5-Day Cebu to Dumaguete Itinerary: Kawasan Falls, City Attractions, Apo Island

5-Day Cebu to Dumaguete Itinerary: Kawasan Falls, City Attractions, Apo Island

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Kawasan Falls and Apo IslandComprising several islands, the Visayas region in the Philippines boasts some of the best beaches in the Philippines. Among the top destinations in the region are the coastal cities of Cebu and Dumaguete, thanks to their powdery shores, clear waters, and rich heritage.

Beyond its beaches, Cebu also features the Sinulog Festival and the Kawasan Falls, a well-known spot for canyoneering. In between visits to top sites in Cebu, travelers should stop by a local Cebu restaurant to feast on lechon (roasted suckling pig). 

As for Dumaguete, or the City of Gentle People, it is best known for being the gateway to diving spot Apo Island. This marine life sanctuary boasts thriving coral reefs that have become home to over 400 coral species, 650 documented species of fish, and a handful of sea turtles. 

Since Cebu is easily accessible from Dumaguete and vice versa, planning a visit to both cities during one trip is a great way to see top Visayas tourist spots in a shorter amount of time. To help you decide where to go and what to include in your Cebu - Dumaguete itinerary, we've created this travel guide that's perfect for a 5-day and 4-night vacation in Visayas. 

Day 1: Cebu Province Day Tour: North or South

Malapascua IslandSince Cebu is home to the Cebu-Mactan International Airport, one of the main airport hubs in the Philippines, it's best to start your adventure here, especially if you're coming from outside of the region or the country. To make the most of your five days, catch a flight that arrives in Cebu in the morning. If you're coming from outside the Philippines, the Cebu airport is connected to 21 international destinations like Los Angeles and Dubai. 

For those flying domestically, you can fly from the Manila Airport, Baguio Airport, or other Philippine airports. Before your flight, you can book airport transfers or car rentals so you can quickly get to your accommodation. If you're already in Visayas, you can ride a ferry from neighboring destinations like Bohol, Iloilo, and Leyte instead.

If you are willing to splurge, Cebu has some of the best 5-star hotels in the Philippines and top beach resorts in the Philippines, such as Crimson Mactan Resort. After checking in, you can spend the rest of the day exploring Cebu. To make the most of your day, you can head to north or south Cebu to go island-hopping to Cebu beaches, snorkeling, canyoneering, and more.

North Cebu: Top Attractions & Activities

Spending a day in North Cebu is perfect for travelers craving a beach getaway, as you can find powdery shores and clear waters in the area. You can either sail to Bantayan Island to lounge on its white sand beaches or make your way to Malapascua Island, where you can swim with thresher sharks via Malapascua tours.

Bantayan Island

Bantayan Island sandbarBantayan Island sits about 160 KM from Cebu City, and you will need to take a car and a boat to reach it. It is best known for its powdery white sand that resembles the world-famous beaches of Boracay Island

During a day trip here, you can sail to Bantayan Island tourist spots like Virgin Island for a laidback time at the beach, swim in the cool waters of Ogtong Cave, feast on fresh seafood, and more. 

Malapascua Island

A Thresher Shark diving in Monad Shoal, MalapascuaOn the other hand, Malapascua Island is better known as a marine sanctuary and Cebu diving spot as it is home to vibrant coral walls and gardens that house and attract a wide array of sea creatures.

Among the most notable animals you can find here are thresher sharks, which you can spot in the area year-round. Along with thresher shark scuba diving and snorkeling, you can also spend the day at the idyllic Logon Beach, Guimbitayan Beach, or Langub Beach.

South Cebu: Top Attractions & Activities 

If you're craving more adventure, it's recommended to spend the day exploring the attractions on the southern coast of Cebu Island. Included in the things to do and places to visit in South Cebu are the Kawasan Falls, Oslob, and Moalboal

Kawasan Falls and Canyoneering

Canyoneering in Kawasan FallsFamous for its blue waters, Kawasan Falls is a multi-tier waterfall that's perfect for swimming and canyoneering, which are among the top things to do in Cebu. It's located in the town of Badian, which is around 103 KM away from Cebu City. If you're up for cliff jumping and canyoneering, it's highly recommended to book a Kawasan Falls tour package.

