From North to South: A CEBU 4D3N DIY Budget Travel Guide

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Cebu is a melting pot of culture, faith, and tourism. With instagram-worthy destinations, it’s no surprise that this island is visited by travelers every year. Seeing that most of the people we know have been to Cebu and enjoyed their trip, Mark and I eagerly booked a flight during last year’s piso fare sale at Cebu Pacific.

We planned on going to Bantayan Island, Simala, and Kawasan falls despite our short stay in Cebu. Little did we know that it would take us loooong bus and ferry rides and a few (mis)adventures to reach these places. Nevertheless, the reward of seeing these beautiful spots made all of our efforts worth it.

DAY 1 – Walking Tour around Cebu City

We arrived at Mactan Cebu International Airport at 10:50AM. Since we were on a budget, we rode jeepneys and walked to explore the city.

1Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral – Mabini St., Cebu City

2Basilica del Santo Niño – Osmeña Blvd., Cebu City

3Magellan’s Cross – Beside Basilica del Santo Niño

4The Heritage of Cebu Monument

We planned to go to Bantayan Island the next day so we went to North Bus Terminal as early as 10:00 PM to catch the earliest bus to Hagnaya Port (it is said by some of our friends that the first bus will go by 11:45 PM). To our surprise, the bus to Hagnaya Port got full by 10:30 PM so we departed earlier than the scheduled time.

Day 1 Itinerary (with prices on transportation and accommodation)
10:50 AM Arrival in Mactan Cebu International Airport
11:00 AM Jeepney ride from airport to Marina Mall ₱7.00 via Airport yellow multicab
11:05 AM Jeepney ride from Marina Mall to Park Mall ₱8.00 via Route MI-02B
11:45 AM Jeepney ride from Park Mall to SM City Cebu ₱10.00 via Route 01K
12:10 PM Lunch at SM City Cebu
01:50 PM Jeepney ride from SM City Cebu to Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral ₱7.00 via Route 10M
02:15 PM Start of Cebu City walking tour
05:30 PM Jeepney ride from Colon to Ayala Center Cebu ₱7.00 via Route 14D
06:00 PM Dinner and rest at Ayala Center Cebu
08:00 PM Jeepney ride from Ayala Center to SM City Cebu ₱7.00 via Route 04Q
08:30 PM Rest at SM City Cebu
10:00 PM Jeepney ride from SM City Cebu to North Bus Terminal ₱7.00 via Route 01K
10:40 PM ETD North Bus Terminal to Hagnaya Port ₱140.00 via Ceres Bus (Aircon)

DAY 2 – Bantayan Island

We alighted at Hagnaya Port by 1:30 AM. By that time, we were a bit alarmed because we arrived earlier than expected. We rode a ferry to Bantayan Island and arrived in Sta. Fe as early as 3:30 AM (which wasn’t part of our ‘plan’). Since the resort where we made reservations at was still closed, we decided to rest at a nearby lodge.

By 9:00AM, we left the lodge and checked in to our desired resort, rented a motorcycle, and toured the island all by ourselves.

5Kota Beach

6Cliff diving site

7Paradise beach

Day 2 Itinerary (with prices on transportation and accommodation)
01:30 AM ETA Hagnaya Port
02:00 AM ETD Hagnaya Port to Sta. Fe, Bantayan Port ₱180.00 + ₱10.00 terminal fee via Ferry
03:30 AM ETA Sta. Fe, Bantayan Port
03:40 AM Tricycle ride from Sta. Fe Port to Lodge ₱20.00
04:00 AM Lights off ₱700.00 accommodation
09:00 AM Breakfast, start island tour ₱350.00 for motorcycle rental + ₱70.00 for 1 liter of gasoline
08:00 PM Dinner, went back to our room ₱1,275.00 accommodation via Agoda
10:00 PM Lights off

DAY 3 – Simala, Carcar, and Moalboal

We wanted to catch the 3:00 PM mass to Simala so we left Bantayan Island by 7:30 AM and rode a bus to Cebu North Bus Terminal by 9:00 AM. As soon as we arrived in Cebu City, we rode a jeepney to Cebu South Bus Terminal and left the city by 1:00 PM.

By the time we reached Simala Church, we attended the mass and prayed. After mass, we roamed around the area and couldn’t help but marvel at the church’s architecture.

