Magellan's Cross. Cebu City is the birthplace of Catholicism in Asia.
Cebu City or the "Queen City of the South" on Cebu Island reigns in a group of islands comprising the Visayas region of the central Philippines. This historic city 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. Ferdinand Magellan died here planting the cross almost 500 years ago bringing Spanish influence and establishing Asia's first European settlement. Cebu was also once a bustling commercial hub between Mexico and China.
Today, there is a widespread youthful optimism throughout this thriving energetic metropolis. For the past decade, ever increasing foreign investment has created hundreds of thousands of jobs in countless call centers and factories. Rapid economic growth has also spawned the emergence of a modern urban skyline and the development of a widening middle class. The tourism trade is also booming, particularly from South Korea. It's no surprise TripAdvisor named Cebu island in the Top 25 list for best holiday destinations in Asia for 2019, the only Philippine destination to make the list.
Cebu City might just be the best front row seat to witness the Philippines transform from a low to middle income country.
Like most cities in the Philippines, Cebu City has its share of urban problems. But these problems are no where near as bad as it is in Manila. In fact, the city's infrastructure is quite developed with numerous ultra-modern shopping malls and high-rises, an airport lauded as one of Asia's best and an extensive road network throughout the island. That said, bear in mind the Philippines is a developing country and you'll need to bring considerable patience and a sense of humor. Many things in Cebu won't work the way they should and it's certain you'll face frustrating moments while on vacation.
A view towards Ayala. Historic Cebu City today is an energetic boom town -- an emerging sophisticated metropolis with rapid economic growth and a maturing tourism infrastructure.
Good public beaches will be at least an hour's drive away. Still, there is an alluring fun-loving population that speaks English well and very welcoming of foreigners. The downtown area around Colon Street is crowded and reminiscent of some Latin American cities. The uptown areas around Fuente Osmena, Ayala and IT Park are much more relaxed and a popular area to stay and play with visitors. Besides these areas, the city has some nice neighborhoods and glitzy shopping malls.
And just one half hour drive outside the city, you'll find yourself submerged in another world surrounded by farm land or mountainous hideaways where gentle people enjoy a simpler life.
The primarily language spoken in Cebu City is Cebuano, also known as Bisaya. With about 20 million native speakers, it is the mother tongue for more Filipinos than any other dialect. Since Sugbo (Cebu's former name) has been a global trading center even before the time of Magellan's visit, the region is known to be settled by multilingual natives. Today, most people speak English as a second language as well as or better than Tagalog.
Sometimes, Filipinos also speak in Taglish (Tagalog + English) when they cannot find the appropriate Tagalog word to use. Many people speak English with a Cebuano accent, often interchanging i and e as well as o and u . Some truly elder people can speak excellent English from the era of US colonialism. Some people will also understand a little of Ilonggo or Waray. The Chinese minority here speak mostly Hokkien.
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 unfair domination from the Central Luzon region.
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. Passport control and baggage handling are fast and efficient. In fact, Cebu's airport with its new international terminal was awarded Asia's best medium size airport. 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. It is also well-connected to the nation's capital Manila, via plane, with more than 30 flights per day. 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 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.
Terminal 2 of Mactan–Cebu International Airport was completed in 2018. The airport was awarded Asia's best medium sized airport by The Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation.
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 Buses 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 10pm.
From the airport the buses start at 7am to 12 midnight. Fixed fare is ₱25 park mall. 50 SM. Saves you from paying a metered taxi for just being in traffic jams atr least until you are more to the city center.
From SM City Mall or Park 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 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
Large passenger ferries with a capacity of 700 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.
The venerable and omnipresent jeepney. They may not be pretty or modern, but they serve the backbone of the country's transportation network.
Do as the locals do and catch a colorful and noisy jeepney, an icon of the Philippines! These converted military jeeps from World War II remain on active duty serving the bulk of Cebu's transportation needs. While there may be more comfortable, faster and cleaner modes of transport, it's still worth riding a jeepney as a cultural experience and getting really up close and personal with the locals.
