The squealing of brake lines on the overly-cramped bus was loud enough to wake the devil, but what scared me wasn’t the noise. It was the stopping distance. The long, winding road (singular) that wraps around Cebu is filled with buses. By the sound of it, this particular bus might break in half when attempting to stop. It lurches forward, and comes to a sputtering halt every half mile or so, picking up locals and tourists alike, waiting anywhere along the path.
We continue south, reaching the base of the island, with its glittering, sugar-sand beaches, and head back up the western side of Cebu, towards the turquoise waters of Kawasan Falls. My window is open, and all the young Filipino boys are saying “hello”, “congratulations”, and “Happy Birthday!”. Their well-wishes are due to the Celebration of Black Jesus, a Nazarene holiday happening on the island (and a little slip-up in their English translation….maybe it was Jesus’ birthday, not mine!), and I couldn’t help but smile and wave back at everyone’s’ enthusiastic faces.
The bus screeches loudly and grinds to a slow halt: We’ve arrived at Kawasan Falls.
5 Activities in Cebu, Philippines
Though quite time-consuming to explore, The Philippines has so many things to see and do. It does take approximately a full day to get from one island to the next. Cebu offers a full range of activities and sights, from cathedrals to waterfalls or hiking. I would allot at least 4 full days here, if not more. Here are a few options to do/see in Cebu:
Kawasan Falls/ Tumalog Falls
The milky blue waters of Kawasan Falls are cool and refreshing. Though the largest falls, the lowest layer is filled with people swimming or riding the rafts under the falls, the top 2 areas are devoid of people. Have the whole area to yourself, and swim in the waters without hearing or seeing anyone else. A little bit of scrambling over rocks and other debris is necessary to enter the pools, but totally worth it!
Catch the evergreen panoramic views- when the fog rolls out, that is. I was unlucky enough to get stuck in the thick of it, unfortunately. The highest point in Cebu is Osmena Peak, which overlooks the entirety of the lower island, including the salty seas to the west. Enjoy!
Whether or not you choose to snorkel with whale sharks in Oslob, (which is quite famous, but unethical. Read more here) or just playing in the waters with the sardines, snorkeling (and diving!!!!!) will not disappoint. There’s so much sea life to experience.
Basilica De Santa Niño
The Philippines has maintained a Spanish flair, including many unique castle-like cathedrals and other architectural points. Lots of buildings have a slight taste of Europe. Check out the Fortresses that dot the Cebu border, and Basilica De Santa Niño.
First light comes early, around 5am, but it’s unbelievably beautiful. Chances are, most of the locals will be rising with the sun as well, so you won’t be the only one up to enjoy the glory. Here’s a few of my favorite (unedited) shots of the sunrises I experienced.
Have you been to the Philippines? Or to Cebu? What are your favorite things to do or see?