My mother hails from Cebu and I consider it as my second home already, in fact, I go home annually to celebrate the ever grandiose Sinulog festival. But it was only in the past two years that I’ve actually started exploring my beloved Sugbo, and I am floored with what it has to offer to wanderers and adventure junkies out there.
Heading to Cebu soon? Read on!
Where to start?
✈ If you’re coming from Manila like me, flights are readily available from numerous airlines.
Where to stay?
There is no shortage of accommodation in Cebu – be it hotels, resorts, inns, pension houses, or hostels, there is one that will surely fit your budget.
Here are some places that you might want to consider on your trip:
- Palm Grass Hotel
68 Junquera St., Kalubihan, Cebu City
(032) 412 2438
- GV Tower Hotel
7/th GV Tower Hotel Cebu, Osmena Blvd. Corner Sanciangko St., Cebu City
Standard Twin rooms starts at Php2000
Don Alfredo D. Gothong Centre, S. Osmena Blvd. cor. Road East North Reclamation Area, Cebu City
+63 (32) 232.8888, +63 (917) 629.9961, +63 (917) 725.1449
Dormitory bed starts at Php265 and Private rooms at Php1450
- The Center Suites
N. Gonzales Compound, Brgy Camputhaw, Escario Street, Cebu City
+63 925 628 2016, +63 906 274 4939
Standard Single room starts at Php855
- Red Planet Hotels – Starts at 1575
36 Archbishop Reyes Avenue, Cebu City
+63 32 232 0888
Standard Double room starts at Php1575
✔️ TIP: Join their Remembered Programme to get 10% off on all your bookings
- Pillows Hotel Cebu
209 Gov. M. Roa St. Capitol Site, Cebu
(032)2688000, 09423666756 (sun), 09062251899 (globe)
If you have the budget, you can stay at the Henry Hotel, Marco Polo, Radisson Blu, Movenpick, Crimson, Waterfront, or Plantation Bay.
We have also stumbled by a quaint resort in Samboan last month when I took my friends to a South Cebu trip, the place is called Fantasy Lodge and it was one of the most pleasant stay we’ve had albeit short.
And if by chance I’m in Cebu, I’d be happy to have you at our humble home!
Where to go? What to do?
There are A LOT of things you can do in Cebu! What you need to figure out is what kind of adventure you would like to experience: Foodtrip, Beach bumming, Marine Life Exploration, Adrenaline Junkie trip, or a mix of everything (if your time permits).
LET’S GO! Here is my growing list of what every visitor can do in Cebu:
1. Visit the Basilica Minore del Santo Nino – Pay a visit to the first Asian basilica and home of Cebu’s official patron, the Senyor Santo Nino.
✔️ Offer a prayer in supplication or a thanksgiving by buying candles from the lady vendors clad in yellow and red outside the basilica. They will do a “sinug” which is like a prayer dance, wherein they will wave the candles while chanting a prayer to the Senyor. These candles can be then offered unlighted at the Magellan’s Cross located next to the Basilica grounds.
2. Don’t miss a photo op at the Magellan’s Cross.
3. Also near the Santo Nino Basilica, you can drop by the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral and relish in its architectural beauty.
4. Travel back in time and have a glimpse of Cebu’s history by visiting Fort San Pedro which is located in Plaza Independencia, which is also near the Basilica. Entrance is at Php30.
5. Head up to hills and drop by the Cebu Taoist Temple. You can head there by taking a cab or take one of Cebu’s multicabs heading to JY Square in Lahug and have a habal-habal take you to the temple.
6. Go further up the mountain barangay of Sirao and visit it’s well-known mini Amsterdam, the Sirao Flower Farm. Frolic in arrays of Celosia blooms with a picturesque view to boot.
7. On your way down, check out the Temple of Leah in Busay and be transported to ancient Rome. The temple is Cebu’s version of Taj Mahal, wherein the owner, Teodorico Adarna, had the temple built as a symbol of his love and devotion to his wife Leah. #mayforever
✔️ We availed our Sirao + Temple of Leah habal-habal tour from Kuya Cito for Php500. You can contact him at 09473341350.
8. Don’t miss the Cebu lechon. To cap off your Cebu City roundabout, treat yourself to a plateful of Cebu lechon. My personal favorite would be Rico’s Spicy Lechon!
9. If the lechon hasn’t satisfied you yet, head to Larsian for dinner and indulge yourself in this barbecue strip haven. Don’t forget to pair it with puso and ice-cold soda!
10. Cap off the night with wine and cheese at La Vie en Parisienne. Me and my best girl friends really enjoyed our quiet wine night over pizza, cheese and cold cuts here as a cap off to our short Cebu vacation.
11. For Pasalubong-buying, head to Shamrock for bags of otaps and barquillos. And also a popular pasalubong request would be danggit from Tabo-an Market.
Let’s head to the South of Cebu to get our adrenaline rush!
11. Hop on a bus at the Cebu South Terminal and start early with the whalesharks of Oslob. I have mixed emotions about the whaleshark watching in Oslob but truth to be told, it’s really hard to say no to swimming with these gentle giants.
✔️ We availed our Whaleshark Watching package from AJ’s Place Whaleshark Watching and Beach Resort for Php600. This includes use of their lockers and shower rooms.
12. Spend a day in Sumilon Island.
Sumilon Island is a lovely place to spend a daytour in. Total chill place surrounded by azure waters. We availed of AJ’s daytour to Sumilon for Php1540 (weekday rate) and this includes motorbike transport to Sumilon mainland, boat transfer, lunch and island activities. The sandbar is popular in Sumilon but unfortunately, the weather wasn’t so good when we went and the sandbar was submerged. *Weekend daytour rate to Sumilon Island is Php2040.
12. Take the plunge and experience Canyoneering downstream to Kawasan Falls.
✔️ TIP: Make sure to book your tour with a known and reliable company, I booked mine with Kawasan Canyoneering in Badian and I felt safe all throughout the activity because of their dependable guides.
13. See the sunset or sunrise at Osmena Peak. This I have yet to do this November and I shall update you on my experience.
14. Catch the sardine run in Moalboal. Hands down one of the best experiences I’ve had in Cebu. Don’t miss it. Best to see the video here!
15. Stand in awe at the castle-like structure that is Simala Shrine. Built by the Marian Monks, Simala church is flocked by devotees because of its miraculous Mama Mary, and it draws both local and foreign tourists because of its striking structure.
I offered my prayers request in Simala way back in 2009 when I took my board exams, back then the structure wasn’t complete yet. When I returned this year to personally offer my thanks, seeing the entirety of it was simply breathtaking. Honestly, it reminded me of Disneyland.
16. And last but not the lease, one must experience at least once in his or her life the grand Sinulog Festival. Words aren’t enough to tell you how much the Sinulog festival have made me fall in love with Cebu over and over again every year I attend it. I haven’t missed a festival in the past 10 years as it is a panata that was passed on to me by my mother as she prayed to the Senyor Santo Nino to grant her a child. As a form of thanksgiving, I make sure to attend it every year and do my own sinug to the Senyor and also to witness the grand parade!
Check out my Sinulog 101 on a Budget article on WhenInManila.com
And that’s it so far for my growing to-do list in Cebu! I can’t wait to go back and explore the North side of Cebu and see what’s waiting for me there.
Until then, safe travels!
Tig pila man ni? – How much is this?
Lugar lang – The equivalent of para; stop
Palihog – please
Unsa – What
Asa – Where
Kinsa – Who
Kanus-a – When