Unfortunately, there are no official websites or literature describing how the several dozen jeepney routes snake through the city. A few netizens have created websites and apps describing the routing but the information is often outdated. You can figure out their routes from destinations printed on the side and front of a jeepney or ask for help. At popular stops, there is often a barker soliciting people to board who are (supposedly) experts at the routes.
Jeepneys are available 24 hours a day and cover most of the city. The current base fare is P8. Fares usually cost P8 if travelling between points within Cebu City and P9 to P13 or more if going to Mandaue City or Lapu-Lapu. Main hubs for jeepneys are at Ayala mall, SM mall, Parkmall and along Colon Street.
You can board a jeepney (if there's room) literally anytime such as flagging one down as they drive past or when one is stopped at a traffic light. 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 repeatedly, knock on the roof or say "stop please" in English. Since the driver rarely announces the current location of the jeepney, you should know how your destination looks before boarding or use your phone's GPS.
Remember, never stick bodily parts outside the jeepney and watch for pickpockets. Practically all locals have a horror story to share about being picked on a jeepney. Fortunately, by simply being mindful of your surroundings, the chances of you being a victim is very small. Just keep an eye on the hands of the person sitting next to you. Also, remember thieves outside the cabin can grab your things by reaching through the glassless windows.
Cebu island buses
Cebu island Buses are available but these ply exclusively along the north-south route for longer distance travel. There are two major bus terminals in the city as the name implies for direction of travel - North Bus terminal near Park Mall in Mandaue City and the South Bus terminal near E-Mall. 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 also buses going to and from Bacolod and Dumaguete.
Most buses don't operate on a fixed schedule and only start their route when full. This will make it tricky to estimate travel time. Furthermore, you cannot buy tickets in advance. You simply line up at the terminal hoping to get a seat which might be a problem on holidays. There are also no restrooms onboard.
One good thing about the bus services is, you can board and alight anywhere along the route.
A MyBus bus departing on its scheduled route. Unfortunately, routes on this comfortable, reliable and high occupancy service covers only a small part of the city.
service has buses from the Airport, Parkmall, SM Cebu City, SM Seaside, Talisay City and Pier One with a fleet of modern air conditioned buses. Fare ranges from P25 to P40. fares can be paid by tapping their prepaid debit card onto an onboard device or by paying cash on the bus. One advantage of MyBus is that it runs on a set schedule. This is unlike most bus services in the country which waits at the beginning of the route for passengers to completely fill the bus. Another advantage is that you can bring large bulky luggage. MyBus has a Facebook page that details the routes and schedules.
- Mybus has a free bus from the BDO Bank Fuente Osmena Circle going too and from SM Seaside every 30 mins.
- Robinsons mall has a free bus from Robinsons Cybergate & Robinsons Fuente going too and from Robinsons Galleria mall every 30 mins.
- Sugbo Buses Air conditioned buses every 45 mins from 5am till 9pm from the Southen bus terminal to the Island central mall Mactan (not far from the airport) and back. the buses go via Mango Square, SM city mall, Northern bus terminal, (J center mall immigration office) Pacific mall. fares from p25 to p40.
- Beeps Buses 34 seat air conditioned buses with Tvs. also have 2 bus routes around Cebu city. Route 1. City hall to IT Park via Robinsons Galleria mall, Ayala Business Park. Route 2. Guadalupe to Landers super store via Vicente Sotto Hospital, Mango square, Ayala Business park. every 20 mins 24 hours per day. the fare is p8.
Metered taxis are omnipresent in Cebu City, with Grab also available via mobile app. To avoid being overcharged, choose a white taxi with the price written on the side (i.e. P40 + P3.5) and absolutely insist the driver use the meter. Beginning 2015, the city mandated all taxis operate a dash camera. This has reduced incidences of driver dishonesty such as driving off-meter, asking for surcharges or refusing to go to certain places. Nevertheless, you can (and should) report improper taxi behavior to the Department of Tourism in Cebu by phoning +63 32 254 2811.
Most trips around the city should not cost more than P150. The fare from the airport to most of central Cebu should be P200-250.
