Cebu City is the "Queen City of the South" on Cebu Island in the Philippines and is one of the most popular jumping off-points in all of the Philippines for foreign visitors, with the busiest sea port in the Philippines and the second largest air hub.
For over 200 years, the second largest and most important city in the country, it is currently the fastest growing large city in the nation with an annual growth of over 5% per year.
Perhaps surprisingly for such a booming metropolitan area, it has white sand beaches (some with ice cream vendors and showers and some untouched), as well as historical sites that reflect its cosmopolitan past. Cebu was in at the birth of Christian proselytizing in Asia when it became one of the early commercial hubs between Mexico and China.
As the second major city in the Philippines, Cebu suffers from the same problems as Manila, though to a lesser extent. Most new arrivals will want to race straight from the airport to the ferry or bus terminal on their way a more scenic destination, and when departing, should either pass straight through or book accommodation within 4km of the airport/ferry terminal to minimize the impact of 1 hour+ traffic jams. The travel time between Cebu airport and Cebu ferry terminal can be up to 1 hour 20 minutes for a taxi.
Expect to see large amounts of poverty and pollution. Despite this the city's infrastructure is quite developed, with numerous shopping malls, pharmacies, convenience stores, travel agencies, and fast food chains. Many of these are open 24 hours. Cebu is by no means a good looking city and there isn't much to see, but it can be a fun especially if you get to know it a bit. The downtown area around Colon is very crowded and reminiscent of some Latin American cities. The uptown area around Fuente Osmena is much more relaxed and an popular area to stay with visitors. Besides these areas, the city is a sprawling mix of mainly slums with some nice neighborhoods and glitzy shopping malls.
The language spoken in Cebu City is Cebuano, which is also known as Bisaya. With about 20 million native speakers, it is the mother tongue for more citizens than any other and local and regional newscasts are broadcast in Cebuano.
Since before the time of Magellan's visit, Sugbo had been a world trade centre and many speak English as a second language as well as or better than Tagalog.
Sometimes, they also speak in Taglish (Tagalog + English) when they cannot find the appropriate word to use. Youth speaks English with a Cebuano accent, often interchanging i and e as well as o and u while ones from older generations can barely converse in it. Really old people often speak excellent English from US colonial days. Some people will also understand a little of Ilonggo or Waray. The Chinese minority speak Hokkien, a minority of expatriates and immigrants speak their own languages.
Although the national language of Filipino (based on the Southern Luzon dialect of Tagalog) is technically an official language and taught in schools, it is somewhat resented in Cebu as it is seen as a symbol of the unfair domination of the Central Luzon region.
International flights:Filipino nationals and permanent residents and anyone who stays over one year. must pay the Philippine Travel Tax of ₱1,620 before they can be issued a boarding pass.
Domestic flights: (included in airfare).
International flights: (750 pesos per person).
Mactan-Cebu International Airport (link to Wikipedia article) (IATA: CEB). This international and domestic airport is a modern alternative to the congested Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila and passport control and baggage handling is fairly fast and efficient. There are numerous direct daily flights to and from China, United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan and scheduled flights to Thailand. Aside from this, the airport serves several seasonal charter flights to China, Korea, Taiwan and other nations.
Mactan Cebu International is also the main domestic hub outside Manila with a variety of flights around the Philippine archipelago such as to Manila, Kalibo, Puerto Princesa, Boracay, Clark (just near Angeles City), Roxas, Pagadian, Siargao (Surigao), Zamboanga, Davao, Bacolod, Iloilo, Cagayan de Oro, Cotabato, Camiguin, General Santos, and Tacloban, Masbate among others.
Visitors from North America, Europe, and the rest of the world may fly first to Dubai or Singapore or Hong Kong or Seoul or Kuala Lumpur or Tokyo or Taipei or Shanghai to catch a flight to Cebu. If you don't mind braving the horrendous traffic and the cacophonic noise of Manila, you will get a faster connection to Cebu, for there are now 28 flights daily between the two cities or almost two flights every hour. There are also flights to Cebu from Clark or Davao or Kalibo International airports, from which there are further flights on discount airlines to Malaysia,Singapore,Hong Kong,Korea and other points.
Facilities and amenities at the airport include a shopping center, duty-free shop, souvenir shops, cafés, business centers, food shops, communication facilities, banking facilities, car rentals, hotel and resort reservations, and beauty and health services. Grab and Uber apps are a great way to get into town or the ferry/bus terminals, since they offer a fixed price (expect P200-P350), immediate departure and skip the long lines for normal taxis.
Lapu-Lapu who is considered the Philippine's first national hero.
Getting in/out - The airport is on Mactan Island in Lapu-Lapu city. It takes about 40 minutes to 1 hour or more to get to the actual city of Cebu. If you are staying at one of the nicer hotels they usually can send a free van to pick you up at airport. If you forgot to ask for this you may find that the van of your hotel is there to pick someone else up and you can hitch a ride if there is room.
Cebu airport To Cebu City Center and vice versa by MyBus
MyBus is a new service for passengers coming from and going to the airport comfortable but still with a fixed, cheap fare.
The modern, air-conditioned Bus leaves roughly every 20 minutes from 6am at the SM City Mall (Google Maps for: "SM City Cebu - North Open Parking 2 (NOPA 2)") going to the airport until 8pm.
From the airport the busses start at 7am to 9pm. Fixed fare is ₱25. Saves you from paying a metered taxi for just being in traffic jams at least until you are more to the city center.
From SM City Mall, you can catch a normal metered taxi.
Cebu airport To Cebu Ferry Terminal
Allow 2 hours from leaving the airport to the stated ferry departure time to accommodate daily general traffic jams, port traffic jams, terminal security lines and ticket purchasing lines. The fastest travel option is to order a Grab or Uber to the port, then buy the next available ferry ticket on the spot from the ferry companies right outside the port terminal. The airport information desk has ferry timetables but these are not reliable, so confirm using the airport wifi. If port traffic is bad, simply get out around 500m early and walk your luggage past the near-stationary traffic to the actual ferry terminal.
Cebu City's domestic port is the country's busiest. Cebu City is home to almost 80 percent of the country's passenger vessels. The country's largest shipping lines, namely 2GO, Cokaliong, Lite Shipping, Trans-Asia, Robie shipping, Medallion transport, Fast Cat, George & Peter Lines all have ferries from Cebu.
