5-Day Cebu to Bacolod Itinerary Guide: Tourist Spots, Best Time to Go, How to Get Around

5-Day Cebu to Bacolod Itinerary Guide: Tourist Spots, Best Time to Go, How to Get Around

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Moalboal Sardine Run and The RuinsPostcard-worthy views and pristine beaches are among the several reasons why you should visit the Philippines. If you’re heading to the tourist spots in the Visayas region where the famous Boracay Island is located, you shouldn’t miss its neighboring provinces of Cebu and Bacolod, two of the best places to visit in the Philippines.

Famed for its local cuisine, Cebu is an island province in the Central Visayas Region of the Philippines, beautifully laid out with the best islands in the Philippines and diving spots. Bacolod, also known as the City of Smiles, is home to the colorful MassKara Festival in Negros Occidental. 

Adventure seekers can try outdoor adventures such as canyoneering and diving in Cebu, and history and architecture enthusiasts will enjoy the landmarks of Bacolod. While both have airports, the Mactan-Cebu International Airport accommodates international flights, unlike Bacolod-Silay domestic airport. First-time travelers must allot several days to make the most of their stay at these two destinations. 

The best time to visit Bacolod and Cebu is during the dry season from December to May. See our 2023 calendar with holidays in the Philippines to know the best time to plan your trip.

This article is a Cebu to Bacolod travel guide on a 5-day and 4-night tour of Cebu and Bacolod, which includes info on how to go to Bacolod from Cebu and back, the best places to go, things to do, where to stay, and restaurants to dine.

When is the best time to go to Cebu and Bacolod?

Climate and Weather 

Cebu and Bacolod have dry weather from December to May, like most destinations in the Philippines.


Both destinations are home to notable Philippine festivals that are highly recommended for travelers to join to experience the local culture. 

Sinulog Festival in Cebu 

Sinulog FestivalPhoto by the Department of Tourism

Sinulog Festival is a celebration of the birth of Christianity in the Philippines dedicated to Santo Niño de Cebú, one of the country’s most famous relics.

When is Sinulog Festival Celebrated?

Sinulog Festival happens every third Sunday of January.

MassKara Festival in Bacolod 

MassKara FestivalBack in the 1980s, MassKara Festival in Bacolod was born to uplift the spirits of the locals with big, vibrant masks and street dances.

When is Masskara Festival Celebrated?

MassKara happens annually every fourth Sunday of October.

Day 1: Cebu City & Mactan

Upon arriving at the Mactan International airport, you will transfer to your hotel in Cebu City. You can pre-arrange Cebu car rentals before your arrival. 

What to do in Cebu in one day?

On your first day of touring Cebu City, allot your time exploring the historical and scenic spots in Cebu City and Mactan Island or lounging at the beaches of the top luxury hotels in Cebu. Here are some of the attractions to include on your Cebu itinerary:

Cebu City & Mactan Attractions 

Temple of Leah

Temple of Leah's facadePerched on top of the hill in Busay town, the Temple of Leah resembles the Taj Mahal in India. Inside the temple, you’ll find the well-preserved treasures of Teodorico Adarna’s beloved wife, Leah Albino Adarna.

Mactan Shrine

Your Cebu City tour won’t be complete without paying a visit to Mactan Shrine, one of the iconic Cebu tourist spots located in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu. It is built in honor of the 1521 Battle of Mactan between the native Visayan folks and the Spanish contingent.

Sirao Garden

Colorful blooms in Sirao Flower GardenNestled atop a mountain, Sirao Garden is home to colorful flowers in Lahug, Cebu City. The so-called Little Amsterdam of Cebu is often included in the Cebu tour package.

Magellan’s Cross

Magellan's CrossAs part of Cebu’s rich heritage, Magellan’s Cross marks the arrival of the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan in Cebu some 500 years ago. 

Cebu Taoist Temple

Originally built in 1972, the Cebu Taoist Temple is intricately adorned with dragon statues and stunning Chinese architecture overlooking the views of the city. 

Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House

The Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House is the first-ever Chinese settlement built outside of China. Situated in Cebu City’s old Parian district, this Chinese ancestral house now operates as a museum.

Basilica Minore Del Sto. Niño de Cebu

Founded in 1565, the Basilica Minore Del Sto. Niño de Cebu is the first-ever Catholic Church in the Philippines and the oldest one in Cebu. 

Alegre Guitar Factory

Home to the best guitar craftsmen in the Philippines, the Alegre Guitar Factory makes world-class guitars and other musical string instruments such as ukuleles, banjos, and mandolins.

Cebu Beach Resorts 

Infinity pool of Crimson Resort and Spa MactanPhoto by Crimson Resort and Spa Mactan

To cap off your first day of Cebu tour, don’t miss trying the famous Cebu Lechon (whole roasted pig) served in the best Cebu restaurants.  After exploring the city, check in at the best hotels in Cebu or spend your first night in one of the beachfront hotels in Cebu.

