Now that I had finally accomplished travel goal number one: traveling overseas, the next goal I set my sights on was to visit somewhere tropical with beautiful crystal blue waters and lush greenery. I started as usual with a search for cheap airfare originating from LAX, and found a posting for Cebu, Philippines.
Once again, the Philippines wasn’t a country that I knew much about prior to it showing up as a great deal and further investigating it. But of course after hours of research and scrolling through stunning pictures of the province, I knew it would make for a wonderful advenutre.
Los Angeles International —> Incheon International —> Mactan Cebu International
This flight cost about $450 roundtrip, and we got to experience a bit of Seoul, South Korea on the way back to the U.S. (highly recommended!) More info here.
We used taxis and buses to get around. I wouldn’t recommend renting a car here – the traffic is a bit too insane to be trying to navigate through. It is a roughly 4-hour ride from the airport to Oslob (the main area we stayed in.)
I was under the impression that I was going to be doing a lot of relaxing in this country… WRONG. We were outside every single day on some type of adventure, from swimming with Whale Sharks, to Badian Canyoneering.
Bring a swim suit, clothes to throw over your swim suit (loose tank and nike shorts), water shoes, and tennis shoes. If you have a GoPro or a clear case that fits over your phone, bring those as well. There are tons of activities that involve being submerged in water.
I made the mistake of bringing my makeup with me. The humidity as well as the amount of time I spent in water made having makeup packed very useless.
We were gone for a little over a week, and booked everything through Airbnb!
For the majority of the trip we stayed at the Granada Beach Resort. Not only is it extremely affordable, but it is filled with stunning views, oceanfront property for snorkeling, a private massage room that looks over the water, a stunning blue pool, and a breakfast/lunch/dinner bar for your convenience. The resort also has private tour guides there ready to take you on any adventure you want.
You can book this resort through Airbnb like we did, or you can visit their website here.
If you’re a vegan or vegetarian, you’re fresh out of luck in this country. Be prepared to eat nothing but fruit and rice 😉 Luckily Granada Beach Resort had tons of options for me, but being outside of the resort was a bit harder for me to find food. On the other hand, if you DO eat meat, Patrick recommends the Chicharon.
Granada Beach Resort
This resort really has it all! It’s hard to believe that we only paid $70 a night to stay here.
- breakfast, lunch and dinner, and a cute little bar – which was very helpful since we didn’t have our own vehicle.
- private tours – swimming with whale sharks, canyoneering/hiking, coral reef snorkeling/diving, and they have snorkeling right at the resort’s private beach.
- $20 full body massages in a private outdoor room that looks over the ocean!
- a private mini hiking trail that leads you to the ocean.
This was by far my favorite part about the trip! Let me start off by saying that I had never been snorkeling before, so the fact that my first time doing it was with these 30-40 foot creatures was quite intimidating for me. There are tour guides who take you straight from the resort to the beach where you set up to go swimming with these amazing creatures. They give you gear and a quick briefing about what to expect when you’re out in the water. We saw at least 10 of these giants during our time slot – we even got extremely close to a few by accident, but they are filter-feeding mammals that do no harm.
And just so you guys really understand how big these fish are, here’s a scale for comparison!
This is one of the tours you can take from the resort. They make two stops near Sumilon Island for you to go snorkeling/diving, and then they take to the island where there is stunning blue water. The bluest part is caused by a shallow sandbar, this area can get crowded but is still worth the visit to take in the beauty.
Kawasan Falls & Canyoneering
Another one of the tours you take can take is Canyoneering in Badian. This was my first time Canyoneering, so I was a bit nervous (especially because I have a small fear of heights, and there was a lot of cliff jumping involved.) Here is where your water shoes, and extra clothes will come in handy. I wont lie and say it wasn’t a bit scary at first, but what a rush!!! You really get to explore the country in a special way, the combo of beauty, adventure, and pushing yourself is hard to beat. After Canyoneering, they take to to Kawasan Falls, which is one of the most stunning waterfalls I’ve ever seen. The water in both the canyon and by the falls were an absolute dream!
Our last day was spent in Cebu City, which was close to the airport. This place was found on Airbnb – it was extremely affordable, and had an insane infinity pool with views of the city.
Taoist Temple, Beverly Hills
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