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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. 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
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 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
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. Click here this link. 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. Check the link for Badian Canyoneering Admission and Guided Experiencewith KLOOK
- 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 TOUR PACKAGES FROM KLOOK
KLOOK, the leading platform for travel and tour package booking, shares a variety of discounted tour packages for Cebu. If you are looking for ease in transport and affordable travel packages, check out these:
- 3-Day Cebu Highlights Tour
- Mactan 3 in 1 Water Activities
- Cebu & Mactan Twin City Tour
- Oslob Whale Shark Watching
- Oslob Whale Shark Snorkeling and Badian Canyoneering Adventure
- Moalboal and Pescador Island Snorkeling Day Tour
- Moalboal Island Hopping and Canyoneering Experience
- Moalboal Island Hopping and Kawasan Falls Join In Tour
More Cebu tour and private transfer (car or van) at a discounted price are offered by KLOOK, use the search box below:
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!)
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.
Up for grabs: Register at booking.com and use the link in your next booking to get US15 back. Link here!
- Mayflower Inn Check rate and availability here
- Naps x Adventure Check rate and availability here
- AllSon’s Inn Check rate and availability here
- Hotel Stella 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
- Fantasy Lodge Check rate and availability here
- Banaba Tree House Check rate and availability here
- Mims House 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
- Jelly’s Haven Resort Check rate and availability here
- R & D Island Lodge Check rate and availability here
- Baia cafe lounge Check rate and availability here
- La Playa Estrella Beach Resort Check rate and availability here
- Amihan Beach Cabanas Check rate and availability here
- Marlin’s Beach Resort Check rate and availability here
- Sta. Fe Beach Club Check rate and availability here
- Ogtong Cave Resort by Sta. Fe Beach Club Check rate and availability here
- Anika Island Resort Check rate and availability here
- Kota Beach Resort Check rate and availability here.
- Malapascua Garden Resort Check rate and availability here
- SLAM’S Garden Resort Check rate and availability here
- Mangodlong Rock Resort Check rate and availability here
- Santiago Bay Garden and Resort Check rate and availability here
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
BE A RESPONSIBLE TRAVELER
Lastly, have fun and don’t forget to be awesome.
EXTEND YOUR TRIP
For more trips in the Philippines, check out the off-the-beaten path Gigantes Islands of Iloilo. Gigantes Budget travel guide here!
Or, visit these major destinations in the Visayas:
Or, go to the surfing capital of the Philippines – Siargao! Budget Travel Guide here.
Or, visit other top destinations in Luzon:
- Balabac Budget Travel Guide
- Manila Budget Travel Guide
- Baler Budget Travel Guide
- Zambales: Anawangin, Nagsasa and Capones Budget Travel Guide
- Palaui Island Budget Travel Guide
- Pagudpud Budget Travel Guide
- Laoag Budget Travel Guide
- Vigan Budget Travel Guide
- Baguio Budget Travel Guide
- Sagada Budget Travel Guide
- Cordillera Budget Travel Guide
Or visit other countries in Asia:
- Bangkok, Thailand Budget Travel Guide
- Chiang Mai, Thailand Budget Travel Guide
- Johor Bahru, Malaysia Budget Travel Guide
- Singapore Budget Travel Guide
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