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6 Secret Places in Cebu That Should Be on Your Radar

Vacation like a true local at these hidden gems in Cebu!

By: Peter Parcon | January 01, 2024
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secret places in Cebu, hidden gems in Cebu, place to visit in Cebu

Cebu has several places locals visit when they want to de-stress over the weekend.

Images: Carnaza Island, Daanbantayan, Cebu (L); Hale Manna Coastal Gardens (R) Facebook pages

Even as the beaches of Cebu are already well-known among local and international tourists, the island has much more to offer its visitors. There are several secret places in Cebu the locals have been seeing each time they want to unwind. You may have heard about these hidden gems in Cebu but have yet to learn where they are or how to get there. Today is your lucky day since we are giving out some of the best-kept secret places in Cebu to locals looking to escape the daily grind of life.

Check out this list of unknown places to visit in Cebu.


1. Carnaza Island

Where: Carnaza, Daanbantayan, Cebu
Room Rates: PhP200 a night


Secret Places in Cebu - Hidden Gems in Cebu - Cebu, secret places in Cebu

Setting up a tent is the cheapest and best way to enjoy the beauty Carnaza Island has to offer.

Image: Carnaza Island, Daanbantayan, Cebu Facebook page

On our first list of hidden gems in Cebu is Carnaza Island, another little-known vacation secret place in Cebu. Located off the northern coast of Cebu, the island offers a unique destination for people looking to escape the stress of city life. The island is gradually becoming a popular vacation spot since it is relatively less developed than other tourist destinations in Cebu. While the island only has one resort, there are several places to visit in Cebu, like beach resorts where visitors can set up a tent. Aside from swimming in this secret place in Cebu, visitors can also go snorkeling, cliff jumping, or island hopping.

While there is a community living on the island, bringing your food is ideal to ensure you have enough provisions while on the island.

You may contact them at the following numbers: 0936 7316495, 0999 8609761, 0936 7316495.

How to get there: Here’s a guide to this hidden gem in Cebu; from the Cebu North Bus Terminal, take a bus headed for Maya-Kawit. Tell the driver to drop you off at the Tapilon Port. At the port, going to this secret place in Cebu, hop on a boat headed for Carnaza Island.


2. Lambug White Beach

Where: Lambug Beach Road, Badian, Cebu
Rates: Entrance Fee: PhP45 per head; Cottage: Starts at PhP500 a night


Secret Places in Cebu - Hidden Gems in Cebu - Cebu, hidden gems in Cebu

Setting up a tent is the cheapest and best way to enjoy the beauty Carnaza Island has to offer.

Image: Carnaza Island, Daanbantayan, Cebu Facebook page

Lambug White Beach is one of the best-kept secret places in Cebu. Usually, visitors flock to Mactan Island if they want to dip in Cebu’s beaches due to its proximity to the city. But there are many other hidden gems in Cebu in the southern part of Cebu. Lambug White Beach boasts powder-white sand that can rival the best the archipelago has to offer. You can stroll along the beach or dip in its crystal-clear waters. This is one of the best secret places in Cebu because you can also go snorkeling and explore a coral reef close to the beach. Moreover, the beach does not have an entrance fee. If you intend to stay the night, there are several places to visit in Cebu, offering rooms or areas where you can set up a tent.

While setting up a tent is affordable, staying at these one-of-a-kind secret places in Cebu is ideal to take advantage of the resort's facilities.

You may contact Lambug Beach Homestay at 0916 7620044 for bookings.

How to get there: To explore one of the secret places in Cebu, from the Cebu South Bus Terminal, get on a bus headed for Badian or Oslob. Tell the driver to drop you off at the Badian town center. You can get on a tricycle from the town to Lambug White Beach.


3. Santiago Bay Garden and Resort

Where: Santiago Bay, San Francisco, Camotes Islands, Cebu
Rates: Start at PhP1,100 a night


Secret Places in Cebu - Hidden Gems in Cebu - Cebu, place to visit in Cebu

Guests can take a dip at the beach or the infinity pool of Santiago Bay Garden and Resort.

Image: Santiago Bay Garden and Resort Facebook page

The next spot in our list of secret places in Cebu is Located in the Lost Horizon of the South; Santiago Bay Garden and Resort is among the pioneering resorts in the Camotes Island group. Established in 2000, this hidden gem in Cebu sits on a 2.5-hectare property featuring lush, landscaped greenery overlooking a white-sand beach and azure-blue waters. Additionally, it is one of the go-to resorts of locals visiting the Camotes Island group. Amongst the secret places in Cebu, this resort features two infinity pools for guests not keen to dip in the beach. Meanwhile, guests need help to think of this place to visit in Cebu only but, looking for their adrenaline fix for the day, can take advantage of the aqua sports offered at the resort.

While taking a bus from the Cebu North Bus Terminal is the cheapest option, you can also take a fast craft to this secret place in Cebu from the Mactan Wharf of Island Central Mactan Mall to reach the Camotes Island group.

You may contact them at the following numbers: 0999 8899999, 032 2310639.

How to get there: From the Mactan-Cebu International Airport, take a taxi to the Mactan Wharf and get on a fast craft headed for Camotes. Once you reach the port in Camotes Island, hop on a motorcycle-for-hire and tell the driver to take you to Santiago Bay Garden and Resort.


