One of the things people always mention to me when they come to Cebu is that they want to visit other islands. Now there are different ways to do it depending what your looking to do and how much time you have. If your looking for cheap and going to somewhere like Bohol for a few days would say head to the Pier and get a ferry. But if on the other hand your looking for a day out with friends to snorkel and maybe feed a few fish I would look to hiring a Banka privately. Its not as expensive as you may first think and if your here as a tourist I would look to use a reliable tour company if one comes forward and willing to let me come and see them operate I will be happy to stick my name to it. But until then I won’t give credit to any company I have no experience with. Also the prices are a lot higher for a “private” hire via a tour company but at the same time your likely to get more services and possibly a better equipped Banka (boat).
So what if your local living? Well I would advise taking a trip up to the side of the Hilton hotel if your on Mactan as you can negotiate a better deal on a boat at the pier there and people will be quick to pitch sales at you as soon as you arrive competing for the work. Prices vary from around P2000 to P4000 per boat which beats a tour operator hands down on price as they offer something such as a BBQ lunch and boat ride for around P1,000 per person with normal minimum of at least 4 people (which just being 4 could actually see the price rise above the P1,000 each as generally that’s how the boats work per load).
Where to go?
Nalusuan Island offers a quiet spot to relax as well as snorkelling you can hire basic snorkelling gear from the Boats but ask in advance just so you know they have enough equipment for the number of people in your party.
It doesn’t have its own beach but the western side does have a sandy waters bottom.
There is a small resort on the island and pretty much a place to relax rather than anything else as there isn’t a lot going on due to the size of the island but often that is why people come here.
Pandanon has a pretty nice sandy beach which due to the location and size of the island its pretty “child friendly” there is also volleyball for a bit of entertainment followed by being able to BBQ food (that you bring!) and relax in a beach hut. Its an ideal location to sit and watch the kids play while talking with friends. Ideal for a day out of relaxation.
Nothing in life comes free and it pretty much happens with most things here so expect to pay fees for entering the islands Nalusuan is 200 peso each including snorkeling. Pandanon has 150 peso entrance fee, and renting a cottage is 250. If you’re a larger group you can usually negotiate. Also snorkelling off other islands even if not docked/landed you may also be hassled for a small “usage or entrance” fee.