Top things to do in the Philippines
Discover all the adventures you can experience in the Philippines
The Philippines is home to many breathtaking tourists spots, and the islands of Cebu and Siargao are just two of the top tourist destinations in the Philippines that you shouldn't miss.
Cebu is home to many natural attractions like islands, beaches, mountains, and waterfalls, as well as historical and cultural sites. On the other hand, Siargao is host to some of the best beaches in the Philippines and is known for its world-class Siargao surf spots. Tourists will also have options when it comes to accommodations as there are plenty of Siargao resorts and luxury hotels in Cebu to choose from.
Both of these destinations are easily accessible, thanks to the Mactan-Cebu International Airport and Sayak Airport in Siargao. If you're traveling from outside the country and want to tour the Philippines, it is recommended that you make your way via the Cebu Airport, as it accommodates both international and domestic flights and can service more routes compared to the one in Siargao, which offers limited flight options apart from direct flights from Manila and connecting flight from Cebu.
First-time visitors in the Philippines can save a lot of time, money, and effort by visiting these two destinations in one trip. To help you plan a 5D4N Cebu-Siargao itinerary, we've come up with this guide that will tell you how to go from Cebu to Siargao and back, where to stay, what activities to try, and what to eat during your trip.
If you're arriving in Cebu via the Cebu Airport, the best way to get to the city is via a taxi or a bus. Some Cebu hotels offer transfers from and to the airport or you can book Cebu transfers before your trip for a hassle-free vacation. Note that some Cebu tour packages already come with free hotel transfers. If you want to explore Cebu from the comfort of a private vehicle, you can also book Cebu car rentals.
After settling in your Cebu hotel or resort, you can spend your day relaxing in your room or exploring your accommodation's facilities. If you still have the energy for it, you can go on day tours from Cebu or Mactan Island tours, where you can visit and learn about Cebu tourist spots in the city and nearby areas.
Here are some of the things you can do on day 1 of your Cebu itinerary:
Cebu City and Mactan are home to historical tourists spots that will help you appreciate the story of the province and the Philippines. Head to the Mactan Shrine, a monument that commemorates the Battle of Mactan, and Magellan's Cross, the wooden cross representing the birth of Christianity in the country.
See how that faith is practiced when you visit the Basilica Minore Del Sto Niño de Cebu, a Spanish-era church and a National Landmark. Cebu is also home to the Taoist Temple, which was built in the 1970s. VIsiting the Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House will allow you to travel back in time and get a glimpse of how Filipinos lived during the Spanish colonial period.
Other Visayas tourist spots you can visit in Cebu are the Alegre Guitar Factory, where you can see how Cebu's iconic guitars are made, and the Temple of Leah, a huge structure that was built in honor of the late Leah Adarna. If you want to be surrounded by natural scenery and enjoy the mountain breeze, head to the picturesque Sirao Garden.
Photo by Shangri-La Mactan
After a full day, get some deserved rest at your hotel or resort in Cebu. If you want a pampered experience, book a stay at any of the 5 star hotels in the Philippines. You can also find some of the best beach resorts in the Philippines in Cebu. If you're lucky, the hotel or resort you are staying at may also be home to one of the best Cebu restaurants. When you have the opportunity to do so, try Cebu Lechon, which is arguably some of the best lechon in the country.
Cebu is the largest island in the Visayas, so if you want to maximize your stay, you need to plan your visit well, as there are endless things to do in Cebu. For day 2, you can choose to visit North or South Cebu. Beach lovers and divers would appreciate North Cebu's beaches and dive sites, while outdoor enthusiasts and adventure seekers will enjoy the area's mountains and waterfalls.
To reach the beaches of North Cebu, you have to take bus and boat rides. As for South Cebu, many bus routes will easily bring you there.
North Cebu is home to some of the best islands in the Philippines, including Bantayan Island and Malapascua Island. You can choose one of these two islands for your day in North Cebu. Here you'll learn how to go to Bantayan Island and how to go to Malapascua, as well as what tourist spots to visit.
If you want to visit Bantayan Island, you need to board a boat from Hagnayan Port, which is roughly 110 to 128KM away from Cebu City. The land trip will take around 3 hours and 45 minutes, while the ferry is an additional hour.
The trip is definitely worth it though, as the island is home to clear blue waters and powdery white sand where you can just relax and soak up the sun. After exploring the beach, you can also visit some of the other Bantayan Island tourist spots, including Ogtong Cave and Santa Fe Butterfly Garden.
Those who want to try diving in Cebu should visit Malapascua Island. Guaranteed thresher sightings and the local communities' sustainability efforts make it one of the best Cebu diving spots. Malapascua Island is also home to beautiful beaches and affordable restaurants that serve delicious meals. To get to the island, you need to board a boat from New Maya Port, which is around 137 to 163KM from Cebu City, depending on the route.
In South Cebu, you'll find mountains, waterfalls, islands, and beaches, and since it's impossible to visit them all in one day, you need to choose an area where you will spend your day.
If you choose to go Kawasan Falls canyoneering, you can visit nearby Moalboal, a coastal town which is the jump-off point if you want to go on a sardine run tour. Don't worry if you're a beginner, as you can easily learn diving in Moalboal. You can also include a visit to the highest peak in Cebu by booking any of the Osmena Peak tours.
