Contributed by Laag ni Josh
Every time I visit Dumaguete, my outgoing flight to Manila is always via Cebu — at least most of the time. This is because flights to Manila from Cebu are cheaper than from Dumaguete. There are also many natural and manmade tourist spots, including waterfalls and beaches, to visit in or outside Cebu.
Also read: 48 Hours in Cebu: What to See and Do
This option always disappoints some of my friends in Manila as they always ask for sansrival or silvanas. Now you know, friends!
Also read: Can’t Help Falling in Love with Cebu
On my trip last year, with the help of my couple friends, I was able to visit three beautiful spots in and near the city of Cebu in five hours. It was like an amazing race as I needed to catch my flight at 3pm.
The night before leaving Dumaguete, I asked my friends (who were a couple) to tour me around Cebu since I had a few hours to spare. My flight was originally scheduled at noon. From Dumaguete, I took the 10.30pm Ceres bus trip to Cebu and arrived in the city at around 3am. It was very early in the morning and my friends were still asleep, so I dozed off at the bus terminal and woke up with a message that my flight was moved to 3pm. I immediately informed the couple that I had an additional three hours to spare. Our tour, however, started at around 10am because they woke up late.
My friends arrived with only one motorbike because the one I used on my last visit to the city was not available. Since we were not sure on how to get to our first destination, I booked a habal-babal (motorcyle) for a roundtrip at ₱400. Habal-habal drivers, located in JY Supermarket in Lahug near the IT Park, are familiar with how to get to most of Cebu’s top destinations.
First stop: TIEZA Botanical Garden in Busay
Located in a secluded and elevated farm in Barangay Malubog, it took us about an hour to get here as we had to pass by narrow, landslide-hit, and slippery roads. TIEZA Botanical Garden, previously known as Kan-irag Golf Course, is now managed by the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA).
This spot offers a mini-lake, pine trees, unleashed goats and cows, fresh air, and a nice overlooking view of downtown Cebu. There’s no entrance fee here but you are always free to give cash donations. Thirty minutes later, we were off to our next destination.
Second stop: Terrazas de Flores Botanical Garden in Busay
You’ll find Terrazas de Flores Botanical Garden along the highway. On the way back, we stopped to pay a visit. The flowers at this spot are perfectly arranged to form flower terraces, hence the name.
Locals say that these flower terraces are the first and only in the country. They also have a cafe at the top and homelike cabanas where you can relax. The entrance fee is at ₱100. We left after 20 minutes.
Last stop: 10,000 Roses Cafe in Cordova
Before heading to this spot, we stopped by at my friends’ apartment to freshen up. I booked a Grab ride to this cafe for about ₱350 (less 30% off promo code) while the couple went ahead on their motorbike. It was traffic that time and I was still at the Mactan-Mandaue Bridge at around 12.40pm. The driver said that I would definitely miss my 3pm flight if I would still visit this cafe. I had missed a couple of flights already so I couldn’t afford to miss another one. I asked my friends if I could still make it on time to the airport. They confidently said yes, so I proceeded and arrived at this cafe at around 1.20pm.
You’ll find the 10,000 artificial white roses on the front lawn of the two-storey cafe built at the end of the Cordova Tourism Center. Many said it’s best to visit this spot during night time since these are LED flowers. Just beside this cafe is the Lantaw Floating Native Restaurant. Time was running out, so we only took a few pictures and drove to the airport. The entrance fee, by the way, is ₱20.
Also read: Cafe-hopping in Metro Cebu: My Top 11 Picks
I arrived at the airport at 2.35pm. Luckily, my flight was delayed. The plane left at 4pm and landed in Manila past 5pm. I took a nap at home and reported to work at 11pm. Amazing, eh?
That’s how we were able to visit three tourist spots in Cebu with very limited time. These are just among the many beautiful places the city of Cebu and its nearby areas have plenty to offer.
Book a two or three-day stay for you to enjoy and experience these simple wonders.
And oh, if you are going to visit these spots, try visiting Sirao Garden too, the little Amsterdam of the Philippines. You’ll find it just around two km north of TIEZA Botanical Garden.
Watch out for my next blog post about other must-visit locations in Cebu soon.