Large passenger ferries with a capacity of 1,000 passengers ply the more distant routes such as Manila, Calbayog, Iligan, Ozamiz, Masbate, Iloilo,Dumaguete, Dipolog, Tagbilaran, Butuan City, Surigao and Cagayan de Oro. Medium-sized vessels such as the roll-on/roll-off (roro) types ply nearer destinations. Ormoc, Naval, Maasin, while fast ferries Weesam express, Oceanjet, 2GO fast Cat transport passengers to and from neighboring islands in two hours or less depending on the destination.
Online Booking: 12Go Asia provides online booking for ferries and flights going to Cebu City (mainly from Manila).
Do as the locals do and catch a colorful jeepney. Unfortunately, there is no website or literature describing where they go. You can either figure out their routes from destinations printed on the side of the jeepney or ask for help. They are available 24 hours and cover most of the city. Fares cost ₱7 if travelling between points within Cebu City and more if going to Mandaue City or Lapu-Lapu. Beware of pickpockets: they will sit next to you on the jeepney and slowly slide their hands into your pockets, so you don't notice.
Main terminals for jeepneys are at Ayala, SM mall and along Colon Street. From there, you can reach almost all of Cebu city.
You can board a jeepney when it's parked at a stop or by flagging one down as they drive past. You can pay your fare anytime onboard but it's suggested you pay when alighting. If the fare collector is far away, you can pass your money to other passengers and ask them to pass it to the collector. Don't be afraid of asking other passengers to pass your money as this is part of jeepney etiquette. As such, you are expected to help other passengers pass money.
When asking the driver to stop, you simply tap a coin on the metallic railing on the roof, knock on the roof with your knuckles, or simply say "lugar lang" or "stop please" in English. Since the driver rarely announces the current location of the jeepney, you should know how your destination looks like before boarding.
Remember never to stick any body parts outside the jeepney and watch out for pickpockets. Keep in mind that pickpockets outside can also pickpocket you by reaching through the open windows which have no glass.
Buses are also available but these tend to ply exclusively along the north-south route. There are two major bus terminals as the name implies for direction of travel - North Bus terminal at Mandaue and South Bus terminal. Ceres Bus lines operates regular bus services from these terminals and are considered the "safer" alternative to the smaller privately operated bus lines.
there are buses from Cebu city going to and from Bacolod and Dumaguete
Metered taxis are omnipresent in Cebu City, with Grab and Uber also available via mobile app to offer fixed-rate fares. To avoid overcharging, choose a white taxi that has the price written on the side (i.e. 40 + 3.5P), and insist the driver use the meter. If you know the route that helps to avoid the taxi going the long way, but taking different routes is normal in order to avoid Cebu's horrendous traffic, so don't be surprised if the driver doesn't go the way you expected, it could be because of traffic and not him trying to rip you off. Most drivers are honest, and even if they overcharge you, since it's so cheap, you probably won't lose much, as long as you're going by the meter.
You can (and should) report improper taxi behavior to the Department of Tourism in Cebu by phoning +63 32 254 2811.
Always insist on a metered fare as a negotiated fare will almost always be much higher. If you know the city and need to go a long distance, it may be worth paying a negotiated fare so that the driver doesn't take the scenic route or you become victim of an uncalibrated meter. Late in the evenings, there could be taxis driving with an uncalibrated, inflated meter.
Most trips around the city should not cost more than 100 ₱. The fare from the airport to most of central Cebu should be 200-250 ₱ depending on whether you use the white or yellow cabs. Yellow cabs are cabs that solely work to and from the airport. If it is your first time in Cebu, or you are not sure where you are going, it might be worth spending the extra pesos just for the safety and security of an airport licensed cab. However, if you know where you are going, and how much it should cost, a white taxi is the cheapest option.
If you know the name of the building, establishment, area or street you wish you reach, taxis are still the fastest way to your destination. Most drivers know where almost everything is. If the driver is pleasant, a 10-50 ₱ tip is warranted, especially if he loads or unloads your bags. Most drivers do not have, or will tell you they do not have change, so be ready with 50's and 20's when going on short trips.
It is best to avoid the "Private" taxis as they take advantage of tourists and charge 5-10 times the normal fare. You will find these taxis at the some of the high-class hotels. They are normally owned by the hotel to make money and may charge 500 ₱ for something that should cost 60 ₱. Some hotels make it hard for other taxis to pick you up at their premise and you may need to walk outside to save money.
Another place where private taxis are common is the airport. To avoid them, simply ask a porter for help and for a metered taxi. Downstairs at the exit for arrivals, there is a booth that will flag down a taxi for 70 ₱, but you can also go up the ramp and there are a large number of metered taxis waiting for you. You can also wend your way upstairs to Departures where many metered taxis are available. Fare down town to Ayala or SM Malls should be around 150 ₱ on the meter. You may be offered an inflated price from the driver, sometimes three to four times the cost of the actual trip. If the driver is trying to avoid turning on the meter just say "meter lang." This is Tagalog but it works throughout the Philippines. Don't travel unless the meter is used; not using the meter is illegal, and you can report it to local officials.
Both airport accredited (yellow) and normal (white) taxis are available at the arrivals area of the airport. After you exit the arrivals hall, turn right (do not cross the road) and walk about 30m to the taxi stands at the end of the building.
The immediate Cebu city area is best seen briefly, or bypassed entirely, on the way to fantastically more picturesque destinations such as the network of islands and dive spots to the north and south of Cebu. However, the daily traffic jams sometimes mean that you will be safer getting back to Cebu city a few hours early, in which case you'll have time take in some of the city sights:
An empty Basilica del Santo Niño.
