Monday, January 20, 2020

5 days in Cebu Budget Itinerary

Greetings my internet friends! It's been a long while since I did a travel post.
Cebu is such an underrated place I'm surprised that I don't see enough Malaysians raving how exciting Philippines is.
When I told my family that I'm travelling to Philippines and they said, 'why? what's there to do? so hot'; 'Go there work as Filipino maid ah?'
U know Asian parents and their stereotypes. HAHAHA

Here's a 5 day Cebu itinerary for y'all working adults who have limited annual leaves (I'm looking at you depressed Malaysian employees)
I think 5 days are sufficient to get a taste of the main highlights of Cebu. 

My total budget for this trip: RM1,800 (flights+accommodation + tours + all)
Price breakdown (per pax):
Flights: from KL to Cebu: RM670 (booked 2 months in advance)
Accommodation: RM200 for 5 nights in Airbnb Moalboal ( rm40 per night per pax) + RM40 for 1 night in Cebu 
I've exchanged RM1,000 worth of PHP ( 24,400 Philippines pesos @ 100php to RM 8,20 rate) for expenses
 I still got RM200++ left 

Average daily expenses are around 500php-600php. Moalboal food is pretty expensive compared to Cebu city as it's a small village filled with tourists whereas Cebu City is where all the locals hustle.

My budget could have been lower if we opted for a cheaper rental of bike but for convenience sake we just rented it from our Airbnb instead of walking around and do comparisons lol.
I've seen a random shop offered 200php while we paid 350php a day for bike (we rented for 3 days) . My heart cried a little but it's ok.....:(

Day 1: Cebu city > Moalboal

Transport Options from Cebu City to Moalboal

120php per pax

150php per pax
4.5+ as they make more stops
For buses, they run every 15mins-20mins.
3.5h+ make lesser stops

There's no fixed schedule for shared vans, they'll depart only when the van is full. 
South Bus Terminal on Google maps
GT Express South Terminal on Google maps
More spacious and have shared big TVs in the front ( they played Fullmetal Alchemists when we on the way back to Cebu, cool!!)

Cramped and a little awkward as obviously van is smaller than bus

*take note there seems to have no shared vans in Moalboal so bus is the only economic option to get to Cebu.
For shared van, u can head to Moalboal Municipal Hall, and ask around if there's any van drivers going down to Cebu and ask if u can join and pay them. If it's out of the range then GTFO haha.
For public bus, head to Ceres Bus stop, it's 

Unless u don't mind paying 2500php for private car to Cebu city from Moalboal lol

What I did:
I took the van option from Cebu to Moalboal and went back to Cebu city by bus.
Because the International Airport is in Mactan-Cebu Airport so u gotta go back to Cebu anyhow.

 Caught a pretty sunset before I left Cebu Airport.

Day 2: Panagsama Beach + White Beach

Things you should know about Panagsama Beach before you go:
→ it's rocky as hell and there's no nice sandy beach
→ it's got amazing restaurants along the beach but it's expensive as hell.
→ Good place for snorkeling and sunset!

White beach and a yellow bitch 

How to get to White Beach
20mins from Panagsama Beach by motorbike
→ 50php for parking and 30 php for entrance fee

Things to note about White Beach
→ it's got sandy beach so it's a good place to chill and tan
→ not much things to do and places to eat

Day 3: Snorkeling at Panagsama Beach with Turtles 

I saw 2 turtles on my own eyes woooohooo


→ Which dive shop? search 'LET'S GET WET' on google maps, it's the first snorkeling gear shop along the street of Panagsama beach you wouldn't miss it.
→ 100php to rent snorkeling gear with free lockers to put ur bags (no limited time but the shop closes at 6pm) + 50 php for lifejacket 

*some random dudes on the street trying to rent snorkeling gear for 500 php, now that's a RIP OFF!!!!*

Q:Do I need a guide / island hopping to see turtles and sardines run?
A: Not necessarily.  U literally can ignore those random people on the street trying to sell you the tour package to snorkel with turtles. THE TURTLES AND SARDINE RUN ARE LITERALLY just in front of the beach!!! U don't need no guide.

At first, I really doubted the blogs on the internet, ' ARE u sure I can see fish and turtles by just swimming in front of the beach?' 

BITCH THEY REALLY ARE!!! Their lazy bums just swim around and eat sea grass lol

see?! I almost stepped on this turtle when I was about to swim off the shore. 


The best spot to snorkel with turtles and sardines without going on an organised tour is on the beach right in front of the SeaQuest Dive Centre (google maps).

Best time to snorkel is in the afternoon as the turtles will only appear around that time according to the locals/dive shop staffs. 

