dumaguete) with a Sidetrip to Siquijor.