The beginning of Cebu

The journey here was a long one! We came from Kampot to grab a bus to Phnom Penh, to get another to Ho Chi Minh City. We then flew from Ho Chi Minh City to Manila. Then, a couple of hours later from Manila to Cebu.

The Philippines for us, wasn’t originally on our itinerary. In fact, it was going to be a ‘wish we could’ or potentially ‘on the way home’ deal. The islands defined by their crystal clear waters and amazing landscapes. But, are we glad we actually did! We went with our 2 friends that we met (what seems like forever ago!) in India, another couple with beautiful personalities.


We stayed at KYO Residencies, an AirBnB located in the heart of Cebu City. Easy to get to loads of restaurants, nearby bars and shopping markets. A beautifully modern home with 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, dining area and kitchen. Ideal for our home for the next 4 nights.

Get £25 off of your next accommodation with this link!


Unfortunately we couldn’t do as much as we first planned due to the fact that Storm Urduja was underway. We were extremely lucky that all we had were a few bad days of rubbish weather and that it didn’t ruin our entire experience here.

The SM Mall

The SM mall, Cebu City, is the 4th largest shopping centre in the Philippines. Despite having terrible weather, we made the most of one of our days spending an afternoon here. Browsing and window shopping – as you would expect with a backpackers budget. However, with plenty of choices we indulged in lunch here from the many outlets it provides.


SM Mall also houses a bowling alley upstairs on the complex. For £2.30 each, you get the pleasure of being competitive for a game. Side note: They don’t have side barriers, so good luck!

Day Trip

Starting at 4.30am, we got in a car and drove 3 hours to Oslob, a city located west of the island. We had a light breakfast before adventuring on to the destination. Initially, it was very expensive, but for what you get to experience and enjoy – we would all agree that it is totally worth it! For 5,000php (£73) you get to swim with whale sharks, cannoneer through and jump from terrifying heights.

Oslob whale watching

When we finally arrived and after the safety briefing. We were ready to disembark on the boat to the place where the Whale Sharks would be. Known as the world’s largest fish, it would be an understatement (and a lie) to say that we weren’t scared/apprehensive.

As we embarked onto our small boats we headed around 50m out into the ocean. This was our first real experience of the legendary Philippine sea and it didn’t disappoint, the clear blue waters below perfectly crystallised the fish below.

Gently getting into the ocean with our masks & snorkels, the fish and marine world came to life with clarity, and it wasn’t long before we were greeted by one of five huge whale sharks only meters away from us. Fun fact: the largest one ever recorded was 41.5ft long!

These gentle giants glided beside us as we were able to see up close and personal and experience every single contour of the huge whale shark. Their gracious glides through the water.  Their blue/grey body complete with their own scattered, unique white spots. It makes you appreciate what beauty we have in our oceans. It was an encounter like no other and the 20 minutes in the water went by quicker than we would’ve liked.

Tumalog Falls

Located around 15 minutes away from the gorgeous whale sharks was Tumalog Falls. After a steep decline downwards, you finally reach the natural wonder. It was truly was breath-taking (and that’s not just because the water was freeing)! What’s better is that we managed to appreciate this all to ourselves without the massive tourist groups showing up. The majestic falls were a perfect addition to our day.


After a spot of lunch was canyoneering, a further 2 hours out in Badian. This was an amazing extreme adventure, one that you will never regret! It’s the moment when you finally realise that the waters are in fact possible to be that blue and that it’s not just CGI or the common Instagram filters.

There’s no bigger buzz than facing your fears. And this, will definitely test your bravery and most likely, surprise you! From swimming through canyons to swinging on trees to sliding down rocks, this 3/4 hour tour will seem incredible and worth the money.

You finish off with a 82ft jump off a waterfall! (Yeah, really!)

You finish off with a 82ft jump off a waterfall! (Yeah, really!)

Where’s next?

We will be catching a boat from Cebu to another island called Bohol for 3 nights.


  • Probably best to stay in Oslob as theres not much to do in Cebu City
  • Download Grab, an easy and affordable way to navigate around Cebu
  • If you don’t mind having a long day, join 2 excursions together for a better saving!
  • Go to Tumalog Falls early to beat crowds
  • IslandTrekTours was the best company we found and were amazing to us! The bigger group you have, the better the discount.

About The Author

Wanderlust Lab is a collaboration between Abbie and Luke for the sharing of travelling knowledge to help backpackers and travellers all across the globe. Live Wanderlust.

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