Oslob Whale Shark Watching 

A whale shark swimming near the surfaceIf you want to see and swim with whale sharks in their natural habitat, visit Oslob, a seaside town about 118 KM from Cebu City. After taking a boat out to sea, you can often find these gentle giants feeding on fish close to the water's surface. 

Moalboal sardine run

Diver swims near sardines in MoalboalIf you're curious about marine life, Moalboal is a must-visit spot during a Cebu vacation. This small town is located about 86 KM from Cebu City and is best known for the spectacular sardine run tour. Aside from witnessing this natural phenomenon, you can also go Moalboal island hopping to visit nearby shores. 

Osmeña Peak

Standing at 1,013 meters above sea level, Osmeña Peak is considered the highest point in the province of Cebu and one of the must-visit hiking spots in the Philippines. During an Osmeña Peak tour, you can visit vegetable farms perched atop hills where you can get a breathtaking view of the scenery. 

Sumilon Island

After becoming the first municipal marine sanctuary in the country since 1974, Sumilon Island has become a thriving marine sanctuary perfect for snorkeling. When going on a Sumilon Island tour, visiting the island's picturesque sandbar is highly recommended. 

Tumalog Falls

Tucked in a forest located around 126 KM from Cebu City, the Tumalog Falls is framed by a lush canopy of trees that only adds to its beauty. Aside from being a pretty sight, you can also dip in the cool water that falls into the natural basin at the foot of the falls. 

Following your adventure in North or South Cebu, stop by one of the best Cebu restaurants on the way back to your hotel or resort to get a taste of authentic Cebuano lechon. 

Day 2: Cebu City & Mactan

Sinulog Festival 1-Hannah ReyesPhoto by the Department of Tourism

After your adventure in Northern or Southern Cebu, it's highly recommended to allot another day exploring Cebu City and Mactan Island to learn more about the province's rich heritage. Here are some of the top spots in both areas that you can include in your Cebu City tour:

Temple of Leah

Temple of Leah's facade-2Built as a grand gesture of love by a local businessman for his late wife Leah, this magnificent building is filled with her wide collection of antiques, art, and more. Along with admiring the art and the Greek statues on the property, you can also find a scenic view of the island from here as the temple is perched atop a hill in Busay town. 

Mactan Shrine

This shrine was built in the spot where Lapu-Lapu and his tribe defeated Ferdinand Magellan and his crew during the historic Battle of Mactan in 1521. A towering statue of a victorious Lapu-Lapu was also erected here in honor of his victory. It has since become a common stop on Mactan Island tours.

Sirao Garden

Colorful blooms in Sirao Flower GardenTucked along a hillside in Lahug town, this garden boasts rows of colorful blooms that have earned it the nickname "Little Amsterdam of Cebu." One of the must-visit flower farms and gardens in the Philippines, this is a perfect spot for travelers who love to take photos, as the entire garden is picturesque, making it a common stop in most Cebu tour packages

Magellan's Cross

Magellan's CrossThis wooden cross commemorates the introduction of Catholicism to the Philippines when the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan arrived on Cebu's shores. Locals believe that the cross was planted here by Magellan and his team of explorers in the 1500s. 

Cebu Taoist Temple

Aside from Catholicism, other religions, such as Taoism, are also observed by locals on the island. This temple was built by Filipino-Chinese communities in 1972. Aside from serving as a place of worship, it has also attracted many tourists thanks to its grand design that features a facade inspired by the Great Wall of China. 

Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House

This ancestral home is considered one of the first-ever Chinese settlements in the province. Today, it serves as a museum where you can find exhibits and artworks that depict the family's life back then. 

Basilica Minore Del Sto. Niño de Cebu

This grand church was built in 1565 and is best known as the first-ever Catholic church in the country. It is also the oldest one in the province of Cebu and houses the image of the Sto. Niño, the city's patron saint that represents Jesus as a black Holy Child.

Alegre Guitar Factory

This family-owned business has been recognized nationwide for its high-quality hand-made guitars, which you can see being built during a visit here. The penchant for guitars in the province started shortly after the Spanish forces introduced Catholicism, as the friars used guitars for church. Along with guitars, the factory also sells ukuleles, banjos, and mandolins. 

