If you’re traveling in the Philippines and looking for the best things to do in Cebu, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Below I’ve listed some epic Cebu attractions that would suit any Philippine island itinerary.
The Best Things to Do in Cebu
I’ve compiled a quick list of some of the most epic things to do when visiting Cebu Island. This list is made especially for adventure travelers who love to get outdoors and explore. If you’re interested in reading more about these epic Cebu adventures, you can click the links below each of the images.
Explore the Endless Tropical Waterfalls
Cebu is known as the island of blue waterfalls. There are literally hundreds of jungle falls to explore, most of which are easily accessible via a motorbike for the independent traveler.
Some of the Best Waterfalls on Cebu
You’ll need to make your own mind up about which waterfalls are the best in Cebu. However, my three favorites below definitely won’t disappoint. If you’re looking for more options or simply want to see all the waterfalls on Cebu, check out the full blog post in the link below.
Cambais Falls is my number one favorite waterfall on Cebu. This waterfall is nestled deep inland in Alegria and surrounded by thick, jungle. Cambais falls has two epic levels with three main waterfalls and can easily be reached just an hour’s ride from Moalboal.
There’s also a deep, turquoise swimming area. What’s best about this waterfall spot is that you can even cliff jump from the top of the biggest waterfall.
You’ll probably even have this one to yourself, as most tourists tend to head straight for the more popular but crowded, Kawasan Falls.
FULL BLOG GUIDE: Cambais Falls – Most Underrated Waterfall in Cebu?
Another epic and off-the-beaten-path waterfall is Inambakan Falls. This waterfall alone can be considered one of the best things to do in Cebu. It’s located in Ginatilan, only a short ride from Moalboal.
There are five levels to explore, each with hidden caves, jump spots and swimming areas.
Definitely don’t miss this one.
READ MORE: Exploring Inambakan Falls In Ginatilan, Cebu
If you’re staying closer to the Oslob side of Cebu, then one of the best things to do is to check out Tumalog Falls.
Although not as impressive as some of the other waterfalls on the list, it’s really easy to access and is a pretty magical scene if you get there early before the Whale-shark crowds.
TUMALOG GUIDE: Tumalog Falls in Oslob, Cebu
Check Out The Full Waterfall List
The sheer amount of epic waterfalls on Cebu deserves it’s own dedicated post. If you’re into chasing waterfalls, then you could probably fill your entire island itinerary with this list of epic waterfalls on Cebu.
READ THE FREE WATERFALL GUIDE: BEST CEBU WATERFALLS NOT TO MISS – ULTIMATE GUIDE
Essential Tips For Your Trip To The Philippines
Where to Find Cheap Flights
Still in the planning stage of your trip? Currently, the best and easiest way to find cheap flights is to use Skyscanner. This works by comparing all of the available fares across every airline to help you compare flights in one place.
Book Your Accommodation
Whether you’re looking for hostels, hotels, guest houses, or resorts between Booking.com and Agoda, you’ll always get the best deals. I always search using the map feature to find accommodation in the best locations. Sometimes, if I want to stay in a place a little longer, I’ll use Airbnb.
Book Tours and Transport
You already know that I prefer independent travel. In saying that, sometimes the best and cheapest way to get things done is to just book a tour or package. For the Philippines, I always use Klook, Viator and Get Your Guide.
Don’t Forget Adventure Travel Insurance
If you’re reading this blog then you’re more likely to be seeking adventures over poolside sips. After having my entire bag stolen in Barcelona (including camera gear) I’ve sworn to always have travel insurance. By far, my favorite company for the most comprehensive adventure travel insurance is World Nomads. If you’re on the fence, you can read my article to see if it’s right for you.
Swim with Turtles
In between hunting down the best waterfalls, make sure to check out the local turtle population in Moalboal.
Cebu has a huge population of local sea turtles, many which gather and graze just outside Panagsama beach in Moalboal.
While turtles are definitely not the only thing you’ll spot while snorkeling in Cebu, they’re certainly pretty spectacular
I’ve written a short guide to help you spot them.
SNORKELING GUIDE: WHERE TO SWIM WITH GIANT TURTLES IN CEBU
Snorkel With the Huge Sardine Balls at Moalboal
While you’ve still got your mask and fins on, make sure to swim out a little to check out the world-famous sardine run.
Conveniently, the best place to find the sardine balls is the same place as the local turtles like to hang out, right off Panagsama Beach.
These sardines form into enormous schools of over one million fish per school. As they swim, they create amazing patterns and turbine into each other.
It’s an amazing experience as the sardines block out the sun and form an underwater tunnel around you. Keep an eye out for larger hunting fish that shoot into the sardine ball.
It’s no wonder that swimming with the sardine balls is often referred to as one of the best things to do in Cebu.
