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Your Ultimate South Cebu Tourist Spots Guide from a Local

Ultimate Travel Guide to Southern Cebu Philippines 2016

Whalesharks, Oslob, Cebu

Last edit: February 2023 | I included a frequently asked questions section at the bottom of this South Cebu Tourist Spots | Things to Do in South Cebu post. If you got a question, fill free to leave a comment below. I check my blog all the time and answer questions. If you’re coming from abroad, make sure you meet all the travel requirements for the Philippines in 2023. Jump to the top South Cebu Tourist Spots for first-time visitors if you wanna skip my thought meanderings.

Where to Stay in South Cebu?

No doubt, for convenince, it is Oslob and Moalboal. But if you ask me personally, my bias is Moalboal.

The best place to stay for family or group in Oslob: Susada’s Inn
The best place to stay for couple in Oslob: Bluewater Sumilon Island Resort
The best place to stay for a solo traveler in Oslob: GT Seaside Inn

Too Lazy to Read

The best place to sty for couple in Moalboal: Hale Manna Coastal Gardens
The best place to stay for family or group in Moalboal: Quo Vadis Dive Resort
The best place to stay for a solo traveler in Moalboal: PIG DIVE HOSTEL MOALBOAL

I have lived all my life here in Cebu. It is the Point A for all destinations I have been to. It is where I live. It is the place I often leave. But it is also my point of departure, the point I return to.

In Cebu, my midweek affair is down south [ READ: 20 Southern Cebu Beaches; but my weekend lover is up north: Malapascua. But even though I constantly travel around Cebu, I cannot claim I know these places well, because they keep on changing, especially to meet the demands of the burgeoning number of travelers and I do not know if I should be happy for that or what. I am happy that more locals can travel around, but I am alarmed as well for its possible ecological impact. So here is my ultimate southern Cebu guide, encompassing all towns and cities. Yes, beaches, waterfalls, old churches. Yes, you can freely break this. I would love you to not follow these. I would love you to follow your own gut. 

diving in moalboal

And if you got a diving license, diving in Moalboal is a must!

No Time to Read It Now? Pin It!

You can experience Cebu City through the eyes of a local. I know you have the urge to leave Cebu City as soon as you arrived in this congested place. But I highly recommend that you spare a night or two in the city. Cebu City is a creative city. I spent fifteen years living in the second largest city of the country. I wrote my Cebu City Travel Guide in case you’re wondering what to do in the city. Of course, this is a perspective of a local who spent fifteen years living there. | Looking for a place to stay in Cebu City? Chick HERE |

South Cebu at a Glance

South Cebu, with its proximity to the city and its varied natural landscapes, has become one of the must-experience in the country. Understand that south Cebu or southern Cebu is composed of several municipalities, the most famous are Oslob, Dalaguete, Badian, and Moalboal.

It does not mean other municipalities do not have anything to offer. Rather, each town in south Cebu has a lot to offer!

Truth be told, southern Cebu remains one of my favorite destinations. The via Oslob route for one has a highway constantly hugging the sea. The view from the bus window never fails to make me feel awed and wowed.


Southern Cebu has two routes: via Oslob and via Barili. via Oslob passes through Dalaguete (Osmeña Peak) and Oslob (Whale sharks) and via Barili passes through Moalboal (sardine run and turtles) and Badian (Kawasan canyoneering). So decide which south Cebu tourist spots do you want to experience first. If your main purposes are canyoneering in Kawasan, the sardine run in Moalboal, and whale sharks in Oslob (I do not really recommend the whaleshark practices in Oslob), another and nearer possible point of entry is Dumaguete, which is a lot nearer to southern Cebu.

From Dumaguete airport, ride a tricycle to Sibulan port and ferry your way to Liloan, Santander—the tail of Cebu. From there, bus to Oslob or Badian or Moalboal. You will save a lot of time this way. And you can sneak in a day trip to Apo Island and even include a trip to Siquijor island.

Southern Cebu Map

Languages Spoken

Cebuanos are very proud of our Cebuano roots. We are masters of code-switching as well. The old ones can speak straight Cebuano, but the young ones often pepper their sentences with English phrases. The young city natives can chatter on end in English. Cebuanos are trilingual by birth, by geopolitical coincidence. Tagalog and English are the languages of TV. Parents speak English and Cebuano. Most subjects at school are taught in English. So the people from Manila, the capital city, cannot understand us, but we can understand them. When they talk to us in Tagalog, we reply in English. They find us snotty for doing so. But our spoken Tagalog is as thick as Orhan Pamuk’s The Museum of Innocence.

From my Cebu Travel Guide

Locals from southern Cebu has a certain accent. They can easily spot Cebuanos from the city with our way of talking. They talk with a certain cadence and they don’t clip their words, say, we say “bay” and they say “balay.” Balay means house.

