Nalusuan and Caogahan Islands in Cebu

The Port of Punta Engano

"Are we gonna go island hopping?" This was the first question I asked when Movenpick Hotel Mactan Island Cebu invited me for a familiarization trip. If you know me well, you obviously know how I love the beach and the underwater. Gladly, the resort said island hopping is indeed part of the itinerary. There. Signed. Sealed. Delivered.

How to go there:

Since this trip was organized by Movenpick Hotel Mactan Island Cebu, everything was already pre-arranged beforehand, and all we had to do was to hop aboard the boat. But for those who would rather go DIY, here's how:

From the Mactan Inetrnational Airport, you can either take a regular metered taxi or yellow taxi to Movenpick Hotel Mactan Island Resort. The resort is barely 20 minutes away from the airport. Or, the cheapest way to go there is to board a yellow multi cab at the international departure gate of the airport. Minimum fare is Php 8. The multi cab will pass by Mactan Marina Mall. Alight there and wait for another jeepney/multicab #23 with signboard Park Mall - Punta Engano. This will pass  by Movenpick Hotel Mactan Island Cebu's entrance.

The Port Of Punta Engano is the gateway to the lovely islands of the Hilutungan Channel. The port is right beside Movenpick Hotel Mactan Island Cebu. From here, you can charter a boat to your preferred islands. There are actually a lot to choose from like Nalusuan, Caogahan, Hilutungan, and Pandanon (which is already part of Bohol) to name a few. Boat rentals start at around Php 3,000.00.

I've read blogs that say the best time to visit the islands of Cebu is during the summer months but we were there November and the sea was steady and calm. I guess as long as it's not habagat (southwest monsoon), you will be fine.

First Stop: Nalusuan Island and Marine Sanctuary

Nalusuan Island and Marine Sanctuary is one of the richest marine sanctuaries in Cordova Reef, Cebu. The boat ride from Movenpick Hotel Mactan Island Cebu to Nalusuan took around an hour but the journey is all worthwhile.

Nalusuan Island and Marine Sanctuary's water cottages from afar

The name "Nalusuan" is actually derived from the Cebuano word "kalusuan," which means something that's a bit intriguing. I'll leave it up to you my dear readers to do your homework and find out what it means. =)

It is a privately-owned island famous for daytrippers, snorkelers, and scuba divers. There are also air-conditioned rooms for overnight stays. This place is perfect if you would like to be detached from the bustling city.

The island has its own wooden wharf which has a series of stairs for the convenience of those who want to swim, snorkel, and even dive. It's a good thing that they have this as it makes life easier especially for those who don't know how to swim or are afraid to jump straight into the water (ehem, like me).

The wharf at Nalusuan Island
From the wharf, we could already see the clear azure waters and the colorful marine life beneath. I had to immediately gear up and have a dip. What I saw underwater was surreal. There were the usual black-yellow-white striped fish that I also saw in Simizu Island in El Nido and Pandan Island in Honda Bay, Palawan. There was even a puffer fish and a large school of what seemed to be some stationary fish who wouldn't move even if you're right in front of them. For fish feeding, the resort sells bread and does not allow guests to bring in their own.

At the stairs, we could already see the fishes
What's also good about this island  is that the current isn't too strong, allowing every guest to savor the beautiful underwater scenery without having to panic with huge waves. No wonder, this island is very popular among tourists and locals alike. When you go here, make sure you have an underwater camera.

Tourists galore at Nalusuan

Can you find them?
Second (Supposedly) Stop: Caogahan Island

The original plan was to go to Caogahan Island after snorkeling at Nalusuan, but it was already low tide and our boat wouldn't be able to dock there, so we agreed to just go straight to the floating restaurant near Caohagan Island for lunch.

But, from afar we could already see that Caogahan Island is yet another promising destination in Cebu. A reason to go back, perhaps?

Caogahan Island
Final Stop: Floating Restaurant

We had our lunch at a floating restaurant just about 15 minutes away from Movenpick Hotel Mactan Island Cebu. This was also our last stop for the day.

Local musicians serenading a group of tourists
The al fresco floating restaurant has a vibe similar to the Loboc River Cruise, only this one is just a huge hut and not a "cruising" restaurant. Food is okay but nothing fancy except for some exotic finds like the saang (a local shellfish).
Mini Lumpiang Shanghai (Chinese spring rolls)
The garlic butter chili prawns was spicy just the way I like it. The crab was fresh and succulent, and its roe was sinful! The barbecue, while simple as it was, turned out to be the star of the table. Washed out with no evidence nor a trace of existence!

Butter garlic chili prawns

Steamed crab

And the winner is...barbecue!

Overall, the half day island hopping was a blast. It was such a nice experience to swim again with the adorable fishes down under. Next time, I'll try to visit Pandanon and Hilutungan Islands. I heard these are nice destinations, too!

If you have plans of visiting Cebu, you might want to join my New Year giveaway hereDon't miss the chance to win a 3 days 2 nights stay at Movenpick Hotel Mactan Island Cebu!

Where to stay in Cebu?
Mövenpick Hotel Mactan Island Cebu
Punta Engaño, Mactan Island, Cebu, Philippines
Twitter: @MoevenpickCebu



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