Travel With Ysabel: Cebu, Philippines

The absence of the humid atmosphere of my homeland for almost half a year was something I missed when I was in France, especially when my family and friends here at home started posting photos donning their swimwear and beach bods, straw hats on their heads and even their shameless aftermaths of their under the sun fun, drastic sunburns. I very much looked forward to my very spontaneous trip to Cebu about two weeks since I got back (I only found out I was flying two nights before). The short 42 hour trip was cut short, but exactly a month after another visit was in store! I went to Cebu in June with my cousins and in July with my parents and brothers. Boy, as much as I dislike the stickiness of sweat on my skin, I can’t deny I didn’t miss it. I was finally home.


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Camotes Island is roughly a two hour boat commute from Cebu, located north of Bohol and southwest of Leyte. The remote area made us unplug and enjoy the likes of the water activities of snorkeling, jet skiing, banana boat riding and our makeshiff “cliff dive”. :))


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“Don’t go chasing waterfalls, stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to?”  Sorry, TLC! Visitors such as I have visited the mystical and magical Tumalog Falls would beg to disagree for this one’s an exception! Amidst the steep cliffs and the swanky green jungle lies Cebu’s water reservoir. You’ll freeze in the water’s cold temperature – and in astonishment too, of course! Nonetheless, the instant back and shoulder massage offered by Tumalog’s falling waters will make up for that.

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Want to sea how it is to be a Part of Their World? First impressions don’t last for whale sharks (in Filipino, butanding) are feared to be as the stereotyped vicious underwater beasts – they are the complete opposite. In fact, they are afraid of humans! At Php 550 for 30 minutes, you’ll meet your money’s worth as you encounter the harmless 40 feet long creatures. Oslob Whale Shark Watching is about 3 hours away from Cebu City by car. Best to come at the break of dawn while crowds are not accumulating yet, and the sun’s position in the sky is perfect for underwater photo taking! Aquaphobic, or don’t know how to swim? You can stay in the boat as you watch butandings swim closeby.



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Kick back and chill in their unique sofa-cabanas, waddle in the shores and swimming pools or play up your adventurous side with the hotel’s water sports, the all in one Costabella Beach Resort not only has a marvelous view of Cebu’s coasts [as the name may suggest] but also offers you services with the friendliness of a deer and the warmth of the sun. Seriously, I greatly commend the immediate and great service – there is NEVER a moment a staff member is not smiling and unwilling to help out! Cebu being known as the first Philippine Island Ferdinand Magellan has set foot on, the resort’s theme is inspired from the influences from the land this world circumnavigator represents; our first ever colonizer – Spain. Not much of the beach babe? Seek tranquility and solitude in Costabella’s Lèma, a Filipino-inspired spa! There is nothing more but to love your own country’s way of relaxation. They give you a survey beforehand that contains a human body sketch where you can encircle the areas you wish the masseuse to focus on, including questions on the medical conditions and injuries they must take note of.  I normally don’t fall asleep during full body massages Léma’s placed me in peaceful slumber. It was hard to part ways with Costabella but again, I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND this resort!


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I’mmmm gonna swimmmmm like a canyoneereeeeeee, like a canyoneereee!!! Not your typical water sport nor nature adventure is canyoneering in Badian – an extreme “sport” that has a combination of jumping on top (or sliding) from a range of 6-30 ft tall waterfalls, hiking, climbing on rocks and swimming against the rapids! This 5 km trek going downward was worth every bit of courage I mustered! If I remember correctly, there were 3-5 jumps total. You can choose to slide or to hop on the rocks if possible but you can certainly not escape the first one! The heart-dropping leaps on top of the waterfalls (see photo above, screenshot only from a video) was a YOLO moment for me and did that adrenaline rush down all over my body since my first! A helmet, a lifevest, swim gear, durable aquashoes and bravery would be required to complete and enjoy canyoneering! I would recommend wearing well-fit rubberized shoes (NOT sneakers) since it totally protects your feet thus making the trek more comfortable than any other shoes. This made me regret not bringing a waterproof camera to capture the entire trip! Enjoy the rustic jungles of Badain while you pass by waterfalls along the way down such as Kawasan. There were two local guides who helped and guided our route, so you don’t have to worry about getting lost. At the end of the 4.5 hour trek we were exhausted but fulfilled!


Two consecutive trips to Cebu a month after the other is still short for me – there’s so much to do and visit! I’m looking forward to the next! 🙂

Special photo credits:
Monic Cua
Chelsea Magbanua
Jenin Vitangcol