11 Days in Cebu and Beyond

If you’ve been following my blog this year, you’ll notice that I mentioned my “11-day Visayas backpacking trip” often. It was a memorable trip I organized for me and my European friend Tina, who went backpacking around the world. If you’re heading to the Philippines soon and are looking two spend a week or two in Cebu and its neighboring islands, feel free to replicate or modify our itinerary.

Day 1: Manila to Mactan Island, Cebu
What we did: Explored the neighborhood in Maribago, Mactan. We rode the jeepney and tricycle, and walked aroundffffff to explore the coffee shops, restaurants and turo-turo (street food).
Expenses per person:
Cebu Pacific Flight: ₱2,538.56 (fly + one luggage)
3 nights in Mactan Seaside Hostel = ₱2,013/person
Food, transportation, and miscellaneous = ₱915.50
Travel insurance: ₱925
Total: ₱6,392.06

Day 2: Cebu City
What I was supposed to do: DIY Cebu City and Mactan Island Day Tour. I was supposed to visit the spots I missed during my 2011 Cebu trip, like Magellan’s Cross and Fort San Pedro. But I got lost (which is part of the fun!) and miscalculated the jeepney travel times. Tina was sick, so she took a rest in the hostel.
What I ended up doing: Sirao Garden and Temple of Leah only
Expenses per person:
Food, transportation, and entrance fees = ₱908

Sirao Garden, Cebu

Day 3: Mactan Island
What we were supposed to do: Mactan island hopping. Our hostel manager, a native of Cebu, was supposed to take us on a DIY trip to the islands of Olango, Gilutungan, and Nalusuan. Turns out you don’t have to rent a boat for ₱2,000-₱2,500 per day. You can simply do as locals do—hop on the public ferry in and out of the islands, pay for the basic entrance fees, and just buy food from the vendors. You won’t go over ₱500 per head.
What we ended up doing: A typhoon came the day before, so all boat rides were cancelled. *cry* We both got sick, so Tina and I just went on a leisurely trip to the market in Maribago, and ended the night with a massage and tapsi dinner.
Expenses per person:
Food, transportation, and massage = ₱737

Day 4: Moalboal
What we did: Took an Uber ride from Mactan to the bus station in Cebu City. Took a Ceres bus from Cebu City to Moalboal. Checked in at Moalboal Shaka Water Sports and Resort. Explored Panagsama Beach and went drinking with friends at Cockonuts Resto Bar.
Expenses per person:
2 nights in Moalboal Shaka = ₱1,200 per person
Food and transportation = ₱1,022
Total = ₱2,222

Snorkeling in Moalboal

Day 5: Badian, Cebu
What we did: Breakfast along Panagsama Road. Van ride to Badian. Badian Canyoneering adventure and Kawasan Falls with newfound friends. Dinner at JJ’s Place in Panagsama Road, and drinks at Chili Bar. We wanted to extend our stay in Moalboal so that we could go to Pescador Island, so we cancelled our next-day plans for Dumaguete. But Moalboal was completely booked. We even walked around the island to knock on the door of every hostel to see if there’s a room for us, but to no avail. We searched for quiet, affordable locations in Cebu and chose Santander.
Expenses per person:
Badian Canyoneering, Kawasan Falls, and van transfer = ₱1,500
Food and drinks = ₱615
Total = ₱2,115


Day 6: Santander, Cebu
What we did: Last-minute attempt to find a room in Moalboal. Nada! We packed our bags for Santander. Bus ride from Moalboal to Santander. Checked in at Tropara Resort. Late dinner at the resort.
Expenses per person:
2 nights in Tropara = ₱1,268/person
Food, transportation, and miscellaneous = ₱1,285
Total = ₱2,553

Tropara Resort in Santander, Cebu
Tina chilling at our beachside resort

Day 7: Apo Island, Fail! Hello, Dauin!
What we were supposed to do: Spend the day in Apo Island. After a ferry ride to Dumaguete Port, tricycle ride to Apo Island port in Malatapay, we found out they have a strict rule: The last boat returning to Malatapay from Apo Island should arrive at the port by 4 p.m. every day. This schedule and rule is NOT found on any website. It was already almost 3 p.m., so too late for us.
What we did instead: Instead of going back to Santander immediately, we explored the beaches of Dauin. Returned to Santander by 9 p.m.
Expenses per person:
Food, transportation, and miscellaneous = ₱655

Day 8: Siquijor Island
What we did: Check out of Tropara. Ferry to Siquijor. Checked in at Isla Inn. Lunch at Rainbow Bay. Explored town by foot. Dinner at Belleview Restaurants. Ran into a friend who gave us last-minute motorbiking lessons.
Expenses per person:
Food, transportation, and miscellaneous = ₱1,292

En route to Siquijor from Santander, Cebu, via Maayo Shipping Lines

Day 9: Siquijor Island
What we did: Rented a bike—one each. Motorbiking adventure around the island until we reached Salagdoong Beach. Dinner at Ayan’s.
Expenses per person:
Motorbike rental = ₱325
Petrol = ₱108
Food, entrance tickets, and miscellaneous = ₱253
Total = ₱686

Day 10: Siquijor Island
What we did: Motorbiking around island. Stopover at Cambugahay Falls, Lagaan Falls, Balete Tree, and Fish Pond.
Expenses per person:
3 nights in Isla Inn: ₱1,950 per person
Motorbike rental = ₱350
Petrol = ₱108
Food, entrance tickets, and miscellaneous = ₱912
Total = ₱3,320

Badian canyoneering


Day 11: Last Day in Siquijor
What I did: I left Tina, who was extending her stay in Siquijor and traveling to Palawan on her own the next day. Explored Guiwanon Spring Park. Ferry to Dumaguete. Flight from Dumaguete Airport. Two-hour layover at Cagayan De Oro. Flight back to Manila.
Expenses per person:
Cebu Pacific flight from Dumaguete to CDO to Manila = ₱7,694.23 (fly + one luggage)
Food, transportation, and miscellaneous = ₱1,273
Total = ₱8,970.23

My total expenses for the entire trip = ₱29,850.29

Other neighboring islands you should consider: Siargao, Poro, Bantayan, and Guimaras