The busy city center of Manila is usually the entry point of travelers going to the Philippines. But unknown to many is that Manila isn’t the only gateway to this tropical country known for pristine islands and beaches. One of the best Philippine entry-point alternatives is Cebu, located in the central region of the country, which also has its own international airport. It is also home to the exciting Sinulog Festival, beautiful beaches, spectacular diving spots, countless tours and activities, and top-notch hotels and resorts.
Apart from flights to Cebu being accessible for international airports like Los Angeles (LAX), Cebu’s location also offers access to cheaper and faster travel options to other top destinations in the country.
From Cebu, you can explore the white sand beach of Boracay, the bustling surfing town of Siargao, to the renowned islands and lagoons of Palawan, and incredible natural wonders of Bohol and Davao. Here are the top 5 Philippine destinations worth traveling to when you’re in Cebu:
Davao City and the entire Davao region has become synonymous to durian (the King of Fruits), Mount Apo (the highest peak in the Philippines), and the Philippine Eagle (the country’s National Bird).
Davao City is also a gateway to Samal Island which is known for island hopping, immaculate beaches, and resorts for relaxation.
The vibrant Kadayawan Festival, known as the Mother of all Mindanao Festivals, is a unique experience worth the trip to Davao City during the month of August. It features float parades and street dancing with locals clad in colorful costumes.
Probably the most famous side trip to Cebu, Bohol is accessible via a ferry trip that will take just around 2 hours. Bohol offers a myriad of adventures that surround you with the beauty of nature at its most raw form.
One of the most famous attractions in Bohol are the Chocolate Hills, a collection of over a thousand hills that are either green or brown depending on the season.
If you’re craving some beach time, Bohol has you covered with Alona Beach in Panglao Island. You can also go island-hopping to nearby islets with incredible marine life.
Lastly, a trip to Bohol won’t be complete without seeing the world’s smallest primate, the Philippine Tarsier, which are small, monkey-like animals with huge eyes.
One of the top destinations in the Philippines that you shouldn’t miss out on is Palawan, a treasure trove of rich marine ecosystems and extraordinary beaches that has consistently earned recognition as one of the best islands in the world.
Palawan is accessible from Cebu by direct flights to Coron’s Busuanga Airport (around 1 hour and 25 minutes), and direct flights to Puerto Princesa’s International Airport (around 1 hour and 10 minutes). From Puerto Princesa, you can hop on a bus or van to get to El Nido or San Vicente.
If you love to surf, riding motorbikes, and the laidback island life, Siargao may just be the best next destination for you.
This teardrop-shaped island located in Surigao del Norte in Mindanao has won the hearts of many travelers and has been recognized as one of the best islands in the world. There are direct flights to Siargao from Cebu, about an hour of travel time.
Siargao not only attracts surfers from different parts of the globe, but it has also become the second home of locals from bigger cities in the Philippines looking to settle down in a carefree community.
Some of its must-visit spots include the surfing spot Cloud 9, the island-hopping spots of Naked Island, Daku Island, and Guyam Island, the natural pool of Magpupungko, and the rope tree swing in Maasin River.
About an hour flight from Cebu will take you to one of the best beaches in the Philippines and the world, Boracay Island. Because of its postcard-perfect natural beauty, it’s the top summer destination in the Philippines for both local and international travelers.
Boracay is not to be missed when you visit the Philippines because of its world-renowned long stretch of powdery white sand, crystal clear waters, romantic sunsets, fun water activities like parasailing, and chill nightlife scene.
In 2018, the island underwent a major rehabilitation and has since reopened, unveiling a new cleaner Boracay that is protected by the local tourism sector.