If you want to visit a less popular but still enchanting waterfall, head to Tumalog Falls, which is located further south. Oslob and Sumilon Island are nearby, so you should consider a side trip to these destinations as well. Oslob will give you the chance to see whale sharks, while Sumilon Island will welcome you with a stunning sandbar.
After exploring North or South Cebu, you'll make your way back to Cebu City so you can rest and wake up early the following day for the next leg of your Cebu to Siargao itinerary.
If you're wondering how to travel to Siargao from Cebu, the best way is via a direct flight, which will take around an hour. Budget-conscious travelers can search for a Cebu to Siargao promo. Those who want to know how to get to Siargao from Cebu by boat and how many hours from Cebu to Siargao may be surprised to find that the initial ferry from Cebu to Surigao City can take up around 10 hours.
After that, you need to board another ferry from Surigao City to Siargao, which will eat up another 2 and a half hours. Since you only have limited time for this itinerary, it's better to go to Siargao via plane.
Once you have arrived at Sayak Airport in Siargao, you'll need to ride a car to General Luna or to wherever your hotel or resort in Siargao is located. After checking in, you can go on a day tour to see the top land attractions in Siargao. If you want to explore these spots on your own, you can rent a motorcycle. You can also spend the day surfing or going on a tour of Sugba Lagoon.
If you want to visit the top Siargao tourist spots including the Magpupungko Rock Pools, the Maasin River, and the Tayangban Cave Pool, the most convenient way is via Siargao tours. The Magpupungko Rock Pools are picturesque tidal pools where you can take a dip, while the Tayangban Cave Pool is a secluded natural pool perfect for adventure seekers. Maasin River, on the other hand, provides visitors with a chill island experience.
If you're an experienced surfer, you will enjoy surfing in Siargao at Cloud 9, one of the most famous surfing spots in the Philippines and one of the top tourist spots in Mindanao. The waves here are great all year round, but if you can brave the crowds, the best time to visit Siargao is during surfing season, from September to December.
Non-surfers who want to explore the waters of Siargao on their first day can still do so when they visit Sugba Lagoon. The lagoon is part of a 4,000-hectare nature sanctuary surrounded by mangrove forests and mountains. Here you can swim, kayak, dive, and try standup paddleboarding. For a more quiet experience, you can book Siargao private tours.
After a packed day, head back to your hotel or resort in Siargao to rest or try some of the best Siargao restaurants to help you refuel.
On your 4th day, you can explore more natural attractions and white sand beaches in the Philippines by going island hopping in Siargao. Most island-hopping tours include Naked Island, Daku Island, and Guyam Island in the itinerary. If your tour comes with transfers, all you have to do is wait for your guide to pick you up from your Siargao resorts so you can board the boat that will take you around the waters of the island.
Naked Island is a 200-meter bare sandbar in the middle of the ocean, hence the name. Here, you'll be able to enjoy white sand, clear waters, and blue skies. You can swim in its waters to cool off, but just remember to slather on and pack extra sunblock as there are no trees on Naked Island to protect you from the rays of the sun.
While Naked Island is bare, Daku Island is home to coconut trees and cottages lining the beach. It is surrounded by turquoise waters where you can dive, snorkel, or just swim. The island is also the perfect place to enjoy lunch.
If your island-hopping tour comes with a free meal, you can enjoy it in one of the cottages. You also have the option to bring your own food. For a more memorable experience, buy fresh ingredients from the Siargao mainland and have the locals of Daku Island prepare your meal.
The third island, Guyam Island, is a cross between Naked Island and Daku Island. Like Naked Island, Guyam Island is small and charming. Guyam Island is also picturesque and lush with coconut trees, similar to Daku Island. The beach is made of white sand and unique rock formations that are just begging to be photographed.
There are also cottages, huts, swings, hammocks, beach loungers, and even man-made photo stops, so whether you want to relax or have fun on the island, you have plenty of options. To make the experience complete, ask a local to get you a fresh coconut fruit and crack it open so you can sip on fresh coconut juice while enjoying the stunning island scenery.
After your Siargao island hopping, your boat will head back to the mainland so you can enjoy the rest of your day in Siargao. Make sure to get enough rest as you'll be traveling from Siargao to Cebu the next day.
Photo by Mactan-Cebu International Airport
Wake up early so you can enjoy having your last breakfast in Siargao. Before checking out of your hotel or resort, you can explore Siargao on your own. You can also buy souvenirs from nearby shops.
If you want to know how to get from Siargao to Cebu, the most convenient way is to go by plane. To save time and make the most of your trip, this route is what is recommended for this itinerary since it will only take around an hour.
After landing at Mactan-Cebu International Airport, you can still buy souvenirs before heading to your next destination.
Book your Cebu-Siargao trip now!
If you're still looking for reasons why you should visit the Philippines, look no further than Cebu and Siargao. This itinerary will take you from the Visayas to Mindanao and allow you to appreciate the geographical features of the Philippines beyond just Luzon. For a more convenient and hassle-free trip, book Philippine tour packages that will fit your budget and travel needs.