Both airport accredited (yellow) and normal (white) taxis are available at 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. Yellow taxis will cost more.
Notice Uber is not available in Cebu City.
Tourists often overlook the white v-hire vans as a way to get around Cebu.
V-hires are white air conditioned vans carrying 18 passengers. They ply both intra-city service and long distance routes. Like most transport options in the city, they begin their route only when the van is full. You can board and alight anywhere along the route. It'd be impossible to carry bulky items or anything larger than a backpack.
Some malls have v-hire terminals such as SM Cebu City, Ayala Center and Gaisano Mactan Mall. There is also a major v-hire terminal in Colon. Fares are dependent on how far the route goes. Going between SM Cebu City and Mactan is P25. Some routes go as far as between Cebu City and Sibonga and would cost close to P100. There's no website or literature on the routes. You just show up at the terminal and look at the signs or ask the driver.
Many motorcycle drivers are available for hire with most operating illegally. If you dare, it might save time during heavy traffic. Just make sure you negotiate the price before boarding. Foreigners will almost certainly be charged an above market rate. In more remote areas outside of Cebu City, motorcycles might be the only realistic mode of transport. Once outside the metro area, you will find curvy mountain roads, roads through rural farmland and beautiful scenery alongside the ocean which might be best experienced on a motorcycle.
A queue of trikes. Trikes become visible when you venture outside the central areas of Cebu City
Trikes aren't available in the very central areas of Cebu City. But if you venture a bit outside, say, to Talisay City or Mandaue City, you'll see these vehicles designed to seat four passengers -- two in the passenger cabin and two in the back. They operate like small jeepneys. You can board and exit anywhere along the route. They serve short routes, rarely more than 2 kms. The fare is usually P10.
There are two ferry services between Pier 3 (to the east of Colon) and two northern points on Mactan Island. Metroferry goes between Pier 3 and Lapu-Lapu Public Market. Topline Express goes between Pier 3 and Pusok. Both sail every 30 minutes between approximately 6am and 9pm. It costs P12 to P25 per person depending on whether you're a child, senior, disabled or regular traveler.
You should only take the ferry as a cultural or sightseeing experience. Both are slow ferries and during most of the day, you'll stand in long lines for tickets and to board. Even if you want to avoid the taxis, there are faster options to go between Cebu City and Mactan island costing just a tad more such the MyBus service. Once the Cebu-Cordova bridge is completed, both ferries might become obsolete.
For some, the immediate Cebu City area might be 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 you'll be safer getting back to Cebu city a few hours early, in which case you'll have time take in some of the city's sights:
Shrines and historical landmarks
An empty Basilica del Santo Niño.
- 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 cacophonous traffic to see the oldest street in the Philippines (named after Christopher Columbus) with some nice worn-out classical buildings dating back to the American Era. This street and surrounding ones is considered the downtown of Cebu City. There are some good buys here like personal electronics, clothing and food. You can also find people to fix your electronic gadgets. At sundown, a small section transforms into a night market. Be wary of pickpockets and beggars here. Not a lot of tourist come here so if you appear obviously foreign, prepare to see some curious glances. edit
Colon Street and surrounding areas represent the downtown area of Cebu City.
- 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
Museums, nature and other
The Taoist Temple reflects the Chinese heritage of * 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
From Tops, a view of an area just to the west of downtown Cebu. The bridge in the photo is the Cebu South Coastal Road.
- Go to Tops, which sits literally atop Mt Busay, for a view of the entire city. Entrance is P100 per person. There are a few shops and restaurants along the way. In addition to the view, visitors will also find a nice landscaped garden, a zipline and biking trails. You can get to Tops by taxi or by motorbike operators congregating near JY Square Mall. Furthermore, you are advised to have your driver wait while you're at Tops or you might find it difficult to find a ride back to the city. As such, you'll need to negotiate wait time for them.
- Cebu Ocean Park - This new facility next to SM Seaside opened in 2019 and has fish, birds, reptiles, insects and other wildlife on display. There is also a bird show and food stands. The park is good for about two hours of entertainment.
