Cebu is the largest city in the Philippines after Manila, harmoniously combining the beauty of tropical nature with urban architecture. The famous shrine is the cross of Magellan, ancient temples, modern hotels, restaurants, shopping centers that's all this is collected in one place, the city of Cebu. It was here that at the beginning of the 16th century F. Magellan came ashore and discovered the Philippines. For many years, Cebu City has been the capital of the Philippines, but today it occupies the fourth largest place among the largest settlements of the Philippines and still remains a large port city, uniting many Philippine islands. Below we will talk about the main attractions, as well as give some tips regarding your holiday in Cebu.
Locals speak Filipino and English, and use Filipino peso as their currency. Currency is not accepted here, but you can always exchange money at exchange points.
How to get there
Consider only the most popular methods.
By plane to Cebu Mactan airport
Cebu Mactan is the official name of the international airport, which is located on the neighboring island of Mactan. You can also shorten your flight route to Manila, and you can take a ferry from Manila to Cebu (we will tell you more about this route below).
If you want to visit the UAE, Singapore, China, Japan or Korea, this is a great opportunity to combine the two countries on your trip. You just need to find a route with a long transfer in the country of interest. Using this opportunity, you can get advantageous promotional offers from airlines.
The main airlines operating these routes:
Etihad Qatar, SilkAir, Phillippine Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Hinan airlines Korean Air. Turkish Airlines
Prices for Cebu flights depend on the chosen airline and the time of purchase. In the season of New Year's sales, which take place in late December and early January of each year, you can significantly save on air tickets: up to 50%. In this way, you can buy your lucky ticket with the opportunity to relax in Cebu. You can always monitor airfare prices on the Internet.
Cebu International Airport (Philippines), as already mentioned, is located on the neighboring island of Mactan (the official name of Cebu Mactan Airport). This small island is connected to Cebu Island by two bridges that are open and accessible at any time. Therefore, getting to the city of Cebu is not difficult: a taxi ride will take no more than 40 minutes. You do not need to book a car in advance; many taxi drivers will be waiting for you at the exit from the airport. Someone offers a fixed price, others count on the counter. It is better to take with a fixed price, since you will not need to pay for downtime in traffic jams (this is quite a common occurrence at noon) and you will not have to be afraid of the meter. The average price of a taxi from the airport to the city of Cebu is $ 10-15.
Manila - How to get to Cebu?
-flight flights by local airlines (Phillippine Airlines / Cebu Pacific Air 1-1.5 hours of flight and you are there); ferry (Cebu Ferries, Negros, Elgreco 20 hours). The most affordable air carrier is Cebu Pacific Air, Cebu airfares start at 3,000 pesos ($ 60) without shares, the price of a ferry ticket is $ 17.
It is more convenient to take ferry tickets if there is no ticket bought in advance and there are budget restrictions, since the cost of tickets is unchanged. Ferry tickets can be booked using the official websites of CebuFerries, Negros, Elgreco.
But in our opinion, the most acceptable travel option is to buy air travel.
In any case, you should choose:
Cebu Pacific, cebusite.com
1.5 hours of flight with a fun, colorful airplane
ferry oceanjet, cebusite.com
or 20 hours of sea cruise :).
Ferries from Cebu
Since the Philippines is a "bunch" of islands separated by water, ferries are the most affordable and popular way to travel. Depending on the remoteness of the island and the starting point of the "start", you can choose your category of ferry crossing:
passenger ferries usualy it's ferry oceanjet company freight ferries. Passenger ferries, in turn, fall into the categories of cheap and very affordable. The cost of crossing this type of transport is from 13 pesos ($ 0.2), but in bad weather this crossing can significantly shake the nervous system. A separate category is cargo ferries, which you can safely call in by car / bike / bus and cross to the desired point (prices depend on the distance and type of cargo). A great option to continue a comfortable trip.
