3 Amazing Things to Do in Cebu: Oslob Shark Watching, Kawasan Falls & Osmena Peak
Cebu, a hidden gem of an island in the Philippines, is a travel destination you should pin on your map for a budget-friendly and easy-going vacation. Snorkelling with incredible whale sharks, navigating through clear blue waters before arriving at a remarkable waterfall, and hiking through multiple stunning hills… Sounds exciting? Oslob Whale Shark Watching, Cayoneering at Kawasan Falls and Osmenã Peak in Cebu will fulfil your thirst for adventure.
Direct international flights to Cebu are available from Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Japan, China, Taiwan, Dubai, and South Korea. Local transportation via jeepneys, buses, taxis, and even private hire cars from the Mactan-Cebu International Airport will bring you and your travel buddies comfortably around the island of Cebu. Here’s a guide on how you can fulfil the three key adventures in Cebu, in 3D2N!
Cebu City to Oslob Shark Watching
If you are travelling in pairs or a group, engaging a private hire saves time and is extremely affordable. Taking a GrabCar to Cebu South Bus Terminal cost only 109 PHP from SM Seaside City Mall. Initially, my travel partner and I headed straight to the bus terminal early in the afternoon, hoping to secure bus tickets earlier. Unfortunately, we were informed only to purchase our evening tickets an hour earlier from the departure timing. Surprisingly, the demand for these tickets were relatively low, so immediate purchasing of tickets is almost always possible and there is no need to arrive early to get your bus tickets.
Around 5p.m., we bought our tickets for the route Oslob via Liloan. We were tasked by the manager of the accommodation – Jaynet Oceanview Resort – to take this route, and to specifically inform the bus driver of our drop-off point, before the station at Boljoon, Granada. Alighting at any stop along the route is a norm for these buses. Similarly, flagging these buses along the streets will render the driver to stop and board new passengers.
We opted for the comfortable air-conditioned bus (v.s. non-AC), which were 150 PHP/person. We kept a look-out of our destination on Google Maps, remaining especially alert and prepared ourselves to alight. It took us approximately 3 and a half hours (in evening peak traffic conditions) to arrive at our resort past 8pm.
We set off the following day at 6.a.m. and headed to the entrance of Oslob Whale Shark Watching, less than an hour’s habal-habal (motorbike) ride away from the resort. Our resort provided rental of motorbikes, liaising with a nearby shop. A pleasant middle-aged local lady rented us the motorbike at 800 PHP for 2 days.
The view outside Jaynet Oceanview Resort
Clear ripples of ocean waves, with the sun slowly arising at 5.30am across the horizon.
A relaxing and windy ride later, we arrived at our destination around 7a.m. and were surprised to see a crowd all suited up in their gears and ready to go. We proceeded quickly to sign our names on a booklet, made a payment of 1000 PHP each, before changing into our swimsuits and donning our life jackets.
What we embarked on was a structured expedition to view the whale sharks. Guides were situated all around at shore and we were assigned to a guide (and a boat) almost immediately after payment. A boat takes about 8 guests.
What an incredible, out-of-the-world experience it was for us to get so close these large whale sharks! As we dived into the water, we kept within the perimeters of the boat as directed by our guide. Towards the end of the activity, the guides were less strict with our movements in the water, allowing us to get closer to the whale sharks. The entire activity lasted for an hour.
After shark watching, we rode our habal-habal back to our resort to prepare for our next extreme activity – Canyoneering! For those that have never heard about it, canyoneering is an extreme activity where one travels in canyons using techniques that such as walking scrambling, climbing, jumping and swimming.
Prior to our trip to Cebu, we had managed to find a local guide for the cayoneering activity – ‘Yael (Ya-ale) Cayoneering’ – from Facebook search. Yael was proficient in conversational English. Through Facebook Messenger, we negotiated a price and a pick-up timing for the activity. Yael was willing to pick us up from our resort, rather than imposing a convenient pick-up point on his part which was a really kind gesture! Yael, my travel partner, and I rode on his motorbike as we headed to our destination.
We started off seemingly nowhere near a river or a stream; this was the starting point before we hit the waters. It took us half an hour of hiking to depart the forestry, and into the clear blue waters below.
Apart from navigating through waters, we were given an option to jump off rocks, many of which were higher in elevation towards the waterfall. Yael guided us on the safety precautions and ensured that we jumped correctly. Small jumps were compulsory to navigate through while jumps from a height were, however, optional. Fret not to the ones who are afraid of heights! It took us several hours before we met came to the beautiful and sparsely crowded waterfall.
We were treated to a sumptuous meal by the waterfall – a pot of rice, stir-fried chicken, salted vegetables, fried noodles, and a bottle of Sprite and Coke each. It was a pleasant and satisfying meal, perhaps due to us being famished from having two back-to-back adventures. The adrenaline rush from the days activities was well-worth the slight exhaustion!
It was already 4p.m when we decided to make our departure from the waterfall and headed to the main vehicle street a short distance away. Yael informed us of a public bus we could ride back to our resort.
We took a non-air-conditioned bus and my goodness, the smell of burning leaves were incredibly strong! Even with a bath towel, we were unable to block the intense reek of smoke already stuck in our nose hairs (gross, but very true). It appears that this is very common; villagers would burn and get rid chunks of dead leaves in the evenings, rather than disposing them with large thrash bags. We’d highly recommend taking an air-conditioned bus to navigate around the village area.
The next morning, we began our adventure to Osmena Peak, Dalaguete. The weather was cloudy; yet it was still an enjoyable experience away from the hustle and bustle. The hike was a short quiet one, along a relatively safe path. We returned to our resort following the short trip to Osmenã Peak. Taking a similar air-conditioned Ceres Yellow Liner public bus back to the Cebu South Bus Terminal, it was a much shorter ride back to the city, probably as it was the afternoon non-peak period.
In total, we had spent way below prices offered by 4D3N/3D2N tours of Cebu online.
Habal-habal (motorbike) rental: 800 Pesos
Oslob Shark Watching: 1000 Pesos/person
Cayoneering + Guide: 3200 Pesos
Tips for Gas (for Yael’s motorbike): own discretion
Osmenã Peak: 30 Pesos
The place we stayed at, Jaynet Oceanview Resort which we booked from Agoda, was a perfect location to the three destinations. The view from our resort was really remarkable for such a low price, and we’d highly recommend this stay for an adventure of a lifetime in Cebu. ☺
TIP! Prior to leaving Cebu, please do not finish your pesos. We had to pay a tourist tax of 750 pesos/person in 2017 (we had no idea, and nobody mentioned about this) before we were allowed entry to the departure gate.
If you are an adventure junkie, or just want to get away from the city, a wild and refreshing experience on the humble island of Cebu awaits you!
On a side note, if you are heading to Cebu, do consider Klook’s Oslob Whale Shark Watching from Cebu City or Mactan Island!