Cebu Travel Guide With 3D2N Itinerary & Budget: Exploring 5 Stunning Islands in The Northernmost Tip of Cebu

I can genuinely sense the heavy slap on my face whenever my friends ask about the Northernmost tip Islands of Cebu since I always render them a blank face. They have seen me exploring almost more than half of the Province in the Philippines and that includes the Northern portion of Luzon and Southern Part of Mindanao. I truly don’t know why I haven’t explored our very own stunning Islands in the Northernmost tip of Cebu. Perhaps, because at the back of my mind, this would be easy to reach for I’m just in Cebu and anytime, I could get there and explore them. But only recently, after 4 years since I began traveling. I was granted a chance to explore these Islands together with my friends.

So, this blog post includes; travel guide, itinerary and budget. Moreover, you’ll get to know more about the five stunning Islands on the Northernmost tip Island of Cebu, such as Kinatarcan Island, Malapascua Island, Carnaza Island, Gato Island and La Manok Island.

It feels like a dream; an all-encompassing, colorful, beautiful dream. The sun beams on glistening, the harmonies of the wind breeze upon harmonies fill my ears. The sky is a brilliant cobalt blue and that day could not be more complete. I was with my friends who is also passionate about traveling, and I feel like we were all handed a chance to travel to these remote Islands. Some of us have visited some of these Islands, but most of us were first timer.

Yes, there are truly a bunch of white sand beaches and beautiful Islands in Cebu that will surely leave you in awe and I have been to a few of them. But these remote Islands that we have visited were truly that far, and getting there is an adventure itself. Some of these Islands are really uninhabited, some slightly populated, and they’re all repleted with their very own brand of stunning beauty.

Also Read: 10 Must Visit Islands In Cebu


KInatarcan Island (Guintacan Island), or mostly recognized as Kinatarkan by locals is a charming island that offers travelers the chance to experience rustic island life in a peaceful and relaxing environment. This signifies that there are no big chain of resorts on the island and transportation is basic like a motorcycle. Nevertheless, the island guarantees an authentic island experience and beautiful scenery. The island is composed of rocky cliffs on the North side and along the western and eastern side, you’ll be seeing the cloistered white sand beaches. The Kinatarcan (Guintacan) Island is actually part of the Municipality of Santa Fe and situated at the Southern Part of the Visayan sea that is close to Bantayan Island. The whole island is just about nine kilometers long as its length and two kilometers as its width which means ambling around the whole island for only 2-3 hours is very possible.

One of the best spots that this Island has to offer is the La-aw Cove that looks like being trapped and surrounded by a limestone and covered by a canopy of trees which makes the place an umbrageous surroundings and most probably the reason why the water is cold. The lagoon is not that really wide, simply enough to attract your child like sense to play and enjoy its natural beauty. There’s a an improvised swing where a large rope is being wedded to a tree where you can jump on a water just like Tarzan. It’s not that scary as most locals do this, and the water is not that deep, but just make sure to find a perfect timing and release your hand when you jump on a water to avoid accidents. You can as well climb to a very sharp and high limestone cliff and from there you can jump on a water which somehow scary, but you will surely enjoy it. At the eastern and western portion of the Island also own a secluded  beach that has a turquoise water and white sand which will certainly leave you in awe.

For complete travel guide on Kinatarcan (Guintacan) Island, kindly check it here. 


Malapascua Island is situated at the Northern tip of Cebu, Philippines and has long been known as the best diving spot not only in Cebu, but in the Philippines. It has been recognized for possessing a white sand beach or locally named as Bounty beach. Malapascua Island is also known for its stunning coral gardens and a perfect haven for those that loves to plunge and explore the paradise in the ocean. The Island is also known for effortlessly having a Monad Shoal or an underwater plateau where thresher sharks and manta rays can be sighted regularly. Agreeing to an expert, thresher sharks choose to be on this island because of the group of fish that is intended to clean the thresher sharks which makes them comfortably always going back. It’s genuinely interesting and hopefully I could take a look on it someday.

