Perched at the northern tip of Cebu Island, Daanbantayan is a laid-back coastal town surrounded by the Visayan Sea. Its name refers to a lookout that existed here during the pre-Hispanic period when Moro pirates plied the coast. Today, Daanbantayan is the departure point for scuba divers heading to Malapascua Island and secluded Carnaza Island.
Things to do in Daanbantayan
Stretching the length of Daanbantayan is Suba Beach, where you can refresh with a dip in the warm waters of the Visayan Sea. For spectacular views across the coastline, follow the Nalundan Cliff Trail. Nestled just below is Sunflower Beach, which is popular with families. Once you’ve built up an appetite, head to the Sugbo Maya Grill to feast on freshly caught seafood and Filipino favourites.
Daanbantayan is most famed as a gateway to Malapascua Island, which is considered a top dive destination in the Philippines. Explore its colourful coral gardens or come face-to-face with thresher sharks and manta rays at Monad Shoal. Non-divers can relax on the white sands of Bounty Beach or embark on a snorkelling excursion around Gato Island.
Further north is turtle-shaped Carnaza Island, where you’ll find mangrove forests, coastal lagoons and lushly vegetated hills. It’s an off-the-beaten-track destination for snorkelling and beach-going and is traversed by several hiking trails. While exploring the island, keep your eyes peeled for kingfishers, orioles and wood swallows.
Getting around Daanbantayan
Daanbantayan is around three hours’ drive from Cebu City and Mactan-Cebu International Airport, which has flights to destinations across Asia. Regular buses connect from Cebu to Daanbantayan. Ferries travel to Malapascua Island from the Maya Port and to Carnaza Island from the Tapilon Port. Daanbantayan is small enough to explore on foot.