Basic Cebuano Sentences You Can Use on Your Trip 

There is no Cebuano equivalent for hi and hello. Cebuanos love using “hoy” as a casual way of calling someone your age. You can’t use it to someone way older than you though, it can be misconstrued as disrespectful. 

Aside from hi or hello, we use greetings depending on the time of the day. This is still widely used in the countryside.

Good morning – Maayong buntag
Good noon – Maayong udto
Good afternoon – Maayong hapon
Good evening – Maayong gabii
How much is this? – Tagpila ni?
Where is the ______ – Asa ang _____
It is so delicious! – Kalami oy! 
Thank you very much! – Daghang salamat!

It’s my first time in Cebu. What are the top South Cebu tourist spots I shouldn’t miss?

The first 6 destinations are located in the via Barili route. You can day trip Oslob and Sumilon Island from Moalboal. Or, what I usually did back then, round the entire south Cebu. Say, I would stay 3 nights in Moalboal and explore the first five of this list, and then stay a night or two in Oslob.

LOCAL TIP: Moalboal would make a perfect base for your trips in southern Cebu. Check out these 19 beach resorts in Moalboal or look for hotel deals on Agoda.

1. Explore the tallest waterfall in South Cebu: Mantayupan Falls

Ultimate Guide to Southern Cebu Philippines
Mantayupan Falls, Barili Cebu

Nestled in the heart of Barili, Mantayupan Falls is a true natural wonder that will take your breath away. The falls stand at a staggering height of 98 feet and cascade down into a tranquil pool below. Surrounded by lush vegetation and towering trees, the falls offer a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Take a dip in the cool waters, relax on the rocky banks, or simply bask in the beauty of this natural wonder. And if you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the rainbow that often appears in the mist of the falls. So, what are you waiting for? Make Mantayupan Falls your next adventure!

2. Explore my future retirement home: Sardine Run, Pescador Island, and White Beach in Moalboal

moalboal sardine run is one of the best south cebu tourist spots

Moalboal Sardine Run. Photo by @run.away_mermaid

Looking for a triple treat of adventure, relaxation, and natural wonder? Look no further than Moalboal’s sardine run, Pescador Island, Panagsama Beach, and white beach. Dive into the deep blue and witness the spectacle of millions of sardines swimming in unison, creating a dazzling display of aquatic acrobatics that will take your breath away.

Then, head over to Pescador Island, where you’ll explore stunning coral formations and swim alongside sea turtles and colorful schools of fish. And if that’s not enough, unwind and soak up the sun on Moalboal’s white beach, where crystal-clear waters and powder-soft sand make for the perfect beach getaway. So what are you waiting for? Get ready to dive in and discover the best of Moalboal and tag me on Instagram @jonajournals so I can live through you. 😛

3. Experience the exhilarating Kawasan Canyoneering and Kawasan Falls

Get ready to take the plunge and experience the ultimate rush with Kawasan Canyoneering in south Cebu! This adrenaline-fueled activity is not for the faint of heart, as you’ll be cliff jumping, rappelling, and swimming your way through some of the most breathtaking scenery in the Philippines. From crystal-clear pools to rushing waterfalls, every step of the way is an adventure waiting to happen.

If you got some more time, squeeze in a lounge at Lambug Beach.

Six Reasons Why Kawasan Canyoneering Rocks
Ootd-ing the whole canyoneering get-up. A helmet and lifejacket are provided.

4. Inambakan Falls in Ginatilan

Inambakan Falls, Ginatilan, Cebu
Inambakan Falls, Ginatilan, Cebu

Looking for a waterfall that’s a hidden gem? Look no further than Inambakan Falls in Ginatilan! This breathtaking beauty is tucked away in a lush jungle and requires a bit of a trek to get there, but trust us – it’s totally worth it. Once you arrive, you’ll be greeted by a stunning cascade of water plunging into a crystal-clear pool. It’s the perfect spot for a refreshing swim or a picnic with friends. And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can even climb up the falls and take a daring leap into the water below.

5. The three waterfalls in Samboan

Samboan, a small town in the southern part of Cebu, is home to not just one, not two, but three stunning waterfalls that will leave you mesmerized. The trio includes the multi-tiered Aguinid Falls, the majestic Binalayan Falls, and the picturesque Dao Falls.

These waterfalls are not just any ordinary falls – they offer an exhilarating experience that will leave you feeling refreshed and energized. Each waterfall has its own unique charm, and together they form a trifecta of natural wonder that will make you feel like you’re in some sort of fairytale core, but the amount of tourists will really stop you from thinking so.

Binalayan Falls, Samboan, Cebu is one of the best south Cebu tourist spots
Binalayan Falls, Samboan, Cebu

If we were friends back then, I could have tagged you along, so you can experience these places before the crowd find them. Yes, I’m a trailblazer. Joke, my friends are. I just tagged along. 😛

So, anyway, pack your bags and get ready for a journey that will make your heart skip a beat and your Instagram feed explode with envy!