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After the mass, we traveled to Carcar to explore a little and then to Moalboal to stay for the night.

Day 3 Itinerary (with prices on transportation and accommodation)
07:00 AM Breakfast
07:30 AM ETD Sta. Fe to Hagnaya Port ₱180.00 + ₱10.00 terminal fee via Ferry
09:00 AM ETD Hagnaya Port to SM City Cebu ₱160.00 via Aircon bus
12:00 PM Jeepney from SM City Cebu to Cebu South Bus Terminal ₱8.00 via Route 0K1
01:00 PM ETD South Bus Terminal to Simala (Highway) ₱80.00 via Minibus
02:50 PM Motorcycle from Highway to Simala Church ₱25.00
03:00 PM Mass, tour, and lunch at Simala
04:30 PM Motorcycle from Simala Church to Highway ₱25.00
04:40 PM Tricycle from Simala (Highway) to Carcar ₱30.00
05:10 PM ETA Carcar, walking around the city
06:00 PM ETD Carcar to Moalboal ₱76.00 via Ceres aircon bus
08:00 PM ETA Moalboal, went to lodge ₱700.00 including fare and lodging
09:30 PM Lights off

DAY 4 – Kawasan Falls

We left as early as 6:30 AM from Moalboal to go to Kawasan Falls in order to avoid the crowd. As soon as we got off the bus, we walked for 15 minutes before reaching the falls. We decided not to avail the canyoneering and tour the whole place by ourselves.

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After two hours in Kawasan falls, we quickly hopped on a bus to Cebu for the fear that we would miss our flight due to Monday traffic. Fortunately, the traffic wasn’t that bad and we were able to reach Cebu City in three hours, which gave us more time to eat before heading to the airport.

Day 4 Itinerary (with prices on transportation and accommodation)
06:00 AM Lodge to Moalboal proper
06:30 AM ETD Moalboal to Kawasan falls ₱22.00 via Ceres non-air bus
07:10 AM ETA Kawasan Falls
09:30 AM ETD Kawasan Falls to Cebu City ₱173.00 via Ceres non-air bus
01:00 PM Jeepney from Cebu South bus terminal to SM City Cebu ₱8.00 via Route 01K
01:30 PM Lunch and walking around SM City Cebu
02:30 PM Jeepney from SM City Cebu to Park Mall ₱8.00 via Route 01K
02:50 PM Jeepney from Park Mall to Marina Mall ₱8.00 via Route MI-02B
03:10 PM Jeepney from Marina Mall to Mactan Cebu International Airport ₱7.00 via Airport Yellow Multicab
03:20 PM ETA Mactan Cebu International Airport

EXPENSES

FOR 2 PERSONS

FOR 1 PERSON

Fare/transportation ₱2,982.00 ₱1,491.00
Food ₱2,003.00 ₱1,001.50
Accommodation ₱2,575.00 ₱1,287.50
Airfare (via Cebu Pacific Piso Sale) ₱2,000.00 ₱1,000.00
Others (Kawasan Falls Facilities) ₱400.00 ₱200.00

TOTAL

₱9,960.00 ₱4,980.00

*Note: Prices for fare and accomodation were updated as of June 2018.

TIPS

  1. Cebu locals are friendly. Don’t hesitate to ask questions if you’re feeling lost.
  2. If you can, ride a jeepney instead of a taxi. It’ll save you a lot of money. Jeepney guides for Cebu City are available online or you can always read the signages or ask the locals for help.
  3. Be careful with your belongings especially when walking around Colon or when commuting.
  4. Although Cebu is dubbed as “The Lechon Capital of the World”, the island is actually vegan-friendly. Malls are filled with food shops that cater to every vegan budget. Just be careful with the food when eating in carinderias since some vegetable meals may have meat/egg/butter mixed with them.
  5. If visiting churches is part of your itinerary, make sure to bring clothing appropriate for churchgoing. Sleeveless shirts, shorts, and mini skirts are not allowed in most churches.
  6. Online check-in services via Cebu Pacific make things hassle-free at the airport. It can also be zero-waste, considering that you may just take a screenshot of your boarding pass and ride the plane.
  7. Haggle when you can and say no to rip-offs. While fare/transportation is fixed in most places in Cebu, some may take advantage of you as a traveler.
  8. Have fun and be cheap but don’t compromise your safety.

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