Day 4: Snorkeling with Whale Sharks in Oslob + Canyoneering at Kawasan Falls

4am- Driver pick us up from our Airbnb from MoalBoal to Oslob - 2 hours car drive
6am- Arrived in Oslob & waited for 2hours for our turn (standard waiting time if u reach at 6am)
8am- swim with whale shark for 30mins lol
830am- Get changed and depart to Kawasan Falls 2h cars drive
1030am- Get geared up and enroute to canyoneering at Kawasan Falls - 4hours activity +1 hour lunch
230pm- lunch 
330pm- Driver drops us back at our Airbnb in Moalboal.

Total costs- 3,500 php per pax for this tour inclusive of lunch and transport
Price breakdown per pax:
Canyoneering at Kawasan Falls - 1,500php
Swimming with Whale Shark in Oslob - 2,000php 

Q: Do you need a tour for Canyoneering at Kawasan Falls?
A: Not necessarily. U can just pay entrance fees and enter at your own risks. Life jackets are available for rentals along the way to the waterfalls. It's a crowded place so just follow people to the cliff jumping points. 

However, advantages of getting a tour guide for canyoneering are:
- Safety, some paths are tricky and slippery.
- Inclusive of lunch and transport sounds like a good deal
- Someone to take photos for u
- Some good hidden spots that only guide knows

Q: Do you need a tour for Swimming with Whale Shark in Oslob?
A: Not necessarily. 
However, with or without a tour guide, the entrance fees is 1,500php fixed for foreigners, inclusive of snorkeling gear. And the tour for this is 2,500php. So u basically pay 1000php for the transport from Moalboal to Oslob which is a 2 hours ride each way. 

But I realized that having a tour guide makes the waiting time lesser, for example:
When we arrived, we saw a bunch of Italians without a tour guide already in their life jackets WAITING to be boarded on the boat to the center point to swim with the whale sharks.

We waited almost 1.5hours, and we ended up boarding on the same boat as them lol. They've waited 2hours+.
I think that's because our tour guide helped to communicate with the boat guy and it hasten the whole queuing process.
Conclusion: Get a tour guide, it's faster and it saves a lot of hassles. 

HIT ME UP for the tour guide's contact!!! He's such a nice guy and the tour was very exclusive and small group as the canyoneering was only 2 of us whilst the whale shark tour added 2 other Koreans.

How it works:
 Arrive in Whale Sharks Oslob 
Get a number and wait for your turn and listen to 1 minute briefing from the staff
 Once your number is called, put on life jackets and snorkeling gear that are given to you 
 Hop on a small boat of 10-15 people for literally 3 minutes, further away from the shore to the 'feeding place' of the whale sharks 
 Once arrived, the boat will stop there for everyone to swim with whale sharks for 30 minutes only.

So imagine how cramped it would be within such short amount of time to get nice photos. 
I spent 5 minutes comtemplating to get in the water because I was so scared HAHAHA the water was so clear I can even see the sharks from the boat 


My First Snorkeling with the Whale Sharks Experience 
I have a slight sea phobia, which is Thalassophobia - fear of being in large bodies of water, fear of the vast emptiness of the sea, of sea waves, sea creatures, and fear of distance from land.
I would never snorkel alone or swim alone cuz I'd be panicked and drown even though I know how to swim lolol. 
The moment I dived my head in and saw them right in front of me with my own eyes, I was panting like almost blacked out!! lol but then when u realized you've paid almost RM250 for this 30minutes, u gotta make sure u do it for the instagram and live your best life!!!

Whale sharks have no teeth, they just swallow zooplankton and called that 'eating'. They're harmless.
They are attracted to bubbles that humans generated while they swim, so don't be flattered if they swim towards u. They like bubbles, not you.

We were supposed to stay 5 meters away from the whale sharks but they kept coming towards us humans lolol.
We are not allowed to touch them or chase them. So whenever they're coming towards u, just let them pass. I know it may sounds very terrifying ......
I even have a footage of me being a pussy and chickened out the moment the shark swam so close to me!!!
Check out the my vlog below.


Again, being a pussy person, the only cliff jump I did was the 6m....hahaha
I'm not afraid of heights but I'm afraid of the thrills of falling from a height which is  'basophobia'. 
Fear of falling is not the same as fear of heights... I'm able to look down from a height but I can't take roller coasters or similar things that drops from a height. This is literally my nightmare.
So I'm pretty proud of myself having to jump 2 cliffs although it was only 4meters and 6 meters. hahahha
Watch my video!!

Best to equip yourself with these water sandals. I wore these swimming with the sharks, hiking, canyoneering and etc. Though it doesn't have full protection of your feet but it's easier to dry off compared to the covered water shoes.
These are the only pair of shoes I brought with in this entire trip haha.

Day 5: Chasing Waterfalls: 
Kawasan Falls + Cambais Falls

How to get to Kawasan Falls from Moalboal:
→ Rent a motorbike or tutuk, 40minutes ride 

Take note the Kawasan Falls location on Google maps is not accurate, it will lead u to the other side which is not a direct access to the final Kawasan Falls.
Search for Mire's Ice Cream Shack, which is a little shop located along the way to the falls.