If you decide to travel by bus from one point of the island to another island, you can safely buy a ticket for a bus with a ferry freight crossing. On average, a ticket for such a flight with a route of up to 100 km will cost about $ 10, including a ferry.
Ferries from Cebu go in two directions:
to ORMOC island (4 times a day) prices from 1000 pesos ($ 20), to the island of Tagbilaran (9 times / day) prices from 800 pesos ($ 15). Flight tickets can be pre-booked at Supercat and Oceanjet.
When is the season. When is the best time to go?
The climate in Cebu is tropical, hot and humid. The average annual temperature is kept at + 26.5 ° C, so it is very comfortable here almost at any time of the year. In general, Cebu weather is divided into three main seasons:
summer (the hottest time of the year from March to May); rainy season (from June to November); winter (from November to April).
The climate in the Philippines is directly dependent on the winds. So in the period from May to October, the island is influenced by the "habakat" (wet winds of the south-west direction), and from November to April the "amikhan" (dry winds) reigns.
When is the best time to go to Cebu?
It all depends on what weather conditions are more attractive to you, and, of course, on how you feel about the tourist influx. Usually, from December to February, the largest influx of tourists is observed, therefore it is better to plan your "Cebu travel destination" at other times, for example, April or November. In late October, early November (the transitional period of the end of the rainy season) and at the beginning of the winter season with dry winds. It rains with strong winds and mostly in the evening and at night, so during the day you can freely move around the city and enjoy your trip.
Cebu in the summer Summer (March to May) in Cebu is the hottest and wettest time. Air temperature keeps at + 33C. The island at this time of year is influenced by humid winds, so it is both hot and humid here. The number of tourists is lower compared to winter time.
Cebu to the rainy season There is no autumn and spring on Cebu, we wrote about this above. The transitional period from June to November is the rainy season. Air temperature during the day + 30.5 ° C, + 32 ° C. At this time, there is a change of winds: wet southwest direction is replaced by dry. Mostly in the evening / night, heavy rains are in full swing. Since it is at this time that the risk of typhoons and other natural disasters is highest, for tourists this time of year is unattractive, so the hotels are empty. And those who still decide to visit the country are waiting for discounts on accommodation and flights up to 20%.
Cebu winter The winter period from November to April is most attractive for tourists. Comfortable air temperature + 29C, + 30C day, night + 26C, dry air and the absence of rain make it possible to spend your holidays most actively, plan trips to distant places, immerse yourself in the underwater world and so on. Due to such climatic advantages, this time of year is most attractive for visitors, therefore, when planning your vacation in December or January, it is worth remembering the tourist influx.
Cebu - monthly weather
January +27.0 February +26.5 March +27.0 April +28.0 May +29.0 June +28.0 July +28.0 August +28.0 September +28.0 October +28.0 November +27.5 December +27.0
Areas Cebu. Where is better to live
Cebu City is divided into two parts: Up Town and Down Town. As in many cities, in the part of the city of Cebu City Down Town there are the main historical sights of the city (churches, the cross of Magellan and so on), and in the part of Up Town are concentrated ultramodern hotels, shopping and business centers.
In Down Town, you can rent a room / apartment for a day for 700 pesos ($ 12), in Up Town the prices are 3 times higher. But the main difference in living conditions is the cleanliness of the area.
Despite its price attractiveness, Down Town is a dirty area; there is no such thing in Up Town. Therefore, despite its high cost, Up Town is more attractive.
To find a suitable hotel in Cebu, you can use Booking or Agoda and choose a place of residence according to the desired price / quality ratio and the distance from shopping centers. To rent a room in a hotel (2-person accommodation), starts from about 1,500 pesos ($ 30 / day) with breakfast. Breakfast in many hotels is organized according to the buffet system, you definitely will not stay hungry here. You can choose from European and Asian dishes, local cuisine, many desserts ... Tast everything that your heart desires, and in any quantity (omelets, fried eggs, porridge, rice with vegetables, grilled vegetables, bacon, chicken, seafood, pancakes, cakes and so on). Tasty and healthy food, as you know, will energize you for the whole day!
