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The Philippines: Getting Around Cebu and Where to Go

· Budget Travel,City Guides

Last month, my girlfriend and I explored Cebu! Located in the Central Visayas region of the Philippines, Cebu consists of the main island itself and 167 surrounding islands and islets.

Climate: Hot & humid

Regional language: Cebuano

Local food: BBQ, lechon (roasted pig), rice, noodles, mangoes

We arrived in Cebu after our first experience on budget airline, Cebu Pacific Air. It was a modest flight but we got some amazing views of the Philippines from above.

Cebu Pacific Air

Here are a few useful tips on getting around Cebu and how to get to Malapascua Island, along with another "funtastic" excursion idea!

Getting Around Cebu

So, let’s get started. Public transport in the Philippines is confusing! If you visit, I challenge you try each form of transport listed below:

  • By bus/coach (Ceres - yellow coaches or GT Express - people carriers)

  • By jeepney (small, kitsch open buses)

  • By tricycle (motorbikes with sidecars found in rural areas)

  • By pump boat (wooden canoe powered by a small engine)

  • By taxi (Uber or local)

You are most likely to use taxis in the city but I urge you to try the other forms to truly experience the local culture. You will find the locals using the most popular form of transportation, jeepneys. Jeepneys are like rare Pokémon, you have to be skilled to catch one. My theory is to run and jump onto the back with P20 (~30p) in your hand!

Getting to Malapascua Island

Malapascua is a small island (you can walk around it in just 1-2 hours) at the northernmost tip of Cebu. It is best known for world-class diving as it’s the only place in the world where you can dive with thresher sharks all year round.

To get to Malapascua, I caught a 3-hour GT Express from Cebu City’s North Bus Terminal to Maya for P200 (~£3). From Maya, we haggled our way to Malapascua on a public pump boat. This should only cost you P100 (~£1.50) but they will want to charge you P200 (~£3) on quieter days. The journey itself was breathtaking. Open waters, islands views, cool air and soles of leaping flying fish!

The pump boat ride is almost as fun as the island itself!

I would recommend staying a night or two in Malapascua or the surrounding areas. There is so much to do and see, as well as giving you the opportunity to visit one of the nearby islands.

Gibitngil "Funtastic" Island

Gibitngil, aptly named “Funtastic” by the locals is an even smaller island, nearby Malapascua. A worthwhile visit if you are staying in either Daanbantayan or Medellin.

You can hire a cottage for the day for just P135 (~£2). You can cliff-to-rock zipline, kayak, snorkel, and my favourite, a 40-foot cliff diving platform (sorry Mum)!

I had the fear of a thousand men.

Final Words

I had a fantastic time in Cebu and I would recommend going to all of you. Just bear in mind, it is a difficult island to navigate! I found myself getting stressed out when things didn’t go to plan. My advice to you (or myself) is to not be too hard on yourself when they do. That's what travelling is all about; enjoying the journey, not the destination.

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