Cebu, Philippines: Travel Guide

Cebu is one of the popular tourist spots in Visayas region. It is also an ideal jump-off point to other tourist attractions in Visayas and Mindanao. This post is a travel guide to help you plan your next travel to Cebu.

Cebu is located in Central Visayas (Region 7) with a total land area of 5,000 square kilometers. Situated to the east of Negros, on the southeast by Bohol and directly to the west is Leyte. Cebu is composed of several islands including Sumilon Island, Mactan Islands, Olango Island, Camotes Islands, Malapascua Island, and Bantayan Islands.

How to Get There

By Air

The fastest way to Cebu is by plane. Cebu is an international destination with flights from Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea. If you’re from Manila, Cebu is just an hour away by plane.

Airlines with international flights to Mactan-Cebu International Airport are Cathay Pacific, Silk Air, Korean Air , Asiana Airlines and Qatar Airways. For domestic flights from Manila, available airlines are Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and Air Asia.

By Sea

Cebu City’s vast, multi-piered port throngs harbor boats travelling around the Philippines. There are daily ferries to and from Cebu, Manila, Bohol, Negros, Leyte, Butuan, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Ozamis and Iligan among others.

How Long to Stay

A minimum of three (3) days stay is advisable when you visit the province of Cebu. One (1) day on Cebu City and two (2) days on either North or South Cebu. But if you want to visit the whole Cebu province then save yourselves 5-6 days.

Getting Around

Getting around Cebu can be quite tricky, specially when it comes to riding jeepneys.

Jeepney

Unlike other jeepneys in most part of the Philippines where the destination is written on a signage, in Cebu, jeepney’s signage has codes like 01K, 01B, 10F, 13C, and etc. I suggest that before you leave your hotel, ask the reception about jeepney routes and how to go back to your hotel. A good guide of Cebu’s jeepney routes can be found here and here.

Taxi, Grab, Uber

For those who have budget or in a hurry, then this is a better choice for you. Thanks to technology innovation, Grab and Uber are also available in Cebu City.

Bus

Buses are also available but these travels exclusively along the north-south route. There are two bus terminals as the name implies for direction of travel – North Bus terminal at M. Logarta Avenue, Mandaue City and South Bus terminal at N. Bacalso Avenue, Pahina Central, Cebu City.

Habal-habal

Habal-habal or single motor cycle (for up to 2 persons) is also available inside and outside Cebu City. Riding a habal-habal is a good choice to avoid heavy traffic within Cebu City or to reach far places where public transportation is not available.

Habal habal
Habal habal

Where to Stay

If you decide to go and spend a night in Oslob, then stay at Chateau de Tan-awan which is just a 5-minutes walk to Oslob Whale Watching. Rates are very cheap but rooms are spacious and clean. With just P700 per night, you can already stay in a fan room for 2 pax. Breakfast is not included but you can order in the morning, their banana cake also tastes good that we even bought two pieces.

Chateau de Tan-awan
Chateau de Tan-awan

Places and Activities

Below are some of the places you can visit and activities you can do in Cebu.

Cebu City

Cebu City is the capital city of the province of Cebu. It is located mid-eastern of Cebu Island.

To save, you can do a DIY city walking tour in Cebu City. A map is available for download below.

 

South Cebu

South Cebu is 3-5 hours away from Cebu City depending on your final destination and traffic. It is well-known with its numerous waterfalls in which Kawasan Falls is the usual stop for its Canyoneering, or the activity that will require you to swim and jump on falls.

Update (2016): Canyoneering is now regulated by the Government. It was said that rates have gone higher ranging from P1,500 to P2,000, because it is now safer than before. So please adjust your budget accordingly

What to Eat

Lechon
Lechon

There is no doubt that you can find the best Lechon here in Cebu, so don’t forget to try it. And did you know that you can also buy frozen lechon? Yes, you read it right. Bring some frozen lechon back to your home, just microwave it, and it tastes like freshly made.

Sample Itinerary and Budget

Below is a sample itinerary for 2 persons base on our trip in Cebu.

Sample Itinerary for 2 Persons
Time Description Transpo Amount
Day 1: Cebu City Tour, Arrival
6:00 AM ETD: Manila (to Cebu) Plane
7:25 AM ETA: Cebu
8:00 AM Check-in at Hotel (1 night)  3,000
9:30 AM Cebu City Walking Tour
Fort San Pedro (P30) 30
Plaza Independencia
Magellan’s Cross
Sto. Nino Church
Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral
Cathedral Museum (P50) 100
Shamrock
12:00 PM Lunch
1:00 PM Habal-habal Tour Habal-habal  600
Tops Lookout (P100) 200
Temple of Leah (P50) 100
Taoist Temple
Tabo-an Market
6:00 PM Back to Hotel
9:00 PM Early lights-off
Day 2: Canyoneering
3:00 AM Early wake-up call
4:00 AM Check-out
ETD: to South Bus Terminal Jeep
5:30 AM ETD: to Badian, Matutinao Church (P147)
[via Ceres Bus, signage “Bato via Barili”]
Bus 294
8:30 AM ETA: Badian
9:00 AM Canyoneering (P800) 1,600
Kawasan Falls
1:00 PM Lunch @ Kawasan Falls
3:30 PM Shower and clean-up
4:00 PM ETD: to Bato (P50)
[signage “Bato”]
Bus 100
to Tan-awan Elementary School (P30)
[signage “Cebu via Oslob”]
Bus 60
7:00 PM ETA: Tan-awan, Oslob
Check-in @ Chateau de Tan-awan (1 night) 700
8:00 PM Dinner
9:00 PM Lights-off
Day 3: Oslob Whale Watching, Osmena Peak
5:00 AM Wake-up call
6:00 AM ETD: to Oslob Whale Watching Walk
Oslob Whale Watching (P500) 1,000
7:00 AM Back to Hotel
Breakfast @ Chateau de Tan-awan
8:00 AM Check-out
to Dalaguete
[signage “Cebu”]
Bus
10:00 AM ETA: Dalaguete
to Osmena Peak (P200) Habal-habal 400
11:30 AM Osmena Peak Hiking
12:30 PM ETD: Dalaguete to Cebu (P110)
[signage “Cebu”]
Bus 220
3:30 PM ETA: Cebu City
5:00 PM ETD: Cebu
Estimated Total Expenses (2 persons): PHP 8,404

Estimated total expenses for two (2) persons can reach up to P8.5K excluding airfare and food. The sample expenses in day 1 are all estimated only because we stayed on our friend’s house and got free tour around the city. Though please remember that you can still lower your expenses by inviting more people to your group.

This is a map of the places I visited for this journey to serve as your visual guide. As a bonus, it also includes a DIY walking tour in Cebu City. You may save it on your Google Maps and view it for later use by pressing the “star” icon on the upper-left corner of the map. View the full instruction here.

Thanks!

A special thanks to Granada family who opened their humble home for us, guided us, and toured us in Cebu City.

Have fun!

This post is based on my personal travel experiences and research for this trip. Please feel free to share your experiences, as well as, suggestions or your questions on comments below.

I hope this helps you on your next travel. Enjoy!

References:

“My CEBU Guide”. Retrieved from: http://www.mycebuguide.com/cebu-city-philippines-tourist-travel-weather-info.html

“Cebu Jeepneys Route Map”. Retrieved from: http://cebujeepneys.weebly.com/

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