Our free round trip tickets to any domestic destination c/o Cebu Pacific were about to expire (recall our free tickets from our Coron trip). The August long weekend was the last good opportunity for us to book these or else we’d have to settle for a short weekend trip. The initial plan was CDO-Camiguin but a couple of people were not available so we booked for Cebu instead and reserved the CDO-Camiguin adventure for next time.


After a few heart-pounding moments (e.g. last-minute arrival at the airport, no available parking until after check-in, last 2 seats for me and Yza, etc), we finally boarded the plane bound for Mactan Cebu International Airport.

DAY 1: Islands Banca Cruises + Larsian

Upon arrival, we were greeted by Ria and Jessa (with Noy Nestor) who will be joining us on our Islands Banca trip. From the airport, we stopped by Marina Mall for a quick grocery and outfit change then went straight to Punta Engaño to kick everything off.

Islands Banca Cruises offers a variety of island hopping and water-based activities in and around Cebu. Each trip is tailor-fitted to the guests needs. For island hopping, you can choose from a variety of stops depending on what you are looking for.

Photo from Islands Banca Cruises website.

We chose 3 island destinations for our trip: Talima Marine Sanctuary, Pandanon Island and Olango Bird Sanctuary.

They also offer 3 different boats depending on the size of the group. We got the butete boat which had a couple of bean bags, an ipod dock, WiFi, towels and a huge floor space enough for fifteen people. Good thing we had a wide boat, compared to the normal pump boats, since the waves were very fierce that day.


First stop was the Talima Marine Sanctuary. We grabbed a snorkel each (rental is at P100) and dove into the vast ocean for fish viewing/feeding. The underwater view was not as we expected since there were not much fish and corals. Talima Marine Sanctuary entrance fee is at P50.


Islands Banca Cruises provided us with packed lunch c/o Cheavers (P150 for grilled BBQ, grilled chicken, ngo hiong, rice and a bottled water) in the banca before going to the next stop.


Next stop was Pandanon Island which is officially part of Bohol already. The view of the white sandbar was enticing from afar.


We alighted the banca and walked all the way to the island. Photo op here and there, a few planking poses, starfish hunting and a quick walk around the island. Pandanon Island entrance fee is at P150.


After around half an hour, we walked back to the banca for our last stop.


Last stop was Olango Bird Sanctuary. After docking at Olango, we took a 15-minute tricycle ride (P250 for 6 people) to the Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary.


From the reception area, we had to walk another 5 minutes along a mini-jungle.


…and then a couple more along a walkway built out of square slabs of cement. These were strategically positioned for you to be very mindful of your steps.


The shed at the end of the walkway was positioned at the middle of the vast swamp where the birds were supposed to be visible.


Olango Island is one of the seven best-known flyways in the world for migrating birds. Its main attraction is its 920-hectare Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary (OIWS), a haven for migratory birds from Siberia, Northern China, and Japan.


They mentioned that the best time of the year to visit the sanctuary was from July to November, just in time for winter in the Northern Hemisphere. However, we only saw a few of birds roaming around the vast area, probably a couple of Chinese Egrets and one or two Far Eastern Curlews. Aside from that, the area was really empty. Olango Bird Sanctuary entrance fee is at P50, with or without birds.


Around 5PM, we were on our way back to Punta Engaño. We dropped the girls at Yza’s house, had to push the van because it won't start (this is definitely not the only battery problem we had during the trip), and then headed to Gran Prix Econotel for the guys to check-in. After the quick showers, everyone met up again for dinner.


Larsian was the food choice for the first day. We ordered our hearts out with around 40 pieces of puso (rice wrapped in woven coconut leaves shaped like a diamond) and around 40 sticks of a variety of barbeque, chorizo, hotdog, isaw and chicken. The damage was P150/pax and bloated stomachs.


DAY 2: Esoy’s Hot Springs + Dimsum + Sky Adventure

The second day started with a 2-hour road trip up north to Catmon which started at 9AM. We had a couple of stopovers to buy food for lunch and snacks. After buying 3 lechon manoks, hot bibingkas, a bag of masi and 70 pieces of puso, we were back on the road.


We arrived at Esoy’s Hot Springs hours ahead of the rest of the Urgels (this was originally an Urgel outing, we just came with them). We had to eat lunch ahead and just relaxed in the hot pool until they arrived.


Esoy’s Hot Springs is composed of a hot pool, a mini-river and waterfalls at the far end. Advanced booking is required and Esoy, the owner, and his family are the ones personally entertaining the guests including being the guides for the “obstacle course” you have to go through before reaching the waterfalls.


