Updated as of July 2019
Summary: This blog shares an ultimate budget travel guide for Cebu with some samples of DIY itinerary that are good for 2 to 5 days or even a week. Allocated budget covers expenses for entrance, food and transportation. All needed details for each featured top tourist attraction are laid out in the post including operating hours, entrance fee, location and information on how to get there. Further, this Cebu blog is intended for DIY budget travelers, either solo, family or traveling in group.
CEBU AT A GLANCE
You are coming down to one of the most visited tourist destinations in the Philippines. CEBU, the Queen City of the South, is a royalty in the field of travel more so because of its well-distributed string of tourist attractions.
At its center is Cebu City, the first capital and the oldest city in the Philippines, which brags of its colorful heritage being the very first seat of Christianity in the country. While here, enjoy a heritage walk of colonial houses, monuments and streets that stretches for about 2 kilometers good enough for a layover or half to full day DIY activity. Here is a complete detail about the heritage walk.
At its ends are crystalline, pristine beaches and rich diving sites. The north end is where lies the islands of Bantayan and Malaspacua, the home of thresher sharks; The south end nestles the islands of Sumilon and Moalboal which are famous for sardine fish, dolphins and turtles.
The most visited of them all is South Cebu which teases of majestic waterfalls, walkable mountain peaks and (however you feel about it) gigantic whale sharks! Check out South Cebu’s top attractions here.
Adding up to this already jam-packed attractions are the night, shopping and food scenes in the metro and the nearby Mactan Island. With an active tourism, Cebu has seen a wave of bars, malls and restaurants proliferating in all corners of the city to cater the varying frills of modern living.
Truly, the province of Cebu is a dream destination. Yet, with so many things to explore, there is too little a time. So to help you plan a better trip, here is a detailed budget travel guide. Enjoy and make every information count. 😊
QUICK FACTS & TIPS ABOUT CEBU
Here are few facts and tips to consider when traveling around the province of Cebu.
- Cebu is highly urbanized, next to Manila. Traffic situation at its three major cities: Cebu city, Mandaue city and Lapu-Lapu city are heavy especially from 8-10AM and 6-8PM local time.
- Cebu is the gateway for most of domestic travel destinations, which makes for a strategic location for travellers.
- The Sinulog Festival of Cebu which honors Sto. Niño, the child Jesus Christ, is one of the biggest and grandest festivals in Asia. It highlights a grand mardi gras parade where contingents from different towns in Cebu and in the Philippines gather for street dancing. The festival happens every 3rd Sunday of January.
- The first skirmish against foreign invaders in the Philippine history happened in Cebu at the shores of Mactan Island in April 1521. The very place is now called Lapu-Lapu shrine.
- Cebu has a number of great delicacies. The most popular of them are lechon (roasted suckling pig) and chicharon (deep-fried pork rind) in Carcar, Cebu.
- There are more than 100 waterfalls in all province of Cebu. The most developed are the ones found in South Cebu.
- Like most places, summer is the best time to visit Cebu, when you get to experience the best condition of its beaches and peaks. It is also when the sardine fish are mostly present at the coast of Moalboal and when the waters are most clear for whale shark watching.
- Cebu has a kilometer zero post at the Capitol area.
HOW TO GET TO CEBU
Here are your options in getting to Cebu.
There are 50 domestic and international cities that fly to Cebu. Here is the list Specific to these cheaper airlines: Cebu Pacific and AirAsia, below are the major destinations:
- Puerto Princesa, Palawan
- Cagayan de Oro
- Kalibo (Boracay)
- Taipei, Taiwan
- Tokyo, Japan
You will arrive at Mactan International Airport. To know how to get to either Cebu city, South Cebu or North Cebu from the airport, click here!
Here are nearby provinces that offer a ferry trip to Cebu:
Although available, traveling by ferry from Manila or Cagayan de Oro is highly discouraged as travel consumes close to 1 day.
Find available schedule and tickets of bus, ferry and plane from your location to Cebu using the search box below:
TOP ATTRACTIONS IN CEBU
Here are 10 top tourist spots that you can cover in a day tour or with an itinerary for 2 to 5 days while in Cebu. Please note that these are only few of the best places in Cebu. I have created a separate blog post for top pick attractions which showcases 30 of the best places in Cebu, including some of its finest beaches. For a quick list, please see below.
WHALES SHARKS OF OSLOB
OSMEÑA PEAK OF DALAGUETE & BADIAN
KAWASAN FALLS OF BADIAN
CASINO PEAK OF DALAGUETE
SARDINE FISH OF MOALBOAL
MAGELLAN’S CROSS OF CEBU CITY
TEMPLE OF LEAH OF CEBU CITY
PARADISE BEACH OF BANTAYAN ISLAND
KOTA BEACH OF BANTAYAN ISLAND
10,000 ROSES OF CORDOVA
TOP THINGS TO DO IN CEBU
Here are top things to do and activities that are worth a try in the province of Cebu.
