11 Things To Do In Cebu
Experience Cebu at its best by doing the "11 Things to Do in Cebu" List!
So, you’re traveling to Cebu? Are you here for pleasure or business? No matter the reason, you are fortunate to step foot on this beautiful island. Did you know that Cebu is the first ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) City of Culture?
Moreover, this island houses the Philippines’ top tourist attractions. Therefore, you would want to be able to return home and say, “I have truly experienced Cebu!”.
In order to get ahold of Cebu’s essence, follow any or all of the things to do in Cebu listed here!
I have been in Cebu all my life. And, I have have traveled to other countries as well.
However, I could say that I am proud of what my province has to offer! You get to see nature and experience culture at a minimal cost.
If you are a Filipino, you may want to discover the country’s national treasures in Cebu. You may be amazed at the gems we have here.
It is best to immerse with the beauty here before splurging on abroad for idyllic adventure.
For our foreign friends, you are right in choosing to travel Cebu. Cebu is the heart of the Philippines.
So, you have many things in mind? You may ask these questions…What are the things to do in Cebu? Where should I go in Cebu? What activities should I participate here? How am I able to do these things in Cebu?
Well, fret no more, because this blog will show you the top 11 things to do in Cebu. Here is the list:
- Go to Cebu’s World Class Beaches.
- Swim with Whale Sharks.
- Snorkel at Pescador Island.
- Climb over Mountains.
- Eat Cebu’s Food Delicacies.
- Visit Heritage Sites.
- Experience Cebu Festivals and Holidays.
- Do Canyoneering at Kawasan Falls.
- Soak in Magnificent Falls.
- Pray at or See Well-structured Temple and Churches.
- Speak Common Cebuano-Visayan Expressions
1. Go to Cebu’s World Class Beaches.
Cebu has the world’s most breathtaking beaches.
Thus, having to immerse in the beautiful beaches should be a thing to do in Cebu. Cebu’s islands have the white sand and pristine beaches.
These islands that bear great shoreline and calm seas are Bantayan Island, Malapascua Island, Camotes Island, and Sumilon Island.
In going to these islands, you get to travel for four to six hours by land and by sea.
Malapascua Island Cebu
Camotes Island Cebu
How to Get there?
If you get to do a DIY (Do-it-Yourself), from the airport, you go to a Bus Terminal. The better option is through a Taxi or a Grab (application, like Uber) taxi/car. This takes about 30 minutes to 1 hour.
If you go to Bantayan, Malapascua, or Camotes, you may go to the North Bus Terminal.
However, if you go to Sumilon Island, you go to the South Bus Terminal.
After the bus ride, you load into a ship or a boat. In going to Bantayan or Camotes, you need a large ship (1.5 to 2 hours travel).
However, for Sumilon or Malapascua, a smaller boat (10 to 30 minutes travel) would take you.
This taxi-and-bus transportation mode would fit if you do not have so much luggage with you. Taxi or Grab from airport to a Bus Terminal would range from P150 to P300 pesos.
Bus (depending on the type and destination) costs range from P 120 to P 400. You may also opt for vans (rather than buses), but public vans would not be too comfortable for long traveling hours.
The price range for van is just around P100 peso higher than the bus’. You also have in mind that public transportations in Cebu have the “fill all the gaps” concept. Meaning, it may be crowded or that space is tight.
Also, buses or vans get to stop all the time. For your convenience, you may opt to tap Travel Cebu for a private tour.
If Sumilon is something that interests you, you may also visit this site: Sumilon Island Day Tour Package.
2. Swim with Whale Sharks.
Definitely one of the things to do in Cebu is the swimming with whale sharks. There are only few locations of the globe where whale sharks are at!
Therefore, you must grab this opportunity to get this once-in-a-lifetime experience here in Cebu.
It is in Oslob, a municipality in the southern part of Cebu where we can find these gentle giants.
Moreover, you get to plunge in the water, and be with these whale sharks!
So, you can grab a snorkel and a water camera to immortalize this experience through photos.
How to Catch these Whale Sharks?
You have to be really early. If you come from Cebu city, you should leave by 4:00 am. From the city, you get a cab or Grab Car to go to the South Bus Terminal.
Normally, this should take not more than 30 minutes travel since traffic is less during this time. Fare for cab would not be more than P 300. After that, you get a bus going to Oslob.
The travel time is 2 to 3 hours. Whale sharks show very punctual at 6 to 7 am. If you get to be late, there is a possibility you will not catch them up anymore.
For locals, snorkeling and swimming with the whale sharks cost P500. For foreigners, it costs P 1,000.
3. Snorkel at Pescador Island.
Cebu seas have colorful and diverse marine life. For instance, in Moalboal where Pescador Island lies, the corals, fish, turtles are truly awesome.