Shrines and historical landmarks
- Basilica of Santo Niño (Basilica del Santo Niño (Basilica of the Holy Child)), Osmeña Boulevard, ☎ +63.32.2556697, . A large and venerable church that traces its history to the founding of the convent of the Santo Niño de Cebu in 1565. It contains a statue of the Santo Niño (Holy Child) that regarded as the oldest religious relic in the Philippines. The statue was presented by Ferdinand Magellan to Queen Juana during the baptism of King Humabon and his wife Queen Juana on April 14, 1521. The natives of Cebu were formally Christianized by Miguel Lopez de Legaspi and Father Andres de Urdaneta on April 27, 1565. However, as they found the natives hostile, the village was set on fire. Later on, in a burnt-out house, a soldier named Juan Camus found the statue untouched. This was proclaimed a miracle. The statue, adorned with gold and precious stones, is in a glass case to the left of the altar. The church sees a constant stream of devotees praying at pews in the sanctuary and in front of statues of saints. The Basilica del Santo Niño Museum (open Tue-Sun 08:00-11:45, 13:30-16:45) contains the vestments used to dress the Santo Niño and jewellery offered to the Santo Niño for use during his feast on the third Sunday of January. 10 ₱. edit
- Casa Gorordo Museum, 35 Lopez Jaena St, ☎ +63 32 2555630 ([email protected], fax: +63 32 2555630), . Tue-Sun 10:00-18:00. A well-preserved Spanish colonial mansion constructed largely of wood, set in a pleasant, manicured garden. The lower floor has a collection of old tools, and an A/C room that has changing displays such as art exhibitions. The more interesting upstairs level was the former living quarters of the Gorordo family. It features lovely carved wooden furniture and a wide patio. The kitchen is particularly interesting, as it contains a traditional dirt stove, a wooden food safe, and a traditional dish drying rack fitted to the outside of the window. Adults: 70 ₱. edit
- Colon St. Brave the cacophanous traffic to see the oldest street in the Philippines with some nice worn-out classical buildings dating back to the American Era. At night, this street transforms into a market with good buys everywhere. Be wary of pickpockets though. edit
- Fort San Pedro (Fuerza de San Pedro). The smallest Spanish outpost in the Philippines during the colonial era. It has a small museum showcasing the wreckage and treasures from the sunken San Diego galleon from Mexico. The area is scenic with the newly renovated and open-air Plaza Independencia at the entrance. P30. edit
- Lapu-Lapu Monument, Lapu-Lapu, Mactan Island. Lapu-Lapu was a local hero who fought Ferdinand Magellan during the historic Mactan Landing in 1521. In this little park is a statue of Lapu-Lapu, an obelisk commemorating Magellan, and a plaque explaining the history of the site. The area is surrounded by booths selling tourist trinkets and t-shirts. A few minutes' walk away is Shangri-La Mactan Hotel Resort and Spa, which is a tourist spot in its own right. The compound is a large park where visitors (even if they don't stay in the hotel) can roam the huge reception and its environs. Check out the beach, the chapel, the spa and the various restaurants. edit
- Life-size statues of popes, Stations of the Cross and Mysteries of the Holy Rosary in Danao City.
- Magellan's Cross, Plaza Sugbo, off Magallanes St (between the Colegio de Santo Niño (south of the Basilica of Santo Niño) and Cebu City Hall - if you approach the Basilica from Osmeña Boulevard, walk through the courtyard of the Basilica and the Colegio to reach the Plaza). An octagonal building decorated with murals containing a large wooden cross that commemorates the Portuguese conquistador Ferdinand Magellan who planted a wooden cross upon converting the original inhabitants to Christianity. A plaque states that the visible wooden cross contains the original cross, but some historians say the original cross was reduced to firewood by local inhabitants when the Magellan fleet headed elsewhere. Take time to appreciate the various candle sellers who dance around during worship and while selling the candles. edit
The Taoist Temple reflects the Chinese heritage of Cebu.
Museums, nature and other
- Dance with the smoothest criminals in the world Experience the life behind the prison bars and dance with the smooth friendly dangerous criminals in the Philippines. You can mingle and take pictures with them. You don't have to worry since peace maker guards and jail police are around. Still your life is in your hands. Free performances and bus. We went from Cebu Guest House. The Inmates performances are held every last Saturday of the month. Registration starts at 12 noon. No i.d. required. Doors open at 3:00 p.m., and the performance lasts about an hour. A taxi to the prison should cost approx. 130 pesos from the city center. Motor bike drivers wait outside the prison to drive visitors home after the show for about 150 pesos depending on the destination (roads are narrow, and the motorbike ride may be a bit scary). In December 2015 the performance was not full, so coming early may not be necessary. Performance is free, however a donation to the prisoners is appreciated.
- Cebu Parkmall and Cebu International Convention Center
- Cebu Provincial Museum (Museo Sugbo), (a short taxi ride from Fort San Pedro). The museum is housed in the former Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center, which was once the Carcel de Cebu. Its four Spanish-era buildings made of coral stone contain artifacts relating to the history of Cebu. It is only a short taxi ride from Fort San Pedro. edit
- Crocolandia. Witness different sizes of crocodiles, snakes, deer and birds. edit
- Jose R. Gullas Halad Museum, is a musically-themed museum in Cebu City, Philippines that pays homage to the musical heritage of Cebu. This museum is operated under the Tipiganan sa mga Handumanan sa Kanta ug Kinaiyang Sugbuanon (Treasury of Memories) Foundation. It is located along V. Gullas St. (former Manalili) and D. Jakosalem St. Cebu City, which used to be the old building of The Freeman Newspaper and now houses Cebuano and Visayan musical treasures and memorabilia.
- Provincial Capitol, which is particularly scenic at night, is by far the largest provincial Capitol building anywhere in the entire archipelago. Its original design is a miniature of the White House and was built during the American Era.
- Heritage of Cebu, (Eastern end of Colon St). A massive and particularly detailed monument showcasing the heritage of Cebu from the old Spanish to the American colonial era. edit
- Taoist Temple. Visit the temple for a unique look at the island's Chinese heritage. The Chinese make up a significant part of the population, with much of the locals having full, half or part Chinese ancestry. edit
- Biking - Go to Tops, which sits literally at the top of the Mt Busay, for an unobstructed view of the entire city at night. Entrance to the garden is 100 pesos per person. There are a few shops and restaurants along the way. At one time taxi drivers charged a whopping 500+ pesos for the ride to Tops but the price has doubled to a ridiculous and non-negotiable 1000 pesos! The best way to experience Tops is by mountain bike. This is a world class climb and on any given day, Cebu's bikers are humping the 45 minute to 1h trek filled with switchbacks and views better than you see actually at the very top. Ask your hotel where you can rent a mountain bike. They will have to ask around a bit, but it's worth it. If you are going up by taxi, make sure they will take you back down. Taxis are few and far between from Mt Busay and it's a long way down! Another option is to take a motorcycle ride (habal-habal) from JY Square which you can reach by a jeepney. There is plenty of motorbike drivers who will offer you the drive. Price should be something around 100 pesos per person. Be sure to negotiate with the driver and especially make sure there is no "waiting charge".
