Hidden Paradise Mountain Resort // Photo submitted by Marvin Ventura Masangkay
About 28 KM south of Cebu City, is the town of San Fernando. It is a 2nd class municipality and established in 1858. The main products in San Fernando are poultry and cement products. A little history on the town – it was once called San Isidro Labrador. The town was also one of the barangays of the town of Naga.
The town was then given the name San Fernando as a way to honor one of their best-loved parish priests – Fernando Sanchez. Under the leadership of Juan Diyong, the town was established after it merged with other barangays in the area.
And while many of the festivals in the Philippines were started decades or centuries ago, there are also those festivals that were only founded recently. One of which is the Sikoy-Sikoy Festival in San Fernando — which gives the locals and visitors something to look forward to each year.
The annual festival in San Fernando is called the “Sikoy-Sikoy Festival”. It is celebrated every November 17 until 21 as a way of giving thanks to God for the gift of the love to the locals of San Fernando. The festivity comes with thanksgiving rituals and petition prayers for guidance, protection, and abundance in their farm and sea harvest.
The term “sikoy-sikoy” is the casual word used for the Cebuano word “panikoy”. The word “panikoy” is actually practiced by fishermen wherein they would throw their nets into rough seas. The festival represents the vitality of the people of San Fernando, and the waves are the challenges they face, and the fish are the blessings that they receive each year.
The first celebration of the Sikoy-Sikoy Festival was in 2008, it was established in response to the call of officials in the province for the promotion of festivities in the towns of Cebu. The festival also happens at the same time as the town fiesta – which is celebrated in honor of their patron saint San Isidro Labrador.
Much like other festivals around the province of Cebu, the Sikoy-Sikoy Festival also features street dancing competitions and a ritual showdown. The town also has various activities such as the talent night for the Miss Tourism of San Fernando. These activities happen each day leading to the day of the festival itself.
Famous Buko Pie
We know how different towns have their own distinct delicacy and they’re famous for it – like Lechon for Carcar, Rosquillos for Liloan and many others. The specialty of San Fernando is the Buko Pies, these aren’t like the usual buko pies that you guys buy at the mall or groceries.
The ones you can find in San Fernando are not sold as a whole pie, instead, they’re made in smaller sizes – almost like the bibingka or puto size. You will find that they taste as good, or even much better than the ones you buy in the city. The buko pies of San Fernando are always sold hot and fresh, made from young coconut meat.
The Buko Pies’ main ingredient’s sourced from Brgy. Ilaya in San Fernando. And since they’re made in smaller sizes, they are wrapped individually and sold in boxes; you guys can also buy them individually.
Where to get them? Once you get to the town of San Fernando, you may find the Buko Pies being sold along the side of the road in Brgy. San Isidro. Surely, you’ll love these hot and freshly made Buko Pies. 😉
And like any other towns in Cebu, San Fernando also boasts of resorts and attractions that you might want to include in your itinerary. These are the following:
San Isidro Church
What started as an independent parish by the Augustinians through the diocesan decree on June 19, 1858. The church of San Isidro Labrador in the town of San Fernando, Cebu was established under the first parish priest Fray Fernando Sanchez. The present church was designed by a Spanish architect and engineer – Fernando Escondrillas. He designed the plans for the church in 1870, and the construction of the church was finished in 1886.
Like most of the coastal churches around the Visayas, the church is made from coral stones. The San Isidro Parish is actually one of the few structures with the neogothic design – and was chosen by Fray Emiliano Diez. You may notice how the bell towers aren’t identical and may contrast the overall facade. That’s because these were actually built only later on in the 20th century.
Hidden Paradise Mountain Resort
Hidden Paradise Mountain Resort is located at the Brgy. Ilaya of San Fernando — deep in the mountains. The resort is situated on a quaint mountain and surrounded by scenic woodland and fresh air.
The resort is built with an aim to provide relaxation for guests, a time to get away from the city buzz and also to enjoy some outdoor events. Hidden Paradise Mountain Resort holds outdoor events, team-building, weddings, birthday parties, and other social events. As well as some outdoor activities that will get your adrenaline rushing.
How to get there: The resort is located in a secluded and mountainous area in Brgy. Ilaya, San Fernando, Cebu. The best way to get there is through a private car. Do contact the resort so they can give you proper directions on getting to the resort. The place is about 5 KM from the main road and the road may be rocky going up there.
However, if you guys are commuting, you may take a bus headed to San Fernando from the Cebu South Bus Terminal. Then, get down on the town proper and look for a habal-habal or motorcycle for hire. Ask them to take you up to the resort, they would know how to get there.
Information: For more information and inquiries, visit their Facebook Page – Hidden Paradise Mountain Resort
You may also call them at the following numbers (032) 515 0094 or 0942 379 4055.
READ: Best Places to cool down in Cebu
Pulchra Beach Resort
The Pulchra Resort is a 5-star luxury beach resort in San Fernando, Cebu and is owned by a Japanese national. It’s a sanctuary for the soul – where you can enjoy solitude and serenity, far away from the city.
The luxurious resort prides itself on its original, contemporary-designed, large suites with unique garden baths. The place is surrounded by a vast coconut plantation with lush lagoon suites and luxurious villas. Combined with a peaceful ambiance and elegance, the guests all feel relaxed and in sync with nature.
How to get there: The Pulchra Resort is located in San Isidro, San Fernando, Cebu 6018. The best way to get there is through a private vehicle or a rental car. Just search Pulchra Resort on Google Maps or Waze and follow directions to the place.
The resort also offers airport shuttle service. Do contact them for more info on the rates and time.
Information: For more information and inquiries, you may visit their website – http://www.pulchraresorts.com/index.php/en/rooms-ph-en and send them an email at [email protected].
