Things to do in and around Cebu

June 28, 2011

Upcoming trip to Cebu. Will be traveling with friends. Keen on island hopping. Planning to visit Bantayan and Malapascua. Any suggestions?

World  •  Philippines  •  Cebu City
June 29, 2011

Hi there!

A trip to Cebu with friends sounds really good! As you are planning to visit both Bantayan and Malapascua Islands, I will be suggesting a few things to do in these islands. Since you are interested in island hopping, I'll be suggesting some nearby islands as well.

(Source: Cebu City)

Bantayan Island

Bantayan Island is a popular destination in Cebu islands. The island can be reached by bus or by a private car. You can take a bus or taxi from Cebu city which reaches Hagnaya where you take a ferry ride to reach Bantayan island. By car it is approximately 2 to 2.5 hours journey to Hagnaya Port where you take the Ro-Ro vessel to reach Bantayan Port.

(Source: Raelene Gutierrez)

1. Ogtong Cave (Recommended)

Ogtong Cave Resort is the most visited hotels in Bantayan. The attraction of this hotel is the underwater caves, from which the resort gets its name. The cave is opened to all tourists to explore which is done by swimming in the cool and clear water. Children below 12 years of age are not allowed inside the cave as some pools of deeper water can be a bit dangerous.

A resort was developed around the Ogtong Cave area. This is a natural underground cave that encloses a pool of brackish water. Natives of the place said that originally, the entrance was narrow but they built an entrance - a flight of concrete steps that give the cave the appearance of being man-made. It's a wonderful place nontheless, and the buoyancy you will experience in brackish water is not like anything I've ever experienced!


(Source: ogtong cave)

2. The Floating Bar (Recommended)

The Floating Bar is a bar/restaurant built a short distance out to sea. Boats are available to get there and back. This establishment is a must visit in Bantayan. This is a great place to beat the heat and enjoy the view. You could even do some snorkeling here if the mood takes you.

The service was on time and friendly.ï'd give the place five stars out of five. I don't know how they could do anything better. They also played a lot of rock and roll but later went to cheesy pop. I would be sure to include it in my plans. Its a great place to hang out during the hot part of the day, the only better place would be the water.

(Source: Floating Bar Bantayan Island)

(Source: James Gagen)

3. Sugar Beach resort

Sugar Beach is located less than 10 minutes away from the sea port of Santa Fe. Most of the tourists prefer staying here but some of them come here to enjoy the beach with family and friends. The beach has a lot of activities like fishing, snorkeling, swimming, sunbathing etc. Food is available from small shops on the beach.

If you are looking for a nice, wide beach area at the same time affordable, Sugar beach is the right resort in Bantayan Island. I stayed at sugar beach for 2 days and 2 nights.
It lacks extravagance and not much landscape to see but it is indeed blessed with nice and widest beach in the whole of Bantayan Island. For me they have the best. Just be careful of falling coconuts because it is abundant on every corner of the Resort.

(Source: Bantayan Island Hotels - Reviews & Rates - VirtualTourist) 

(Source: Sugar Beach)

4. Virgin Island (Recommended)

Virgin Island is a favourite island hopping spot for tourists. There are no hotels/accommodations available here. This island is a nice place to spend the day relaxing and snorkeling. Small picnic tables are available on the beach if people want to sit and have a snack. You can arrange transport from Bantayam port to get here. It will cost about 50 pesos per person.

This island is the first stop after snorkeling on an Island hopping tour. Around 30 minutes from Sugar beach and much nearer to resorts located near the wharf it is visible from there.For me, the sand is similar to those of Sta. Fe's . The snorkeling spot is just right beside the island and its great the water is very clear even 2 to 3 meters deep.
If you have fish or pork to be grilled or even rice needs to be cooked, the staff of the island will cook it for you for a fee.

(Source: Bantayan Island Things To Do - Attractions & Must See - VirtualTourist) 

(Source: Faey Szeuw)

5. Hilantagaan Island

Hilantagaan island is known for its marine sanctuaries. This island is about 30 minutes away from Sta Fe, Bantayan island. It is best known as a popular fishing village. It is not that popular among tourists who aren't interested in fishing but it could still be worth a  short visit.

It was indeed beautiful. Still not sure about the boast, but in itself it was a coral reef teeming with life. It was vibrant with different colors and kinds of corals. There were a variety of fish like puffer fishes, clown fishes, angel fishes, and many more which names I don't know. Their colors were very vibrant, from blue to orange to red to green to white to black. It was like being in an aquarium with swimming exotic crayons.


(Source: Raycoy Doop (JW))

Malapascua Island

Malapascua Island is a tiny island that is best known for wide white sand beach. It is also known as the bounty beach. This island is famous for its beautiful coral gardens which make for some very beautiful diving spots.

(Source: Malapascua Island, Philippines)

1. Threshers Shark Diving (Recommended)

Threshers Shark Divers has a lot to offer to divers. They train people and provide them with different packages where they can choose the sights where they wish to go diving.

We planned this trip as Malapascua is considered as one of the best diving spots in the world and the only one where is possible a "meeting" with a famous thresher sharks!
Seeing this shark is really a wonderful experience, as they're deep waters sharks and rarely can be seen in recreative diving!
Also, as I said in my introduction page, the soft corals are the best I've seen so far - much better than those on the Red Sea! It is almost a magical experience to see an endless carpet of soft corals stretching before you!
The dives generally are not very deep and you can enjoy a very, very long dives - the longest we had was 96 minutes!


(Source: Barnaby Dorfman)

2. Trek to Lighthouse

Trek to the Malapascua lighthouse is different from the usual water sports that everyone does in an island. To reach to the lighthouse, you can either walk or take a motorcycle. If you enjoy a good trek then walking is what I recommend as you can linger over scenic beauty of the island longer that way.

But if a couple of miles on foot will get the better of you then you can do what these three fellow travelers did:

when we arrive in malapascua, after we settle our accom and put our things off we go straight to our tour in malapascua. first stop is light house. at first we thought we can walk for an hour going to light house. but from our accom, they suggest to take a single motorcycle for only P20 per head one way. 3 people on a motorbike, the driver and two persons can sit.
me & vt barbs while on our way to lighthouse were always shouting coz of the road. Narrow and some down inclined  roads experience. so we didnt pursue our plan to walk going back to our accom.


(Source: Bing Ramos)

3. Gato Island (Recommended)

Gato Island is a marine reserve located around one hour by boat from Malapascua. The highlight of this island is the cavern dive and the white-tip sharks that are found here. A cave or tunnel of about 20-25 meters long runs through the island. This is a very famous island hopping destination among tourists.

Gato Island is one of our most famous dive sites. TSD's famous saying is that "You come to Malapascua to see the thresher sharks, but you leave remembering Gato". Gato is a marine reserve and sea snake sanctuary. It has at least five dive sites with a huge diversity of marine life. We are constantly seeing new creatures. At all sites you can see such things as banded sea snakes, cuttlefish (often while mating), seahorses, nudibranchs, frogfish, scorpion fish, porcupine fish, and smashing mantis shrimp. Away from the reef you can see schools of squid and big-mouthed mackerel attracted by the baitballs. There are many whitetip sharks in residence at Gato, as well as bamboo and cat sharks. The coral is in good condition and the rocky island has many interesting underwater rock formations, overhangs, and swim-throughs.

(Source: Gato Island Diving in Malapascua) 

(Source: Joseph Lin)

These are a few things that you and your friends could during your trip to Cebu. I hope this information will be helpful during the trip. If any additional information is required; like for accommodation, transport or shopping, please feel free to ask us.

Have a great trip!



Answered by Jayshree Shroff

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