- Drink, Eat, Laugh and Party - Cebu city is one of the cities which won't miss the party scenes at night, being a major city of commerce and finance in the Philippines; the development of bars, clubs and other commercial establishments are at a fast rate. Take a break from the hectic busy urban life... take a laugh, comedy bars are common in the Philippines and usually Sarcasm the lowest common of wit as most people would say is the common specialty of comedians, don't get pissed at them if they make fun of you, smile back and just get along. Comedy and disco bars, coffee shops and restaurants are found in Gen. Mexilom Ave., Fuenta Rotunda and Osmeña Blvd.
- Ride a Tartanilla - Head to Cebu's old quarters in Carlock St and try riding a horse drawn carriage called a tartanilla. Remember to negotiate with the driver before taking a ride.
- See the scenic view of Cebu City's skyline - The Marcelo Fernan Bridge or Second Mactan Bridge offers some interesting views of the city at night, and is even picturesque from below. Arrange for a taxi to take you there.
- Shop - Cebu City is well known for two spacious and modern malls outside Manila. SM City Cebu and the Ayala Center Cebu are the most famous and luxurious shopping centers at the heart of the city. Boutique shops, mini-malls, themed malls, fine and alfresco dining include ParkMall, Banilad Town Center, among others.
- Study English - Cebu is one of the most famous and popular places for study English in ASIA. You can see a lot of students arriving in Cebu to study. One of the biggest school is QQEnglish.
- Sinulog Festival - The island of Cebu gets especially busy on the third Sunday of January due to the Sinulog Festival. It is the local way of honouring the Child Jesus. Main thoroughfares around the city are blocked for an all-day and all-night loud and colourful street party. Don't forget your dancing shoes!
- Swim and Sun - Mactan is actually the popular place when it comes to beaches which is just minutes away from Cebu City and is where the Airport is located. But despite it's popularity, Mactan is a poor choice for travellers who are looking for a real beach experience. One would be hard-pressed to call any beach in Mactan a "paradise"... that is unless you enjoy fenced off, for-pay, mostly man-made muddy swim holes. Two ironies are at work on Mactan:
- If you really like beaches, you are only about 90 minutes from great beaches , world class beaches (examples include Moalboal and Alona in Panglao, Bohol)... those are closer to the ones you see on postcards from the Philippines.
For a real beach experience, visit nearby Bantayan Island. It is accessible by plane from Mactan Cebu Airport or through Hagnaya Port (3 hr by car from the city) where it is around an hour ferry ride to Sta Fe port of Bantayan Island. Day trips to Virgin Island can be arranged with your resort as well.
- Snorkeland bird-watching - The island of Olango and its 6 small satellite islands are ideal for snorkelling as well as observation of migratory birds.
- Scuba Diving - Near the city of Cebu there are plenty of good and CHEAP diving places from coral reefs to shipwreck. It is also one of the cheapest places in South East Asia to get your Open Water Diver certificate. Most dive shops are located on Mactan Island.
- Xtreme Rides - Just a few blocks away from Robinson's Mall is the Crown Regency Cebu which is the tallest building in the city. Adventure seekers may head to the top floor to experience a breathtaking view of this modern city and its environs. You may also opt to join in the Xtreme Rides that literally puts you on the edge of the city, or you may walk around the edge of the building (don't worry, safety cables are attached) to experience this once in a lifetime experience. All of these you can enjoy for a small fee.
- Abellana Cebu Sports center & public swimming pool, 179 RR Landon road (off Osmena Blvd), ☎ +63-32-2531091. 09.00-17.00. full size outdoor swimming pool 50m by 25m has ten lanes. 20/30 pesos. edit
Ayala Center Cebu Terraces
Cebu City has many shopping malls - the biggest being SM Seaside. SM City Cebu, which is a four-level shopping mall with a huge department store, supermarket, movie theater and over 200 shops and restaurants. A more upscale shopping mall is the Ayala Mall, it also has a large department store, two supermarkets and a movie theater, and it offers more restaurants and stores that appeal to tourists. These are modern buildings with lots of western goods in addition to local stores. There are other, older and smaller malls dotted all over the city, such as Colonnade Mall, Robinson's Mall, E-Mall, Gaisano mall and Cebu Parkmall. In addition to this there are many stores and places to stop. One nice place is the Colon part of the Old Downtown.
If you need to fix something there are hardware stores in all of the malls. Cebu Home and Builders Center along AS Fortuna-Mandaue, Mactan (near old bridge) and Cebu Parkmall is the home depot style that carries the most complete line for finishing and building materials. There is a large warehouse store called Landers Superstore, located near Ayala Mall that offers a lot of imported products. Another great place to buy household goods on the cheap is Unitop, which have four stores in Cebu. For furniture the two best places to go is Sun Gold and Mandaue Foam, just remember to ask for at least 10-20% off the price. If you want to buy groceries, the Metro and Rustan's Supermarkets in Ayala Mall are well stocked - local and imported products. for a low-price supermarket the best are Colonnade in Colon and Mandaue and Fooda Saversmart along Maxilom Avenue. if you need household goods Kaking Discount Store lower ground floor 138 mall Colon street has all you need at lower prices.
Banks ATMs & Foreign Exchange
- HSBC Bank Taft Ayala Bldg. Cardinal Rosales Avenue. (Cebu Business Park near Ayala mall) 24-hour ATMs. has the only ATMs in Cebu city without a 250 fee for Overseas Bank cards. it also has the only ATMs where you can take out up to p40.000 per use.