If you want to live in a really chic hotel, then the Radisson blu cebu hotel is located next to the largest shopping center of SM Cebu City. The price for a double room with breakfast here is above average: 8500 pesos ($ 170).
The friendly, helpful staff will help you with the delivery of luggage to your room and call a taxi at your request. Everything is like in the best films.
What are the prices for vacation
Cebu prices cannot be called cheap, food / taxi services / cost of living here is cheaper than in Bali, but more expensive than in Thailand. For instance:
Taxi prices from $ 3, public transport from $ 0.2. Lunch for one from $ 3, dinner for two with alcohol will cost $ 15. A cup of coffee in a coffee shop - $ 2.
Cebu, prices for excursions Sightseeing tour in a minivan, designed for almost the whole day, costs from $ 65. It includes visits to such historical places as the Magellan's Cross, Santo Nino Church, the Cebu Heritage Monument, the Taos Temple, a visit to the Tops Busay observation deck. Fans of outdoor activities and water diving will be interested in diving and snorkeling. Snorkeling prices with equipment rental from $ 5, diving offshore from $ 25, from a boat from $ 40.
The cost of food, accommodation, transportation and other Currency: Peso Prices in restaurants and cafes Meal (lunch / dinner) in an inexpensive restaurant 150 pesos Lunch / dinner for two, 3 course, mid-range restaurant 700 pesos McMill at McDonald's or a similar 150 peso combo lunch
Main attractions or what to see in Cebu?
Cebu City is a historic part of the Philippines. There are no natural attractions, beautiful parks and the opportunity to relax on the beach, soaking up the sand under the scorching sun. Cebu City is a city with a historical cultural heritage and developed infrastructure. In the "first" capital of the country you can visit the following sites, which we will discuss in more detail below:
Basilica Minore del Santo Niño (the walls of this church contain a statue of the baby Jesus, who survived the fire),
The Cross of Magellan (the same cross that the discoverer of the Philippines F. Magellan established),
Fort San Pedro (fort guarding the city for a long time),
Fort San Pedro, cebusite.com
Casa Gorordo Museum (home of the first Bishop of Cebu),
Cebu Taoist Temple.
Cebu Taoist Temple, cebusite.com
More details about these historical places, I will tell below. In addition to these attractions, it is worthwhile to take a live look at the monument to the explorer-explorer F. Magellan and the leader Lapu-Lapu. Maggelan discovered the Filipinos Christianity and Europe, and Lapu-Lapu - a fighter for the freedom of the people against the colonialists.
With children, you can visit the Cebu Zoo, the ticket price for adults is about 25 pesos ($ 0.5), 10 pesos ($ 0.2) for children. It is open to visitors daily from 9:00 to 20:00. The zoo is small, it has a lot of birds and various cold-blooded snakes, crocodiles and so on. A variant of the zoo for general development, do not expect huge impressions from it, such as, for example, from Monkey Forest in Bali :)
Cebu Zoo, cebusite.com
Top 5 Attractions in Cebu
The history of the creation of the church of Santo Nino is associated with the name of the Spanish conquistador M. Légasli, who gave the order to burn the city in response to a hostile meeting by the locals. The city burned down, but in one of the houses after the fire, one of the Spaniards discovered a statue of the baby Jesus (Santo Ninho). The statue was untouched, moreover, it did not suffer a bit: there was no sign of fire on it. In honor of this event, the Santo Ninho church was later built on the site of the burned house. Residents of the island sincerely believe in the statue of the baby and believe that it is she who protects the city from "misfortunes" from pirates and other misfortunes. The basilica has a park and a museum. The cost of visiting the museum for adults is 30 pesos ($ 0.5), 10 pesos ($ 0.15) for children, working hours from 8: 00-16: 45. Santo Nino Church is still working, services are held here daily from 6: 00-17: 30
Santo Nino, cebusite.com
This is the shrine that the discoverer F. Magellan erected. Sebuans believe that touching the cross can cure any ailment, so a crowd of people (tourists and locals) gather here almost every day. The original cross of Magellan was destroyed by the Sebuans, so the relic that we see today was made from the remains of the original by order of Legazpi. Opening hours from 7: 00-19: 00 daily, admission is free.