I literally put on decent make up and went back to Kawasan Falls again because MY BROWS GOT ALL WIPED OFF after canyoneering and I ain't got no brows to take nice photos HAHAHA

And also, Kawasan Falls is worth going second time hehe am I right?

Non-edited version. The turquoise water is real.

All these clear water but my mind is still cloudy.

Cambais Falls 

How to get there from Kawasan Falls
→ 25 minutes motorbike ride (pretty winding) + 15-20minutes of little hike 
→ Search on google maps, it's accurate

Park your motorcycle and walk for 15-20minutes  

Once u reached a little hut that looks like a tourist info center with life jackets hanging around, u have arrived. It's 50php for entrance fee.

Take note:
 It's optional to pay parking fees as they only ask for donations and u know stingy me would just say sorry no and walk away) 
→ No guide is necessary here as it's an easy walk but there will be random kids from the village offering to guide you but just say 'boi, stay in school' and walk away. HAHAHAA

I prefer this waterfall over Kawasan Falls personally as it's got lesser crowd and only 2 levels of waterfalls. And 2 of them are beautiful enough to take nicer photos than Kawasan Falls in my opinion haha.

Last day: Moalboal > Cebu city

Where to stay
Cebu city
-Airbnb service apartment- Horizon 101
This is right in the center of busy streets and malls.

U get discount I get discount = happy travels!

Base yourself near to Panagsama beach. There are tons of hostels!

If I had the chance to choose again, I'd stay at this good value Airbnb: check this Airbnb out.
It was fully booked on my dates so bumped :(

Cebu city- GRAB app
Moalboal- GRAB app is not available there so for convenience sake, just rent a motorbike.
Motorbike rental price range should be within 200php-350php manual/ auto
*Take note that the petrol that is a little expensive than Malaysia, full tank it's 250php (that's around RM20 ish, in Malaysia it's only RM5 for full tank lol. Malaysia boleh!)

Question: is it safe to ride a bike in Cebu?
Answer: It's safe if you're an experienced driver. I realized the practice in Cebu is that u gotta honk whenever u need to turn right or left, putting your indicators/signals are not enough to alert the other drivers I suppose lol

Cebu city - hella crowded
Moalboal- less crowd but uneven roads and a lot of potholes 

 Riding in Rural area in Moalboal, so much potholes and stones it's like riding a horse haha

On our back to Moalboal from Kawasan Falls with beautiful sea view 

Food to try in Philippines

Chicken Inasal (grilled chicken) is my favourite!!
I love pork sisig but some restaurant serve the fat part of the pork which I don't like it.
I like my pork lean ;) hahaha

Lechon- crispy roasted suckling pig

Local beer- San Miguel

Basically just try every BARBEQUED food, they're amazingggg

When you're in Moalboal town, you would notice that there's a line waiting for roasted chicken at a shop that doesn't have any signboards.
On our 3rd day, the line is still long even the locals are queing, and we knew we had to give it a try.
Half chicken - 100php (wtf, RM10 for half chicken? Kenny Rogers can kiss my ass)
Full Chicken- 200 php
It was sooooo good I visited twice which I don't normally revisit a place when I'm on travels.

LOCATION: Search for Mad Cow RestoBar, and IT"S THE SMALL SHOP BESIDE IT by the road.
Watch my reaction eating this in my vlog. haha

Halo-halo is coconut flavoured shaved ice topped with fruits, jelly, cereals and etc, with Ube (purple sweet potato) flavour ice cream on top :D
This is my favourite of all.
Halo-Halo (House of Lechon's is pretty good!)

You have to try their cheap Filipino pastries!!! 
In Moalboal, we visited the bakery almost twice a day cuz it's dirt cheap and easy to go.
Make sure you drop by Ging Ging's Bakery and Julie's Bakery (google maps)

Final thoughts and Disclaimer:
I based myself in Moalboal as the main highlights of my trip were Kawasan Falls and Whale sharks in Oslob are closer to get to from Moalboal, for a 5 days trip.

But for island hopping other than Pescador Islands, I think base yourself in Cebu City would be more accessible to Bantayan and Malapascua Island And from Malapascua, a day trip to Kalanggaman Island. These islands are in the north of cebu.

To me, I find Moalboal has more activities that suit me more than Cebu city itself, as I'm not fond of visiting museums and churches etc. 
So the only attraction I actually went to was the Fort San Pedro which is like Fort Cornwallis in Penang. lol 

Philippines, I'll see you again.
I'm hoping to visit Palawan someday!

Hope this blog post gives u an idea where to start on plannign your own itinerary. Feel free to ask me questions! :D
Check these blogs out which I've gathered most of my info from:

Complete Snorkeling guide in Moalboal – check link for pinned location for snorkeling

Complete Kawasan Falls guide