The Queen City of the South, Cebu City has long been one of the Philippines’s most popular destinations with its rich plethora of one of a kind experiences and captivating attractions perfect for everyone, from beach lovers to history fanatics.
Visitors who are planning to visit the city for the very first time might feel a bit confused to choose what to do first out of all the options available.
Where should you go? What places should you visit? Don’t worry because this quick guide will give you a good idea of the 19 best things to do during your Cebu escapade.
- 1. Get a Glimpse of History at Cebu Heritage Monument
- 2. Have Some Sunny Fun in Bantayan Island
- 3. Take a Dive in Inambakan Falls
- 4. Pay Respects at the Basilica Del Santo Niño
- 5. Witness the Symbol of Undying Love at Temple of Leah
- 6. Satisfy Your Tummy with Lechon Foodtrip
- 7. Explore Cebu Westown Lagoon
- 8. Take a Stroll in Colon Street
- 9. Experience the Best of Canyoneering in Kawasan Falls
- 10. Watch the Sunrise at Osmena Peak
- 11. Visit Magellan’s Cross
- 12. Be Captivated by Cebu Taoist Temple
- 13. Take a Quick Escape at Terrazas de Flores Botanical Garden
- 14. Swim with the Sardines in Moalboal
- 15. Be Up Close and Personal with Whale Sharks
- 16. Bask in the Heady Fragrance of Colorful Flowers at Sirao Garden
- 17. Head Over to Simala Church
- 18. Light Up Your Mood in the 10,000 Roses of Cebu
- 19. Feel the Rush of Adrenaline in Sky Experience Adventure
1. Get a Glimpse of History at Cebu Heritage Monument
After experiencing centuries of battles, revolutions, and invasions, Cebu abounds with all sorts of stories you can ever imagine. But, if you want a synopsis, make sure you drop by at the Cebu Heritage Monument.
Built using dark bricks and stones, this structure is actually a tangle sculpture of key historical figures, crosses, churches, and ships that are thought provoking and enshrouded in mystery.
With years of tales and history, you can hire a guide before going there or just explore it by yourself.
Having a guide, however, will make you enjoy a close local interaction and you can also ask questions and learn more background information about the monument and what it signifies.
This is a great first stop for your Cebu vacation as it gives you an insightful idea about the place that you can use during the rest of your stay.
2. Have Some Sunny Fun in Bantayan Island
Off northern Cebu’s coast lies the small island of Bantayan Island. While it may initially seem like a sleepy fishing village, this humble-looking island boasts of beautiful and charming beaches that can rival other more popular islands in the country like Boracay.
What is even better is that unlike Boracay, Bantayan Island isn’t crowded and commercialized yet. If your idea of a vacation is relaxing by the beach and watching the sun set, you would surely get your fill of it all at Bantayan Island.
Kota Beach in Bantayan Island is one of the country’s best beaches featuring a sandbar and a lagoon where you can wade in and enjoy a serene sunbath.
There are also two natural cave pools here, the Sto. Niño Cave and Ogtong Cave where you can cool off after going beach hopping.
3. Take a Dive in Inambakan Falls
Inambakan Falls is an impressive waterfall of 100 feet that plunges directly in an expansive pool of sparkling blue water.
The scene is even made more amazing, thanks to the surrounding lush greenery of the jungle. But, what truly makes Inambakan Falls an unforgettable adventure is its multi-level trek to various waterfalls and pools.
Inambakan Falls is just a 4-hour journey from the city center. You will surely be captivated by the limestone cliffs at the back of the waterfall. Their orange tinge is a vivid contrast to the pool’s strong blue color.
You can swim behind the waterfall to reach the cave and explore the main pool’s rocks before you jump to the pool below. Inambakan Falls has five different levels so you can easily spend your whole day here.
4. Pay Respects at the Basilica Del Santo Niño
Your trip to Cebu should definitely include a visit to the Basilica del Santo Niño where you can see the venerated Flemish statuette of Santo Niño or Child Jesus and say your prayers.
The Catholics put a remarkable value on the image of the Santo Niño as this was the baptismal gift of Ferdinand Magellan, the Portuguese explorer to Queen Juana and Rajah Humabon who were the island’s first ever baptized locals.
Many of the tourists don’t just visit the oldest church because they also celebrate with the locals through joining the city’s Sinulog Festival that is held every 3rd Sunday of the year.
