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Your Quick Guide To Visiting Cebu, Philippines
The Philippines

Your Quick Guide To Visiting Cebu, Philippines

Whether or not it’s your first time, this is your quick guide to visiting Cebu, Philippines.

Cebu is a province comprising islands and islets in the Central Visayas region in the Philippines. If you’re planning to explore this amazing place, and you have no idea about what to do or where to go, here are some spots and activities you might want to consider.

In fact, Cebu is one of my most favorite places of destinations in the Philippines.

Your Quick Guide To Visiting Cebu * Some interesting places

THE TEMPLE OF LEAH

The Temple of Leah is called the “Taj Mahal” of the Philippines. Constructed in 2012 as a symbol of Teodorico Adarna’s undying love for his late wife, Leah Villa Albino-Adarna, the temple is now famous among tourists and locals alike.

At the temple, you will only need to pay PHP15 for the entrance. It can get crowded in summer, so make sure to look for a good spot to have your photo taken.

SIRAO FLOWER GARDEN

Drive for an hour from the city and you will reach the little Amsterdam of Cebu, Sirao Flower Garden. It captures the hearts of people seeking peace and break from the hustle. The garden offers a relaxing mountain view.

The flowers are in full bloom on sunny days. Plan your trip well so that you can see the colorful flowers under the bright, beautiful sky. The entrance fee is PHP50 ($1). A parking space is available.

If you want some refreshment, fresh coconuts are being sold outside the vicinity.

MAGELLAN’S CROSS 

One of the most historical attractions that one can’t truly miss.

In his search of the Spice Islands, Ferdinand Magellan, a naturalized Spaniard, together with his men chanced upon Cebu instead. That’s where they planted the first Christian cross in the Philippines.

This is one of the most prominent parts of the history of the Philippines. The murals on the ceiling of Magellan’s Cross are interesting, although, scores of tourists flock to this site. It’s best to visit it in the late afternoon

Your Quick Guide To Visiting Cebu * Where to eat

HOUSE OF LECHON

Never miss the chance to pig out on the famous Cebu Lechon! Lechon, or a roasted suckling pig, originally came from Spain. It has long since been a favorite on every occasion in the Philippines. It can also be a regular dish on an ordinary day. How can I complete this Cebu guide without recommending eating Lechon? No way!

House of Lechon can be your one-stop restaurant serving lechon. From the grilling station to your stomach, lechon might be your next favorite Filipino food! One kilo is good for 3 people.

Other great Filipino dishes are also in the menu.

OR,

LARSIAN GRILL

If you want to try some local barbecue, this is for you! Try Larsian Grill. Chicken intestine and chicken or pork barbecue are the most popular here. Grilled seafood selections such as fish, squid, and shrimp are also available.

Everything’s affordable, but don’t expect top notch service. Vendors can also be loud, but if you’re not picky, give it a try and experience the local food scene.

For rice lovers, don’t be surprised if the rice is wrapped in bamboo leaves. Also, try the siomai with tisa, a Bisayan take on the Chinese dish.

Cebu guide: Beaches and water activities

KAWASAN FALLS

Kawasan Falls is one of the most loved spots offering exciting activities south of Cebu City. Take a 3 to 4-hour bus ride from the city and bask in fun waiting for you.

Enjoy the scenery and the amazing blue water. Do activities such as rafting and canyoneering, and dive into the water. For those who are afraid of heights, this may not be for you, but don’t worry, you can try! Wear proper gear and attire, as rocks are slippery. And a little warning, food can be costly. Bring your own water, and don’t forget your camera.

OSLOB WHALE SHARK

For whale shark lovers, this is heaven! Include swimming with whale sharks in your itinerary. A word of caution, though: choose the best tour. Guides speak English well.

Make sure to get closer to the whale sharks. Remember, though; you’re not allowed to put on skin lotion if you plan to touch them, as it is bad for the gentle giants. Swimming with whale sharks is a favorite, especially during peak season, but it’s all worth it, so don’t skip this one.

BANTAYAN ISLAND, STA FE

Located in Sta. Fe, Cebu, Bantayan Island has a beautiful sandbar that’s picturesque, especially when it’s low tide. It’s a sanctuary for those seeking peace. Take a 3 to 4-hour bus ride from the city, then a 20 to 30-minute ferry ride. 