- Alco Foreign Exchange Shop 108 Rain Tree mall. General Maxilon Avenue. +63-32-1552704. 0pen 08.30-17.00.has some of the best foreign exchanges rates in Cebu city
- Fully Booked, Level 2, The Terraces, Ayala Center Cebu, Cebu Business Park, ☎ +63 32 4171007, +63 32 4171400 ([email protected]), . A modern bookshop with a good selection of imported fiction and non-fiction books, and a smaller collection of books about the Philippines. There is an in-shop cafe. edit
- National Book Store, ", ([email protected]). Visit this chain of bookshops located in Ayala Center Cebu, Mango Cebu and SM City Cebu for good deals on local and foreign books, academic texts and stationery. edit
- Book sale stores in Elizbeth mall, Robinsons mall, Sm City. used books and magazines from the UK & US from 20-120 pesos
The great thing about Cebu is that, while being an island paradise, on the one hand, it's also a sophisticated city, with a wide range of pretty decent restaurants to choose from. Street-food abounds in Cebu and is amazingly cheap. You can buy all sorts of Philippine delicacies from the many street stalls scattered around Cebu City.
- SuTuKil - An acronym for sugba (grilled), tula (soup-based/with broth), and kilaw (raw, soaked/pickled in vinegar). This is a popular term for ordering a selection of fresh seafood and meat from the market and cooked any way you like it in an eatery.
- Lechon - Roasted suckling pig. The whole province of Cebu is known for its lechon which is known to be the best in the Philippines.
Cebu has Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Italian, Continental, fusion, and of course local restaurants. It also has other international cuisines like American, Spanish, Thai and Indian. For tourists, the two best areas to find great restaurants are Ayala Mall and IT Park. Ayala Center Cebu recently opened a modern extension called The Terraces with an abundance of food choices adjacent to Marriott Hotel. It also has two grocery stores with large sections of food imported from the rest of the world. The IT Park has over 20 great restaurants and most of them are open 24 hours a day. Both of these eating areas offer free WiFi. On the other hand, SM City Cebu also opened an extension to the main mall called SM Northwing with more than 10 choices of local and international cuisines.
- Alberto's Pizza, B. Rodriguez Ave. (opposite Vicente Sotto Hospital). Offers a good and rather affordable locally made thin crust pizza. edit
- Robinsons Fuente Food Court, B Rodriguez Street (Lower ground floor near the supermarket). 10.00-20.30. edit
- Our Place Restaurant & Pub, cnr of Pelaez and Sanciangko Sts (near colon), ☎ 032-4168243, . 07.30-23.000. Popular for its British & European and american food and cold beer. our place was established way back in 1978. cheap prices. edit
- RR Restauant Rossland food Fiesta, V Rama Avenue (next to Cebu mountain bike and near fooda Guadalupe). Well known by expats who live in Cebu for their good cheap food and cold beer. 08.00-22.00. meals from 30. cold beer from 35. edit
- Persian Palate Restaurant, Mango Sq mall Gen Maxilom Avenue. Well known for Friday and Saturdays all you can eat buffet. Indian and Persian food. allday breakfast for only 145. 11.00-22.00 all you can eat 195. edit
- Joe's Chicken Inato, Cospel Building V Ranudo Street, ☎ 63-32-2540194. 08.00-21.00. meals from 99. edit
- Giuseppe's, Marie Luisa Drive, Banilad. Authentic Italian restaurant. edit
- Hola Espanol. Spanish cuisine in the Philippines. Try their Paella Negra, and other paella varieties. edit
- Mang Inasal, 2 Mango Ave. Mango Sq General Maxilom Avenue, ☎ =63-32-7241111. 07.00-22.00. Famous for their Barbecue Inasal Chicken. Lumpiang Togue. Halo-Halo. edit
- Chowking, Mango Sq. General Maxilom Avenue (Near Fuente), ☎ 63-32-343-8888, . 6am-23.00. Chinese food. pork chao fan. Chinese style fried Chicken. Meaty Wonton Mami. Halo halo meals from 50. edit
- Mooon Cafe. Is a local restaurant located at the Terraces in Ayala Mall as well as in Guadalupe not far from the Capitol building. Its specialty is Mexican "inspired" food and ambiance, but they serve a wide variety of options. edit
- Little Saigon Big Bangkok, (5), ☎ +63 32 4150228 ([email protected]), . Is a local restaurant located in the residential neighborhood of Guadalupe,and specializing in authentic thai and vietnamese street food. moderate. edit
- STK ta bay!, #6 A. Climaco Street, Cebu City, Cebu, ☎ (032) 253 4732. The specialities are panga (BBQ'd tuna jaw), Suglaw with gata, mixed seafood kare kare, grilled scallops, crispy pork. Tourists raved about spicy calamari, buttered scallops and various shrimp dishes. edit
- Spice Fusion, It has branches in Banilad Town Center and SM Cebu. They offer a wide selection of Southeast Asian food. edit
- Tajimaya Yakiniku, Lahug (End of Crossroads Mall). Serves Japanese cuisine. edit
Desserts, pastries and cakes
- Postrio Bakery and Cafe  - Cebu-based bakeshop and cafe
- Chedz Designer Cakes  - Cebu-based bakeshop specializing in designer birthday and wedding cakes
- La Marea - Cebu-based bakeshops specializing in cakes
- Leonas Cakes and Pastries - Cebu-based dessert and pastry shop with several outlets in Cebu. Try their banana walnut cake.
- Dessert Factory  - Dessert restaurant in Ayala Center Cebu
- Cebu La Fortuna Bakery. Try their masi, a Chinese Filipino sweet product of crush nuts and sugar wrapped in rice paste. This is their only excellent product; the others may not be worth much for a try.
- 10 Dove St - in the village of Santo Nino. The owner converted a garage like structure into a cheap, sandwich bistro. Real star are her fantastic cakes, very fresh, served by the slice from old-fashioned cake platters.
- Mango Avenue and Mango Square is where the bulk of the nightlife is located. The typical venues are nightclubs, bars and karaoke boxes. There is also a variety of girlie clubs lined up on Mango Ave leading up to Mango Square. There are also dispersed clubs and local-frequented bars off the beaten track. Ask a taxi driver of their whereabouts.