- Drink, Eat, Laugh and Party - The bulk of Cebu City's nightlife can be found in and around Mango Square where you'd find bars, clubs and discos. In recent years though, the scene has shrunk and became increasingly subdued as the city has cracked down on vice establishments and public disorder, a trend that began under the Duterte administration. The "anything goes" environment is mostly a thing of the past. Still, there are a few places left to party up. Notice at Mango Square, it's mostly an expat and tourist crowd. Many Filipinos are conservative so clubbing and public drinking aren't up their alley. Furthermore, to be frank, most locals cannot afford these forms of entertainment.
- 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. The Crowne Regency near the Fuente circle is one of the tallest buildings in Cebu City and has an indoor and outdoor observation deck with a P250 entrance fee.
- Attend mass - Attending mass will give a unique insight to local culture. If you don't speak Cebuano, you should attend services in English. Most churches offer mass several times a week. The website mass-schedules.com will help find mass schedules and the language spoken. Attending mass is free but you should give a little when the donation tray comes around. Although Santo Nino near Colon is the biggest and oldest church in the city, it is crowded and a bit touristy. You're recommended to attend mass at other churches, particularly those further from the city, for a more genuine experience.
- 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!
Unfortunately, great beaches will be hours away from Cebu City.
- Swim and Sun - Many people imagine the Philippines as being a tropical paradise surrounded by lush beaches. Unfortunately, you won't find any in Cebu City. Almost none of its long coastline contains beaches and it is instead occupied by industry, ports, slums and marshlands. The "beaches" nearby are occupied by resorts in south Mactan island and they're either artificial beaches or an oceanfront that's barely considered a beach. You'll have to venture at least two hours for decent beaches. If you really like beaches, you are about two hours from world class beaches (examples include Moalboal and Alona in Panglao, Bohol)...those are closer to the ones you see on postcards from the Philippines.
- 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 city Center), ☎ +63-32-2531091. 09.00-17.00. full size outdoor swimming pool 50m by 25m has ten lanes. 20/30 pesos. edit
- Play at an arcade - Almost all malls have a large arcade (possibly more than one) with names such as Timezone, World of Fun or Quantum. These places are where local teens go to socialize on weekends. You would buy a prepaid card and use it to play various video and carnival games. Some even have karaoke rooms and virtual roller coasters.
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. 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 also there is Cebu Home and Builders Center along AS Fortuna-Mandaue. 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 best place to go is Mandaue Foam, just remember to ask for at least 10-20% off the price. If you want to buy higher priced groceries, the Metro and Rustan's Supermarkets in Ayala Mall are well stocked - local and imported products. for low-price supermarkets 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 G/F Philam Life Center Samar Loop corner Cardinal Rosales Avenue. (Cebu Business Park near Ayala mall) 24-hour ATMs. has the only ATMs in Cebu city without a p250 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 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
Cebu's deep global connections mean there is a wide array of cuisine and restaurants to choose from in all price ranges. However, its street food scene is a bit lacking when compared to other cities in southeast Asia. While there's plenty in Cebu to satisfy your appetite, the city isn't a noteworthy food destination.
In metro Cebu City, you'll never be far from one of countless Jollibees in the country.