6. Pebble Beach in Santander

Pebble Beach, where the sand is replaced by smooth stones and the vibe is laid-back and chill. This little gem in Santander, Cebu was my favorite beach in Cebu. It offers a unique beach experience where you can sink your toes into smooth, pebble-like stones instead of the typical sandy shores. But don’t worry – these stones won’t hurt your feet, they’ll actually give you a relaxing foot massage as you stroll along the shore. And the view? It’s simply unbeatable. With a stunning vista of Dumaguete and the majestic mountain ranges of Negros Island, you’ll feel like you’re on top of the world.

LOCAL TIP: Be careful with the current. Since the tunnel is quite narrow, the current in this area is strong. The area is called Liloan for a reason. Lilo in Cebuano means whirlpool. This beach is right next to Liloan port.

Pebble Beach, Santander, Cebu
Pebble Beach, Santander, Cebu

7. See south Cebu from the top of Osmeña Peak

Rise to the top and take in the breathtaking views of South Cebu from Osmeña Peak, one of the region’s top tourist spots. At over 1,000 meters above sea level, the peak offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and coastline, making it the perfect destination for hikers, photographers, and nature enthusiasts. And if you’re feeling extra adventurous, you can even camp overnight and witness a stunning sunrise over the horizon. So lace up your hiking boots and get ready to conquer Osmeña Peak – it’s a trek you won’t soon forget!

LOCAL TIP: If you got sturdy legs and have more time to explore Cebu, try trekking from Osmeña Peak to Kawasan Falls. I did it a lot of times back then, and still one of the highlights in my travel life in Cebu. Don’t do it alone. You won’t know the way. Hire a guide. Message me on Instagram if you need one, I can tap some friends.

Osmeña Peak, Dalaguete, Cebu
Osmeña Peak, Dalaguete, Cebu

8. Fine, experience whalesharks and Tumalog Falls in Oslob

Oslob is not the only place where you can swim with the gentle giants of the sea—the whale sharks—by the way. But sure, these magnificent creatures are truly awe-inspiring, and getting up close and personal with them is an experience you’ll never forget.

And when you’re ready to dry off, head over to Tumalog Falls for a refreshing dip in its cool waters. The falls are a picture-perfect paradise (when there’s no drought), with a curtain of water cascading down into a serene pool below. So, grab your snorkel and your swimsuit, and get ready to make a splash with the whale sharks and Tumalog Falls in Oslob!

Check out hotel deals in Oslob

9. Sumilon Island

This little slice of heaven offers crystal-clear waters, powdery white sand beaches, and breathtaking views that will leave you speechless. Take a dip in the ocean and discover a colorful world of marine life, including coral gardens and schools of fish. Or, simply bask in the sun and relax on the sand with a refreshing drink in hand. And when the day is done, catch a glimpse of the island’s famous sunset and sand bar.

LOCAL TIP: There is only one resort on the island, the gorgeous Bluewater Sumilon, if you got some mullah and want to be pampered to bits, stay here. It’s a gorgeous gorgeous place.

Kawasan Falls, Cebu
Kawasan Falls, Cebu

There you go, folks, 9 of the 20-somethings tourist spots in south Cebu. It’s safe to say that you can experience all of these with 3N4D itinerary. If you want to explore some less known south Cebu tourist spots, check out the rest of this meandering post.

How to get to South Cebu?

Let it sink in your mind that Cebu is an elongated island with the head and the tail closer to its neighboring islands than to its own capital city. South Cebu, fingers crossed trafficless, takes fours hours from the city if you use the public transportation. It is a different story if you book a private car.


IMPORTANT: South Cebu has two routes via Barili and via Oslob. These routes are plastered by the bus driver’s seat. So don’t confuse the two. If you are going to Moalboal and Kawasan Falls, you take the via Barili bus. If you’re going to Osmeña Peak or swim with the whale sharks, you take the via Oslob bus.

Dumaguete-Apo Island-South Cebu and Siquijor Itinerary

POSSIBLE 4N/5D: Dumaguete-Apo Island-Siquijor-Valencia-Southern Cebu-Dumaguete [Check out my Apo Island Travel Guide, will you?]
POSSIBLE FLIGHT ROUTE: Arrival: Dumaguete-Departure: Cebu or vice versa



Where are the bus terminals in Cebu?

South Bus Terminal, located near downtown Cebu, houses the buses bound for down south except for the bus to Tuburan (my hometown) via Toledo, which is more popularly serviced in North Bus Terminal, where buses for up north [Danao, Bantayan Island, and Malapascua] are. When you are taking the bus, at the south bus terminal, buses are marked by via Oslob and via Barili.