Also, you may check out their Facebook page – Pulchra Resort, Cebu
And call them at their phone number (032) 232 0823
SingLi Mountain Resort
If you’re looking to cool down this summer in November heat and would want to go somewhere that’s not at the beach. At the Singli Mountain Resort, you can enjoy the best of both – the stunning view of the mountains and a nice cool pool for dipping.
San Fernando isn’t blessed with white sand beaches however the people at Singli Resort took advantage of what they do have. Nice mountains and built their resort within it — a nice and cozy haven. Singli is the combination of the owners’ names Arsing (Sing) and Lilia (Li).
The mountain resort has different types of pools both for adults and kids to enjoy. As well as cottages for rent, and also tables and chairs. Companies can also hold their team-building or corporate events here, or have your parties or weddings here.
How to get there: Singli Mountain Resort is located in Barangay Tonggo, San Fernando, Cebu 6018. It’s easier to get to the place by a private or rental car. Just search Singli Outdoor Museum and Resort on Google Maps or Waze and follow the directions to the place.
For those who are commuting, you may take a bus that’s bound for San Fernando from Cebu South Bus Terminal. Then tell the driver or conductor you’d like to get off at the town proper. Once you get to the town, look for a habal-habal or motorcycle for hire to take you to the resort.
Information: For more information and inquiries, please visit their Facebook Page – Singli Mountain Resort
You may also text or call them on their mobile number 0956 890 2192 or send them an e-mail at [email protected]
Bacalla Woods Campsite
Within the woodlands of San Fernando is a cozy and pleasant campsite that is great for healing and connecting with nature. At the Bacalla Woods Campsite, you can also experience the thrill of riding their infinity swing. Here you can enjoy a panoramic view of the surrounding mountains and just imagine the beautiful sunrise that awaits you in the morning.
Bacalla is actually the surname of the family who owns the place. The campsite is famous for being a spot for artists, explorers, environmentalists, campers and nature lovers. Guests can also enjoy the following activities while staying at the campsite: river trekking, infinity swing, snorkeling, chasing waterfalls, mountain biking, hiking, skateboarding, jamming around the bonfire, dining with nature and camping. Guests can choose to sleep in their tents, hammocks or rent out rooms.
The place has no Wi-Fi connection and also no phone signal. You will really disconnect from the virtual world and connect with yourself and nature here. Guests bring their own food and drinks and are responsible for keeping the place clean.
Information: You will need to book and reserve before heading to the Bacalla Woods Campsite. They do not entertain walk-in guests. You may reach them through their mobile number 0923 825 6945 or e-mail them at [email protected].
Please also visit and check out their Facebook page — Bacalla Woods Campsite
How to get there: By bus, you will take a bus bound to San Fernando from the Cebu South Bus Terminal. Ask the conductor or driver to drop you off at Eskina going to Hidden Paradise Mountain Resort. Then look for a habal-habal to take you to Bacalla Woods.
If you’re taking a private vehicle or a rental car, just search Bacalla Woods Campsite on Google Maps or Waze and follow the directions to the campsite.
READ MORE HERE: Bacalla Woods Campsite Guide
While San Fernando may not be everyone’s go-to place when it comes to exploring waterfalls; the town’s been gradually becoming a tourist destination because of the recently discovered Bugho Falls. This is definitely a must-visit place for you on your trip down south of Cebu.
There are two routes that will lead to this cool waterfalls – through the river or going around the bridge. When you choose the river as your path to the falls, you will have to go through slippery rocks, boulders and you’ll occasionally have to wade through the river.
The fellas from Bacalla Woods Campsite can guide you and lead you to the Bugho Falls. I’m sure it will be worth the hike, and when you get there you can chill and take lots of photos. You can also swim in the area – there are shallow parts, as well as deeper parts so be sure you know how to swim. You guys can also have a picnic here and also set up a hammock – and chillax.
How to get there: Bugho Waterfalls is located in Brgy. Bugho in San Fernando, Cebu.
From Cebu City, take a bus that’s bound to San Fernando or the Carcar mini-buses will do. Then, tell the driver or the conductor to drop you off in San Fernando proper, the San Fernando church is the best landmark.
To get to Bugho Waterfalls, look for a habal-habal or the motorcycle ride just near the church. The kuya driver will take you to the Bugho Falls or best to Bacalla Woods Campsite, so you’ll be guided and not get lost in the forest. Ha!
Another beautiful and untouched falls in the town of San Fernando is the Busay Falls. Similar to the Bugho Falls, this one’s also hidden and not so many people know or visit the place yet.
The easiest way to get to the Busay Falls is through Brgy. Balud, it would be a long motorcycle ride and a short trek. For those who would want to trek up all to the falls, it’s best to do your research first and ask around. It also helps if you ask the locals and maybe also find someone to be your guide on your way to the falls. For sure the guys at Bacalla Woods Campsite can help you out.
How to get there: Busay Falls is located in Brgy. Basak, San Fernando, Cebu.
So, first, you take a bus bound to San Fernando from the Cebu South Bus Terminal. Then, you tell the driver or conductory, you’d like to go down at the town proper of San Fernando. When you get to the town proper, you then take a tricycle or a habal-habal to take you to Brgy. Balud. Ask to be dropped at the chapel, that’s where you can find another habal-habal that can take you to the starting point of the trail. The ride would also be a bumpy one but you will enjoy the view of the sea on your way through. 🙂
And when you get to the falls, you will find that not a lot of visitors go there yet as it’s not developed yet by the local government. You guys could enjoy the place all to yourselves, take a dip and take lots of photos. Do not forget to be mindful of whatever you bring there, and take it back with you when you leave. So that others may also enjoy the serenity and untouched beauty of the Busay Falls.
Also, please please wherever you go.. respect nature and do not litter. Peace!