There is a reason Cebu is one of the most visited islands of the Philippines, and voted fifth best island in the world in fact (first and second both in the Philippines too!). This tropical island, with its rugged authentic characteristics has an abundance of waterfalls to chase, mountains to bike through and pristine waters to dive in.
If you are the active, outdoorsy type then Cebu is the perfect place for you. I spent almost a week here, and I only scratched the surface of activities available. Thankfully, I teamed up with Highland Adventures in Badian who gave me a thrilling tour of the best Cebu has to offer.
Here it is. The ultimate 1 day itinerary for adventure in Cebu. Explore the beautiful island and get your adrenaline pumping at the same time – the perfect travel day!
Osmena Peak at Sunrise.
This is the highest peak on the island at 1013 meters above sea level, situated in Dalaguete in the town of Algeria. A 40 minute trip to the top of the mountain on the back of a scooter is exciting enough! As you twist and turn round palm trees towering over you, the only natural light that you see before the actual sunrise is from the stunning stars above you; a surreal experience to say the least.
There are a couple of villages scattered throughout the mountain that you pass on your journey to the top. The modest locals smile and wave as they prepare for a day of grind. On the way back down, you see the smiling faces in the light, and the copious amounts of huts and shacks built along the roadside.
Our guide informed us that the people living on the very top of the mountain don’t even get running water and they rely solely on rainfall. I felt like I had stepped back in time, and the trip through these charming mountain villages was a refreshing, humbling experience. Catch the sunrise from a picturesque place is an incredible start to your day, but also seeing the authenticity of Cebu through the wild countryside, and the rural locals is also a memorable aspect of the trip, and one I won’t forget.
From the top if you are lucky with the weather (because we unfortunately were only greeted with fog) you can see the beautiful views around Cebu, and even see Pescador Island beyond Moalboal (last stop on the itinerary). Catching the sunrise or sunset is a popular time to reach the peak, but anytime of day is well worth the trip and you can catch a motorcycle taxi driver that will take you to the top. The mountain peaks are prominent and protruding along with captivating limestone cliffs that set the scene that attracts so many visitors.
The hike itself is not very far, but the rocky path needs all your attention as you climb to the top at dawn. It should take about 20 minutes, and it will feel good to stretch those legs after the drive up the whindy mountain!
Canyoning Kawasan Falls.
The Kawasan Falls are probably the most iconic destination in Cebu, with people travelling from all over just to see these beautiful waterfalls located in Matutinao, Badian. The fresh turquoise water, mountain springs, and an immense array of greenery through the Cebu jungle paints a picture perfect scene as you take to the mountain and make your way down (the fun way).
What a beautiful day to chase waterfalls 😍 . . . #canyoning #kawasanfalls #adventure #outdoorwomen #waterfalls #cebu #philippines #adventureculture #openexposure #livealltravel #keepitwild #adventuretravel #vscogood #exploretocreate #visualgang #globe_travel #welivetoexplore #explore #outdoors #nature #afar #lovetheworld #outdooradventures #theadventuress #afar #venture #wanderlust #ABMtravelbug #traveldudes #GlobeDaily
There are three levels to the Kawasan Falls, and you start canyoning from the top cascade. There are thrilling slides, jumps and rock pools waiting for you to delve into all the way down to center stage, the main waterfall and (unfortunately touristy area) at the bottom.
The biggest jump is 40ft and was definitely my favourite, although you don’t have to go through with the bigger jumpes if you don’t want to. The bottom of the Falls is full of locals and visitors alike taking in the beauty, but I was pleasantly surprised at the quiet trek through the jungle we had. I was expecting herds of people canyoning with us, waiting in long queues to jump from each rock and lifejackets everywhere spoiling the picturesque scene as you climb along.
The beauty of the Falls were magnificent. They blow my expectations out of the water, which were pretty high judging from the pictures online. I had to stop and take it all in from time to time, because floating through the natural spring water, with the Cebu jungle 360 surrounding your gaze, well it doesn’t get much better.
