The wonderful island of Cebu is one of the top tourist destinations in the Philippines. It caters to over two million travelers a year, making it a strong contender in the country’s tourism belt.
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“Cebu is the present. Cebu is the future of tourism,” The Head of the Department of Tourism Shahlimar Hofer Tamano recently said. And it’s true: more and more people are discovering the adventures that await them on the island. Clearly, it’s time to give Cebu a shot for your next vacation.
The Best Time to Visit Cebu Philippines
The months of December to May are the best times to visit Cebu. In these months, you can enjoy basking in the sun during the day. The nights are cool which are perfect for relaxing with a nice bottle of beer.
If you enjoy hot and humid weather, then you visit Cebu between March and May, which is also the peak of the summer season in the Philippines.
Top Things to do in Cebu, Philippines
Cebu is rich in various adventures that cater to all ages and preferences. You’ll never run out of things to do in Cebu every time you come to the city. If this is your first time visiting Cebu, here are some activities you should include on your bucket list.
Celebrate Sinulog Festival
One of the top reasons to visit Cebu is to celebrate the Sinulog Festival. It is one of the grandest fiestas in the Philippines. Celebrated every January, the Sinulog Festival is in celebration of Cebu’s patron saint: the Sto. Niño.
During this time, the streets of Cebu are filled with locals dancing during the Sinulog Grand Parade after the Mañanita Mass at the Basilica de Sto. Niño. Witness the beautiful night sky of Cebu with a pyro spectacular show on the streets of Fuente Osmeña.
Go Island Hopping
The heart of Cebu has much to offer, but so do the islands. A collection of small islands are located within easy reach of Cebu and many of them have become synonymous with a trip to Cebu.
They include Mactan, Bantayan, Malapascua, Carnaza, and Capitancillo Island. They are well known for their white sand beaches, crystal clear water, and healthy reefs.
Unfortunately, these are not the easiest places to get to on your own. So, we would recommend visiting with a sustainable tour operator.
We like the Mactan Hilutungan, Nalusuan & Pandanon Island Hopping tour from Cebu. They set sail to the Hilutungan Island Marine Reserve for snorkeling. Then, they take you to Pandanon Island for lunch and to Nalusuan Island Reserve for an after-lunch swim.
Visit the Cebu Heritage Monument
If there’s one thing you should know about Cebu, it’s that the city is rich in history and that it helped shape the modern-day Philippines.
The Cebu Heritage Monument is the perfect place to be if you wish to know the history of Cebu from the time of Rajah Humabon and his tribe becoming Christians to the day Magellan came to the island and on to the beatification of Pedro Calungsod, a Cebuano martyr.
This half-day Cebu City tour will take you around the oldest part of the city with a guide. Your guide will explain all about Cebu and its roots as the oldest colonial city in the Philippines.
Visit the Mountain View Nature Park
Mountain View Nature Park is located on the outskirts of Cebu. There are a number of pools and spas to enjoy, a ropes course, picnic areas, walking trails, and lots of great views of the city. This is a great place to watch the sunset!
Be One With the Locals in Colon Street
What better way to jive with the locals of Cebu than to bond with them in the streets of Colon and enjoy a night filled with great food and company. Known as the oldest street in the Philippines, Colon Street is the center of commercial activities in the city.
If you’re looking to buy souvenirs and food items for your friends and family, then Colon street is the place to be.
Get Your Blood Pumping
If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, Cebu is a must-visit.
Check out the Crown Regency Hotel’s Sky Experience Adventure. Visitors can hang off the edge of the 38th floor the building or walk around the edge of the building, on a transparent floor that’s 126.55 meters above the ground. If ziplining is your thing, you can enjoy their urban tower zip that’s 473 feet high!
Advanced divers can go a shark dive to see the elusive Thresher Shark at Malapascua Island. It is one of the only places in the world with consistent sightings of this species.
Otherwise, go canyoneering or cliff diving at Kawasan Falls. You must trek through creeks and streams along Badian River to reach Kawasan Falls. Once there, you can jump from cliffs of up to 30 meters.
Where to Stay in Cebu
When staying in Cebu, it’s best to stay in sustainable accommodation that’s comfortable and fits your budget. To help you get started, here are some of the top hotel accommodations you can check out in Cebu city.
The Radisson Blu Cebu is a 5-star hotel located in the heart of the city with 400 modern rooms. It’s a comfortable choice with impressive eco-credentials.
They are the first hotel in a Filipino city to be awarded a Sustainable Hotel Award for Sustainable Operations by the international Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative (HCMI) and they have a long list of social and environmental initiatives on the go.
The Palm Grass Hotel is a budget-friendly boutique hotel close to Magellan Square. They are advocates for sustainability and committed to sharing Filipino cultural heritage with their guests. The rooms are simple and there is a restaurant and rooftop bar on site.
Cebu Elicon House is a basic hotel in the heart of downtown Cebu near Colon Street. This no-frills hotel is committed to sustainable business practices and they promote zero waste and recycling. There restaurant onsite which caters to vegetarians and vegans.
Places to Eat and Drink in Cebu
Of course, one thing you should never miss out on visiting Cebu (or any place in the Philippines for that matter), is the delicious local foods. We all know that there are loads of food items that Cebu has to offer, so here are some Cebuano restaurants that you should not miss.
Cebu city is known internationally for its Lechon and foodies know the city as Cebu-chon. You can find this pork specialty at the House of Lechon with its famous Carar recipe.
Their hot and spicy Lechon is definitely a must-try. You can also try their other famous dishes like kinilaw, baked scallops, and sisig.
For vegan versions of Filipino favourites check out Lunhaw Vegan Cafe. This stylish cafe is a favourite amongst locals and tourists. It located on the ground floor of the Maxwell Hotel.
For over 35 years, Cowrie Fiipino Kitchen has been serving locals and tourists with great Filipino food. This restaurant is famous for their Crispy Pata, Bicol Express, and Chicken Pandan. And if you’re a vegetarian, don’t fret because they also offer options like Pinakbet, adobong talong, and meatless sisig!
Craving something sweet? Kits Kitchenn offers vegan donuts in an array of flavours that are preservative and trans-fat free!
How to Get to Cebu?
How Much Time Do You Need in Cebu?
You might be wondering: how much time should I allot in Cebu. Well, the answer is entirely up to you! If you want to experience everything written above in one whole vacation, then it’s recommended to spend at least a week in the city.
But if you wish to take your time and pick only a few activities and destinations, then around three to four days will be fine as well.
Whether you want to have a chill time or if you’re seeking an adrenaline rush, the Queen City of the South has something in store that will surely satisfy your wants and needs. Adventure awaits you in Cebu!
Author’s Bio: Angelique of Seven Day Consultant is a Senior Human Development Consultant who loves to travel and go out with friends. Aside from living and breathing in the HR industry, she also enjoys writing about home living, environment, sustainability, marketing, and new media.