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20 things to do in Cebu City and surroundings

Cebu island is one of the most visited islands of the Philippines and I was wondering why, as many people said they did not like it. So I spent 2 days over there and visited as many things as possible to give you some ideas about the best places to see in Cebu:

1. shopping mall SM Cebu – the second biggest shopping mall in the Philippines after the Mall of Asia in Manila. You have to eat in the food court here. It is the experience by itself. You can get fresh buko juice (the way to call coconut juice in the Philippines) in a bottle here, cut fruits and fresh bread.

food court in shopping mall SM in Cebu in the Philippines  

 

2. Chinese cemetery Queen City Gardens – situated on the road going to SM.

entrance to Chinese cemeterey Queen City Gardens in Cebu City in the Philippines

 

3. graffiti wall around Queen City – check out some very nice graffiti out there.

graffitti wall around Chinese Cemetery Queen City Gardens in Cebu City in Philippines


4. Minglanilla public market – a couple of kilometres from Cebu City, it is a traditional local market where all goods are being sold, from fresh seafood, fish, to meat, vegetables and fruit. The locals buy their food as it is much cheaper than department stores or shopping malls. I bet you will be the only white person over there. But everyone will smile at you, say hi and be extremely nice to you. That’s how the Filipinos are to foreigners.

fresh fish sold at Minglanilla public market in Cebu in the Philippines


5. Fort San Pedro – its construction began on 8th May 1565. First made of wood, then of stone. Was built to defend the locals against the Spanish expedition who wanted to colonize the area. 11 days after the fort began to be built, Miguel Lopez de Legazpi arrived here and founded the first Spanish settlement in Cebu. The fort is triangular in shape so consists of three bastions – La Concepcion, San Ignacio de Loyola and San Miguel.
The fort used to be the place of military garrison Warwick Barracks, then a park, Cebu Garden Club, Cebu Zoo, government offices and now it has been converted to a National shrine. There is a little shrine to pray and a well Pozo de la Virgen.

entrance to Fort San Pedro in Cebu City in the Philippines

6. Plaza Independencia – a square next to the Fort San Pedro. It is a famous dating site, couples and lovers meet up there usually. It is actually one of the most historically significant places in Cebu. In the center of the plaza there is the obelisk dedicated to Legazpi, the first Spanish Governor – General of the Philipines. The square was renamed a couple of times, from military Plaza de Armas, to Plaza Mayor, Plaza Maria Cristina during the Spanish reign, then Plaza Libertad during the American colonization and finally Plaza Independencia. It was in 2006 when the SRP tunnel was constructed here and prehispanic human bones were found in here .

Legazpi obelisk at Plaza Independencia in Cebu City  in the Philippines

 

7. Malacañang of the South – the white big building. Built due to the request of the ex-president Gloria Arroyo. One of the reasons why in Cebu is because she won the landslide vote in Cebu, so she wanted to thank the Cebu people somehow. But there is supposed to be just one of these buildings in the capital Manila – the main office of the president.

Malacañang of the South in Cebu City in the Philippines


8. Magellan’s cross – a shrine at the place where Ferdinand Magellan put the cross and brought the Christianity to Cebu.

Magellan's cross at Magellanes street in Cebu City in the Philippines

Magellan's cross planted by the Portuguese Ferdinand Magellan in Cebu City


9. Santo Niño church – supposed to be the oldest church in the Philippines. People lit the candles there and say the prayers.

Santo Niño Church from outside in Cebu City in Philippines

praying in Santo Niño Church in Cebu City in Philippines

light up candles outside Santo Niño Church in Cebu City in Philippines


10. Cathedral and its museum with religious artifacts – one of the oldest churches in Cebu and obviously one of the most important ones, too. Big events and wedding of politicians and businessmen and just wealthy people take place there. It is a place for the rich, while the Santo Niño church is for the masses, the poorer ones and is overcrowded.