When the Urgels arrived, they had their quick lunch (and second lunch for us! -- with lechon and ngo hiong and manok Bisaya on the table) and then we were ready to start a very unique adventure.

With our life vests on, we went down the stairs by the pool and faced our first obstacle, the hanging bridge. This bridge allows you to cross to the other side where the path to the waterfalls start. If you look down, a deep body of water greets you.


After the hanging bridge, we had to make our way around very huge rocks (some dry, others very slippery) and bodies of water (some just ankle-deep, others require you to swim through). After everything, we finally reached the waterfalls.


The setting was a deep body of water surrounded by tall rock formations. It was a bit dark with just a ray of light going through where the waterfalls are coming from.


The first question when we got there was, “Can we jump off the waterfalls?” The answer was yes, but you’d have to climb a steep rock mountain around the area to reach the jump-off point. As they say, it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.

The Urgel brothers and Wilex were up to the challenge and started their ascent immediately while everyone were enjoying the swim and waterfalls while waiting for the boys to jump.

After around 10 minutes, the boys were already visible from the jump-off area so everyone were very excited for them. One by one, the guys jumped off the waterfalls. The exhilarating experience left a big smile on their faces as they swim back to the shore (video at the end of this post). Little did they know that the waterfalls jump was just a warm-up to what will happen later.

After some photos, swimming around, story-telling and some bonding, we headed back to the hanging bridge. Obstacle course again. When we reached the hanging bridge, Sir Esoy issued a challenge to jump off the hanging bridge area to the deep body of water below which was a bit deeper than the waterfalls jump (video at the end of this post).

Everyone tried the jump: the Urgel kids, me, Wilex, Billy and Dan. As a bonus, Dan discovered that he actually knows how to swim when he took off his life vest before jumping (well, after a minute of encouragement from everyone). Congrats Dan!

From that point on, everyone was just looking for a spot to jump even if it means rock climbing (and I mean just using the natural curves of the rock walls) their way to a jump-off point.


Just when everyone thought it’s time to leave already, Sir Esoy issued one last challenge: to jump off the top of the hanging bridge. From my best estimate, it was around 25 feet from the jump-off point to the surface of the water. This does not include yet the depth of the water in case anything happens. Everyone thought it was a joke but when Sir Esoy and his daughter sampled the very high jump, the Urgel boys were stoked to do the same (video at the end of this post).


After their jump, Wilex and I decided to follow suit. I was warned by Mico that standing on that ledge makes you think twice about jumping. And it was indeed true. But I was there already, the only thing to do was jump.

…and I’m glad I did. I slightly bit my lower lip with the water impact though, but it was all worth it.


Everybody was dead tired but Esoy and the Urgel boys still had enough energy to do a sideways rock climbing along the walls (I’m sure there’s a term for that since it was not technically ‘climbing’, but whatever).


After a couple more minutes, it was time to go home. After packing up and settling down, we were on the road back to the city.

Esoy’s Hot Springs is arguably the best part of the whole trip!

Dimsum was the dinner option for this night. We went straight to Dimsum Break near Mango Square, without Yza this time. We ordered the famous steamed rice for everyone plus 6 more dimsum dishes: Chicken Feet, Garlic Pork, Sweet and Sour Pork, Steamed Shrimp Balls, Quail Egg Siomai and Crab Pincers. The damage was around P150 per person and bloated stomachs yet again.

A quick drop-by to the hotel and then off we went to Crown Regency for the Sky Adventure. We went up around 10:30PM already and it closes at 12MN during Sundays. The rates for the rides alone are as follows: Entrance Fee – P250, Entrance with one ride – P550, Entrance with two rides – P750. You can get better deals if you get the packages which include lunch/dinner buffets.

The Skywalk Extreme had a very long queue so we decided to just go with the Edge Coaster. Dan and Wilex paired up first while Billy and I were out in the balcony to take some photos. Right after, Billy and I queued up. It was my second time to experience the Edge Coaster so I pretty much knew what to expect (well, except the feeling of tilting the seat 5° more!) while Billy… well, I’ll just let the pictures tell the story.


After the ride, we stayed for a while at the balcony, observing the people ziplining across the busy streets of Cebu. Then, we finally called it a night.