5. Witness the Symbol of Undying Love at Temple of Leah
Located along Cebu Transcentral Highway is the Temple of Leah, another top tourist attraction in Cebu. This temple was only recently built and completed in 2012 by Teodorico Soriano Adarna.
What is notable about the temple is that this serves as the symbol of Teodorico’s endless love for Leah Villa Albino-Adarna, his beloved wife of more than 5 decades.
The temple features 24 chambers that include a library, an art gallery, and even a museum.
This place also houses Leah’s personal and favorite belongings.
The temple took inspiration from Roman and Greek architectures. Dubbed as the Taj Mahal of Cebu, a grand staircase complete with brass angels and gigantic lion statues adorn Temple of Leah.
6. Satisfy Your Tummy with Lechon Foodtrip
No full-bloodied foodie will ever miss out on the chance to eat Cebu’s famous lechon. This is a unique dish made of whole pig roasted over charcoal.
Even though this is technically Puerto Rico’s national dish, lechon is a staple dish during festivals and special occasions all over the country.
Some food experts even claim that Cebu got the best pig, making it one of the perfect places to fill up your tummy with lechon.
For an authentic lechon experience, you can go to the family farmhouse in Talisay City known to prepare the dish in the traditional Filipino way for many generations.
A visit to the farmhouse gives you the chance to watch how lechon is prepared.
7. Explore Cebu Westown Lagoon
Cebu Westown Lagoon is located north of Cebu City. This resort boasts of a water park situated in a huge manmade lagoon. This also features giant water fountains and slides and even two large Jacuzzis where adults can take a quick break and sip a refreshing cocktail.
Some other exciting leisure amenities include the karaoke with its extensive selection of Tagalog and English Tracks and Happy Jacqs Café and Bistro.
This is the best place where you can spend a day with your whole family or you can also stay here if you plan to have a longer Cebu vacation.
8. Take a Stroll in Colon Street
Your Cebu trip will never be complete if you don’t grab this chance to enjoy a leisurely stroll in Colon Street. At a glance, you might find this crumbling stretch of sidewalk a bit dull but look again and you will learn that there are lots of things to do, see, try, and taste here.
The street is lined with different markets that sell jewelry, clothing, shoes, and backpacks that make it a great spot for shopping for souvenirs that you can bring back home with you.
Don’t worry if you are on a budget because you can always enjoy pleasant haggling with the friendly vendors. There are also sumptuous street foods that you can taste here. Of course, don’t miss out on the chance to mingle with the locals and capture the essence of Colon Street in awesome photos.
9. Experience the Best of Canyoneering in Kawasan Falls
Kawasan Falls is another famous attraction in Cebu. This is a three-tiered cascade with clear turquoise water.
You can explore Kawasan Falls in two ways. First, you can choose from the different canyoneering escapades where you can enjoy a thrilling journey for 3 to 6 hours from Alegria to Badian. The second way is by taking a short trek directly to the waterfalls.
Kawasan Falls’ canyoneering tour is an adrenaline-filled water adventure that will take you through stalactite boulders and towering gorges.
You can rappel and swim through river canyon so jump from high cliffs with a height of 30 feet down to the sparkling blue pools of the waterfalls.
The last leg is the third and uppermost tier, the Kabukalan Spring, which is the main source of the water.
10. Watch the Sunrise at Osmena Peak
Osmena Peak is popular for its picturesque views across the ocean and jagged cliff lines. This is the perfect spot to watch the sunrise and brace yourself to be left speechless by this amazing scene that you can witness right from the summit. All it takes is a short and quick trek of 20 minutes to watch such a heart-filling splendor.
There is an entrance fee to the hike that already comes with a tour guide. This is such an affordable adventure that gives you a one of a kind of experience you will cherish for the rest of your life.
11. Visit Magellan’s Cross
Although Ferdinand Magellan is considered as the infamous villain in the history of the country, the Magellan’s Cross is regarded as among the most important historical markers in the city of Cebu.
This popular Magellan’s Cross was built under the order of Magellan himself to serve as the mark of his arrival on the island. It also serves as the reminder of the birth of Christian religion in the country.
12. Be Captivated by Cebu Taoist Temple
The Cebu Taoist Temple is located in the city area, specifically in Beverly Hills Subdivision. The community of Chinese Taoism built this unique architecture temple of Chinese style in 1972.
The temple has now become one of the famous attractions of the city because of its fascinating artistic structure that even those who are non-believers of Taoism religion always make sure to drop by at the place.
Here, you can bask in the city’s striking view and see as far as Mactan Island. As expected, this is the best place to meditate or pray for the Taoists.