South Cebu Travel Guide | Things to Do in Southern Cebu |  via Oslob

In the photo, it is marked with teal color.

What are the top things to do in South Cebu for first timers?

  1. Things to do in Carcar: Lechon, some of the oldest houses in Cebu
  2. Things to do in Oslob: Sumilon Island, swimming with the whale sharks, Tumalog Falls
  3. Things to do in Dalaguete: Osmeña Peak, Dalaguete Beach Park, Obong Spring
  4. Things to Do in Badian: Canyoneering, Kawasan Falls, Lambug Beach
  5. Things to Do in Moalboal: Sardine Run, Diving, Pescador Island, Panagsama Beach, White Beach, Turtles

Things to Do in Carcar

An hour away or so from the city, it has beautiful centuries-old trees that canopied the highway. You might want to have a quick stop in Perrelos, Carcar to check the trees out. This is before the rotunda that separates the two routes to southern Cebu.  It is known for its heritage houses from the Spanish and American period, even its museum is housed in a restored old hospital for kids. My favorite is the market by the rotunda, because Carcar, for me, has the best lechon! So you might want to have a quick stop here for some serious binge-eating and yes, chicharon.

south cebu tourist spots
Photo by Carol
  • Centuries-old trees in Perrilos, Carcar
  • Spanish and American Period architecture
  • Lechon and chicharon

Things to Do in Sibonga

It is a religious site for most Filipinos. Simala, Sibonga is a spiritual destination, a pilgrimage site for those who ask help from God or thank him for his help. This is a popular destination for those who are going to take licensure exams and the like. But aside from that, I do not really know much about this quiet town.

  • Simala: a Pilgrimage site
  • Some off-the-beaten beaches that I myself haven’t been to

Things to Do in Argao

It has a well-manicured square and a beautiful old church. I have heard about a public beach too though I have not been there except for that unusual occasion when a poet friend and I randomly drove to Carcar to eat lechon and gossip by a random beach in Argao.

  • Old church and well-manicured plaza
  • Beaches that I haven’t been to
  • Port to Loon, Bohol

Things to Do in Dalaguete

It is the vegetable basket in Cebu, is the jump-off point for the popular Osmena Peak. Often, for travelers pressed for time start their adventure here.

  • Osmena Peak
  • Obong Spring
  • Beaches that I haven’t to
south cebu tourist spots
Osmeña Peak, Dalaguete, Cebu

Quick Tips

  • Hire a habal-habal from Mantalungon . Haggle if you may.
  • Hire a guide from the foot of the peak, but it is really an easy route and a very short trek (around 15-20minutes from the road). There is no need to hire a guide unless you are going to traverse to Kawasan Falls, which is a 5-7-hour trek.
  • For those planning to camp by the peak, bring warm clothes with you because it can get cold at night up there. And enough food and water since there are no stores nearby. Locals can be hired to bring you water for cooking.
  • For first-time trekkers, it is a relatively easy trek to Kawasan Falls: just long; the path is mostly flat, but some parts do not have trees, so it can get hot. I just trek with my slippers, but take extra care.
  • Those who will not traverse and have an hour or so to spare, refresh yourself in Obong Spring, a public spring that meets the sea.

Southern Cebu Travel Guide | Things to Do in Alcoy

It is often my first stop when I round the whole south. Tingko Beach can be a prelude to your Oslob adventure. It is a beautiful white-sand beach. You can stay for hours for free, but it can be really hot. What I do usually is leave at 4:30 in the morning and wait for the sunrise in Tingko Beach.

south cebu tourist spots
Tingko Beach, Alcoy, Cebu

What I love about Tingko is not its white-sand coast and crystal waters—which can be a cliché when you go beaching all the time in Cebu—rather its communal act of fishing. Locals gather and exchange banter as they drag their net ashore and laugh regardless of their catch.

QUICK TIP! Advanced snorkelers or freedivers, bring your own gear since there is no equipment that can be rented. Tingko Beach has a drop that can be a good place to test your lungs. [READ: Affordable and Practical Gifts to Travelers]

Things to Do in Boljoon

It is roughly fifteen minutes away from Tingko.  What distinguishes Boljoon from other Cebu towns is its boulevard. It is squeezed between a rocky hill and the sea. It is a sexy curve that forces the bus to slow down and provides the passengers an unrestricted view of its plaza and Nuestra Señora de Patrocino Parish—one of the oldest churches in Cebu.

  • Eli Rock (deformed for road widening, it is controversial)
  • Nuestra Señora de Patrocino Parish
  • Beach-bum right in front of the church

Things to Do in Oslob

It is alarmingly getting more and more popular. Just you know, I do not support the way sharks are treated. It is ecologically unethical. I have been there, yes, to accompany some guests and friends. There is a briefing on the right interaction with the gentle giants, but some fishermen would encourage the guests to touch or play with them, on top of that, the giants are fed, so they would stay and stay longer. It means money. Some staff are so haughty, saying you could never find sharks so near the beach anywhere the Philippines. So it depends on you if you want to go or not. I am proud to say that although I live in Cebu, and Oslob is just three hours away, I had my first whaleshark interaction in Donsol.