If you are taking a ferry to Dumaguete, make sure to check out of your resort in the afternoon to catch the night ferry trip. But if you're traveling by air, you can still spend a night in Cebu, but it's recommended to get on a morning flight to Dumaguete the day after. 

How to get to Dumaguete from Cebu?

Ferry rideFor those traveling from Cebu to Dumaguete by ferry, you can ride a George and Peter Lines ferry or Cokaliong ferry. George and Peter Lines only operates on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Their trips leave the Cebu pier at 10 PM and arrive at Dumaguete at 4 AM. 

Meanwhile, the Cokaliong ferries operate on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. They depart from Cebu at 7 PM and arrive in Dumaguete at around 2 AM the next day. 

For air travel, you can book direct Cebu to Dumaguete flights under airlines such as CebGo. The trip should take about an hour. 

Day 3: City Tour, Forest Camp, Hot Spring

Rizal BoulevardAfter arriving in Dumaguete City and checking into your hotel, take the time to visit the best attractions in and around the city. To help you plan your trip, here are some of the top attractions you can include in your Dumaguete tours itinerary: 

Silliman University

Siliman UniversityThis historic campus is best known for being the first American school in the Philippines. It also houses an anthropology museum and zoo, making it a popular landmark that is often included in a Dumaguete day tour. 

Rizal Boulevard

Rizal Boulevard, DumagueteThis seaside area was named after the national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, as he was known to have spent time along this boulevard during his visits to the city. Aside from taking in the serene ambiance, you can also take photos of the sea from here. 

Dumaguete Cathedral and Belfry Tower

This religious structure dates back to the 1760s to warn the locals of any pirates that may be in the area. The watchtower was built out of coral stone and is among the oldest towers in the Visayas region. 

Forest Camp

Immerse in the beauty of nature by spending time in the Forest Camp. This nature resort is located less than 10 KM from Dumaguete City and features cold spring pools that you can take a dip in. 

Red Rock Hot Spring

A pool in Red Rock Hot SpringPhoto by Red Rock Hot Spring

The Red Rock Hot Spring sits along the mountainside town of Valencia. True to its name, the area features hot springs surrounded by red-hued rocks, hence its name. 

Day 4: Apo Island Tour 

Apo IslandHailed as one of the most biodiverse marine sanctuaries and diving spots in the Philippines, Apo Island is a perfect destination for curious animal lovers. This island sits about 30 KM south of Dumaguete City and houses over 400 coral species, 650 documented species of fish, and even more than a handful of sea turtles!

During a visit here, make sure to experience these must-try activities:

Snorkeling and Diving

Turtle near Apo IslandAs a marine life sanctuary, it's highly recommended to go snorkeling or diving to witness the beauty of the underwater ecosystem here. If you're lucky, you may even get to swim close to sea turtles at Turtle Point. However, please don't touch or feed the turtles to avoid accidentally harming them. 

Go trekking

After exploring the thriving coral gardens in the surrounding waters, you can go on a short trek along the Habagat Eco-Trail. During this trek, you'll get to see sweeping views of the entire 74-hectare island. 

Sunset Watching

Before leaving the island, you can make your way to the lighthouse that stands on a cliffside and overlooks the sea. From here, you can catch majestic views of the sunset as it paints the horizon in warm shades of orange and pink. 

Day 5: Departure from Dumaguete 

Inside a ferry to Cebu CityOn your last day, take the time to enjoy breakfast at your hotel or at a local restaurant before preparing to leave. From Dumaguete, you can take a ferry back to Cebu and other destinations from the Dumaguete Port. You can also take a flight to Manila from Dumaguete’s Sibulan airport. 

See the best sights in Cebu and Dumaguete 

TopBanner_Bantayan IslandImmerse in lush forests, lounge on powdery beaches, and swim by coral reefs by exploring Cebu and Dumaguete, which are home to some of the best tourist spots in the Philippines. For a hassle-free trip, you can book Cebu tour packages and Dumaguete tour packages for your vacation. If you have more time to spare, you can check out our articles on the best Cebu tourist spots and Dumaguete tourist spots to see which ones you can add to your itinerary. 

After visiting these two cities in the Visayas region, you can travel to other top destinations in the Philippines. If you want to see more breathtaking beaches, go island-hopping in the Philippines, especially in destinations like Boracay and Palawan

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