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Posted by Roz Visarra on May 4th, 2009
Filed Under: Cebu, Featured
CEBU TRAVEL GUIDE
Why Not Go
Best Time to Visit
Where to Stay
Where & What to Eat
To Do List
Stay Away From
Cebu is a very beautiful city with countless beaches and nature parks. It offers everything you need- from a relaxing retreat in a tropical island, to all the conveniences that a first class metropolis can give. In contrast to the bustling metropolis, the rest of Cebu ‘s 167 islets and islands are lined with idyllic white sandy beaches and pristine clear waters.
The Queen City of the South is the capital of the Visayas (also the political, economic, educational and cultural center of the Visayas) and is the second biggest city in the country. Located in between two straits, and several surrounding islands, Cebu is about 225 kilometers long, a narrow island that is home to 2.4 million people.
Cebu is the jump-off point to satellite destinations in the Visayas and Mindanao Islands – Leyte, Samar, Dumaguete, Siquijor, Cagayan De Oro, Camiguin & Surigao Del Norte.
Spectacular Metro Cebu: This is an aerial view of Metro Cebu, showing Cebu City (top left), Mandaue City(right), Mactan Channel(the body of water), and LapuLapu City(part of Mactan Island, bottom left). The bridge farther in the image is the first Mactan-Mandaue bridge, the second one is the Marcelo Fernan Bridge. This is one of the finest aerial shots I have for Metro Cebu. The timing was perfect for the plane to take this approach, the weather was right, the sun was like a flood light that is constantly illuminating the subject from this angle. This angle and this view was observable for just a few seconds. Luckily, I was able to take the shot within that time frame. Photo by storm-crypt
The Heart of Cebu City: The western half of Osmena Boulevard, from the Fuente Osmena circle to Cebu’s provincial capitol. Photo by storm-crypt
Why Not Go
Everybody loves to go to Cebu so there is really no reason why anyone would not want to go there, if given the chance. Although if you want to go to a very quiet, provincial place, you can always go to its neighboring towns such as Bantayan, Badian and Argao.
Can’t Outdo Cebu: With an island like this, it is difficult to miss summertime in Cebu. A resort on the east side, and in the foreground(west side), is a fish sanctuary, teeming with corals, and a huge variety of species of fish, that you can view closely to the point that you can touch them. And you can do all that with just snorkeling. Shot taken off the southeastern coast of Mactan Island, just a few minutes of side trip on the way to the airport. This island is called Hilutungan Island — a few kilometers off the southeast coast of Mactan Island. Photo by storm-crypt
Simply because Cebu has it all. If you are looking for a place to spend your honeymoon, there are several 5 star resorts nearby. If you are planning a family vacation, you can enjoy parasailing and scuba diving in the island hotels, and you can also go mountain climbing or camping in one of its nature parks. When it is thrill and excitement you long for, it has a one-of-a-kind amusement park that you cannot find anywhere else- the Sky Experience Adventure at Crown Regency. Now, if it is shopping and dining you want, Cebu has it too; a lot of them in fact. Anything which your adventurous and wandering heart desires, you can find it in Cebu.
Central Cebu Mountains: Going strait to north from the municipality of Sibonga will get you to this point.Taken somewhere in central Cebu’s mountain range, shortly before heading east to the city of Cebu. Photo by storm-crypt
Best Time to Visit
Summer in Cebu is usually very hot while in November-January, the wind is often cold. If you want to frolic in the beach, you should go there during summer which is from March to May. But, if you want to see what Cebu has in store for all its visitors, go there in January, specifically on the 3rd week as this is the time they celebrate one of the country’s biggest festivities, the Sinulog. But you need to book early as hotels are bound to be booked even a week or two before the festival. The rainy season begins in July bringing torrential downpours that would sometimes inhibit movement, typhoon activity is minor compared with other parts of the Philippines.
Sinulog: Sinulog, on the third weekend in January, honors the baby Jesus (Santo Nino) with a solemn religious parade on Friday evening, and an all-day festival on Saturday. Sort of like Carnival with thousands of participants. Spectacular! These girls are your average Filipino teenagers, but are dressed up in the style of “cultural minorities” who still live in the more remote locals of the country. Photo by friskodude
The Cebuano’s flair for showmanship and love for celebrations is manifested in the Sinulog, a colorful festival of pageant proportion observed every third Sunday of January. Sinulog is a dance ritual in honor of the miraculous image of the Santo Niño. The dance moves two steps forward and one step backward to the sound of the drums. This resembles the current (Sulog) of what was then known as Cebu’s Pahina River. Thus, in Cebuano, they say it’s Sinulog.
Photo by 2rokbotoy
Where to Stay
Save up to 75% on hotels in Philippines
Since Cebu has always been a popular tourist destination, it is equipped with hotels and resorts for every budget. If you want to splurge a bit to experience luxury at its best, you can stay at the following hotels and resorts: Marco Polo Plaza- located at Nivel Hills, this is a great hotel with such awesome customer service. The food buffet at Café Marco is like no other, plus you get a fantastic view of the city. Rates start at around $105.
Waterfront Hotel and Casino- there are two Waterfront Hotels, one is beside the airport and the other is within the uptown area but I would recommend the hotel in the uptown area because it is so much nicer, with better amenities. Plus it is near everything else. Rate starts at $95.
Plantation Bay- this is located in Lapu-Lapu, it is an island city just about 30 minutes away from Cebu. This is a truly lovely resort where you can really experience luxury and relaxation. Rates start at $150++.