For me, Bantayan Island is one of the ultimate beaches not only in Cebu but also in the Philippines; thus, it’s part of this quick guide to let you know this island cannot be overlooked!

OGTONG CAVE

If you’re on Bantayan Island, you might also want to visit Ogtong Cave which is 30 minutes away from the town. Rent a tricycle for PHP50 to PHP100. The entrance fee is PHP100.

MOALBOAL ISLAND

Swim with a swarm of sardines in Moalboal. If all you want to do is hit the beach, Moalboal’s white sand beach is perfect for you. You can set up your own tent and take in the relaxing vibe of the beach or you can rent ” kubos” or small cottages. 

When you get hungry, small eateries stand by the beach, ready to serve you. Buses bound for Moalboal can be found in the city and takes about 3-4 hours. 

The Philippines travel * A home of 7 thousand plus islands

Can’t decide where to next? Explore other amazing places in the Philippines


Where to stay at Moalboal

CHIEF MAU HOSTEL

It is one of the most famous backpacker’s hostels in the area. Pay PHP500 ($9.50) per night for a shared dorm, or PHP1,500 ($28) per night for a private room. You can read my full review here. Chief Mau Hostel

Got it all? Awesome!

Insider Tip: Need to catch an early flight going home the next day but don’t want to stay at the airport or a hostel? Lounge at Tom & Tom’s Coffee Shop. It’s open 24 hours and has a reliable Wi-Fi connection! Tom & Tom’s is located at The Greenery, Mabolo, around 40 minutes from the airport. Take Uber, Grab, or a regular taxi, and it will cost you PHP150 to PHPH300 ($3-$5). 

How to get to Cebu from Manila

Domestic Airlines such as Air Asia and Cebu Pacific fly to Cebu daily for only 1-1.5 hours. If you’re lucky, you can spot on their promos. Check their website for more information!

Cebu in a nutshell

There are tons of things to do in Cebu, unlimited of places hidden gems to explore and amazing warm Cebuano people to meet. Cebu indeed is a perfect destination, not only made for locals but international tourists.

I hope this quick but insightful Cebu guide I made would be helpful for your next trip to visit Cebu! The only place in the Philippines where the best Lechon and amazing islands are located!

Born, raised, and forever loyal to the Philippines. Catherine is a teacher who writes and a writer who teaches. She writes every day. She's in love with Africa, beaches, and books. Her favorite books are " There Is No Me Without you, One woman's Odyssey to Rescue African's children, and "Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace. One School at a Time". And her ultimate dream destinations are Madagascar and Hawaii. Check out more of her stories on her blog.

32 Comments

  • Tala Valino

    Coming back to Cebu for Sirao Flower Garden and Moalboal!! Thanks for hsaring your tips. Never heard of Temple of Lea but sure looks interesting! 🙂

  • LDH

    It looks like there is so much to do in Cebu, Phillipines that I would like. I was nodding along when I read about caves, the awesome ceiling at Magellan’s cross and the natural beauty of Kawasan Falls. And then I saw your point about whale shark lovers! Scuba diving with whale sharks is on my bucket list. So maybe this will be the spot!

  • megan_claire

    I can’t wait to get to Cebu – especially as there is such a diverse range of things to do. The flower gardens are beautiful, and I can definitely see why this is likened to Amsterdam, though what excites me the most is the opportunity to swim with Whale Sharks – I’m so excited about getting to do this!

  • Amélie

    Cebu looks so beautiful, especially the beaches. I’ve spent over two years all over South East Asia and somehow haven’t managed to make my way to the Philippines yet, which makes me soooooo sad! D:

  • Lillie Marshall

    Whaaaa! After hearing so much about Cebu, I can’t believe I haven’t been there before, but now I’m realizing that I’ve been so focused on its lovely beaches that I didn’t realize what it had to offer on land. Despite being a teacher, I didn’t realize that Magellan and his men landed there, and I’d be curious to see the cross… though would take your tip to come early and avoid the crowds.

  • Mike Still

    I wish I had this guide before I went to Cebu! The Ogtong Cave looks really cool and you certainly got better whale shark footage than I did. I love your suggestion to wear proper footwear at Kawasan Falls. Its SO slippery there!