4. Maravilla Beach

Where: Barangay Maravilla, Tabuelan, Cebu
Rates: PhP1,500 (inclusive of two-way fare, tent fee, and three meals)


Secret Places in Cebu - Hidden Gems in Cebu - Cebu, secret places in Cebu

While Maravilla Beach is one of the best-kept secrets of Cebu, it is gradually becoming a popular weekend destination among locals.

Image: The Tree Sunset Facebook page

Another secret place in Cebu that is popular among locals is Maravilla Beach in Tabuelan, Cebu. Like Lambug White Beach in Badian, Maravilla Beach is a public beach with no entrance fee. There are so many beaches in Cebu, but this hidden gem in Cebu has fine white sand comparable to the white-sand beaches of Boracay Island. Aside from swimming, being one of the secret places in Cebu, you can also go snorkeling in the area or take a stroll exploring the beach. While several resorts are on the site, you can also set up a tent on the beach after paying a minimal camping or tent fee. There are also some food stalls offering different food options to visitors. It’s a place to visit in Cebu while you’re on vacation.

Setting a tent on the beach at this one of the hidden gems in Cebu is the most affordable and ideal way to stay the night at Maravilla Beach since the barangay tanods (neighborhood watchmen) patrol the area at night for the safety of visitors.

How to get there: From the Cebu North Bus Terminal, ride on a van headed for Tabuelan. Once you reach the Tabuelan bus and van terminal, get on a motorcycle-for-hire and tell the driver to take you to Maravilla Beach.


5. Hale Manna Coastal Gardens

Where: Barangay Bas Daku, Saavedra, Moalboal, Cebu
Room Rates: Start at PhP4,800 a night


Secret Places in Cebu - Hidden Gems in Cebu - Cebu, hidden gems in Cebu

Hale Manna Coastal Gardens offers a tranquil retreat for guests looking for inner harmony in a beach setting.

Image: Hale Manna Coastal Gardens Facebook page

The southern town of Moalboal is home to some of the best diving spots on the island, but they are also included in secret places in Cebu as they offer many hidden gems to discover. While visitors have numerous options where they can stay, Hale Manna Coastal Gardens is one of the hidden gems in Cebu! It offers more than just a bed to lie down after exploring the world under the sea. The resort also embraces the best practices and principles of sustainable tourism. Draped cottages with mattresses and hammocks are also in no short supply in this secret place in Cebu. It allows guests to appreciate the beauty of nature while enjoying the fresh sea breeze. This is more than just a place to visit in Cebu; guests can go on water adventures such as snorkeling, kayaking, or diving. The resort also has a saltwater swimming pool, offering a relaxed and therapeutic experience. Afternoons can be spent lounging on a floating raft or watching the sunset at a cottage overlooking the sea.

Staying over the weekend at these secret places in Cebu is the best way to recharge after a whole week of stress at work. You may contact them at the following numbers: 0917 1777503, 0999 2276031, 032 3530596.

How to get there: Going to this hidden gem in Cebu from the Cebu South Bus Terminal, ride a bus headed for Moalboal. Once you reach the town, hop on a tricycle or motorcycle-for-hire and tell the driver to take you to Hale Manna Coastal Gardens.


6. West 35 Eco Mountain Park Resort

Where: Km. 35 Transcentral Highway, Gaas, Balamban Cebu City
Room Rates: Start at PhP5,200 a night


Secret Places in Cebu - Hidden Gems in Cebu - Cebu, place to visit in Cebu

Locals normally troop to the West 35 Eco Mountain Park Resort to breathe of fresh mountain air.

Image: West 35 Eco Mountain Resort Facebook page

While the province may be well-known for its beaches, it also has several secret places in Cebu, such as mountain retreats, offering a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of the city. One of these hidden gems in Cebu is West 35 Eco Mountain Park Resort. Situated in the mountains of Balamban, the resort espouses preservation and sustainability while providing guests with a panoramic view of Cebu. This is not just the usual secret places in Cebu that have majestic views, but this resort also features a children’s playground and a zipline. If you want to enjoy the fresh mountain air while having lunch, you can stay at the Haven Café. The viewing deck of the resorts gives you a 360-degree view of the mountains of Balamban. Meanwhile, the resort offers several rooms with complimentary breakfast if you want to stay the night.

Tip: Staying a night at these secret places in Cebu is ideal if you want to experience a foggy morning at the West 35 Eco Mountain Park Resort. It is not a place to visit in Cebu, but you can stay a night!

You may contact the resort at the following numbers: 0966 2497256, 0915 4651124, 0923 1590721.

How to get there: From JY Discovery Mall in Lahug, you can hop on a motorcycle-for-hire and tell the driver to take you to West 35 Eco Mountain Park Resort.


These are just some of the lesser-known destinations popular among locals. Maybe it’s time for you to explore Cebu again and see what other places the island offers.


For more of the places to travel in Cebu, make sure to head over to Yoorekka Magazine.


This article was initially published in Yoorekka on September 11, 2019.


Rates may change without prior notice.


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About Peter Parcon
After leaving spending 16 years of his professional life in the academe, Peter decided to try his luck in the world of online freelancing. For the past eight years, he has been creating content for clients all around the world. He can work on just about any topic - from tattoos to technology and food to finance. He dreams of visiting every island in the archipelago some day.
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Disclaimer: All articles in the Consumers Magazine of Yoorekka are for general information and entertainment purposes only. Although careful research has been made in writing them, Yoorekka does not make any warranty about the completeness and accuracy of all information presented in our articles. Our content is not intended to be used in place of legal, medical, or any professional advice.
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