- J Ave. (Formerly Juliana's), a large dance club in Mango Square, is crowded every night of the week. 100 ₱ entrance fee that includes one free beer of your choice. A local beer will cost you only 50 ₱ (Red Horse). The more expensive drinks are around 280 ₱. The music is a mix of hip hop and electronic music and it can get pretty loud and bumping. Excellent bar staff. This establishment is especially popular with young Japanese and Korean tourists. Great place for meeting friendly non-prostitute Filipina women, but that's not to say that there aren't working ladies here. (March 2012)
- El Gecko Resto Bar - Gen Maxilom Avenue corner D Jakosalem Street- 32-4164983. has breakfast from 9am. and happy hours from 11.00-18.00. beer only 50. open every day from 09.00-2.00am.
- Crossroads is an array of shops and restaurants that offer an alternative nightlife to IT Park which is just nearby.
Most visitors are probably booking a first or final night of accommodation close to their airport/ferry terminal, and should base themselves within 4km of the terminal to minimize the impact of daily traffic jams. Visitors staying longer should strongly consider IT Park, which a relatively nice area just next to downtown Cebu city, nearer to the airport/ferry, and offers decent nightlife. The Cebu downtown area is unsafe to walk at night and useful primarily for the bus station.
- Sanjose Pension House, 131 Rahmann Street (10 min walk from ayala or Robinsons malls), ☎ +63 32 2534052, +63 32 2550524, . checkin: any time; checkout: 12 noon. Budget hotel. All rooms with cable TV, air-con. Free Wi-Fi in all rooms. ₱599 (s/d). edit
- Mc Sherry Pension House, Pelaez Street in quiet lane next to the hotel de mercedes. checkin: from 6am; checkout: 12 noon. nice size rooms all with own bathroom and cable tv. free wifi. can also pay by the month for 15,000 fan double 500. a/c double 600. edit
- Aysha-Lily Cebu Guesthouse, 211 Mango Ave, ☎ +63 32 233-6010, mobile +63 939 829-7673 or +63 922 822-9449, . checkin: 12:00; checkout: 12:00. Not the cleanest, but OK. Fan room was smelly, aircon room was better. All rooms have shared bathroom - fan rooms with cold shower, A/C rooms with hot. Common area has cable TV. There's an affordable little restaurant in the compound. Free Wi-Fi in all areas. Double fan room ₱545, double A/C ₱775, dorm ₱350. edit
- Tropical Hostel Cebu, 1571 2/F Bldg 2, MJ Cuenco Avenue (Mabolo, in between Ayala and SM malls), ☎ 0927 387 0267. checkout: 12:00. Nice place, clean and new; friendly and helpful staff. Has common areas and fast, free wifi in all floors. There is also a cheaper fan dorm. dorm ₱330. edit
- City view Pension House, Sanciangko St Brgy. Kalubihan (city view is on the 1st floor), ☎ +63 32 2532465. checkin: 12:00; checkout: 12:00. All rooms are fully A/C with cable TV and private toilet and bath with shower. free wifi From ₱585. edit
- Travelbee Inn, 231 Dionisio Jakosalem Street, ☎ +63 9258360180. checkin: 14.00; checkout: 12.00 noon. Rooms include phone, hot/cold shower, Cable TV & A/C, the hotel has a elevator and safety boxes. free wifi. free breakfast and laundry service. From ₱880. edit
- Cebu Century Hotel, Corner Colon and Pelaez St., ☎ +63 32 2551341 to 1347; 2551652 (fax: +63 32 255-1600), . Budget hotel. All rooms with cable TV, hot water and A/C. from ₱740. (10.297161,123.899178) edit
- Robes Pension House, 41 R Landon Street, ☎ +63 32 4125609. a/c double room with own bathroom and cable tv. free wifi. From ₱700. edit
- Hey Fellas Guest House, 22-k General Maxilon Avenue (10 min walk from ayala mall), ☎ +63 9166465789, . checkin: 2pm; checkout: 12 noon. nice clean backpackers hostel. free wifi. fan dorm bed 250. a/c dorm bed 350. edit
- Hotel de Mercedes, 7 Pelaez St, Kamagayan, ☎ +63 32 253-1105 (fax: +63 32 253-3880), . From 880. (10.297677,123.898776) edit
- La Guardia Hotel, Osmena Boulevard, ☎ +63-32-4167889, . checkin: 12noon; checkout: 12noon. Free Wi-Fi. a/c rooms with own bathroom and cable tv From ₱700 (double). edit
- Win's Pension House, Ranmann Street, ☎ +63 32-2532151. checkin: 12 noon; checkout: 12 noon. a/c double rooms with own bathroom and cable tv free wifi. ₱15,000 per month. edit
- Capitol Tourist Inn, Don Gil Garcia Street, ☎ +63 32 2532850. checkin: 12 noon; checkout: 12 noon. a/c rooms with own bathroom and cable tv From ₱550. edit
- Sugbutel Bed & Bath (Hostel), S Osmena St, North Reclamation area, ☎ +63 32 232-8888, . checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. 3-5 min walk from SM City Cebu Mall complex and close to Cebu International Convention Center (CICC). Hostel accommodation with A/C accommodation area free WiFi, 24 hr security with CCTV cameras, 24 hr back-up generator and entertainment area with wide screen LCD TV. Rooms for 2-8. An upper bunk bed in a 8 bed dorm is ₱420, a lower bunk bed is ₱475. Also available bigger dorm rooms for 265-315 php, but be prepared, since the hotel provides blanket, pillow and towel for an extra charge. From ₱265. (10.307009,123.916446) edit
- Westpoint Inn, 297 Don Gil Garcia St, Capitol Site, ☎ +63 32 254-3433 (fax: +63 32 254-4524), . Simple budget hotel with a/c rooms with own bathroom and cable tv. free wifi. From 780. edit
- Cebu Guest Inn Address: Holy Family Road Brgy Busay, ☎ +63 32-2361839. dorm bed From ₱275.