DAY 3: Orange Brutus + Magellan’s Cross + Ayala + Marco Polo + Go Karting + Casa Verde + Bubble Bee Tea House

The original plan for Day 3 was Kawasan Falls, another 2-hour drive but going south. But after the Catmon experience, Yza and I thought it would be a bit redundant and worse, pale in comparison to Esoy’s hot springs. So we decided to just relax for the last day with a city tour.

First agenda for the day was lunch at Orange Brutus with Dan and Wilex (Billy was off to his relatives for the morning while Yza had to do personal stuff). They ordered the burger steak while I had the lumpiang shanghai. Bloated again, as usual.

We were then headed downtown to Magellan’s cross. After the tourist-style picture-taking and a quick visit to the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño, we were back on the road to uptown Cebu.


We were at Ayala Cebu to meet up with Billy. After a couple of hours of window shopping, actual shopping and waiting, we went back to the car to head for Marco Polo where I’ll be quickly meeting up with my sister. But as soon as we got into the car, it wouldn’t start! Turns out, after Billy pointed it out, I forgot to turn off the headlights when we got off earlier which drained the battery. After waiting for a few minutes for the mall security vehicle to arrive for a jumpstart, we were back on the road, me all sweaty.

Dropped by quickly at Marco Polo to say hi to my sister, Nica, who had just one week left in her internship in the said hotel. Ordered the huge Mango Ensaymada while waiting for my mother and my other relatives to arrive.


Then, off we went to the only energy-spending activity lined up for the day, Go Karting.

The Kartzone at F. Cabahug St. offers 8 laps of karting for P300, and a rental fee of P25 for the face mask, which I think looks like the ones used by bank robbers in movies.


Dan passed up since it required too much energy for his relaxing day so it was just me, Billy and Wilex. After watching the orientation video and observing the ongoing race, it was our turn. I was given the #8 go-kart while Billy and Wilex got the #14 and #15 ones. Too bad, the lap times were not readily available so it was purely for fun.


Dropped by the nearby Jollibee where Dan was waiting, ordered light snacks then headed back to the hotel to get ready for the last dinner in Cebu: Casa Verde.

Yza, Ria and Jessa were already in the middle of their dessert when we got there. Wilex and I ordered Brian’s Ribs (the famous baby back ribs for P188), Billy ordered the Shrimps on the Barbie (skewered shrimps for P168) while Dan ordered the Chicken, Mushroom, Cheese (fajita for P190). Billy also ordered dessert based on cookies and cream ice cream which I can’t remember the name of.


It was actually my first time to try their ribs and I was satisfied with what I ordered. I might order that again next time when I go back.

Last stop for the night is Bubble Bea Tea House located along the North Reclamation Area in Mandaue City. BBTH has become popular for people looking for a place to unwind and relax. Aside from their milk tea offerings and refreshing beverages, they also boast of their creative interior decors, soothing ambiance, free WiFi, karaoke selections and board games for people to borrow and play with (with an accumulated purchase of P500 or more).


We ordered a different kind of milk tea each (I can’t enumerate everything anymore) and some fries and borrowed Uno Stacko. We just played for the remainder of the night with the classic unison screaming every time the blocks fall down. This game just never gets old.


Around 11PM, we called it a night.

The video below summarizes the whole Cebu trip.

Our flight back to Manila was 9:45AM the next day, and take note, we checked in at the last minute again. When will we ever learn?

*Some photos courtesy of Billy Sy and the Urgel waterproof camera.



  1. i LOVE your blog! - kat :)

  2. @Anonymous thanks kat! ngayon mo lang ba ito nakita?

  3. hehe, nope. dati pa, since nagpalawan tayo :) na-sad ako na hindi ako kasama sa cebu pero naenjoy ko yung post :D sayang walang video si lex!

  4. @Anonymous ahh, hehe oo nga eh. meron naman siyang video pero yung sa waterfalls lang. ung sa high jump, di ko na sinama yung kay wilex kasi ung simula ng video, nasa tubig na siya. Hindi kasi nag-antay ng go signal eh. Haha.

  5. Boo!!!! Sucks I wasn't able to go! BOO!!! Haba ng post dude! Di ko pa binasa. Hahaha!

  6. @Chino no rush tsong. take your time! :) sama ka next time.

  7. "with or without birds" BENTAAAAA! Hahaha!

  8. ang galing naman! thank you, gusto ko tuloy bumalik cebu.

  9. liars!  your camera date is 9 28 2011

  10. oops.haha sorry about the camera date. just borrowed the cam from my dad and apparently the date's not set correctly. =s