Shangrila Mactan Resort and Spa- this is probably the most popular resort in Cebu and with good reason too. It has a beautiful beach front, swimming pools, a huge garden, a play area for kids plus a wonderful spa. Rates start at $165++.
If you are on a budget, you may prefer to stay at cheaper hotels. Don’t worry, Cebu has a lot of them and they are quite clean and nice too.
Golden Peak Hotel- located in uptown Cebu; this is a newly built hotel. Rates start at $30.
Maxwell Hotel- another newly built hotel, with a spa and coffee shop with free DSL internet. Rates start at
Golden Prince Hotel- this hotel is very near food and shopping establishments, particularly one of Cebu’s biggest malls which is Ayala. Rates start at $49.
Heritage of Cebu: The Heritage of Cebu monument in Parian showcases the significant events of Cebu. You can also see sculptures of Lapu-lapu, Rajah Humabon, Ferdinand Magellan, martyr Pedro Calunsod and other prominent historical figures that have moved and shaped Cebu in more ways than one. This monument is the work of national artist Edgardo Castrillo. It was constructed on July 1997 was inaugurated on Dec. 8, 2000. Photo by Brennan Mercado
Where & What to Eat
•Abuhan- Have you ever heard of Pochero? It is a great tasting soup with pork or beef bone marrow, corn and cabbages. Abuhan is famous for it. You can try this in one of their 3 brances. I would recommend the branch they have at Asiatown IT Park.
•Golden Cowrie-This is probably the most frequented Filipino restaurant, particularly by tourists. Their food is simply amazing. You can try their sautéed mushroom and chicken pandan. They have 3 branches: in Lahug, SM, and Hukad in Ayala.
•Spice Fusion- this restaurant offers Asian Cuisines that are quite delicious. A favorite, roti in curry sauce is highly recommended. Spice Fusion has two branches, one at the Banilad Town Center and the other one at North Wing, in SM.
•Sutukil- visitors should never leave Cebu without going to the famous SUTUKIL. It is an area with several restaurants offering the freshest seafood. You can actually choose from live fish, crabs, and shrimps, and then you can have it cooked SUTUKIL style, which comprises three different food: grilled, raw (with vinegar, tomatoes, ginger and chili), and soup. This is located beside the Mactan Shrine in Lapu-Lapu.
•Café Laguna-a place where you can taste authentic Filipino dishes. Try their bistek tagalog, it is simply heaven to the palate. You can find Café Laguna in the mall and garden area of Ayala Mall.
•Larsians- sample Cebu’s street food at its finest. Grilled chicken, pork and fish plus you can try their ‘puso’ or what others call ‘hanging rice.’ It is rice wrapped and cooked in palm leaves.
•Harbour City Dimsum- great Chinese food- try their siomai and steam rice. Harbour City has branches in two malls, Ayala and SM.
Cebu has lots of places to go to enjoy your night – from downtown to uptown, Metropolitan Cebu comes even more alive as dusk sets in, with queues leading to music bars, discos and the casinos.
If you want to go dancing, you can go to Sunflower at Lahug, or at Pump in Archbishop Reyes Street. If you want to go Karaoke, you can go to POD5 at the Banilad Town Center, or at K1 KTV at the Crossroads. If you just want to hang out in a restobar, you can go to Sinners and Saints in Banilad or a sportsbar called Badgers. You can also go to T.G.I.F. in Ayala where the food, beer and service are really good. Now if you just want to have some nice and quiet evening, you can go to Tops, it sure is nice there during the night; you get to see all the lights around Cebu.
My to do List
•Island Hopping- You can rent a pumpboat for about $60 and this will take you to 3 beautiful islands around Cebu. It is a whole day activity so you may want to bring in some lunch and snacks.
•Mountain View- You can go there day or night- it does not matter as they are open 24/7. It is full of tall trees and flowers, plus hangout areas and playgrounds for kids. You also get a great view of the city at the top. Entrance fee: $1.25 per person
•Nature Tripping- You can go to one of its many waterfalls, especially the one in Badian which is the Kawasan Falls, it is about 2 ½ hours away from the city.
•Bantayan Island- This is about a 3 hour drive to the southernmost port, and then you will take a RoRo to the island which is about an hour’s travel. Bantayan is great for those who want some quiet time in sugary white sand beaches.
Turtle with two live sharksuckers
Photo by alfonsator
•Moalboal- You should go there if you want to dive. It is about 2 ½ hours away from the city. They have several diving packages at different rates. The islands of Mactan and Camotes are not to missed by diver addicts too.
•Sky Experience- located at the heart of the city, this is where the city’s tallest building is. Experience the thrill of walking hundreds of feet above ground!
•Basilica del Sto. Nino- this very old church is located at the heart of downtown Cebu. There you can see the many faces and images of the Little Jesus. It has been said that miracles happen if you ask the Sto. Nino to pray for you.
Photo by neiltoot
•Shopping- there are two kinds of shopping you can do-high end and low end. You can find some really good buys in downtown Cebu, specifically at Colon Street where tops can go as low as $2. You can also go to two big malls where you can find clothes, shoes and accessories: Ayala Mall and SM.
Stay Away From
Cebu is also home to a lot of pickpockets and robbers. Stay away from the downtown area late at night. Even during the day, you should keep your valuables in places where it is difficult for robbers to get access to it.