13. Take a Quick Escape at Terrazas de Flores Botanical Garden
If you want to take a quick escape from the city’s noise, Terrazas de Flores Botanical Garden is just the ideal place where you can bask in fresh air, learn about more than 120 species of flowers and plants and enjoy a drink or meal at this idyllic quaint venue.
Nestled on a mountain flank in Malubog, just 15 minutes away from the city, you will be surrounded here with majestic views of the mountain made even better by the terraces covered with plants and flowers of all colors.
14. Swim with the Sardines in Moalboal
Moalboal is a true staple when it comes to the tourist spots in the southwestern coast of the province. The place is known far and wide for its Sardine Run.
This is where you can swim in crystal clear waters while being surrounded by millions of sardines. And if it is your lucky day, you might even be up close and personal with sea turtles during your snorkel.
Travelers who were able to experience this underwater adventure describe this experience as something breathtaking, marvelous and surreal.
This spectacle becomes more magical since the sardines never go beyond the shallows of Moalboal. It means that you could experience them no matter what time of the year it is even with only a pair of swimming goggles.
15. Be Up Close and Personal with Whale Sharks
The world’s biggest fish can be found right off the Philippine coast. Despite being called sharks, they are actually gentle beasts that are nothing like what movies made you believe.
Oslob Whale Sharks Tour Company is among the most respected names in the industry. They ensure with 99% certainty that you can witness and get the chance to swim side by side the mighty whale shark.
These whale sharks in Cebu are considered wild yet instead of seeking shelter to warmer waters for the rest of the year, they choose to stick around because the fishermen are feeding them.
It means that no matter when you choose to visit, you can be sure that you can experience this during your Cebu trip.
16. Bask in the Heady Fragrance of Colorful Flowers at Sirao Garden
Sirao Garden is yet another Instagram-worthy attraction in the hillside of Cebu. Affectionately called Cebu’s Little Amsterdam, this scenic flower farm can be found in the Busay’s highlands.
The garden’s colorful blooms will make you want to take as many snaps as you can. You can find here rows after rows of hyacinths, sunflowers, daisies, asters, and chrysanthemums.
However, the main attraction here is the multicolored and vibrant celosia flowers. Also called cockscomb or wool flower were originally planted in the garden for harvest and selling during All Souls Day.
However, because of fortunate turn of events, the flowers weren’t harvest and the farm became a park instead.
17. Head Over to Simala Church
Simala Church, also called Cebu’s Castle Church, continues to attract thousands of devotees from all over the country mainly because of the miracles that took place there.
Built-in 1998 by Marian Monks, it used to be a small farm that served as the residence of monks where they planted vegetables and built houses.
However, after the community was struck by an endemic, the monks called upon the Blessed Virgin Mary for an intercession. From then on, the devotees have been visiting the church to say their prayers to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Some even shared their tales of miracles they experienced in their lives, all of which were documented and kept in cabinets near the exit of the shrine.
Aside from this, Simala Church also rose to popularity among tourists because of its structure that resembles a castle reminiscent of Europe’s magnificent architecture.
18. Light Up Your Mood in the 10,000 Roses of Cebu
10,000 Roses of Cebu is another exceptional attraction located in Day-as Barangay Rd, Cordova that went viral on different social media platforms. These roses are artificial and powered by LED surrounding Roses Café & More.
Many guests love visiting the place after dusk to watch the gorgeous sunset while waiting for the roses to light up. The café owner who also happened to be an interior designer created it with the purpose of offering couples a unique romantic ambiance.
The café also offers delicious food that you can enjoy while basking in the wonderful ambiance with your special someone, family, or friends.
19. Feel the Rush of Adrenaline in Sky Experience Adventure
If your goal is to face your fear of heights and experience the most extreme sensations, make sure you go to Crown Regency Hotel and Towers located right in the heart of Cebu City.
This is a 4-star hotel where Tower 1 offers an array of thrilling and fun activities. Watch your steps on the see-through Sky Walk platform that rises 126 meters above the ground and goes around the building.
And if you want something more challenging, try the Edge Coaster. This 2-seater platform on rails inclines by 55 degrees to give you a clear view of the ground 130 meters below you.
Cebu Still Reigns Supreme for Many Good Reasons With this list of 19 best things to do in Cebu, guests can look forward to the best times of their lives during their stay.
It doesn’t matter if you just want to explore the capital city or discover the nearby towns and islands, you can be sure that there is something exciting that awaits you no matter where you choose to go.