NOTE: If you’re crammed with time but want to experience this.

  • Tick off a bucketlist experience: swim and snorkel with whale sharks in the Philippines
  • Enjoy a scenic 3 hour drive along the Southern Cebu coastline accompanied by an experienced local driver
  • Participate in shark feeding and explore surrounding coral reefs
  • After your whaleshark experience, you may opt to climb up the amazing Tumalog Falls!



  • For Filipinos, the fee is Php500.00 and Php1000.00 for foreigners
  • If you start from Cebu City, leave at 430 or 5 in the morning. The sharks only show up in the morning, and Oslob is 2-3 hours away.
  • Motorbike to Tumalog falls is Php120 [good for two] and if you want to ride another from the stop to the falls itself, it is another Php30. I suggest you forego Tumalog Falls and just go to the falls in Samboan [Dao Falls, Aguinid, Binalayan] Ginatilan [Inambakan Falls], or Badian [Kawasan Falls].



Things to Do in Santander, Cebu

Coincidence brought me to this beach. It was one of those moments when I—together with a friend—randomly hopped on a bus without a specific destination in mind. Such longing brought us to Cebu’s tail: Liloan, Santander.

[READ: Cebu’s Tail: Santander]

It is one of the beaches where I snorkeled and swam for hours without entertaining thoughts of SPF, sunburn, and whirlpools with locals who thought a heartbreak brought us in Liloan. No, it was love: the love to wander. And since then, I keep coming back here. No fellow wanderers. Just locals who have the waves as their afternoon lullabies.

Pebble Beach, Santander, Cebu Southern Cebu Travel Guide
Pebble Beach, Santander, Cebu

Quick Tips

  • If you are going to Kawasan for your canyoneering activity, this is where you change bus.
  • If you are going to Dumaguete [jumpoff for Apo Island, Valencia, and Siquijor], the port is located at Liloan, Santander.

via BARILI | Ultimate Travel Guide to Southern Cebu Philippines

NOTE: via BARILI is a longer route than via Oslob. It is the route you must take if you want to go directly to Moalboal or Kawasan Falls for your canyoneering activity.

Southern Cebu Bus Route Map
Southern Cebu Bus Route Map: Ultimate Guide to Southern Cebu Philippines 2016

Things to Do in Barili

Ultimate Guide to Southern Cebu Philippines 2016
Mantayupan Falls, Barili Cebu

When I started traveling with a friend, this was our first destination.  Some years ago, I called this project townhopping, which is quite popular nowadays—skewering two or three towns in one go.

  • Motorbike [habal-habal] to Mantayupan Falls
  • A quick stop at Sayaw Beach
  • Another possible destination is Aloguinsan’s Bojo River and Hermit’s Cove

Things to Do in Dumanjug

DUMANJUG is largely unexplored, and I myself have not really been around except for that sole moment when I ferried from Guihulngan, Negros Orienental.  But once I had a prenuptial shoot—yes, I take romantic photos to fund my travel—outside Dumanjug’s church. It is one of the many beautiful old churches in Cebu.

  • Port to Guilhungan, Negros Oriental
  • The bay by the highway near the port is a great place for a sunset photoshoot

Things to Do in Ronda and Alcantara

These I have not been to.

  • Waterfalls that I do not know of, but they look very beautiful in photos.

South Cebu Travel Guide | Things to Do in Moalboal

Via Barili, often this is my first stop. This is also one of my midweek destinations. There are two popular beaches here in Moalboal. Panagsama Beach (also called Bas Diot) is a popular snorkeling destination where you can find the famed sardine run. Nearby is Pescador Island, a famous diving spot. Bas Daku [30 pesos habal-habal ride away] is another beach known for its stretch of white-sand splendor.

You can stay here in Moalboal and just have a quick trip to Kawasan Falls, which is in the neighboring Badian.

Quick Tips

  • Bring your own snorkeling gear or rent around
  • Cheapest places to stay are Moalboal Backpackers Lodge (P275/dorm) and Cora’s Palm Resort (P500 room for two)
  • You can also rent a motorbike and drive to Badian and other neighboring towns
  • Moalboal is an ideal place to stay if you are going to tour the whole south
  • My favorite non-backpacker place in Moalboal is Hale Manna, a very creative, zen-inspired nook.

How to Properly Experience Moalboal

  • Spend a day in Moalboal’s Pescador Island, Cebu’s world-class dive site with protected corals and marine life
  • Enjoy snorkeling and feeding fish on the vibrant shores of Pescador Island’s marine sanctuary
  • Swim alongside Cebu’s famed sardine run, where a school of countless sardines glide within your reach
  • Keep on swimming and get a chance to swim next to sea turtles in Talisay Point!