Pescador waters transport you to a whole new world. Hence, for an ultimate underwater experience, snorkel in the waters of Pescador.
In addition to the varied fish and vibrant corals, you get to witness the sardine run. Sardin run is where the school of tiny sardines form an interesting shape or loop.
This is truly an interesting thing to watch. My family and I personally did not want to get off from the waters. We were underwater for almost four hours!
Tips in Getting to Pescador Island
Since this is also in the South, you have to get to the South Bus Terminal. After a 2 to 3 hour drive, You stop by the Moalboal’s center for orientation.
From there, you have to pay P100 for the environmental fee. Then, you hire a pumpboat. Boat rental costs P1,500 (good for 10 people) and P2, 500 (good for 25 people). This already includes life vests and snorkels.
4. Climb over Mountains.
You’ll never run out of things to do in Cebu! Why? Because not only does Cebu have the seas, it also has the mountains! And, mind you, it does not take long for you to get there!
It would only get you around 3o to 45 minutes. Top views are great since you can look over Cebu in the best angle. Moreover, city lights and cool breeze are best way to soothe you in Cebu’s higher altitude.
How to Ascend in the City Mountains?
In the city, you can get through the mountains from JY Square, Lahug, Cebu City. You can ride a motorcycle or locally called “habal-habal” from there. This costs P 300 per person. (Be careful. Some would ask for P500 per person.
However, if you haggle, some can give you P250-ride. But, please, let us just help habal-habal drivers…so do not haggle much 🙂 )
This trip could get you through three stops: Sirao Flower Garden, Temple of Leah, and Top Skyline Garden. For more info about these stops, you may visit Cebu Tourist Spots Guide.
* Osmeña Peak, the highest peak in Cebu is something you can climb as well. However, this spot is in the Southern Cebu. And, this will take you 3 to 4 hours travel by land.
Well, this attraction is what most tourists would like to get into. This mountain range is an interesting place to explore…and I would absolutely recommend this.
5. Eat Cebu’s Food Delicacies.
To understand a people, you have got to taste their food! Sought-after in Cebu is Carcar’s Lechon (roasted pig).
It is in Cebu where you can find the best tasty Lechon. You serve Lechon for special occasions, such as birthdays, Christmas, festivals and other parties.
In the Philippines, a meal is not a meal when rice is absent. However, in Cebu, we have a special kind of rice that other regions do not have. We have the “pusô” or hanging rice.
Woven leaves of the tropical coconut wrap this pusô. This gives the pusô a distinct, native taste. For Cebuanos, pusô can make any meal satisfying enough.
To partner with pusô, you can have the “tuslob buwà”, “Siomai sa Tisa”, “Larang” or “Danggit”. Tuslob buwà is “dipping through the bubbles”. You are to dip the pusô in the boiling oil filled with pork internal organs sautéed with garlic, onion and spices.
Danggit/Dried fish in Taboan Cebu
Siomai sa Tisa becomes a popular siomai (Chinese dumpling) stall. Each siomai only costs P 6. Usually, fish stew cooked in “larang” is the best soup.
The soup is spicy and sour, and is perfect for Cebuano taste. Another tasty dish is the “Danggit”, dried rabbit fish. Cebu’s danggit is popular delicacy in the country.
Siomai sa Tisa Cebu
Other take-home delicacies you can eat (or give to your friends at home) are Cebu’s Dried mangoes and Carcar’s Chicharon.
Famous Chicharon in CarCar Cebu
How to get ahold of these foods?
Above mentioned foods can be tasted in the busy Colon Street. However, if they are foods that are “in the street”, it may pose some health risk on your part.
You can still get these foods from the malls. Or, better yet in esteemed restaurants in Cebu.
6. Visit Heritage Sites.
For avid travelers, the history and culture of a nation and people interest them. Therefore, one of the things to do in Cebu is visiting historic places.
In the Philippines, Cebu has got be a seat for historic sites. Europeans first introduced Christianity here.
And, Christianity has made an influential role in the lives and tradition of the Filipinos.
Moreover, the oldest street of the Philippines is in this province. Also, it is noteworthy that Cebu’s geographical location makes it the heart of the country.
Further, with the strategic spot of Cebu, it has become the hub of trade and commerce with foreign traders.
This Cebu Tourist Spots Guide (Numbers 12 to 20) would acquaint you to the Philippines’ best heritage sites. In the list are these sites:
- Magellan’s Cross
- Basilica del Sto. Niño
- Colon Street
- The Heritage of Cebu Monument
- Yap Sandiego Ancestral House
- Jesuit House of 1730 or Museo de Parian
- Casa Gorordo Museum
- Fort San Pedro
- Museo Sugbo
Where to find these heritage sites?