Some top resorts in Cebu that we recommend staying in include:

Day 2: Cebu Province Day Tour: North or South

Cebu is a large island province, so we recommend deciding beforehand which part of the province you would like to explore. The day tours from Cebu can be categorized by area: North Cebu or South Cebu. For beach lovers and divers, the North Cebu tour is ideal for you. If you’re an adventure seeker, you may choose the South Cebu tour.

North Cebu: Main Attractions and Activities

Situated off the northern coast of Cebu Island, two of the top attractions included in this area boast some of the majestic Cebu diving spots. From your hotel in Cebu City, your van will pick you up to reach the jump-off point in Hagnaya Port.

If you want to try island-hopping in the Philippines, then this tour is for you. Not only you’ll get to witness the majestic diving spots in the Philippines, but you’ll also set foot on the pristine beaches in Cebu.

Bantayan Island 

Kota Beach on Bantayan IslandDotting the charming Bantayan Island are unspoiled beaches with crystal-clear waters. Since the island is around 200km from Cebu City, we recommend allotting a full day to explore the Bantayan Island tourist spots. Most Bantayan Island beaches are mostly in Santa Fe. Your Bantayan Island itinerary includes Paradise Beach, Virgin Island, and Kota Beach.

How to go to Bantayan Island from Bacolod City?

If you’re coming from Bacolod, you can ride a Ceres bus to Cadiz City. Boats sail from Cadiz port to Bantayan Island and vice versa.

Malapascua Island

Malapascua IslandDive with thresher sharks at Malapascua Island, one of the dream diving destinations in the Philippines. Your Malapascua Island itinerary includes Monad Shoal, where thresher sharks swim every morning. 

Take note that only certified advanced open divers are allowed to dive in Monad Shoal. You may enroll in a Cebu scuba diving course to maximize your scuba diving in Cebu.

South Cebu: Main Attractions and Activities

The southern coast of Cebu Island comes with adventure-filled tourist attractions. Cebu City is the main jump-off point for your Cebu island hopping tour

One day is not enough to explore all the South Cebu attractions because there are many activities that await you here. You can go swimming with turtles in Cebu, Oslob whale shark watching, and Kawasan Falls canyoneering.

Kawasan Falls and Canyoneering 

Canyoneering in Kawasan FallsThe Kawasan Falls is a multi-tier waterfall set in Badian town, which is 103km away from Cebu City. If you like to experience canyoneering, you can book the Kawasan Falls tour package

Oslob Whale Shark Watching 

A whale shark swimming near the surfaceGet an up-close encounter with whale sharks at Oslob town on the southern tip of Cebu Island, which is only 118km away from Cebu City. Whale sharks, locally known as butandings or tuki, are the largest species of fish roaming the planet.

Moalboal sardine run

Diver swims near sardines in MoalboalHome to the spectacular sardine run tour, Moalboal is a small town located 85.7km away from Cebu City. Moalboal island hopping is ideal for those who like to explore its teeming marine life.

Osmeña Peak

Perched at 1,013 meters above sea level, Osmena peak is the highest peak in Cebu province. When you book the Osmeña Peak tour, you will see vegetable farms on top of the rugged hills.

Sumilon Island

Surrounded by crystal clear waters, Sumilon Island is a stunning sandbar off the coast of Oslob. On your Sumilon Island tour, you can spend the day sunbathing and snorkeling.

Tumalog Falls

Located 125.8km away from Cebu City, the Tumalog Falls is a sight to behold, with a trickle of water streams flowing deeper into the forest.

After your North Cebu or South Cebu escapade, you will travel back to Cebu City to stay for the night. The next day, you need to wake up early for your trip to Bacolod. 

Day 3: Bacolod City Tour with The Ruins & Silay Mansions 

The RuinsFrom the Mactan International Airport, you’ll board an early flight bound for Bacolod. Upon arrival, you will check in to your hotel. For a convenient Bacolod day tour from Cebu, you can make additional Bacolod airport transfer arrangements.

How to go to Bacolod from Cebu City?

For those going on a trip to Bacolod from Cebu, you can travel by air, sea, and land. Local airlines such as Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Cebu Pacific Air (CEB) offer budget-friendly Cebu to Bacolod flight fares.

Another option to travel from Cebu to Bacolod is riding a Cebu to Bacolod car and ferry. If you’re traveling from Cebu to Bacolod by car, the Cebu to Bacolod distance is about 202km. You may also travel from Cebu to Bacolod via FastCat or hop on a bus. There are daily trips scheduled for Ceres Cebu to Bacolod via Tabuelan and Cebu to Bacolod via Escalante.

How to go to Cebu from Bacolod?

You can book Bacolod to Cebu flights for the fastest travel time. If you’re traveling by land from Bacolod City to Cebu City, you may ride a Bacolod to Cebu Ceres bus transport. You can also travel by sea via Bacolod to Cebu RoRo. Book beforehand to avail cheap Bacolod to Cebu RoRo fares.

How many hours is the travel time from Cebu to Bacolod? 