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. 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
- Jollibee. They are over 100 Jollibee stores all over Cebu island serving typical burgers, fried chicken and spaghetti. You'll likely too find the food memorable. it's worth a visit to experience the cultural peculiar of this Filipino home-grown fast food chain. Anthony Bourdain once had a feature on Jollibee. If you're lucky, your visit will coincide with a dance performance by Jollibee mascots. 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 35. cold beer from 50. 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
- Elizabeth Mall food court, 3rd floor E mall Natalio B Bacalso aveune. 9am-9pm. food court with many Different foods. low cost. edit
- Vienna The Italian Restaurant, 66 Manros plz.bld General Maxilom Avenue (over the street from Fooda saversmart), ☎ +63-32-2531430, . good value Italian food. 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
- Orange Brutus, Osmena Circle & E Mall. 24 hours. Is a local restaurant selling Sizzing pork chops, Burgers, Spaghetti, Rice Meals . low. edit
- Casa Verde, 69 Lim Tian Teng, Cebu City, Cebu, ☎ +63 -32-2536472, . The specialities are Ribs, Pork steak, Brugers, salads, sea food. edit
- Beestop Restaurant, has branches in E mall and J Center mall. 10am-8pm. They offer a wide selection of food. from p30. edit
- S & R Newyork Pizza, SM city mall, Ayala mall, tafa east gate tower, . 10am -9pm. Serves very good pizza, burgers, salad, Chicken, Hotdogs. from p89. 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
- Dessert Factory  - Dessert restaurant in Ayala Center Cebu
- Julies Bake Shop  has 100s of Bake shops all over Cebu Island. (good bread)
- 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 expat-frequented bars. 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 2019)
- 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.
- 301 Ramos St Sports Bar & Grill is the biggest expat bar in Cebu. happy hour beer just p55. meals from p195. 11am-2.00am
- Howling Dogs bar & Grill Juana Osmena Street just behide mango square. happy hour beer p60. 11am-02.00am
Most visitors should be mindful of their exit strategy when on their final night in Cebu as there can be considerable traffic to the airport. The most popular places for tourists to stay are near Ayala Center and SM Cebu City. You might see a lot of "pension houses" in the city which is just local terminology for a budget hotel similar to a hostel.
- 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. a clean 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 600. a/c double 700. edit
- 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. 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
- Naps X Adventures Hostel, 154 M Velez Street, ☎ +63-32-4151065. checkin: 14.00; checkout: 12.00 noon. Air condition 12 bed dorm hot/cold shower, free wifi. . From ₱299. edit
- Cest La Vie Pension House, 13 Juana Osmena Street (not far from Mango sq), ☎ +63 32 2532376. checkin: 13.00; checkout: 12 noon. clean Budget hotel. All rooms have A/C own bathroom. cable TV, and free wifi. ₱699. edit
- Robes Pension House, 41 R Landon Street, ☎ +63 32 4125609. a/c rooms with own hot water 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 with free breakfast. free wifi. fan dorm bed 250. a/c dorm bed 350. edit
- Alemar Budgetel Hotel, P Lopez St, (over the street from Metro colon department store), ☎ +63-32-2542785. checkin: 24 hours; checkout: 24 hours. From p600 clean A/C rooms with 32 inch cable tv. hot water. free wifi. 12 hours only p300. 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 ₱750 (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
- Garden Pod Hostel & cafe, 225 V Rama Street, ☎ +63-9506729055. checkin: 14,00; checkout: 12noon. Simple clean budget hostel with a/c 8 bed dorms. free wifi. From 370. edit
- Cebu Guest Inn Address: Holy Family Road Brgy Busay, ☎ +63 32-2361839. fan dorm beds From ₱250.
