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 situates 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 jampacked 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
- 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. Here are seven (7) stunning waterfalls that you can visit in the south.
- 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
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 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.
TOP ATTRACTIONS IN CEBU
I have created a separate blog post for top attractions which showcases thirty (30) of the best tourist spots in Cebu. Click here. For a quick list, please see below.
- Whale Sharks of Oslob
- Osmeña Peak of Dalaguete and 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
MUST-TRY ACTIVITIES IN CEBU
- Canyoneering in Kawasan
- Beach bumming on its powdery, white sands – Click here for the list of Cebu’s best beaches.
- Chasing Waterfalls in South Cebu
- Half-Day Trekking to 3 neighboring walkable summits in Dalaguete and Badian
- Heritage Walking at the downtown area of Cebu City
- Go for a City Mountain Tour
- Visit the finest guitar factories of Mactan island
- Enjoy the major water activities in Mactan
- Buy the freshest and most affordable dried fish in Taboan market at the city downtown area.
CEBU SAMPLE ITINERARY
There are a number of tour operators in Cebu if you are up for ease and convenience. 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 itinerary option below:
- 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!)
Some tour operators in Cebu:
- Gift Tours Cebu +63 922 866 0900,+63 995 913 2945
- Biyahing South and North Cebu +63 977 762 6470, +63 923 869 8818
- JDG Cebu Travel and Tours +63 921 831 5508
- Rent a Van c/o Gariel +63 995 122 7808
- Wonders Car Rental Cebu +63 917 632 2695
- RufBuc Car Rental +63 956 800 0615
WHERE TO STAY IN CEBU
Except during Sinulog festival, Cebu is walk-in ready when it comes to accommodation. From budget to mid-range and luxury, here are some of its accommodations:
Mayflower Inn (032) 255 2800
Naps x Adventure (032) 415 1065
Cest La Vie Pension (032) 253 2376
AllSon’s Inn (032) 232 1640
Hotel Stella (032) 238 5050
Fuente Oro Business Suite: +63 (32) 268-7912
Hotel Sogo +63 (32) 254-1042
Marriot Hotel: +63 (32) 411-5800
Jo-Cris Apartelle +63 933 509 3702
AOSMEC Square (032) 316 4600
Ayo Homtel +63 917 701 6182
Ester Homestay (Basdaku): +63 927 578-5983
Moalboal Backer Lodge (Panagsama): +63 917 751-8902
Villa Isabela (Ponong) : +63 916 370-9104
Chateau de Tan-Awan (Tan-Awan) : +63 917 912-7783
La Playa Resort (Matutinao): +63 932 475-1194
RR Lodging House (032) 438 9999
White House +63 950 299 6617
Casa del Mar House +63 919 463 2919
Onde Guest House (032) 438 9206 | +63 919 666 7090
Seaview Apartelle (032) 438 9058 | +63 919 438 1296
Logon Beach Resort: +63 920 472 1451
SLAM’S Garden Resort: +63 905 343 3495, +63 926 785 3743
Mangodlong Rock Resort: (032) 345 8599, (032) 344 6899
Santiago Bay Garden and Resort: (032) 345-8599, +63 917-3292448
English to Cebuano (the main language)
Good morning – Maayong buntag
Good afternoon – Maayong hapon
Good evening – Maayong gabii
Thank you – Salamat
Where is… – Asa ang…
How much – Tagpila
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Lastly, have fun! Don’t just travel for Instagram. 😉
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