For complete travel guide on Malapascua Island, kindly check it here


Carnaza Island is partially shrouded in low mountains, evergreen rainforest and a couple of jungle viewpoints that serve as excuses for short treks. This island also offers fine white sand beaches that right after a limestone formation is another white beach to discover and enjoy. The stunning views towards several limestone outcrops rising from the sea is like the spine of an ancient dragon that meets the sturdy waves and the surface of every limestone formation. The waters that surround the island is teal and full of life and a great playground for those that really love to plunge under the paradise of the ocean.

Believe me or not, but the exciting way to amble around the island is on foot and that’s really an amazing adventure that everyone should experience. Whatever you do on Carnaza Island, it is always done in surroundings that can only be truly described as paradise. It is still so unspoiled that you can’t find any Beach Resort on this Island, except for the private Osmeña owned by the Osmeña family. This Island is truly for the isolated feel for you get to just set up your tent and sleep under the captivating light of the stars at night time. But, of everything that this Island has to offer, the very thing that you will really enjoy is the relaxation and eschewing of the tourist trail that leads to serenity and will bring you closer to an innate nature’s bounty.

For complete travel guide on Carnaza Island, kindly check it here.


The La Manok Island serves as a pit stop for the fishermen, since this Island is close to the Island of Carnaza, Daanbantayan, Cebu where most of the fishermen came from. The whole island does not own a resident here, but there’s a three humble house made from a bamboo and covered with a beautiful weave coconut frond as well as the roof. This serves as the rest house of the fishermen from their fishing trips. There are three small islands that composed La Manok Island. The first Island owns a high and big limestone that looks like a mushroom when you view it from afar. This Island is actually tied to the other side of the Island through the white sandbar as this where probably the name of the Island came from. The “La Manok” is a Bisaya term that means “The chicken-less Island” in which the white sandbar connects the Hen and the Cock.

For complete travel guide on La Manok Island or Isla La Manok, kindly check it here.


Gato Island is a rocky Island that looks like selfishly rises in the midriff of the sea and located in the middle of the Visayan Sea. It is said to be the sea snake sanctuary. It owns five dive sites, namely Whitetip Alley, Nudibranch City, The Guardhouse reef, The Cave, The Tunnel and the Cathedral Rock. It holds a huge diversity of marine life with a beautiful coral formation and are in good condition. This is in truth a perfect haven for those that love to explore the underwater paradise.

It is known to be a rocky Island with many interesting underwater rock formations and a lot more. Truly, this Island is abundant in marine species such as banded sea snakes, stingrays, tuna, snappers, Nudibranchs, porcupine fish, cuttlefish, seahorses, puffer fish, scorpion fish and mantis shrimp. The divers can also see schools of squid and big-mouthed mackerel. Gato Island is also known for sightings of sharks such as the cat, bamboo and white tip reef sharks resting in the cave and under rocks. There were also bats and birds flying outside the Island, which I guess they believe it as their home where they can freely multiply themselves without the interference of human existence.

For complete travel guide on Gato Island, kindly check it here.

Have you been to these Islands?  How was your overall experience? I’m certain that you truly had an amazing island life in these Islands cause during our visit, we genuinely have enjoyed everything that these Islands has to offer.


  • Fare from Cebu-Daanbantayan (Regular Bus) – Php 160
  • Breakfast – Php 100
  • Fare Daanbantayan to Port going to Guintarcan Island –  Php 10
  • Boat rental going to the Guintarcan Island (good for 10-15 passengers), including the food for 2 days Island adventure – Php 500
  • Fare from Port – Daanbantayan proper – Php 10
  • Fare Daanbantayan – Maya Port – Php 10
  • Fare Maya Port – Malapascua – Php 100
  • Additional charge for a mini boat transfer – Php 40
  • Dinner at Ging-Ging’s Restaurant on Malapascua Island – Php 115
  • Mr. Kwiiz Resort bed space (fan room) and good for 4 people – Php 350
  • Lunch at Mr. Kwiiz Resort – Php 155
  • Boat rental Malapascua to Carnaza Island Php3,000/10 people – Php 300
  • Boat Rental from Carnaza, Lamanoc Island, Galut Island and going back to Tapilon Port PHP 4000 divided to 13 people – Php 310
  • Fare Tapilon to Cebu City – Php 190

OVER ALL TOTAL for our 3 days and 2 night trip: Php 2,350

Note: This is the good side when you travel with a group of friends, aside from you won’t be spending much, you will as well enjoy so much that you forget about your skin being sun burnt.