The travel time from Cebu to Bacolod is 50 minutes by air, 6 hours by land, and 8 hours by RoRo. If you’ll ride a bus, the Cebu to Bacolod Ceres travel time is approximately 6 hours. Bacolod to Cebu travel time also takes less than 8 hours, depending on your chosen transport option.

How to tour Bacolod?

You can choose from Bacolod tour packages promo that highlights the top attractions included in your Cebu-Bacolod itinerary and Bacolod City tour itinerary. 

What to do for your one-day tour in Bacolod City?

Here are some of the Bacolod tourist spots you can’t miss in your Cebu to Bacolod itinerary:

The Ruins

Constructed in 1920, The Ruins Mansion is the former ancestral home of a wealthy sugar baron, Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson.

San Sebastian Cathedral

San Sebastian CathedralSituated in Bacolod City Public Plaza, the San Sebastian Cathedral is a baroque-style church made up of corals and lime quarried from Guimaras Island and Palawan wood in 1876.

Provincial Capitol and Lagoon

Bacolod Provincial Capitol and LagoonSpanning over three hectares of land in Bacolod City, the Negros Occidental Provincial Capitol building served as the Japanese Imperial Army headquarters during World War II.

Pope John Paul II Tower 

Overlooking the city skyline, the Pope John Paul II Tower is a seven-story structure that contains the memorabilia of the late pope during his visit to Bacolod on February 20, 1981.

Manokan Country

Chicken InasalYour Bacolod City tour must include trying out Bacolod’s famous tasty chicken inasal or roasted chicken marinated in calamansi (local lime), annato, vinegar, and pepper. This dish is served along the food stalls at Manokan Country just across SM City Bacolod. (Update: Please note that Manokan Country's original location was shut down on July 16, 2024. The eateries will be moving temporarily to SM City Bacolod's terminal hub.) 

Negros Museum

Get acquainted with the rich cultural heritage of Bacolod when you visit Negros Museum, a neoclassical building featuring contemporary artisans in Negros which dates back to 1925.

Balay Negrense

Balay Negrense MuseumPhoto by Balay Negrense Museum

Known as the first museum in Negros Occidental, The Negrense Museum or Balay Negrense is the former abode of Victor Fernandez Gaston, a 19th-century sugar baron.

Bernardino Jalandoni Museum

Founded in 1908, the Bernardino Jalandoni Museum is an ancestral house transformed into a museum to showcase the thriving sugar industry in Negros.

Daku Balay

Translated as “big house” in English, Daku Balay is the city’s first Art Deco structure and the largest one in the Philippines, which was constructed in 1936.

El Ideal Bakery

This go-to pasalubong center for delicious snacks began in the 1920s. El Ideal Bakery offers specialty cookies, including Biscocho or toasted bread crackers with butter and sugar.

After your 1 day tour in Bacolod, you will head back to your Bacolod hotel to spend the night.

Day 4: Bacolod Lakawon Island & Resorts Tour

On your 4th day, you’ll go on a tropical getaway to Bacolod Lakawon Island. Here are the attractions included in your Bacolod tour package itinerary.

Lakawon Island

Lakawon Island ResortLakawon Island is one of the underrated yet deserving to be among the best beaches in the Philippines. Spanning over 16 hectares of land, this island resort in Bacolod boasts cream-colored sand and turquoise waters that can rival the world-famous Boracay Island.

Mambukal Resort

Mambukal ResortAside from staying in the beach resorts in the Philippines, you may also choose to stay in mountain resorts like Mambukal Resort in the municipality of Murcia, Negros Occidental. Perched 1,200 feet above sea level, this charming resort lies at the foot of Mt. Kanlaon.

Campuestohan Highland Resort

Teepee huts at Campuestohan Highland ResortPhoto by Campuestohan Highland Resort

Nestled atop Talisay City in Negros Occidental, Campuestohan Highland Resort is a family-friendly accommodation that occupies five hectares of land with a four-lane wave pool, a 340-meter zip line, and a sky bicycle. 

After your tour, you’ll travel back to Bacolod City and rest at your Bacolod City hotel.

Day 5: Departure to Cebu

Bongbong's napoleonesPhoto by BongBong's Piaya and Barquillos

After taking a hearty breakfast at your Bacolod hotel, you may spend your extra time buying souvenirs at Bongbong’s or Merci before traveling to the Bacolod domestic airport for your flight to Cebu. 

Explore More of Cebu and Bacolod’s Idyllic Spots

Aerial view of Malapascua IslandLinger a little longer to explore more destinations in Cebu, like the diving spots in Mactan. You may allot more days in your trip to experience outdoor adventures in Bacolod, such as cliff diving in Mag-Aso Falls in Kabankalan City or bamboo rafting at Perth Paradise Resort in Sipalay.

Whether you’re traveling for your honeymoon or anniversary, you can choose from affordable vacation packages for couples and stay in 5-star hotels in the Philippines. For online trip bookings, check out Philippine tour packages and Philippine guided tours at Guide to the Philippines, an online travel agency in the Philippines.

Don’t forget to check the latest Cebu travel requirements and Bacolod travel requirements on top of your Philippines travel requirements for a hassle-free vacation.

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