- When is the best time to go to Cebu and Bacolod?
- Climate and Weather
- Sinulog Festival in Cebu
- When is Sinulog Festival Celebrated?
- MassKara Festival in Bacolod
- When is Masskara Festival Celebrated?
- Day 1: Cebu City & Mactan
- What to do in Cebu in one day?
- Cebu City & Mactan Attractions
- Temple of Leah
- Mactan Shrine
- Sirao Garden
- Magellan’s Cross
- Cebu Taoist Temple
- Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House
- Basilica Minore Del Sto. Niño de Cebu
- Alegre Guitar Factory
- Cebu Beach Resorts
- Day 2: Cebu Province Day Tour: North or South
- North Cebu: Main Attractions and Activities
- Bantayan Island
- How to go to Bantayan Island from Bacolod City?
- Malapascua Island
- South Cebu: Main Attractions and Activities
- Kawasan Falls and Canyoneering
- Oslob Whale Shark Watching
- Moalboal sardine run
- Osmeña Peak
- Sumilon Island
- Tumalog Falls
- Day 3: Bacolod City Tour with The Ruins & Silay Mansions
- How to go to Bacolod from Cebu City?
- How to go to Cebu from Bacolod?
- How many hours is the travel time from Cebu to Bacolod?
- How to tour Bacolod?
- What to do for your one-day tour in Bacolod City?
- The Ruins
- San Sebastian Cathedral
- Provincial Capitol and Lagoon
- Pope John Paul II Tower
- Manokan Country
- Negros Museum
- Balay Negrense
- Bernardino Jalandoni Museum
- Daku Balay
- El Ideal Bakery
- Day 4: Bacolod Lakawon Island & Resorts Tour
- Lakawon Island
- Mambukal Resort
- Campuestohan Highland Resort
- Day 5: Departure to Cebu
Postcard-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.
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
Photo 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
Back 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
Perched 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.
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.
Nestled 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.
As 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
Photo 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.
Dotting 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.
Dive 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.
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
Oslob Whale Shark Watching
Get 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
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.
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
From 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:
Constructed in 1920, The Ruins Mansion is the former ancestral home of a wealthy sugar baron, Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson.
San Sebastian Cathedral
Situated 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
Spanning 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.
Your 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.
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.
Photo 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.
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.
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 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.
Aside 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
Photo 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
Photo 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
Linger 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.
- See our Philippine vacation packages:
- 7-Day Philippines Itinerary Nature & Culture Travel Package
- 7-Day Cebu Itinerary: Moalboal-Bantayan-Malapascua Tour Package
- 1-Week Philippines Island Hopping Itinerary Vacation Package
- 10-Day Philippines Itinerary: Siargao-Cebu-Bohol Tour Package
- Philippines 10-Day Itinerary Package
- Philippines 10-Day Island-Hopping & Whaleshark Package
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