All you need to know about Cebu & Bohol
Neighbouring island-provinces Cebu and Bohol are the most accessible destinations in the glorious Central Visayas region, with the greatest choice of things to see and do. But they also serve as hopping points to thousands of spectacular smaller islands within their provinces and the rest of the region.
Cebu City – a smaller, more relaxed version of Manila – has the benefit of direct international flights. The Philippines’ oldest city and first capital, it’s also chock-a-block with 16th-century Spanish colonial relics. Ferries from Cebu City take you to Bohol Island in two hours.
Why it’s more fun in Cebu & Bohol
Both Cebu and Bohol and the smaller islands appeal to those who love adventurous activities, with everything from water sports including diving and canyoneering to skydiving and zip-lining are on the offer. On a more sedate level, there’s also the likes of yoga and cycling, wildlife encounters including whale and thresher sharks, dolphins and sea turtles, plus those pristine beaches for when you want to totally kick back and relax.
Badian Cebu Jacob
Culture & Food
Despite being a tropical-island paradise, Cebu and Bohol have a rich history. This is where Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan planted the Cross of Christianity in 1521, which paved the way for Spanish colonization. This historical wealth manifests itself everywhere from the colonial architecture and museums of Cebu City to the ancestral homes and centuries-old churches of Bohol.
Cebu is also famous for its sweet mangoes – locals love to pair them with a steamed rice cake called puto and a cup of locally made hot chocolate called ‘sikwate’. But there’s plenty of other incredible local fare to be sampled – not least in Cebu City with its fantastic choice of restaurants and street-food stalls. Don’t miss local dishes ‘ngohiong’ (a deep-fried appetizer filled with julienned vegetables), ‘sutukil’, which stands for ‘sugba’ (grill), ‘tula’ or ‘tuwa’ (soup) and ‘kilaw’ (ceviche), lechon de Cebu (stuffed roasted pig) and ‘puso’ or ‘hanging’ rice wrapped in coconut leaves.
Sinulog Festival Erwin Lim
Top Events & Festivals
- Sinulog – 3rd Sunday in January
Cebu’s biggest festival, when devotees flock to Cebu City to pay homage to Señor Sto. Niño while revellers enjoy the many activities and the Mardi Gras type grand parade where colourful costumes amidst exciting drum beats are displayed.
- Saulog Festival – 22 April-1 May
Celebrates the spirit of Tagbilaran City with a slew of activities such as bazaars, food festivals, cooking contests and cultural shows.
- Kadaugan sa Mactan, Lapu-Lapu City – 27 April
A week-long commemoration of the historic battle of Mactan between the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan and Mactan chieftain Datu Lapu-Lapu.
Fiesta Month – May
It’s fiesta every day in Bohol. Boholanos come home to Bohol to celebrate local feast days in different localities in the province.
- Sandugo Festival – July
Bohol’s spectacular annual festival, with historical shows, sports events, pageants, street-dancing and the re-enactment of the blood compact between Rajah Sikatuna and Spanish explorer Miguel Lopez de Legaspi.
- Iron Man 70.3 Championship, Cebu – 1st Sunday of August
A test of will and strength where only the strong and determined can prevail. See the world’s toughest athletes as they battle it out in one of the world’s most popular triathlon franchises.
Tropical, with dry and wet seasons – March to May and June to February – and an average high temperature of 30°C.
Check out the weather today in Cebu & Bohol
Top 10 things to do in Cebu & Bohol
Kawasan Falls James Relfdyer
1. Scuba Dive
Scuba dive and explore the underwater gardens of Moalboal, Malapascua Island and Balicasag Island.
2. Kawasan Falls
Go cliff diving, canyoneering or swimming at Kawasan Falls, 40mins from Moalboal.
3. Chocolate Hills
Soak in the iconic sight of Bohol Island’s cone-shaped Chocolate Hills.
Tarsier Sanctuary Bohol Jacob
4. Tarsier Sanctuary
See conservation in action at Bohol’s Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary – one of the few places where these nocturnal creatures thrive in a natural habitat.
5. Loboc River
Take a relaxing cruise amidst the scenic and rustic tableau of the Loboc River.
6. Dolphins in Olango channel
Go island-hopping – whether along the Olango channel or in the Bohol Sea where playful dolphins live.
Discover smaller islands such as Siquijor with its rustic charm attracting mainly Europeans looking for a relaxing island life, Apo, Cabilao, Camotes and Bantayan. Enjoy the thrill of a skydive at Bantayan Island.
Loboc River Bohol James Relfdyer
8. History at Fort San Pedro
Explore Cebu City and retrace history at Fort San Pedro, Plaza Sugbu and the Parian District.
9. Masaplod Norte marine reserve
Discover the small coastal town of Dauin, known for its snorkelling, its macrodiving in the Masaplod Norte marine reserve, and its boat trips to nearby Apo.
Don’t miss the City of Dumaguete with its waterfront bars and restaurants and fascinating anthropology museum.
Where to stay in Cebu and Bohol
Cebu and Bohol: Both Cebu and Bohol have a wide array of accommodation, including luxury options perfect for beach retreats.
Mactan and Panglao Islands: Mactan Island next to Cebu City is especially popular, as is Panglao Island, which is linked by a causeway to mainland Bohol.
Cebu City: Most accommodations are located in areas such as Lahug, Gorordo Avenue, Escario and Banilad. Crossroads, Ayala, Citi Times Square and Salinas Drive are popular spots for dining and nightlife.
Bohol: Most scuba divers stay in Mactan, Moalboal and Malapascua in Cebu, and Panglao, Anda and Balicasag Island in Bohol.
Bohol Beach Club
Getting there & away
The city of Bohol is mainly served by Tagbilaran Airport. Flights to and from Tagbilaran to Manila take around 1 hour and 15 minutes. Domestic and budget carriers have daily flights.
It is possible to take a Roll On-Roll Off boat with your vehicle from Cebu to Tagbilaran.
The Tagbilaran City Tourist Port serves boats plying the busy Cebu-Bohol sea traffic and major port cities in Mindanao. A fastcraft ferry ride from Cebu takes about 2 hours.
More travel info
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Wake up in Cebu & Bohol
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Book a holiday
Dreaming of heading to the Philippines? Plan your next adventure and book your ultimate Philippines holiday today. Check out some of the great packages that are currently on offer from tour operators below.
Philippines Palawan Adventure
If you’ve only got time for just one of the Philippines’ tropical destinations, Palawan is it. This eight-day tour brings you to the best of the province from El Nido’s stunning karst stone formations to its turquoise waters and colourful marine life.
9 days from £934pp
Glimpses of the Philippines Tour
Thousands of islands scattered around azure blue waters, eternally warmed by the tropical sun. Add to this happy-go-lucky people, incredible natural wonders and a lifestyle of festivals and music and you have an intriguing recipe for enjoyment and relaxation.
13 days from £2,399pp
Nature and Beach - Bohol & El Nido
Can’t decide between nature and beach – this itinerary is perfect for you. Combine the limestone karst scenery of Palawan, staying at El Nido, with the jungle island of Bohol, Chocolate Mountains, local villages and the unique Tarsiers.
14 days from £2,995pp
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