Go Cliff Jumping in Cebu Jungle Canyons
Another one of the best things to do on Cebu for the adventure enthusiast is a day of canyoneering through the jungle near Kawasan Falls.
Experienced guides will take you through several waterfall slides and jungle cliff jumps. The highest cliff jump is 13 metres, however all jumps are optional.
There are dozens of canyoneering groups that operate around Kawasan Falls. If you’re looking for one of the best and most highly rated Canyoneering Tours book online with the link below.
BEST CANYONEERING TOUR FOR UNDER $40: BOOK HERE
Swimming With Whale Sharks in Oslob
By far, the most popular thing to do on Cebu island is to swim with the giant whale sharks in Oslob.
There are dozens of local sharks that visit Oslob every morning to be fed by local fishing boats turned tourism boats.
However, there is some controversy surrounding the morality of the practice.
Whale Shark Tourism
After chatting to locals to better understand their perspective, I’ve found that thousands of people who were once working in unsustainable fishing operations now have the opportunity to work in tourism instead. The Tourism Machine is now the biggest industry in the region.
This shift, combined with tighter ecological regulations to protect marine life (largely fuelled by fear of losing tourism dollars) means better protection for the aquatic life of South Cebu.
But what does this mean for the sharks themselves?
To ensure that the giants keep coming back, locals feed them from these small boats. This has caused suspicion that the sharks would adopt unnatural feeding and migration behaviors. In the past few years, however, after extensive research and tagging, researches have concluded that the younger sharks are still continuing their regular migration. It is only the old sharks that can no longer breed that choose to stay in Oslob. It’s also important to note that most of the tagged sharks that have died during the past few years have died in international waters.
The practice has also improved dramatically in quite a short time. This proves that increased awareness with the support of conservation groups is making Oslob whale sharks an increasingly sustainable model. On the other hand, other practices that I’ve witnessed in Asia get much less attention from conservation groups and are much worse.
Namely those that chase the sharks with large powerboats for tourists to jump literally on top of them. If you’re interested in swimming with the whale sharks in Cebu, make sure that you:
- Don’t touch the sharks
- Keep a respectful distance
- Don’t wear sunscreen
- Dispose of all plastic waste and trash properly
- Educate other tourists
Go Scuba Diving
There’s a reason why the Philippines is rated as one of the best countries in the world for scuba diving. The unique underwater world, with its famous, deep reef dropoffs make scuba diving one of the best things to do on Cebu.
The best place to scout out a dive shop is in Moalboal. This is the place that I completed my Advanced Padi certification a few years ago.
The best dive shop on the island with the best rates is the Blue Abyss Dive shop. It’s run by highly qualified German owners, and much of the staff are local Filipinos. They take you to excellent dive locations such as the house reef and the famous Pescador Island.
Take a Day Trip to Sumilon Island
If it’s a tropical island vibe you’re feeling, then taking a day trip to neighboring Sumilon Island is another one of the best things to do on Cebu for the adventure traveler.
Sumilon Island is a small sandbar island located on the East-side of Cebu, close to Oslob.
The island is perfect for swimming in crystal clear waters, snorkeling in a protected marine sanctuary and enjoying the tropical island vibes.
FREE ISLAND GUIDE: EPIC ISLAND DAY TRIP ON SUMILON ISLAND, CEBU – THE GUIDE
Explore Local Villages By Motorbike
There’s no better way to see the real Filipino island life than by taking a motorbike out from the tourist beat.
The way to check out some local villages and meet some locals is to head inland into the mountains. While I can’t recommend a single place to head to, why not check some out when cruising through Ginatilan or Alegria when chasing the waterfalls?
Your tourism dollar is often missed by those villagers who need it most. Help them out by having a local Filipino lunch or buying some snacks from local eateries.
Jump in a Filipino Tricycle Taxi or Jeepney
Besides having your own motorbike, the best way to get around Cebu is by jumping in a local tricycle taxi or Jeepney.
Tricycles are similar to Tuk Tuks that you might find in other parts of Asia. The fares are usually very cheap, ranging from 30-250 pesos depending on the distance.
Jeepneys are another option if you want to share a ride. They usually operate on a fixed route, and you’ll need to ask a local where it’s going. Jeepney trips are very cheap, often only 10-20 pesos per trip.
Though they might be excellent transport options to get around the island, they’re also an essential part of the Filipino travel experience.
Why Stop the Philippines Travels There? – Head to Bohol
Adventurers looking for the next Philippines destination shouldn’t look further than Bohol.
Like Cebu, Bohol has several waterfalls and jungle to explore. It also has some spectacular reefs and is home to the endagered Tarsiers.
It only takes a short ferry ride to reach Bohol from Cebu City, and shouldn’t cost more than $20. So, what are you waiting for?