What to do in Cebu, Oslob and Mactan Island in the PhilippinesFrom whale sharks to luxurious resorts, here you will get everything you need to know about traveling to Cebu, Oslob and Mactan Island.
After Manila, my second destination in the Philippines was the island of Cebu. To be more specific: Cebu City, Mactan Island and the amazing Oslob, home of the whale sharks. But I’ll tell you everything about them in a minute, let me start with the airport of Mactan. This post I’ll tell you about all the things to do in Cebu and around.
My third was Bohol and you can find everything you need on this super guide to Bohol.
Before giving you a super introduction to what is Cebu, what to see in Cebu, all the things to do in Cebu and around, I think this short video of the airport will set the tone more than any text. Please press play and enjoy it.
This was how my first 5 minutes of Cebu were: a fantastic flash mob inside the airport!
Now let me tell you a little bit about the whole island of Cebu. Cebu is one of many islands located in the prettiest region of the Philippines, the Central Visayas. Inside Central Visayas, you can find several amazing beach destinations such as:
- Malapascua Island (north of Cebu)
- Bantayan Island (north of Cebu)
- Boracay Island (northeast of Cebu)
- Bohol Island (southeast of Cebu)
- Palawan Island (west of Cebu)
I have to say that ten days is not enough to see it all and in 2016 I’m planning to go back to the Philippines and get lost in Central Visayas, that it was by far, my favourite stop on this amazing trip.
Visiting Cebu City
The capital of Cebu (island) is Cebu (city) and it is the oldest city in the whole country and the main centre of trade, education, commerce and industry in the Visayas. I was in Cebu for 2~3 days but one of those days was raining cats and dogs and the other day I went to Mactan and Oslob.
There are the only good photos I manage to click during my short stay at the city:
But on the day of my arrival, I found out one of the most interesting cultural shocks between my culture and the Filipino culture: All Soul’s Day (or All Saint’s Day) is celebrated in a completely different way.
The Philippines, as you all know, is the only Catholic country in Southeast Asia and the All Saint’s Day are a family orientated celebration. On Halloween day, the Filipinos go to the cemetery all together to party! When I say all together, I mean mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, and grandparents grab their food, drinks, music, and some card games and spend one or two days together with their loved one’s tombs. Some families like to feast and dance, other rather a more quiet time with either repairing or cleaning the tombs and graves. It was magical to see how different people face death. It was touching for me because I had just lost my father, less than one month before that. It was great to see that death can be celebrated and this experience made me see my pain in a different way.
Unfortunately, I have no videos or photos from this event since it is considered disrespectful for me, a foreigner, to document this passage with no real link or bound with any of the families over there. Besides, it was 11 pm or more, you know? And the cab driver told me that it was not wise for me to get out of the cab with luggage and go inside the cemetery, not for the danger of getting mugged or nothing, but he said that in the Philippines the graves yards are massive, and I could get lost.
But since it is very cheap to go there, you can try to be more prepared than I was. Besides Cebu is famous for its waterfalls, and it is always good to visit some nature when you’re traveling, right?
Oslob and the Whale Sharks
On the 3rd of November, I woke up at 1 am to get ready and set for my trip to Oslob. At 4 am there was the car to drive me 3~4 hours all the way to Oslob, the home of the Whale Sharks, the part of this Philippines Adventure that was I dreaming about for weeks and weeks!
So there I was, at 4 am ready to go on a long and curvy trip from Cebu City to Oslob and I have to say that Oslob is quite amazing, it’s more to a fisherman village than a city and according to wiki, less than 30.000 people are living over there. In other words: beautiful and no-polluted beaches, great amounts of vegetation and the sea life at its best.
To get to Oslob and dive with the Whale Sharks you just have to, either talk to a private company that provides everything (what I did) or get yourself over there and enjoy Oslob for more than a few hours. The private company is waaaay more expensive and I only chose this option because of my tight schedule, with more time, you can easily take the bus from Cebu City to Oslob and spend a few days doing nothing and just relaxing. And if you want to know how to get to Oslob from Cebu this post tells you everything and more.
Watch the video here and tell us if you like. The video is from 2014 so excuse us the edition and the music and all, I mean, if you subscribe to our channel you will see how better we are right now. LOL
The company that I chose was Cebu Island Hopping and they charged me 9500php (around €170) with everything included:
- transfer from Cebu City to Oslob and back
- government taxes inclued
- equipment inclued
- short introduction to snorkeling/diving with Whale Sharks inclued
- a crappy breakfast (1 sandwich and a coffee)
- *if you’re not traveling alone, it will be way less per person since you can divide this fees for as many friends you have with you
If you want to go by bus, I know that the bus from Cebu City to Oslob runs 1 or 2x a day and costs something around 200php. The main problem I founded was that I had to spend the night over there and I couldn’t. The government fees + the rest is roughly 2000php, so you can have the same experience I had for 1/3 of the price.
Watch the small video I did showing how amazing it is here on your right side
And some photos that will show you how outstanding and peaceful the view in Oslob is:
Mactan Island (or Maktan) was my last destination in Cebu, it is the place for the best resorts in the area. The island is divided in 2 basically, the municipality of Cordova and the amazing Lapu-Lapu City. Mactan was already a blooming settlement before the Spanish colonization on the XVI century. Curious facts if you’re into history like me: Fernão de Magalhães got to this island around 1521 and it was killed in battle by the warriors of Datu Lapu-Lapu (the chief of Lapu-Lapu) after getting involved in the warfare of the tribal groups of the region. Right now Mactan Island is a sure destination for most tourists that visits the Philippines because of its well-known resorts and magnificent beaches. I chose the White Sand Cebu Resort to spend the rest of my days because I found it to be the best price for a day trip over there. It was less than 1000php and I even got a meal+drink with this. Great resort and good food. Just remember to bring your own towel if you’re there just for the day.
I guess this is all I can give you about the fantastic Cebu Island and those three things to do over there.
If you have any questions regarding how to book everything online, just drop us a line. I, more than anybody, know how “booking in advance” can be a pain in the ass when we’re talking about the Philippines.