Things to Do in Badian

Kawasan Falls—the river I found the most adorable in Cebu—makes Badian popular. This has become popular for downstreaming/canyoneering. The jump-off actually is in Alegria, the town next to it. If you are in a budget, you can still enjoy this place and trek to Kawasan’s watersource, where Kanlaob River (the actual place where canyoneering happens) starts.

The first falls is the most crowded, so if you like some quietude, head to the small waterfalls tucked between the first and secondhand waterfalls or trek to the source. It is just 10-minutes away from the second falls. There is a huge lagoon there, and a natural Jacuzzi that you can enjoy.

[READ: Kanlaob: Beyond Kawasan ]

Kawasan Falls, Badian, Cebu Southern Cebu Travel Guide
Kawasan Falls, Badian, Cebu

Quick Tips

  • Canyoneering packages often provide everything: safety gear, dry bag, and the like
  • If it is raining and the water is turning murky, please abort your canyoneering activity. Do not risk it even if your guide insists. Kanlaob-Kawasan river system runs in a gorge, and when flood happens, there is no way out.
  • If you are staying longer in the area, check Lambug Beach (habal-habal ride for Php30/pax), it is a wide and long stretch of white-sand beach.

How to Properly Experience Kawasan Falls

  • Enjoy a combination of Badian’s most famous attractions in a private guided tour
  • Scramble, climb, jump, rappel and swim through the rugged but scenic cliffs of Badian
  • Make a splash as you brave through jumping off towering cliffs as high as 30 feet!
  • Visit Kawasan Falls, a three-stage cascading waterfall and one of the most beautiful falls in the Philippines


South Cebu Travel Guide | Things to Do in Alegria

My affairs with Cebu start with mountains. So I learned about Alegria through its challengingly amazing Mt. Lanaya: perhaps the most adventurous trek I ever had in Cebu. But nowadays, it is becoming more and more popular as the starting point of the famed canyoneering activity. But Alegria has more to offer.

Southern Cebu Travel Guide
Mt. Lanaya, Alegria, Cebu

Quick Tips

  • If you plan to trek Mt. Lanaya, hire a guide or connect with mountaineering communities in Cebu. There are two popular trails: via Legaspi (very challenging) and via unggoy-unggoy (monkey-monkey) trail or saag (lost) trail—grassy and scenic trail. I do not really know why they are named such.
  • Check its new public park by the sea
  • Sun Xi Mountain Resort is a beautiful place to stay up in the mountains
  • There are waterfalls that connect to Kanlaob River

Things to Do in Malabuyoc

Interestingly, Malabuyoc is not as popular as Kanlaob when in fact its Montañeza Falls has challenging boulders fit for downstreaming and upstreaming. And at the starting point is a hot spring right in the middle of the river. Quite unusual but it is real.

Southern Cebu Travel Guide
Montañeza Falls, Malabuyoc, Cebu

It has been awhile since I went there. I have heard they put ladders on the challenging parts. That kills the fun, if you ask me.

  • This is a good sidetrip for a Mt. Lanaya trek.
  • If you are not confident doing it on your own, hire a guide for a cheap price.

Things to Do in Ginatilan

When I look for beach stories, I travel on weekends. But when I long for momentary solitude, I wander on weekdays. Palanas falls on the latter.  It greeted us with similar Santander waters There were no locals in sight except for a passing frozen fruit salad vendor who shared the beach’s name.

Ultimate Guide to Southern Cebu
Inambakan Falls, Ginatilan, Cebu

While my companion shed her clothes and confidently took a dip in her bikini, I read Pico Iyer’s Falling off the Map: Some Lonely Places of the World.

With the waves’ endless voyage to the shore and the sun setting, Palanas sounds and looks solitary, not lonely. But it was a narrow beach meant for a weekday.

Quick Tip

  • Inambakan Falls is just 35-peso habal-habal ride from the highway. Get off the bus by the church, and ride a habal-habal to the falls.

Things to Do in Samboan

It was the falls—not the sea—that brought me to Samboan. This southern town has three of the most refreshing yet unknown falls to many in the province: Dao Falls, Aguinid Falls, and Binalayan Falls

Ultimate Guide to Southern Cebu Philippines 2016
Binalayan Falls, Samboan, Cebu

We trailed a fall down, and it unsurprisingly led us to a sea blanketed with white pebbles. Not far from the shore, a fellow wanderer who had been there shared that Samboan has a rich marine paradise for the curious. Too bad, I forgot to bring my goggles. During our short visit, it was rather quite. Nobody was around except my fellow climbers and an angling local boy. That’s one of the rewards of dipping in an untouristed sea: it becomes momentarily yours.