Cathedral in Cebu City in Philippines from outside

Cathedral museum in Cebu City in Philippines


11. Heritage of Cebu – locally called Parian.

Heritage of Cebu Parian in Cebu City in Philippines

 

12. University of San Carlos and its museum – entrance fee 30 Php, old the collections of the University, e.g. artificial teeth mutilation, preserved animals, religious artifacts, etc.

inside San Carlos University Museum in Cebu City in Philippines

 

13. Colon street – the oldest and the shortest street in the Philippines named after Christopher Columbus. There have been a lot of changes at Colon street throughout its history.

the oldest Colon street in Cebu City in Philippines

 

14. Lapulapu shrine – this was the place where Lapulapu killed Magellan during the battle between the Spaniards and Muslims. The statue of Lapulapu commemorates the battle in here. He was the chief of his tribe and Magellan was the Captain of the first Spanish expedition to reach the Philippines in 1521. There are plenty of souvenir shops next to the shrine where you can get for example guitars. Cebuanos (Cebu people) are famous guitar makers.

Lapulapu shrine close to Cebu City in Philippines

 

15. Mactan bridge – the Lapulapu city and Mandaue city are connected by it

view from one Mactan bridge to another in Cebu

 

16. IT park – place with a lot of call centers and restaurants. E.g. Mexican restaurant Moon cafe, then Casa Verde or cafe East west for famous Mango crepe. To get great ice cream, head off to La Marea and ask for ”brownie a la mode”.

IT park in Cebu in Philippines

 

17. Larsian BBQ station food -  a popular place for bloggers to hang out, together with the locals.

Larsian BBQ station food in Cebu City in Philippines

 

18. Kawasan waterfalls – the famous waterfalls in Cebu, for family and friends outings, they hang out there. It is a famous tourist spot, too. And actually we did meet some tourists there. Oh, yeah. Kawasan falls have three levels – three different waterfalls. The first one of them is where the most of the people stay, swim and eat. If you feel like going further, you can walk a bit up to the second level of the waterfalls where you will find less tourists and two restaurants. You actually have to pay to sit in one of the cottages there, it is 300 Php. Even if you want to order some food, you still have to pay which I did not fin very pleasant and fair. Pay just to sit somewhere? Not nice! But being travel bloggers and wanting to promote this place, we did not have to pay as we had our lunch in there.
The third level is where the water comes from and distributes to the second and first level. It is another couple of minutes trekking up along the river. The water is bubbling here so let’s have a bubble bath here :) They sell buko juice in here to enjoy the place better.

Kawasan watefall level 1 in Cebu in Philippines

 

19. Badian beach at the bus stop for the waterfalls. It is not one of the nicest beaches ever, but you will be there alone for sure. So relax and enjoy your own company!

Badian beach close to Kawasan waterfalls in Cebu

 

20. Moalboal town where you take a tricycle to the beach Basdaku White beach (in Cebuano – bas means sand, daku means big)

Basdaku White Beach in Moalboal town in Cebu

47 Comments

  1. Public transportation – buses with the locals.

  2. may i know what kind of transportation u take to move around in cebu?

  3. Thanks Looi, hope you enjoy Cebu. It’s worth a visit ;)

  4. Comment@ Crazy Sexy Fun Traveler:
    Thanks for the useful info. we be in Cebu this Christmas. We wish you great adventure and a wonderful time ahead. Cheers….

  5. Glad you find my Cebu list useful ;) Hope you enjoy it there, Samantha!

  6. Awesome list! We are planning on going to Cebu in December and I don’t have too much knowledge of the place so it’s great to see there are some fun things to do. Thanks!

  7. Love to hear that, Andy. Cebu is a pretty cool place, I am sure you will enjoy it :)

  8. @ Crazy Sexy Fun Traveler:
    Love the site! I’m getting ready to retire to Cebu so a site like this is very beneficial! Thank you!

  9. Thanks Sofia for your recommendations :) Very useful ;)

  10. And if you want to visit other place in the Philippines, you should check this out:

    http://www.choosephilippines.com/go/islands-and-beaches/701/Hinatuan/

    Enchanted River is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Surigao del Sur and the rest of Mindanao. This beautiful river is said to be wrapped in mystery and supernatural events so that it gained renown as being enchanted.

  11. Try Oslob and Bantayan.

    Here are some pictures:
    Bantayan: http://tinyurl.com/k6455j7

    Oslob: http://tinyurl.com/m2sfsdm

    You can swim with whale sharks in Oslob! :)

  12. Thanks for your tip, never heard of it there :)

  13. Another cool thing to do in Cebu is try wakeboarding in Papakits. :)

  14. Feel free to do so, Cebu is cool ;)

  15. I need to get more info about Cebu :)

  16. Thanks for your recommendation ;)

  17. Hey Guys Cebu has plenty to offer and the latest tourist attraction is Bojo River in Aloguinsan.

    Check my site for more places you visit in Cebu.

