Cebu, also known as the “Queen City of the South”, is a top tourist destination in the Philippines. Even before the Spaniards came, the island has been known to have many settlements and is a major port and trade centre. Today, Cebu is a mixture of old and new, with highly urbanized modern cities and peaceful and relaxing provinces, the island offers a number of attractions that can surely satisfy any tourist.
Aside from the grand Sinulog festival and other common tourist spots, Cebu still has a lot to offer. There are a number of awesome places to check out, many of which you probably are not familiar of. Here are 10 lesser known but unique spots in Cebu that you might want to visit.
Located in the sleepy town of Catmon, a town in northern Cebu that’s less than 2 hours away from the city, this waterfall is only known to locals and those few extreme adventurers. To get to the waterfall, you need to trek, crawl, climb, and swim. The 100-meter waterfall is a great place for jumps and dives. The water is also home to tilapia, so you can try your luck and catch some for lunch. An attraction leading to the waterfall is a hanging bridge that’s suspended over flowing water. If you want to visit the waterfall but can’t swim, the locals can let you rent a life vest and even escort you through the trek. It’s a though journey, but the experience is worth it.
Cebu is known to have a number of waterfalls. Most think that they have to travel outside the city to experience a dip in the cool water or to stand under rushing water, but you actually don’t have to go far. Kabang Falls in Barangay Talamban, which is found right in the city. You will have to go through a 40-minute trek that will take you through rivers, boulders, grasses and trees before reaching the waterfall, but the waters will give you a cool refuge after. It’s also one of the most well-preserved waterfalls in the island, so nature lovers and adventurers will awe at its beauty. To get there, you can take a habal-habal or motorcycle from the main road to Budlaan proper. Locals will gladly guide you to the waterfalls for a small fee.
This hole-in-the-wall cafe is found in Argao, a town in southern Cebu, they offer a number of local and international dishes and is frequented by locals and tourist. Owned by Alex Kintanar Gonzales, one of Argao’s most influential Tourism Officer, this quaint little cafe is just by the historic Argao church. Try their Humba (a dish made with pork stewed in soy sauce) and their special Humbatchoy (a noodle dish with pork broth). The cafe also serves as a pre and post World War Two memorabilia gallery. If you’re staying long in Argao, you might also want to inquire about their skim boarding classes and adventure tours. They’ll gladly organize these for you.
Want to be suspended meters above the ground and fly above hills and trees? The Zip-away in the northern town of Medellin might just be the adventure for you. Found on the hills of Caputatan, Medellin, the zip line let you zip from one hill to another. You also get a breathtaking view of the municipality’s coconut and sugarcane plantations. Aside from the zip-line, you can also try the Tarzan swing, which is a giant swing with a small platform that you can stand on while you hold on for dear life as you’re rocked back and forth, and cable cars that gives you the same view of the zip line, without the heart-pounding experience.
A relaxing spring that’s hidden in the forest, there are many rumors about how the water from this spring has healing powers. There’s even a grotto with a statue of the Our Lady of Lourdes built near the source of the spring. Located in the northern province of Sugod, visitors are welcome to have a dip in the cool water, relax, and enjoy the wonderful green surroundings. While you’re there, you can also visit the Bagatayam Falls and the Bagatayam River, which is feed by the spring.
GL Highland Resort
Not a lot of people would consider going to eastern Cebu when looking for a place to relax. But the GL Highland Resort in Balamban is just the place to go to during those hot summer day. Located in Balamban, this spring resort is close to one of the highest peak in the island. There are man-made pools with fresh water flowing from the spring and cottages that can be rented out for overnight stays. You can also pitch tents and go camping in the area. The main entrance is found right next to Cebu’s Transcentral Highway so you can’t miss it.
For those travelling to Northern Cebu, Duko-Duko Restaurant offers a wide array of scrumptious food for any weary traveller (you get really hungry especially if you’ve been sitting for hours in a bus). The restaurant offers all time Cebuano favourites like Manok Bisaya (native chicken which they deep fry) and Pochero ( a hearty dish made with beef shanks that’s boiled till tender). They also offer a Filipino classic, Lechon Kawali (crispy fried pork belly). Duko-Duko is found in Barangay Macaas, Catmon, Nothern Cebu.
If you’re looking for a beautiful beach far away from civilization, Virgin Beach in Daanbantayan Northern Cebu might just be the place you’re looking for. This secluded and peaceful resort has a private beach, swimming pools, and rooms and cottages that can accommodate you and your friends and family. The food here’s also great, giving you “American” sized portion. To get there, you can take a bus to Daanbantayan at Cebu City’s North Bus Terminal. Make sure you take the route that passes through Maya via Bagay or ask if the bus passes through Barangay Malbago. Get off at Malbago Elementary School and take a tricycle to Virgin Beach Resort.
Although Badian in Southern Cebu is better known for Kawasan Falls, it also has stunning beaches with white sand and clear blue water. Lambug Beach is a public beach (which means it’s free to swim there) found a few kilometers away from the town centre. It also has unspoiled rock formations and coves which is great for climbing. The beach offers a wonderful weekend getaway with your loved ones and friends. There are also cottages and rooms available if you want to stay for a few days. You can ride a bus at the South Bus Terminal to the Badian town centre and take a tricycle to the beach for less than 100 pesos.
The Marmol Cliffs are stunning rock formations found in Tuburan. They’re two cliffs that’s separated by a small passage where a small river runs through. Although there’s nothing much to do when you get to the formation other than enjoy the little coves and caves, getting there is whole different adventure. You can walk to the cliff, which is a bit far from Tuburan’s town centre, or ride a habal-habal to the cliff. You’ll be travelling along the riverbed and pass through water (whether you’re on foot or on a motorcycle).