Manila’s Sister; Cebu

Cebu is the second largest city after Manila. It is one of Philippine’s province in Central Visayas with its capital city known as Cebu City. In 2015, it is recorded that Cebu City has a total population of 922,611 which make it to always have a problem with traffic jams and congestion; although it is not as bad as in Manila.

In 2018, Cebu has received approximately 6.9 million tourists all around the world which makes Cebu is one of tourist attraction in Philippine. Traveling across Cebu is easy as public transportation like buses and taxis are readily available and fairly cheap. Communicating with the locals is troubled free as most of them can speak in English. During my visit there, I lost my way in Cebu City and ask for help from the locals. They generously help me since we do not have communication barrier at all.

Cebu is known with its insane adrenaline pumping canyoneering at Kawasan Falls and adventurous swimming with the whale shark. In this post, I will explain in details regarding these two main activities so you will get the ideas why these two things are must do activities when you visit Cebu.

i) Canyoneering Kawasan Falls

A turquoise river flowing right before your eyes. Kawasan Falls is one of the famous waterfalls in the world. This is truly a beautiful place to visit with its three-layered waterfall system. The water is crystal clear and fresh. Added with its landscape and environment truly make this waterfall as an ideal paradise to anyone who loves to have an intimate time with nature.

  • How to get here

A few routes are available depending on where you are from. Kawasan Falls is located in Badian and the easiest and cheapest route is to travel by bus. Taxis are also available but it is a little pricey. Motorbike or car also available to be rented but be prepared for a long ride as the distance to travel from one activity to another is far.

Or else, if you want a hassle-free trip, you could book a travel agency which can give you full tour packages with an option of 1-day tour up to 3 days/2 nights tour around Cebu.

  • How much to spend

Around the area in Badian, there are a lot of tour companies you can find that offer canyoneering activity in Kawasan Falls. The price you should expect to pay to them will be around $USD30–$USD40 per person. But it is highly advisable for you to book in advance and look at the reviews for these tour companies so you will get a better expectation for what you are paying them.

  • The activities

If the activity like canyoneering in Kawasan Falls is not your cup of tea, you could also just go straight to see Kawasan Falls by paying small entrance fees. But it is more rewarding for you to finish the full course of canyoneering and which finally end at Kawasan Falls. This experience is far more amazing and satisfying. 

The canyoneering adventure started with a small walk down a jungle path as you will follow your guide. Lifejacket, anti-slip shoes, and helmet will be provided to you for this activity for safety purposes. However, if you are a good swimmer, you can request to go without lifejacket and helmet.

Your first jump of the day is fairly easy with only a few feet falls. Your guide will be there to guide you to show where is the safest spot to jump and properly do it. My guide on that day is sensible and patient and guide us in every way he can. There are a few mandatory jumps but most of the big jump can be avoided if you choose not to do it.  

Along the way, you will see foods and drinks sold by locals halfway through the adventure. Hence, it would be smart to bring spare money so you will get a drink and some snack to recharge your energy.

At one point, you will encounter one huge dam wall, a rope swing and a man-made water slide that you can enjoy before moving on. I spent quite a long time here repeating the slide and rope swing until I satisfied before we continue our journey. The scene here is magical with its amazing setting and I can spend the whole day watching it.  

The last fall will be the longest fall; about 50-feet drop. This jump is the scariest among others. I watched others jump before me and hesitated at first because yes; it is absolutely a huge drop. After my guide encourages me with his pep talk, I decided this was a great way to end this adrenaline-pumping day!  

  • Tips and advise

You need to have a guide. I know some of you wanted to ditch the guide to save a few bucks for this activity, but please, for your own safety hire a guide. You will need to rely on their knowledge for your own good.  

GoPro is your best companion. For this activity, GoPro is a must and definitely no DSLR. You will jump and going on a slippery terrain which might put your DSLR in danger. And do not forget to bring spare batteries too. You will thank me later.  

Do not hesitate when jumping. One of my mistakes when doing the last jump is over-thinking. Luckily my guide is there beside me. His advice is first to look where you want to jump and then on count 1,2 and 3 you have to jump.  

ii) Swimming with whale shark

Swimming with the whale sharks in Cebu has received worldwide recognition and attract tourists to Oslob, Southern Cebu.

Whale Sharks can be seen in a small Barangay Tan-awan, which is 10km away from Oslob. Tourists who arrived in Oslob want to see the whale sharks as well as to snorkel and dive with them.  

  • How to get here

A few routes are available depending on where you are from. The most famous whale shark watching is located in Oslob and the easiest and cheapest route is traveling by bus. Taxis are also available but it is a little pricey. Motorbike or car is also available to be rented but be prepared for a long ride as the distance to travel from one activity to another is far. 

Or else, if you want a hassle-free trip, you could book a travel agency which can give you full tour packages with an option of 1- day tour up to 3 days/2 nights tour around Cebu.

  • How much to spend

Around the area in Oslob, there are a lot of tour companies you can find that offer whale shark watching. The price you should expect to pay to them will be around $USD20–$USD30 per person. This activity is available daily from 6 am to 12 pm only. 

  • Activities available

You could either snorkel with the whale shark or just watching them from the boat. Before you go, however, there is an informative talk and presentation regarding the whale sharks and some rules to be applied during the activity. No feeding, touch, ride or chase the animals. A whale shark is wild animals and come and go as they pleased. You will see floats around the surface which are the mark for motorized boats to stay away; only paddle boats may enter the area. Beside the activity area, there will also a large boat for marine biologists to monitor the water activity.

I enjoy seeing this whale shark up close but there are still a few things that make me disappointed. I respect locals in Oslob as they committed helping tourists to get the best experience to see the whale shark. You can see how dedicated they are controlling the crowd and managing the activity. But I am sad with what I saw; tourists touching the whale sharks, chasing them and the crowd is too overwhelming making monitoring what they do is impossible. All rules are in motion hard to be implemented when tourists are too obsessed for a perfect photo. I really wish that in the future, more tourists would respect the whale shark guidelines and realize what they do can harm them.  

  • Tips and advise

This activity lasts for 30 minutes. The boat will bring you to see the whale shark and when time expires, they will bring you back. Activity will commence by batch. 

Come early. If you wish to avoid the long queue and traffic, arrive as early as possible (the activity
starts at 6 am).  

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