  • Antonette Spaan

    The flower gardens look so lovely and for such a small price. Being from Holland (land of tulips) I’ve always had a thing for flowers so this would definitely be my first pick if I ever make it to Cebu!

  • Medha Verma Bector

    I am travelling to the Philippines for a week in March and I had an extremely tough time nailing an itinerary because of all the gorgeous places to see. The choice was between Palawan and Cebu (and obviously, I could not do both in a week) and after a lot of struggle, I unfortunately had to do away with Cebu from my itinerary 🙁 Not that Palawan won’t be gorgeous, I am sure it will be but after reading your post, I feel bad that I am missing out on such lovely places. Especially Kawasan Falls and the Oslob shark swimming experience. I know I will HAVE to return to the Philippines someday!

  • Tanvi Nadkarni

    The nature in the Phillipines looks so amazing ! Especially those waterfalls look really pretty.. And were you not scared to see whale shark from this close? Hope you had a great time though!

  • Nisha

    I have been to Philippines several time but haven’t been to Cebu islands, so thank you for this. This post will certainly help in charting out our plan when we go there.
    The Church, flowers, cave and waterfall … everything looks very inviting. And yes I love those bamboo leaves covered rice too. 🙂

  • Jennifer Dombrowski

    I’ve been to the Philippines, but I spent all my time diving in Coron. Definitely loved our trip there! I’d love to go to Cebu to dive with the whale sharks.

  • Alli Blair

    The Kawasan Falls and Sirao Flower Garden look absolutely beautiful! Postcard perfect 🙂 The flowers are so bright and lovely. I can imagine how nice it would be to take a break there from the hustle and bustle!

  • Paige Brown

    Cebu is just amazing. I visited Oslob (whale sharks, as you mentioned, and the waterfall that was right there as well) and Cebu City. I totally missed out on ‘the Taj Mahal’ of the Philippines though and I’m really bummed about that! It’s such a special little island, isn’t it?

  • Christopher Rudder

    The Philippines really is beautiful. This is a great list. The Temple of Leah is stunning and as bad as that sounds I never thought that temples like this existed as most post talk about the many islands and beaches. Kawasan Falls is absolutely beautiful. I can’t get over the colour of the waterfalls pool. Wow.

  • Meghna Malhotra

    Philippines has such amazing islands that its so hard to choose one. I really wish to stay put in the country for at least three months and experience all nature’s counties. Swimming will whale sharks sounds fantastic and I’m glad to know it can be done in Cebu!

  • travellingslacker

    Cebu is firmly on my list after this post! What views, from gardens to waterfalls! I did not also know the Megallan connection before reading this post. I love places that provide a combination of great historical connections and natural views.

  • Sam Sparrow

    I’ve heard so much about Cebu that really it is time I ought to go there haha! It is really a beautiful place, and it appeals to me not just because of the stunning beaches but because of such things as the The Temple of Leah – what a beauty and honestly what a surprise!

  • Catherine Mendoza

    @ Medha, oh you’re visiting Palawan? Good choice still! We’re dying to see this place and it’s mega beautiful! We’re also traveling there in May so we’re very excited! You’ll miss Cebu but that’s okay, next time! Have a good time in the gorgeous Palawan!

  • Eva

    A friend of mine just opened a hostel on Cebu and he has told me a lot about it. That it had so much to offer as you show in this post I did not know before. I will incorporate your tips in my travel plans. Thank you for sharing!

  • Jennifer Melroy

    Guys in Asia seem to build the best monuments to their wives. You don’t really see that anywhere else in the world.

    I would love the chance to meet a whale shark and swim with him. They are such a cool creature and look amazing.

  • Catherine Mendoza

    @ Jennifer – That’s right! Amazing, right? The love is boundless! And the whale sharks are once in a lifetime! Just be extra careful and follow the guides rules to not to harm the whales and you’ll definitely enjoy!

  • ruma dey baidya

    Hi Catherine

    It was a wonderful blog .. Every picture you have posted in your blog that Tells a story.
    Looking forward to read your other wonderful travel experience. I just create an article about <"National International mango festival day | India Philippines Guimaras" Please check and share your views. Thanks Ruma Travel blogger from India

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