Quick Tips

  • The cascading Aguinid Falls is the most accessible of the three.
  • Bring your own snorkeling gear if you want to snorkel by the drop.

I know we see traveling an escapist, enjoy-the-now moment. And there is nothing wrong with that. But, fellow nomads, let us travel responsibly. Snorkel without touching the corals. Wander beaches with trash tucked in the bag’s side pockets. Drink alcohol if you must, but leave the place with your trash. Go home without any guilt. Leave no trace. Trace memories instead.

Enjoy. But be responsible.

South Cebu Travel Guide | Frequently asked questions on southern Cebu itinerary

Are there ATMs in South Cebu?

Yes, there are, but not all municipalities have them. Major hubs such as Moalboal, Carcar, and Argao have ATMs. But be reminded southern Cebu is a countryside at its core. So it is for the better for you to withdraw cash in the city before everything goes south. Pun intended. 😛

Southern Cebu Travel Expenses. How much should I budget for a three-day trip to southern Cebu?

Now, this is a tricky question. Without the flights, it is safe to say you’re going to shell out at least Php2500 if you have Kawasan canyoneering activities and whalewatching in Oslob. But except for these two, most places in southern Cebu are affordable.

What should be my southern Cebu itinerary? Is a two-day trip enough?

If you ask me, no, two days is too short. You will end stressed instead of enjoying your trip. To cover the so-called must-dos, you need at least three days. The usual destinations down south are Osmena Peak in Dalaguete, whalewatching in Dalaguete, canyoneering in Alegria and Badian, and snorkeling and beaching in Moalboal.

Where Is the Airport in Cebu?

Mactan-Cebu International Airport is 40-minutes away (no-peak hours) from Cebu City. Some friends living in Lapu-lapu City (also called Mactan) find their place a cursed land. The traffic can be crazy especially in Mandaue, the city between Lapu-lapu City and Cebu City. So when you book your flights, it is advisable to have your arrival in Mactan early in the morning or late at night or travel on weekends, or between rush hour, so you do not have to combat against the commuting public. No, our traffic is not as crazy as Manila, but we are on our way to becoming one.  So, be cautious, especially on your way back to the airport. If you are bunk for the night in Cebu City, leave your hotel about 2 ½ hours or earlier, especially if your flight falls sometime after rush hours.

And if you feel extra grateful and generous for this 3000-word south Cebu travel guide [if you read it this far!], why not buy me a cup of coffee, or beer, or a good meal.


Buy Jona Coffee for writing this

Jona of Backpacking with a Book

Hi there, I’m Jona, originally from Cebu, Philippines, had live in Hanoi, Vietnam, and now currently based in Munich, Germany. This blog used to house thoughts on life and books, but eventually it morphed into a travel blog. For collaborations, projects, and other things, please email me at backpackingwithabook@gmail.com. For essays, creative nonfiction, and others, find me elsewhere.

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  1. I know we see traveling an escapist, enjoy-the-now moment. And there is nothing wrong with that. But, fellow nomads, let us travel responsibly. Snorkel without touching the corals. Wander beaches with trash tucked in the bag’s side pockets. Drink alcohol if you must, but leave the place with your trash. Go home without any guilt. Leave no trace. Trace memories instead.

    Enjoy. But be responsible.

    —- Agree much on this! Sometimes, in our yearning to find off beaten paths, we sometimes find ourselves enjoying too much and we often forget to travel responsibly. I grew up traveling down the southside since my father hails from Aloguinsan. My late uncle inculcated the value of traveling responsibly, taking care of own valuables and pocketing own trash and litter. Even before I became serious about following mountaineering house rules, I was fortunate to be raised by a family who values the ecosystem so much. I just wish that most of the travelers will realize that low to zero impact traveling is important. And nature is not just for taking selfies. 🙂

  2. Kai says:

    What is the best place in the south that you can recommend?

  3. Adrian says:

    Hey, nice blog.. can i ask if you have itinerary for whole south cebu tour for 8 days.. thanks

  4. TeacherLaagan says:

    Wow! Amazing blog! I’ve never been to the southwestern part of Cebu. But after reading this, I just can’t wait for the next weekend or better yet the summer vacation.

  5. Ria says:

    Good day Ms. Jona. I’d just like to ask, from Dumaguete, I’m going to Cebu City but I’m planning on stopping by Oslob, then Dalaguete, then Sibonga. Will the mode of transportation be easy? Can I easily catch a bus at those stops?

  6. […] to look for other sources. I came across two wonderful travel sites – Adrenaline Romance and Backpacking with a Book. I even sent a short message to Jona of Backpacking with a Book for some tips to get started […]

  7. Lorie Lee says:

    What a great guide Jona! From transportation, accommodation to tourist destinations. Very informative! Thank you for sharing. I would love to recommend this post to others.

