Cebu Tourism Information
The island-province of Cebu is a good destination for island-hopping in the Visayas. Located in the centre of the Philippine archipelago, one hour flight away from Manila, it offers travellers easy access to the caves and lagoons of Gato and Kalanggaman, dive spots in Mactan, Moalboal, Badian and Olango, as well as Carmen, Oslob and Argao beaches.
The region's metropolitan area is the second largest in the country and, along with its adjacent Mactan Island, has become a bustling package-tour destination. Travellers will find casinos, golf courses, shopping malls, balmy weather, sandy beaches and all-inclusive resort hotels.
Cebu is also the country's oldest Spanish colonial city and has several historic landmarks. A lot of new residential buildings complex are being built now to cope with the demand of the high number of tourists and foreigners who decide to have a holiday home in this island.
Average temperatures in Cebu vary very little. Considering humidity, temperatures feel hot all year with a chance of rain throughout most of the year.
If you’re looking for the very warmest time to visit Cebu, the hottest months are May, April, and then June. Highs can reach well above 32°C and rarely dropping below 26°C at night.
However, the best time to come for better weather climate without so much rain is from March to April.
Also consider visiting from December to February for temperatures averaging around 27-30°C which are more pleasant, despite being a little more cloudy, if you plan any outdoor activities. Still, taking protective sunglasses and sunscreen anytime is highly advised.
When arriving to Cebu, baggage collection is straightforward and you exit to the taxi stands where you can get to your Hotel. Pre-booking a taxi with your Hotel might be a good idea to avoid having local drivers trying to encourage you to hire them. Prices are on average 500-800 Php for a drive into the town on a set price car. However taxi meters should be cheaper about 300-500 Php.
Once at the city, there is little public transportation available expect from the local Jeepneys.
Visiting Cebu, might also surprise you with the amount of culture and historical landmarks to see. These include the original cross planted by Magellan in 1521, when he baptised the first group of Filipino natives into the Catholic faith. The cross is now housed in a roofed kiosk in Magallanes Street. Downtown Cebu is dominated by Colon Street, which is the country's oldest street and dates back to the 16th century.
The highlights of the city are:
- Basilica del Santo Niño (Basilica of the Holy Child) houses an icon of the infant Jesus. Distinguished as the country's oldest religious relic, it has miraculously survived fire and numerous catastrophes since the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan first presented it to Queen Juana of Cebu in 1521. The church itself was originally built in 1565, and rebuilt in 1602 after a fire. Its façade is a striking blend of Romanesque, neo-classical and Islamic architecture, while its interior is sumptuously decorated.
- The Cathedral Museum of Cebu is housed in an imposing bahay-na-bato located in the downtown, in close proximity to the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral and the Basilica del Santo Niño. It showcases religious architecture and artifacts from the region.The structure itself can be considered a museum piece. Although no factual information regarding its construction can be found. It was probably built by Bishop Santos Gomez Marañon during the mid-1800s. If you wish to pay a visit to the museum, the building is located at Manalili Corner P. Gomez Street. The Museum tour fee is Php50 per person and the whole tour may last for about an hour.
- The Casa Gorordo Museum was originally the home of the first Filipino Bishop of Cebu. Four generations of the Gorordo family lived in the house between 1863 and 1979. Today, the restored abode is a recreation of a typical, well-off Filipino home of the mid-to-late 19th century. Its furnishings include paintings, household items, antique furniture, and religious relics. Almost everything is authentic to the period. Guided tours are sometimes available at the museum, but visitors should arrange their own if want guarantees. That said, just wandering the old house is fascinating.
- Located in Cebu City's wharf area, Fort San Pedro was the centre of the country's first Spanish settlement. Established in 1565, it began as a single triangular bastion, and was expanded and fortified over the next 200 years. The fort has also served a variety of purposes, seeing use as a watch-tower to counter pirate attacks in the 1700s, a prison for local rebels during the Philippine Revolution, and a US army barracks. Today, the fort has been turned into a museum park, where visitors can encounter the island's history. Tours are free, though tips are appreciated.
- Cebu Taoist Temple, is a Taoist temple located in Beverly Hills region. The temple is built by Cebu's substantial Chinese community in 1972. With an elevation of 110 metres above sea level, the temple is a towering, attraction accessible by three separate winding routes. The best way to get there is by tour.
Travellers can easily reach a number of beaches and islets from the Cebu metropolitan area. Mactan Island is one of the best options. It links to Cebu City via a bridge and is home to many resorts, most of which offer full scuba services and watersports facilities. Divers will relish exploring Kansatik's underwater mountain, and should also try Sogod and Moalboal, which are world-renowned dive destinations.
Kalanggaman Island and Capitancillo Islet have tremendous coral reefs as well. Travellers should certainly visit Argao's picture-perfect beaches, given that they're only around two hours' drive outside Cebu.
Bird watchers will enjoy Olango Island's pristine white sandy beaches.
❗Attention: Animal lovers can venture to the sea-snake breeding ground, Gato Islet. Travellers should note that while the snakes are not aggressive, they are highly venomous. They should seek immediate attention if bitten.
Ask at the Hotel to organise a day trip in Cebu. There are multiple tours available, including the City of Cebu, the resorts or aquatic sports.
However if you want to plan your own itinerary you can also hire a driver with a car and they can drive you around, stopping at all popular places.
The nightlife in Cebu takes place mostly in your hotel, specially if you are staying around the resorts and mega-complexes which offer a series of entertainment shows and activities for visitors. Many hotels have their own late night clubs, big open garden music band plays, amusement for children, cinemas etc.
If you are looking for a more authentic feel, you will need to head to Cebu city centre, where a selection of more western and local bars, clubs and karaokes can be found.
Cebu, being a historic center of trade, can also be considered as a shopper’s paradise. The city offers a variety of shopping, from upscale malls with international brands to small stalls offering the best local products the island has to offer.
Below are some shopping places in Cebu where you can shop for a variety of items, from everyday necessities in markets to those luxuries and presents you will find in the more upscale department stores and malls:
- Carbon Market
- Colon Street
- Pasil Wet Market
- Taboan Public Market
- Unitop (Mall)
- SM City Cebu (Mall)
- Ayala Center Cebu (Mall)
In Cebu city centre you will find the cheapest hotels or Hostels. Hotels are reasonably priced and you can get individual rooms for under €23.
If you stay in the resorts, Hotel Chains or close to the beach then the prices increase dramatically to €80-100 per night!
Cebu is a paradise Island and your main reason to come here would be to relax. Visiting the major sights and touring around is sufficient for a day or two.
But coming to unwind and enjoying the beautiful setting, staying anything from 3 to 5 nights would be enough also and then moving on somewhere else.
Cebu Photo Slide 📷