3 Days and 2 night Itinerary. Exploring five remote Islands in the Northernmost tip of Cebu. Guintacan (Guintarcan) Island, Malapascua Island, Carnaza Island, La Manok Island and Gato Island.

DAY 1 

  • 1:30 AM- Meet-up at the North Bus Terminal
  • 02:00 AM- Depart from Cebu City
  • 06:30 AM- ETA in Daanbantayan
  • 07:00 AM- Breakfast
  • 07:30 AM- Buying the necessary supplies needed in Guintacan Island
  • 9:30 AM – Depart for Guintarcan Island
  • 10:40 AM- ETA Guintarcan Island
  • 10:50 AM – Trek going to La-aw Lagoon
  • 11:20 AM – ETA La-aw Lagoon
  • 11:30 AM – Swimming in La-aw Lagoon
  • 12:00 PM – Lunch
  • 12:30 PM – Swimming continue
  • 02:00 PM – Depart for Daanbantayan
  • 03:15PM – ETA at Daanbantayan
  • 03:30 PM – Depart for Maya Port
  • 03:50 PM – ETA in Maya Part
  • 04:00 PM- Buying all the necessary supplies for 2 days Island adventure. 05:00 PM – Depart for Malapascua Island
  • 05:30 PM – ETA Malapascua Island
  • 05:50 PM – Looking for a Hostel to stay in Malapascua for a night
  • 09:00 PM – Dinner
  • 10:00 PM – Social
  • 11:30 PM – Rest time


  • 07:00 AM – Prepare for breakfast
  • 08:30 AM – Breakfast
  • 09:30 AM – Exploring Malapascua Island
  • 11:00 AM – Prepare for check out at Mr. Kwiiz Beach Resort
  • 11:50 PM – Check out
  • 12:00 PM – Lunch at Mr. Kwiiz Beach Resort
  • 02:00 PM – Depart for Carnaza Island
  • 03:30 PM – ETA Carnaza Island
  • 04:00 PM – exploring the Island and chasing sunrise
  • 06:30 PM – Prepare for Dinner
  • 08:30 PM – Dinner
  • 09:30 PM – Social
  • 12:00 AM – Rest time

DAY 3 

  • 05:00 AM – Wake up and prepare for sunrise viewing
  • 05:30 AM – Sunrise viewing
  • 06:30 AM – Prepare for breakfast
  • 08:30 AM – Cleaning the camping area
  • 09:00 AM – Breakfast
  • 09:00 AM – Prepare for La Manok Island
  • 10:00 AM – Depart for La Manok
  • 11:20 AM – ETA La Manok Island
  • 11:30 AM – Explore and enjoying La Manok Island
  • 12:30 PM – Lunch
  • 01:00 PM – Depart for Gato Island
  • 02:20 PM – side trip on Gato Island for a while
  • 02:30 PM – Depart for Tapilon Port
  • 04:00 PM – ETA Tapilon Port
  • 04:10 PM – Quick wash up at the Karederia (food beanery).
  • 05:00 PM – Depart for Cebu City
  • 09:30 PM – ETA Cebu City
  • 10:00 PM – Home sweet home.


I would like to thank Master Arnold of Wandering Soul Scamper for the invitation and for planning the whole trip. To John Jay of Wandering Feet PH, James of ASANASADSIJAMES, Gly of Chasing Potatoes, Mike Laagan of The Traveling Panda, Sean of His Hidden Letters, Dilon of Chasing Wonders, to Gelai of Wanderanghela for always making sure that we have luscious food to eat, to Angel, Kevin and Duke that I have just met, may I still see you on our next adventure and to Rome of Basta Bisaya and Totem of Totemgineer. Thank you so much guys for the fun filled adventure that I have experienced together with you all. See you all on our next adventure again!