- 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
- Hotel de Mercedes, 7 Pelaez street, ☎ +63 32 2531105, . A/c double rooms, cable tv, hot water, free wifi. From 899 PHP. edit
- Cebuview Tourist Inn, 200 Sanciangko St, Cebu City,, ☎ +63 32 2548333, . A/c double rooms, cable TV, Hot water, free wifi. From P900. edit
- Cebu century Hotel, Colon Corner Pelaez Street, ☎ +63 32 2551341, . A/c double rooms, cable tv, hot water, free wifi, monthly packages available. From ₱890. edit
- Golden Valley Hotel, 155 A Pelaez Street, ☎ +63-32-2538660, . offers rooms equipped with cable/flat screen TV, in-room free wifi, telephone, remote-controlled air conditioning and hot and cold shower. Rates starts at 1,550 PHP. edit
- Teofel Pension House, 4 Junquera Extension, ☎ +63- 32- 2532482, . All rooms equipped with Air-conditioning, 32-inch TV with cable channels, Hot and cold shower, free wifi. Rates Start at 890 PHP. 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. from P1999. edit
- Metro park Hotel, Saint Lawrence Street Lahug, . Standard- ₱990 A/c double room, cable tv, hot water., free wifi.. edit
- Elegant Circle Inn, Fuente Osmena Circle, ☎ +63 32 2541601, . A/c double rooms , cable tv, Hot water, free wifi. From 1399 php. edit
- NS Royal Hotel, Juana Osmena Street (near Mango sq), ☎ +63 32 2545358, . A/c double rooms, cable tv, hot water, free wifi. From 1990 php. edit
- Casa Rosario Pension House, 101 E Ramon Aboitiz Street (near mango sq), ☎ +63 32 2535134 ([email protected]), . clean A/c double rooms, cable tv. hot water, free wifi. From 1,400 ₱. edit
- Fuente Pension House, 175 don Julio Liorente Street, ☎ +63 32 4124988, . A/c double rooms, cable tv, hot water, free wifi, has its own restaurant. From 1398 Php. edit
- Sampaguita Suites, 2nd floor 4J building General Maxilom Avenue Cebu City, ☎ +63 32 2529978, . right in the heart of Cebu city. A/c double rooms. cable tv. hot water, free wifi from ₱995. 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 rating. 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
- 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
- Citadines Cebu City, Base Line Center, Juana Osmena Street, Cebu, ☎ +63 32260 9588 ([email protected]), . With 180 apartments spread across three apartment types and conveniently located near the business districts of Cebu Business Park, the property is ideal for young executives and group travellers. edit
The streets of downtown Cebu City. The dangers of Cebu City are often overstated. But places like this on Colon Street are ones where you should exercise caution.
Cebu City is a relatively safe city by Western standards where violent crime towards foreigners is rare. Your biggest concern should be pickpockets, snatchers and occasionally muggers when in downtown Cebu and on jeepneys. Many perpetrators are young children as Philippine law exempts them from jail time. Keep an eye on all persons (and their hands) sitting next to you 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. If you're male and look remotely foreign or tourist-like, you may be solicited by pimps once nightfall descends. Use commonsense and don't venture into dark secluded areas.
Be wary of men who suddenly approach pretending to know or befriend you. Confidence scamming is the oldest trick in the book in the Philippines. It is almost certain your sudden new friend want something from you, and it's certain you'll want nothing he has to offer. Filipinos, particularly those living in urban areas, tend to be shy and don't approach random people for friendship or chit-chat. The same is true for taxi drivers. If they talk aggressively and pry into your background, they will likely ask to bring you to an adult establishment or drug den.
Of course, you don't want to walk around grouchy and assuming the worst in people while on vacation. But know the line between casual chit chat and getting overly personal with someone you just met. And most importantly, don't be afraid to say no.
Sadly, Cebu City and the province has been a hotspot for human trafficking and sexual exploitation by foreigners. With international scrutiny and assistance, authorities have taken these issues seriously and many foreigners are serving hard prison time. Many others have been deported and blacklisted from returning. Hotels are now legally required to report unregistered minors brought onto their premise. Police have been trained to watch human traffickers at seaports and bus stations. Traditional red light areas such as Mango Square has seen adult establishments shut down in recent years.
As such, if you wish to help needy children, you should give to reputable charities. Interacting with children directly and giving even a remote impression of impropriety is a bad idea. In fact, Republic Act 7610 prohibits you from being in the company of minors unless you're their close relative, you're performing an official duty or other rare situations. Bottom line: stay away from the kiddies even if your intentions are pure.
Lastly, with the crackdown on illegal drugs in the Philippines under the Duterte administration, you'd be well advised not to engage in narcotics or associate with the wrong circles.
- 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
Immigration offices for Visa Extensions
There are two Immigration offices in Cebu where you can get a visa extension. First, you can go to the second floor of J Centre mall in Mandaue City. Second, you can go to the ground floor of the Gaisano Mactan Island mall in Lapu-Lapu City. It's best to use the one at the Gaisano Mactan Island mall as it takes only 20 minutes. The one at J Centre Mall can take many hours.
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.
|This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!