  8. Tee says:

    Is it possible to go to kawasan falls early in the morning, then go to osmena peak and make it back to cebu city in the evening?

  9. Andrew says:

    Hi Jona, fantastic guide – a few questions on the Bus system (I’m used to the London Underground!)

    1. Do the buses operate in both directions every day? (e.g. from Santander up to Moalboal and Moalboal down to Santander)

    2. Do you happen to have a map of all the bus stops as I can’t seem to locate the stops between Samboan and Moalboal on Google maps.

    3. Is there always space to get on?


    • Hi there, Andrew. 1. Yes, there are buses every 15-20 minutes from 3AM-9PM in both directions. 2. In a developing country like the Philippines, there are no designated bus stops. You can get on and off anytime you want. Just wait by the main road. 3. As long as it is a weekday, it won’t be a problem finding a seat. Sunday afternoons rides back to the city can be really crowded and Friday afternoons rides to the countryside since most locals tend to go back to their hometown on Fridays and back to the city on Sundays. 🙂

      Hope it helps!

  10. Arjay Nemis says:

    Hi Jona, Great blog! i hope you read this before our trip first trip to Cebu in August. 🙂 (okay this is long..)
    – based on your blog i found out that our itinerary is really short, we will arrive @ mactan airport 9 30PM (Thursday) and our departure back to manila is 10AM (sunday) – so short right? My first plan is spend our first day(friday) in Kawasan and do the canyoneering. heres the catch, we will arrive in mactan @ 10PM (thursday) and i learned that the last bus going to Barili(if am right) is 10PM, so I am wondering if I spend my first day (friday) on Cebu City (they call it City tour:)) and find a place to stay when we arrive from airport. Then were going to take the 8PM bus going to Barili and find a place there. (near kawasan).
    – Our second day Saturday) would be 1. Canyoneering, 2. Best beach near kawasan (what would you recommend?) 3. Simala church. Would that day be enough for those three places??? im planning to find a place to stay here so we can take the first bus early in the morning back to Mactan airport.
    – Out departure time back to Manila is 10:30AM (Sunday), should i say we take the 5AM bus back to Cebu City from Barili, can we make it on time?
    Hoping for your reply Jona. 🙂

    It’s a nice blog btw and more power to you, more adventure, more fun and excitement. 🙂 Thank You.

    • 1. Hi there! Isn’t the last bus from South Bus Terminal at 1AM? Why not try to go to the terminal right away. If there is no bus, you can simply find a hotel near the terminal. South Bus Terminal is near to the cultural, historical, and party scenes in the city. You can check here: http://backpackingwithabook.com/cebu-travel-guide-things-to-do-in-cebu/
      2. No, don’t stay at Barili, your itinerary is already very cramped. Stay either in Kawasan Falls area (Badian), there are many resorts there or stay at Moalboal (Panagsama Beach, the town next to Badian) area, where most resorts concentrate.
      3. Leaving in the morning. That’s quite risky. But it’s a Sunday, so the traffic should not be as horrible.

  11. Tonkin Voyage Travel says:

    Oh, I don’t know that we can go trekking besides cayoneering and swimming with whale shark. It looks really amazing with the view to the vast ocean and mountain back. Thanks so much for your sharing!

  12. Bruno says:

    Hi Jona. A real useful and lovely travel guide. Just one question: I’m traveling with my disabled daughter who sits in a wheelchair. She is not heavy, but i can’t carry her up on many steps like the chocolate hills.
    Is there anything you can recommend us in Cebu? Thanks ahead! And keep the site open please.

    • Jona | Backpacking with a Book says:

      Hi there, Bruno! Sadly, most of the destinations in Cebu don’t have wheelchair ramps. I do think the first falls of Kawasan Falls in Badian is accessible by wheelchair. Is she comfortable with boating and beaches?

      The old churches in Cebu, I believe, are very navigable.

      Thank you for this realization. Will make a different guides around Southeast Asia for PWDs

  13. Bruno Meeus says:

    Hi Jona, yes, she is comfortable with boatings.
    We went already to see dolphins in Bohol, and Balicasag Island visit.
    Thanks for the tip about Kawasan Falls.


  14. Henry Burns says:

    The blog is very nice and helpful article content.

    • Jona | Backpacking with a Book says:

      Thank you, Henry! Let me know if there is something I can help you with! Thanks!

  15. Bing says:

    Hi Jona,

    Your Southern Cebu vlog was very informative, helpful and well written. My family and I have been to Cebu a week ago, and we get to see the places, you have mentioned., albeit not all of it.The kids and I had a wonderful and memorable Kawasan Falls visit. it is really a magnificent piece of God’s creation. Thanks so much and more power.

    P.S. Do you have anything on Coron, Palawan, we are planning to go there summer next year.
    best regards

  16. Your post are very interesting.I really liked the way you have represented them.



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