    I am a frustrated blogger

    My top 5 Reasons to Visit Cebu

  18. No, haven’t visited any mountains on Cebu unfortunately. Next time for sure ;)

  19. I think you have not been to the beautiful mountains of cebu. Ahehehehehe As I can see you love hiking. You just might love it on top of the mountains

  20. Thanks so much for your nice words, Terry. Some things have changed in Cebu but I still think they will even more (hopefully change to better) by the time you go there and I really hope you will be able to find at least some information about it online later on.

  21. Wow! I’m thankful for people like you who take the time to share their travels through blogs. I’m wanting to break away from my 2 week stay in Manila (Feb. 2014) and I’m thinking of Cebu. I know this isn’t a new review, so if you might have any new tips I’d be grateful to hear (read) them. Thanks again Crazy/Sexy Traveler.

  22. Comment@ CAJ:
    I never have time to upload new photos to photo gallery, you are right! And haven’t been to China and Australia yet so I don’t write about those countries.

  23. Pretty cool blog, but where are the photos of your trips in SE Asia? I did not see them in your photo gallery. The only ones there seem to be pictures from your European and South American trips.

    If you get a chance, travel and blog about China and Australia.

  24. Comment@ Juan Manila:
    Wow, Juan! Good to see my tips will help you with your trip :) Enjoy!

  25. Nice! Thanks for this blog. I was scouting for suggestions for my Cebu trip next week and I came across your site. It will be my first visit there. Your blog will be a big help on my Cebu adventure.

    More power and keep up the good work!

  26. Comment@ Ienyhs:
    Thanks Ienyhs for reading :)

  27. Great article this is very useful tips and I hope to read more update from this article.

  28. Comment@ Ayngelina:
    Really? You did? I had no idea! How long did you live there? Have you traveled there a lot? I would love to see Cebu back in time.

  29. I lived in Cebu in 1999 and I have always wondered if it changed much, and now I can see its like night and day.

  30. Comment@ melo villareal:
    Me too, Melo, BBQ chicken please for me :D And rice, rice and more rice …

  31. I suddenly craved for Larsian BBQ after seing this post… I want to go back to CEBU!!!

  32. Comment@ Bino / Frameless World:
    Bino, u should go! Go, go, go to Cebu :)

  33. You’ve got a great list Alex. Quite funny that I’m a Filipino but I’ve never been to Cebu.. I can hear all the places in the list calling me. :p

  34. Comment@ Cebu Carlo:
    Thank you, I’m fast like the wind :D

  35. Great list! It’s amazing that you were able to do all this in just 2 days. @_@

  36. Comment@ Jarmo @ Arctic Nomad:
    I had a friend of mine as my tour guide who lives in Cebu, maybe that’s why I saw so many places … Loved Kawasan waterfalls the most I think

  37. I didn’t realize there was so much things in Cebu, when I was there I didn’t do much, the most I did was hitting the poker tables at one of the casinos with a with a friend who was living there. But Moalboal was great, I loved it!

  38. Comment@ Scott – Quirky Travel Guy:
    The fort was actually really cool. Especially walking on top of it :)

  39. That’s a great list. I’d love to see a fort from 1565!

  40. Comment@ The Pinoy Explorer:
    I did enjoy the Philippines a lot, you have no idea :) And I always try to see as much as possible so I don’t waste time doing nothing ;)

  41. Wow! I have never been to those Cebu places much as you did! definitely a well-spent travel you had here in the Philippines!

  42. Im glad you enjoyed your stay in the Queen City of the South:) Hope to see you next time when you come back here:)

  43. Comment@ bhety:
    I have never been to Camotes, not enough time unfortunately! Hopefully next time :) And yes, Mica, I know your mall obsession haha

  44. My favorite in Cebu is Camotes Island… just 3 hours away from the city. Their lake and beaches are just simply breathtaking…

  45. Wow. you’ve been to a lot of places! IT Park and Ayala Mall is like heaven to me <3

  46. That’s unbelievable! But it happens all the time, you just feel like you can go thee anytime as it is close and then in the end you never go :)

  47. Great all around review of Cebu!! I’m Filipino and I’ve never been to Cebu :(

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