No need to worry…all these museums and ancestral places are in Colon Street area! You can just go by to all of them by walking.
7. Experience Cebu Festivals and Holidays.
As I’ve said earlier, Cebu is the first ever recipient of a City of Culture among ASEAN countries.
This is because of the colorful festivity that happens every third Sunday of January.
This “Sinulog” festival is what most tourists would desire to experience. This is a religious dance celebration for Sto. Niño (Holy Child Jesus). During the whole month of January, Cebu is already festive.
There are “banderitas” (small flags) hanged across the roads. Parties and dancing already happen. During Sinulog, many people dance on the streets with colorful costumes.
Also, during this time, people smudge their faces with charcoal (as for ethnic tribes). There are lots of merriment all over the city during this time.
Also, Christmas in the Philippines is like no other. With the tight-knit family orientation, Filipinos celebrate Christmas specially.
As a matter of fact, there is a longer break (almost two weeks) among schools and government offices just to commemorate the event.
Tip When to Travel to Cebu
Cebu does not have the four seasons. Throughout the year, the weather and climate of Cebu do not really vary.
However, knowing the special feasts you can experience in Cebu, you may opt to travel from December to January.
8. Do Canyoneering at Kawasan Falls.
If you love risks, adventure and nature, canyoneering at Kawasan Falls should be one of the things to do in Cebu.
Canyoneering involves trekking, climbing, swimming, and jumping through the rocks, hills, and falls. And, the best spot for this activity is in Kawasan Falls.
Kawasan Falls is one of the best water falls in the Philippines. It has the bluest water. Also, it consists of three levels of falls.
How to get to do Canyoneering at Kawasan Falls?
Canyoneering at Kawasan Falls Guide shows the itinerary and expectations of your canyoneering activity. You may read that site for more details.
9. Soak in Magnificent Falls.
Besides the Kawasan Falls, there are other equally beautiful but differently shaped falls in Cebu.
Tumalog and Aguinid Falls are among the top in the list. Tumalog Falls is a high falls with waters that cascade through rocks in different angles.
The trickling of the water is similar to gossamer veil covering a bride’s face. Further to Tumalog is the Aguinid Falls. You can have canyoneering-like experience in Aguinid.
However, you should not jump off the falls because the base waters are shallow. Also, Aguinid Falls ia an eight-level waterfall.
So, you get to climb on the rocks of the falls while having the waters rain down on you.
10. Pray at or See Well-structured Temple and Churches.
Cebu’s worship places reflect the religiosity of the early Cebuanos. Even up to the present, Cebuanos still have embraced the fervor of Catholicism.
The churches’ constructs reveal the culture during the Spanish period.
Whether you are a Catholic or not, going to these churches is one of the things to do in Cebu. The structure of the church and the faith of the people will interest you.
The best churches you should go to are: Simala Church, Basilica del Sto. Niño, Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, and St. Michael Parish Church.
In contrast, many Chinese families in Cebu go to the famous Taoist Temple. This temple has been a top tourist attraction in Cebu.
Many people go there not to worship but to be in awe of the design of the temple.
Tip when Visiting Churches…
Going to church has been a tradition of the Cebuanos. Observe how Cebuanos practice Catholicism.
It may be different from other nationalities’ way of religion. It may not be similar to your view of Catholicism…
11. Speak Common Cebuano-Visayan Expressions
Visayan language is a major language of the Philippines. And, it is spoken in Visayas and Mindanao regions. However, it is in Cebu that this originated. Presently, there are variations of the language. Cebuano-Visayan is the popular version of the dialect. The language consists of only three vowels: a, i, u
Greetings and Civilities:
GOOD Morning/ Noon/ Afternoon/ Evening – MAAYU’NG Buntag/ Udtu/ Hapun/ Gabi-î
Thank you – Salamat.
You’re welcome – Wa’y Sapayan.
I’m sorry – Pasaylu-a ku.
How are you – Kumusta na ka?
Where is the…? Asa ang…?
What is your name? – Unsa imu’ng ngalan?
My name is… – Aku’ng ngalan kay…/Aku si…
Where are you from? – Asa ka gikan?
I’m from… – Gikan ku sa…
How much (price)? – Tag pila?
Surely, learning a new language is a worthwhile task to do. By this, you can gain rapport with Cebuano comrades.
And, conversing in Cebuano-Visayan can even help you make new friends!
There are bountiful of things to do in Cebu. We truly are blessed to have this island. I am blessed to have lived here.
There are various ways to go to places and enjoy nature and culture.
If you have the luxury of time, you can go there yourselves.
However, for a safe and hassle-free tour, you’d better get the expertise and service of Travel Cebu! Get the Best Cebu experience NOW!