  1. This is very timely as I have an upcoming trip to Cebu (last week of June). I can’t believe you were able to explore so many islands in 3 days, wow! And everything just costs 2,350! I love Isla Manok the most! I think I should include this in my itinerary


  2. Wow! The Philippines always makes me fall with it whenever I read about it! I feel my trip wasn’t enough despite being there for almost a month! Malapascua Island was on my list, but somehow I couldn’t make it. I just touched upon Cebu. More reasons to be back! Awesome pics 🙂


  3. I spent almost three months at Bohol last year and didn’t make it to Cebu! The Philippines is such a beautiful country with so many islands to explore! That’s a wonderful itinerary. Another reason to go back!


  4. I totally get that feeling! Its awful that we tend to be aloof about the places around us, coz of the tendency that we could visit it at any time!!!
    Good to know you finally managed to explore your own backyard! La-aw is indeed awe inspiring!!!


  5. Wow! Okay, can you plan every trip of mine?! I love how organized and easy you make it to find out everythign about northern Cebu! I usually just show up and wing it. I love that you’ve broken down the costs and itinerary for the ill-prepared travellers like me, haha.


  6. Malapascua Island is one of the places I wish to visit in Cebu, but always not push through. Thanks for sharing your estimate transportation expenses, and its not expensive pala. Awesome!


  7. This is the first time that I have read about most of these islands. You’re lucky to visit them. I love your photos. gave me a good idea of what these places look like. There are really a lot of beautiful places in the Philippines.


  8. Till the time I read your Cebu series of posts, I was thinking that it’s a very small place. But now I know there is so much to do and see in Cebu. Definitely on my bucket list…


  9. It is an absolute pleasure reading your blog for 2 reasons:
    1. The detailed itinerary
    2. The fabulous pics!
    Your Cebu posts make want to fly there asap. The islands look fantastic!


  10. I’ve been to Malapascua, unfortunately I was there only for little more than a whole day. It actually became more of a gateway to Kalanggaman Island during my trip. Which is a shame, but can’t be helped since the travel was quite exhausting. Damn, I feel old. 😣


  11. I am actually going to Cebu tomorrow from Bacolod. I feel awful reading this late as we just decided to go the Costabella in Mactan made reservations already. We will definitely consider this on our future trips.


  12. Sir, I am truly bookmarking this. I just can’t imagine how I am missing that beauty. I need to but tickets for the next summer and make sure to go there this time. I can use the excuse that we will visit our relatives in Leyte and I can just ask them to take care of baby first so I hubby and I can explore there. I’ve been wanting to experience those sands and seas so bad.


  13. So much of beauty almost like a paradise! It is a pity I haven’t been to any of them yet. 😦
    I like your style of giving detailed break up in terms of time and money. It is really helpful to plan out a trip.


  14. All of these places are such beauty!!! I’ve never been to Cebu but I’ve been seeing a lot of beautiful pictures taken from there. I really hope that when I go there I’d get to visit all of these spots~ Thank you for sharing this list, bookmarking it!

    ♡ Aica B.


  15. I’ve never been to Cebu, but with those videos and photos surrounding the internet, they proved how wonderful the place is. I hope the local government and the residents of the place will continue to protect its natural wonders despite urbanization. I personally love the Isla la Manok, never heard it before.


  16. Sadly, I haven´t been to Cebu. And your post is giving me FOMO big time. On a lighter note, at least I now have a northern part of Cebu itinerary with less crowd. I really can´t wait to go to Cebu.


  17. Each of these islands is beautiful as the next one, I wonder how you decide which ones to visit, especially if you have limited resources and limited travel time. Thanks for this very detailed travel post, it will sure come handy when it is time for me to decide which parts of Cebu to explore for our upcoming trip!


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