- Canyoneering in Kawasan tops the list when it comes to the best activities in Cebu. If you are keen to go on this outdoor adventure, avail the Badian Canyoneering Adventure and Kawasan Waterfalls Private Tour from KLOOK for a discounted price. Click the link for details.
- Of course, beach bumming and island hopping should be present in the list if we speak of Cebu. If you want to know 10 of its best beaches from north to south, click the link. KLOOK also offers a Moalboal and Pescador Island Snorkeling Day Tour. Click the link for details.
- Chasing waterfalls especially at the south is a top-notch activity you should not miss. Here are 7 of the best waterfalls that you can find in South Cebu.
- Trekking is another option when you visit Cebu as the province is rich in nature-based attractions. Check out the 3 walkable mountain peaks in Dalaguete and Badian that can be covered in one day itinerary.
- A heritage walk at the downtown area or a mountain tour at the highlands of Cebu City is also an option for one day itinerary. Give it a shot. Click on the link for details.
CEBU SAMPLE ITINERARY
For those who want to DIY to add value to their money, check out Backpacking Cebu post for an elaborate guide with details about sample expenses and contact info for each Cebu itinerary option below that you can combine for a trip good for 2 to 5 days or even a week:
- Option 1: Cebu City – Mountain Tour with P750 budget
- Option 2: Cebu City – Walk Tour with P340 budget
- Option 3: Mactan island – Layover activity with P600 budget
- Option 4: South Cebu – Mountain Peak Trilogy with P400 budget
- Option 5: South Cebu – Oslob Whale Watching, Sumilon island and Tumalog falls with P1500 budget
- Option 6: South Cebu – Moalboal, Canyoneering in Badian and Osmeña peak (suitable for adventure seekers, can be spread to 2 days) with P3000 budget
- Option 7: South Cebu – Samboan waterfalls – Aguinid, Dau and Binalayan falls with P400 budget
- Option 8: South Cebu – Food trip in Carcar, Simala Shrine in Sibonga, Cuartel of Boljoon and Oslob whale watching with P1000 budget
- Option 9: North Cebu – Bantayan island (would mostly take 2 days) with P3000 budget
- Option 10: North Cebu – Malapascua island (would mostly take 2 days) with P1500 budget
- Option 11: North Cebu – Carnaza Island with P1500
- Option 12: North Cebu – Danasan Eco Adventure Park and Cebu Safari and Adventure Park P2500
- Option 13: Camotes island (would mostly take 2 days) P1500
(Tip when traveling around South Cebu: Only a motorycle-for-hire can cross one town in the east towards an opposite town in the west which would usually cost P500 and can be quite risky as travel would require scaling through the highlands. The popular option is to get a bus to Bato, the tip of the south where lies the bus terminal, and transfer to another bus of your destination. Remember, safety first!)
Look for discounted deals from Klook from the major destinations in Asia, including the Philippines.
WHERE TO STAY IN CEBU
Except during Sinulog festival, Cebu is walk-in ready when it comes to accommodation. But, it is highly suggested to book your stay ahead of time. Below is a list of mid-range to luxury accommodations from the key areas around Cebu. Click the link or use the search box for the rate and availability of each suggested accommodation.
- Mayflower Inn Check rate and availability here
- Fuente Oro Business Suite Check rate and availability here
- Waterfront Hotel and Casino Check rate and availability here
- Jo-Cris Apartelle Check rate and availability here
- AOSMEC Square Check rate and availability here
- Ayo Homtel Check rate and availability here
- Moalboal Guesthouse Check rate and availability here
- Hostel Panagsama Check rate and availability here
- Archery-Asia Nipa Huts and Camping Check rate and availability here
- Islet View Pension House Check rate and availability here
- Melronz Inn Check rate and availability here
- GT Seaside Inn Check rate and availability here
- Robinland Vacation Home Check rate and availability here
- Matutinao Beach Resort Check rate and availability here
- La Playa Resort (Matutinao) Check rate and availability here
Like in any parts of the Philippines, the locals can speak English in Cebu. However, here are some good phrases that might prove useful when you find yourself endearing with them.
English to Cebuano (the most prevalent language among the locals in South Cebu)
Thank you – Salamat
Good morning – Maayong buntag
Good afternoon – Maayong hapon
Good evening – Maayong gabii
How much is… – Pila ang…
Where is… – Asa ang…
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