As a Cebu travel blogger, my goal is to explore and share the best family-friendly destinations in Cebu. Recently, I decided to take my husband and child on an adventure to Cebu Safari & Adventure Park in Carmen, Cebu. This journey turned out to be a delightful mix of wildlife exploration and relaxing seaside retreat. Here’s a detailed account of our experience, offering valuable tips for fellow travelers.

Journey to Cebu Safari & Adventure Park

Our trip began on a sunny Sunday morning. I woke up at 5 AM to prepare everything our family would need. I made sure to pack an extra shirt for Ethan, anticipating a hot day at the safari since he tends to sweat a lot during such adventures.

I booked a Grab to take us to the Cebu North Bus Terminal. Upon arrival at 6:15 AM, the driver informed me that getting to the safari by bus would be difficult as there were no direct cars available at the destination, and the next bus wouldn’t leave until after 7 AM. He offered to take us directly to the safari for 3,500 pesos for a round trip, promising to wait for us until we were ready to return. Appreciating his offer, I took his calling card for future reference, especially since he lived near Carmen and could potentially fetch us later.

Wanting to make the journey an adventure, I decided we would take the bus. Being a Sunday morning, traffic was light, and the provincial roads promised a more pleasant experience than a typical bus ride in EDSA. At the bus station, we headed to the CERES ticketing window. The staff informed us that buses leave every 30 minutes, so we were set to depart around 6:30 AM. We got our tickets, which we would pay for on the bus when the conductor came around, costing 96 pesos per person.

The bus ride was surprisingly comfortable and took about an hour. We arrived at Carmen Plaza, where the driver dropped us off. Another group on the bus was also heading to the safari, and it seemed the driver had already coordinated with a van driver to pick us up. We met the van driver in front of the tourism office. The 7 km ride from the pick-up point to the safari was 150 pesos per person. Since we didn’t want to wait for the van to fill up, we paid half of the full van fare of 1,500 pesos.

Cebu Safari & Adventure Park: A Wildlife Haven

The park tickets, priced at 1,200 pesos per person, were quite reasonable. This fee includes the following:

  • One-day admission to the park
  • Access to all animal viewing areas
  • Expanded African Savanna Tour
  • Bird Show
  • Newly-expanded Michel’s Garden
  • White Lion Safari Tour
  • Safari Tram ride (non-exclusive)

We initially wanted the All Adventure Tour, which costs around 2,500 pesos per person and includes ATV rides, bicycle adventures, and swings. However, due to the age restriction for some activities, we opted for the regular park tickets.

The day at the park viewing animals was already a fantastic experience, especially for our kid.

The park boasts a wide variety of animals in well-maintained habitats, and its lush greenery and natural environment make it an ideal place for both kids and adults to enjoy and learn about wildlife. Its layout is user-friendly, with plenty of shaded areas and benches for rest.

There are different sections for nature lovers, including a garden filled with various plants—many of which we’d love to have in our vivarium and home garden. This was a great start to the tour for my husband and me. The savannah area was particularly impressive, with animals like zebras, antelopes, wildebeests, giraffes, and more freely roaming.

The highlight for our family was the close encounter with the white lions, Jack and Max (and the other lion I forgot the name maybe Bochok or bochoy). They were just a meter away from us, and hearing Jack roar was both scary and exciting. My husband especially enjoyed this experience, as the lions were visible right in front of us, separated by grills and glass panels. A word of caution: keep all body parts inside the vehicle, as the lions can get quite close.

The zebras were another beautiful sight, and I spent about 15 therapeutic minutes petting a mini horse. We also had the chance to feed the crocodiles, with my husband and son feeding them a kilo of chicken breast, and they also fed the birds. I kept my distance, capturing videos, as it was that time of the month for me. Just a tip: if you need sanitary products, bring your own, as they are not available inside the park. You might have to pay a habal-habal driver 100 pesos to buy some from a nearby store.

The park facilities continuously surprised us with their variety and quality. Every part of the safari was worth seeing, especially if you love nature. However, it’s essential to stay hydrated as it can get very hot. You can bring a tumbler filled with water, but other food and drinks are not allowed inside the park. Fortunately, there are plenty of stalls and restaurants with views of the lush mountains.

We had lunch after feeding the giraffes, at a restaurant with a stunning view of these magnificent animals. The food was delicious and the portions generous. We enjoyed Salisbury steak, fried chicken, a double cheeseburger, water, and iced tea, costing us about 1,300 pesos. The quality and taste of the food were excellent, unlike the usual park fare of hotdogs and corndogs. The slow-cooked meals and fresh side vegetables were a delightful surprise.

In conclusion, the Cebu Safari & Adventure Park is a must-visit for nature and animal lovers. Despite the heat, staying hydrated and taking breaks made our visit enjoyable and memorable.

A Serene Stay at Huna-Huna Cliffside Resort

After our adventurous day at the safari, we decided to unwind at Huna-Huna Cliffside Resort, a hidden gem nestled on the cliffs overlooking the ocean. Although the room itself was basic and had some mosquitoes, the resort’s overall experience was elevated by the exceptional service and relaxing views. Our seaside room featured a balcony with a great view of the ocean and the distant Camotes Islands.

Ms. Beverly, at the front desk, was incredibly attentive, ensuring we had everything we needed, from extra pillows to mosquito swatters. The pool area became a favorite spot, especially for supervising our child while enjoying the stunning ocean view. The presence of outlets near the cabanas was a thoughtful touch for those needing to work while watching over their kids.

The stairs leading to the sea were also a great feature. We could play by the water in the morning and late afternoon, which became Ethan’s go-to spot for exploring and playing with fish and crabs.

Huna-Huna Dining Delights

The resort’s food was another highlight. As a picky eater, my husband found several dishes to his liking, which is quite a feat. The coffee and mains were particularly delightful. Must-orders would be the HUNA-HUNA ROYALE pizza (Php 400), Beef Tenderloin Steak (Php520), fried chicken (Php190), and some mango and banana shakes.

Reflections and Tips for Future Trips

Reflecting on our journey, I realized that while commuting can be an exciting part of the adventure, opting for a private car might have been more practical, given the combined expenses and my husband’s comfort. For families with similar considerations, this might be a better choice.

Moreover, for those planning to explore the northern part of Cebu, note that public beaches are limited due to the cliffside geography. However, cliffside resorts like Huna-Huna offer a unique and serene experience that compensates for the lack of sandy shores.

Conclusion

Our quick trip to the northern part of Cebu, exploring Cebu Safari & Adventure Park and relaxing at Huna-Huna Cliffside Resort, was a memorable family experience. The blend of wildlife adventure and scenic relaxation offered a perfect getaway. Next on our list is a dive into the southern part of Cebu, promising more exciting adventures to share.

For families planning a similar trip, consider the comfort and practicality of your travel options, and don’t hesitate to immerse yourself in the unique experiences that Cebu has to offer. Safe travels!