There were only the two of us canyoning, and although there were other groups canyoning as well, never did I feel we were waiting in line. There were plenty photo opportunities for us while we were the only ones in sight and the transition from one waterfall to the next was seamless, minus the jitters of jumping.
I wouldn’t advise coming to the waterfalls for the infamous pictures you see online, because there are too many people thinking the same thing. Instead, grab a helmet and climb down the waterfalls from the top. Enjoy the Kawasan Falls in style!
There are many other waterfalls in the area that you may canyon down, but Kawasan is notably the most famous of all. Don’t expect to avoid crowds here, but do expect the thrilling adventure of jumping through gorges and streams, beautiful scenery and a gorgeous trek through the tropical jungle.
Highland Adventures were great, our guide Kuya Chris was a blast and helped us down the waterfall with care. We were also given lunch at the second waterfall – not a bad spot for a picnic at all!
Explore Pescador Island.
Located just 15 minutes boat ride from Panagsama Beach in Moalboal, Pescador Island is one of the most popular spot for divers in and around Cebu. With an array of marine life along the beautiful corals and reef it’s a divers dream. Sardines, turtles and dolphins all like to hang out around the small uninhabited island. Even while snorkelling, there is an abundance of activity below the surface, and it just gets better the deeper you go.
If all you want to do is go for a quick snorkel or dive in the area, there are plenty dive shops and boat rentals that will take you the short distance over there and even go snorkelling with you for fun (cost is around 1500 pesos). We had a great time playing around the coral with the guys that brought us over and with Chris our guide. After getting up at sunrise, hiking and canyoning down waterfalls you would expect energy levels to be low at this point.
However because of the amazing scenery, the beautiful marine life and the fun in the sea that was ahead of us, I felt nothing but enthusiasm as the day went on. Pescador Island is one for the bucket list if you reach South Cebu, as you will find everyone raving about it. Snorkelling around the island was an awesome activity to do after lunch at the Falls.
Literally feeling like I’m in another world while witnessing life under the sea. It’s so far from our reality, that it’s fun to get lost in it. 😊 . . . #diving #cebu #underwater #adventure #outdoorwomen #sea #philippines #traveldudes #afar #exploretocreate #adventureculture #openexposure #livealltravel #girlvsglobe #visualsoflife #ABMtravelbug #venture #wanderlust #explore #theadventuress #outdoorofficial #scuba #aqua #marinelife #active #traveldiaries #discover #island #tropical
Cebu Sardine Run and Turtle Watching.
Not far from the shore along Panagsama Beach, you will be greeted everyday by an amazing display of marine life. The sardine run is one that shouldn’t be missed, and simply cannot be missed if you enter the ocean even! You can see hundreds of thousands of sardines swimming around from a boat. Snorkelling, diving or free diving allows you to really see the vast beauty of the swarm of sardines, such a fascinating thing to be swimming through deep in the ocean!
Further south along the shore, you’ll be welcomed by my favourite sea creature; the majestic turtle! We grabbed our snorkels and headed in their direction with anticipation. What luck we had in finding seven turtles in less than 20 minutes of searching. It was an incredible experience to be swimming with these beauties, and you simply cannot skip out on this opportunity, especially if you’re staying in Moalboal.
This adventure filled day had us exploring the island from sunrise to sunset, and not a minute wasted. The crew at Highland Adventures organised everything for us, collected us from our resort and dropped our sleepy heads back at the end of the day. With plenty do to around the island, it can be hard to decide what should be on the itinerary. I was delighted with my day, with what I saw and did. I would definitely recommend all of the above to anyone wanting a bit of fun in the sun, through waterfalls and mountains around South Cebu, (Badian and Moalboal area).
You also get to zip around on the back of a motorbike for the day between locations, and enjoy the scenery of the island!
A bit of visual inspiration for you…
If you have any questions, feel free to drop a comment below and I’ll do my best to advise. Have you been to Cebu yet? What was your best adventure on the island? I’d love to hear about it, because I will definitely be back for more!
Info: http://highlandadventuresph.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org