- Le Village, 84, Gorordo Avenue, Cebu City, ☎ +63 (0) 9188 888 286, . checkin: 2 p.m.; checkout: 12 p.m.. New clean hostel, with multiple dorms and a couple of private rooms. Still unfinished, renovations in progress. ₱370 for a bed in dorm room with fan, ₱500 - dorm room with A/C, ₱800 - private room with fan, ₱1300 - private room with A/C. Free Wi-Fi in common area. Well located within a ten-minute walk to the Ayala mall. (10.31610,123.90106) edit
Mid-range over 1000
- Fuente Oro Business Suites, 173 Gov. M. Roa Street, Capitol Site, ☎ +63 32 268-7912, +63 32 2687914-15, . inclusive of breakfast for 2. For more information, visit our website at www.fuenteoro.com. From 1,295 PHP. edit
- Southpole Central Hotel, 6000, 29 Junquera St, Cebu City,, ☎ (032) 234 - 7777, . A/C rooms, 35-45” cable TV, High Speed Internet Access. Some of its facilities and services are safety deposit box, Chill-out bar and basement parking. From US$40. edit
- Alpa City Suites Hotel, Hernan Cortes St and F. Cabahug St (Ayala Access Rd), ☎ +63 32 238 1668, +63 32 422 7171, . Daily and monthly packages available. From 3,600 ₱. edit
- La Gloria Residence Inn, Corner Climaco and Borromeo Streets, ☎ +6332-520-9808, . This inn in Cebu offers rooms equipped with cable/flat screen TV, in-room internet access, telephone, remote-controlled air conditioning and hot and cold shower. Some of the facilities and services offered in La Gloria Residence Inn are salon, spa, coffeeshop, restaurant, conference room with Wi-Fi and audio-video facilities, 24-hour security, Wii rental, laundry service and free Wi-Fi at lobby. Rates starts at 1,478.40 PHP. edit
- Cityscape Hotel, Ayala Access Road cor. Hernan Cortes St, ☎ +63 32) 238-2489, . All rooms equipped with Air-conditioning, 32-inch TV with cable channels, Mini-bar, NDD/IDD phone, Wi-Fi Internet access, Hot and cold shower. Some of its facilities and services are wimming pool, fitness room/gym, restaurant and 24 hr room service and help desk. Rates Start at 2,388.00 PHP. edit
- Alta Cebu Resort, Tugbungan, Pilipog, Cordova, ☎ +63 32 496-7881, +63 32 496-7812, +63 32 496-7399, . 3 mi from Lapu Lapu City, 4 mi from Mactan International airport. From US$49. edit
- Rajah Park Hotel, Fuente Osmeña, ☎ +63 32 412-3337 (fax: +63 32 412-4899), . 8 story hotel with 89 standard and deluxe rooms. Most of the rooms have a view of Fuente Circle park. US$35 for the basic to US$100 for a huge suite. edit
- SDR Serviced Apartments, Mactan Island (3 minutes from the airport), ☎ +63 32 238-3929 (fax: +63 32 340-7902), . All apartments have kitchen and cooking facilities. Smallest rooms are 36.5² m. They have great deals for long term guests. Also have two bedroom loft apartments of 65.74² m. Include free internet, cable TV, DVD Player and a large refrigerator with freezer. From $35 for the studio. edit
- Castle Peak, F. Cabahug cor. Pres. Quezon St, Villa Aurora Mabolo, . Standard- 1188/2 ₱. Superior- 1388 ₱, deluxe- 1688 ₱. suite- 1888-2488 ₱, extra bed 400 ₱. edit
- Cebu Grand Hotel, Cebu Capitol Complex, North Escario St., ☎ +63 32 254-6331 (fax: +63 32 254-6363), . 99 rooms. From US$36. edit
- Cebu Midtown Hotel, Fuente Osmeña, ☎ +63 32 253-9711 (fax: +63 32 253-9763), . Ten storey hotel withs 200 rooms and views of the city. From US$39. edit
- Costabella Beach Resort, Buyong, Mactan Island, ☎ +63 32 231-4244 (fax: +63 32 231-4415), . From US$70. edit
- Crown Regency Residences, V. Rama Ave Guadalupe, ☎ +63 32 255-7541, . A/C rooms with coffee and tea-making facilities, 21” cableTV, full baths and living and dining areas. Some of its facilities and services are business centre, swimming pool, safe, basement parking. From US$53. edit
- Crown Regency Hotel and Towers, Osmeña Blvd, ☎ +63 32 4187777 (fax: +63 32 4187161), . From US$80. edit
- Crown Regency Suites and Residences, Maximo Patalinghug Jr. Ave, ☎ +63 32 341-4586, . A/C suites with fully-equipped modern kitchen, in-room internet, and 21” cableTV, business centre, function rooms, swimming pool, gym and sports complex. From US$73. edit
- Nalusuan Island Cebu Resort and Marine Sanctuary, Olango Reef, Cordova, Mactan, ☎ +63 32 492-4388 (fax: +63 32 425-8062), . Aqua sports activities like wave runners, jet skiing, scuba diving, and water skiing. From US$30. edit
- The Golden Peak Hotel and Suites, cnr of Gorordo and N Escario St, ☎ +63 32 233-9770 ([email protected], fax: 63 32 231-5611), . In Cebu's commercial and financial district, 30 min to Mactan International Airport. 140 guestrooms and suites with sat/cableTV, bath tub, A/C, telephone with IDD and NDD. WIFI free in the lobby or 150₱ for 24hours in room. Walk in special 1000₱ (Jan 2013), AC room, with hot water shower, bath, fridge, Cable TV. From 1,300 ₱. edit
- Europa Mansionette Inn, ☎ +63 32 420 7885 ([email protected]), . 26 European inspired rooms each reminiscent of a European chalet. From US$29. edit
- Escario Central Hotel, N.Escario Street, Cebu City, ☎ +63 32 520 2222 ([email protected]), . There are McDonald's, 7-eleven and Zubuchon just outside of the hotel. Quiet and safer area and easy to take jeepney to Ayala Mall or Osmena Circle. Red Room - 1500 ₱, Orange Room - 1800 ₱. edit
- Alegre Beach Resort, Calumboyan, Sogod, ☎ +63 32 2556388, . From US$190.. edit
- Cebu Parklane International Hotel, Corner Archbishop Reyes Avenue and Escario Street, ☎ (+63 32 234 7000, . Cebu Parklane International Hotel claims to be a five-star hotel but does not really live up to that title. Elevators (lifts) are totally inadequate and you can spend 15 minutes waiting to get to your room when the hotel is crowded with conferences. Avoid. edit
- Cordova Reef Village Resort, Cordova, ☎ +63 32 2381878. +63 32 2363343, +68 32 2363344. +63 32 4968079, . Resort is surrounded by Camotes Sea in the east and Bohol Strait. It is located at the coastal town of Cordova. From US$150. edit
- Island and Sun Beach Resort, ☎ +63 32 2381878. +63 32 2363343. +63 32 2363344, . On Hilutungan Island, Cordova. 25 rooms, 25 villas, all A/C with cableTV, refrigirator, bathub, private toilet and hot and cold water. From US$188. edit
- Hotel Mövenpick Cebu (formerly the Hilton Cebu Resort &: Spa), ☎ +63 32 492-7777, . From US$250. edit
- Hotel Elizabeth Cebu, Archbishop Reyes Ave, Camputhaw, ☎ +63 2 9122161, . All accommodation rooms have A/C, a private toilet and bath, cableTV, and mini-bar. WiFi, massage service, and a fitness centre/gym. From 4,000 ₱. edit
Despite widespread poverty and liberal gun laws, Cebu City is a relatively safe city by Western standards where violent crime is rare, particularly against tourists. Cebu is definitely safer than Manila. Your biggest concern should be pickpockets and snatchers (and occasionally muggers) when in downtown Cebu and on jeepneys. Many perpetrators are young children as Philippine law exempts them from jail time for petty theft. Keep an eye on all persons sitting next to you when on public transport and use your arms to cover all pockets on backpacks you're carrying.
Parts of downtown Cebu can be unsafe at night, particularly along Colon Street and surrounding areas, Mango Square and the Fuente circle where most of the city's homeless live. If you're male and look remotely foreign or tourist-like, you may be solicited by prostitutes and pimps once nightfall descends in those areas.
Be wary of men who suddenly approach pretending to befriend you. It is almost certain they want something from you, and it's certain you'll want nothing they have to offer. Filipinos, particularly those living in urban areas, tend to be shy and don't approach random people for friendship or chit-chat.
Lastly, watch for vehicles when walking as traffic can be chaotic.
- Australia, Embassy in Manila, ☎ +63 32 231-0437, +63 32-231-0605. edit
- Belgium (Honorary), 6th Fl Insular Life Building, Corordo cor., Maxilom Ave, ☎ +63 32 2315330, +63 32 2315333. edit
- Canada (Honorary), 45-L Andres Abellana St, ☎ +63 32 256-3320, +63 32 254-4749, +63 32 255-3069. edit
- Chile (Honorary), Deligourmet, DGU Bldg, F. Cabahug St, Mabolo, ☎ +63 32 231-0157. edit
- Denmark (Honorary), Unit 903, 9th Floor, Keppel Centre, Cebu Business Park, ☎ +63 32 233-1328, +63 32 233-1390. edit
- Finland (Honorary), 21st Floor BPI Buendia Center, Senator Gil J. Puyat Avenue, Makati City., Metro Manila, ☎ +63 2 891 5011, + 358 9 1605 5551. edit
- France, Blue Planet, 556 Juan Luna Ave, Mabolo (Honorary), ☎ +63 32 320935 to 36. edit
- Japan, ☎ +63 32 231-7321 to 22. edit
- Mexico (Honorary), Mezzanine Floor, Wee Bldg, 424 Gorordo Ave, ☎ +63 32 233-2785, +63 32 233-2792. edit
- Netherlands (Honorary), Metaphil Compound, Tipolo, Mandaue City, ☎ +63 32 346-1823, +63 32 346-2660 to 65. edit
- Norway (Honorary), Aboitiz & Co. Bldg, Banilad, ☎ +63 32 231-2580. edit
- China, Cebu Fil-Chinese Volunteers, Don Julio Llorente St, Capitol Site, ☎ +63 32 256-3400. edit
- Portugal (Honorary), Cadiz St Corporation, Tingub Rd, Mandaue City, ☎ +63 32 344-0233, +63 32 346-6293. edit
- Slovakia (Honorary), Grand Cement Manufacturing Corp., G/F Insular Bank Bldg, Gorordo cor. Maxilom Ave, ☎ +63 32 343-6445. edit
- South Korea, c/o University of Cebu-Banilad Campus, Banilad, ☎ +63 32 231-6345. edit
- Spain (Honorary), 15 Bahuhinia Drive, ☎ +63 32 246 26 60 (fax: +63 32 346 27 91), . edit
- Sweden (Honorary), 415 Gorordo Ave, Lahug, ☎ +63 32 233-3106. edit
- Thailand, Eastern Shipping Lines Bldg, M.J. Cuenco Ave, ☎ +63 32 412-4687, +63 32 254-6564. edit
- Turkey (Honorary), B. Benedicto and Sons Inc, 103-107 Plaridel St, ☎ +63 32 253-0769. edit
- United Kingdom (Honorary), Villa Terrace, Greenhills Rd, Casuntingan, Mandaue City, ☎ +63 32 346-0525, +63 32 346-0269. edit
- United States (Honorary), #1, G/F Waterfront Cebu City Hotel Bldg, Lahug, ☎ +63 32 231-1261. edit
The island of Cebu, where Cebu city is located, is made up of various cities, small municipalities and town.
- Bohol — Is another island located east of Cebu Island, popular for its Chocolate hills and tarsier.
- Moalboal beach, bus 2.5-3h from south bus terminal / 115 ₱+10 terminal fee and tricycle to beach ~120 ₱
- Danao, Liloan, Bantayan, Minglanilla — Visit them for beaches.
- Oslob, good for seeing the whale shark (check on youtube for videos) near baragay Tanawan (look for blue painted whaleshark on a portal), bus every 30-60min, last ~3h from south bus terminal / 160 ₱. starting price for a basic fan room in this area is ~500 ₱.
- DOLPHIN WATCHING in the Tanon straight from Malabuyoc (approx. 3hrs by bus in SouthWestern part of Cebu island) Dolphin watching cruises should be reserved at least a week earlier in summer when chances of seeing dolphins are much higher. Best time is early morning so it is recommended to arrive by 6am or spend the previous night at Kawayan Marine, a small beach house which is run by the same local family which operates the dolphin watching. The "Cool Banana" boat can accomodate 20 guests. Boat fees start from 6,000pesos for the 2~3hr trip. Additional fees may be charged if you wish to park and go swimming or walking at white sands, an area near Bais, Negros famous for idyllic white stretches of white sand exposed during low tides.
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