Fort San Pedro and Independence Square
The fort was built by M. Legasli and named after the ship on which M. Legasli arrived on the island. This is the oldest and smallest fort in the country, located near Independence Square. At one time, the fort performed various functions: it was also a defensive line, guarding the inhabitants of the island from attacks by pirates, it was also a prison, clinic, and school. Today it’s just an open-air museum. Opening hours from 7: 00-19: 00 daily, admission is free.
House Museum of Casa Gorordo
Find out how the first bishop of Cebu Juan Isidoro Gorordo lived here. An example of a wealthy home for a Spanish-Filipino family. The house-museum is in very good condition, so literally in an instant my consciousness was transferred to the times of the 19th century. Opening hours from 8: 00-16: 00 daily, ticket price $ 1. The spacious reception in the photo above, where the owner met the guests, a huge kitchen, a separate place for spending free time and of course a room with an altar. And that’s not all that awaits you inside.
Here everyone can get an answer to an important question using simple fortune telling, or make a wish by throwing a coin.
Beaches. Which are better
You will have to forget about your vacation to Cebu with a view of the ocean and white sand, since there are no beaches in the city of Cebu City itself. The entire coastal area is a port: concrete fences along the road and a concrete slope or stone-lined descent to the water. The construction of the seafront near SM Seaside City Cebu is still in progress.
SM Seaside City, cebusite.com
The nearest place where you can swim is the bulk public beach in Mactan on the neighboring island. Where Mactan International Airport is located.
What can the Filipinos or cultural attractions surprise?
In addition to the historical heritage, the city of Cebu has unusual sights:
Guitar workshop Alegre. Cebu residents love music. She accompanies them daily, they sing, play the guitars for any reason: whether it's a holiday or grief. Therefore, there are many guitar workshops in the Philippines, and the most famous workshop is Alegre. The process of making one guitar takes 7 years. First, a worthy raw material is selected and a mold is made, then there is a process of natural drying for 5 years, and only then the tool goes through further processing. Each guitar from the Alegre workshop is filled with "its own" soul and of course the Cebu sun.
Eco-house Archival. A house that uses only solar energy, there are no third-party electrical sources of energy.
Museums Which are worth a visit We wrote about a couple of museums above; there are no others in this city, unfortunately for lovers of such places.
There is a butterfly reserve in Cebu. Here you can lively admire the huge variety of species and consider all stages of the development of the insect: from the pupa to the adult. The nature reserve is located at Macopa St. Basak, Pardo; You can get there by taxi (within $ 4.5) or on foot. We advise you to walk around the city more! It is open daily from 9:00 to 17:00. Ticket price: for adults 50 pesos ($ 1), for children 25 pesos ($ 0.5).
Tourist streets There are no tourist, or rather walking streets in Cebu. Just Mango street maybe will be interested for tourists.
What to see in 1 day
For one day in the city of Cebu (Philippines) you can see the main attractions: the top 5, which we described above. The most convenient and economical way is to take a sightseeing tour of Cebu City.
You can buy it at the hotel reception, at travel agencies (it is cheaper to buy a tour already on the spot if you speak English, and if not, then you should ask the travel agencies about the availability of tours) or via the Internet. It will take you all day: you will be taken from the hotel and brought there in the evening, and during the trip they will tell the story of attractions and monuments. The cost of this tour is approximately $ 80.
If there are time limits, you can independently create your own mini-tour using taxi services on the following route:
1st point of the Basilica of Santa Ninh + Magellan's Cross (these 2 objects are nearby within walking distance); 2nd Fort San Pedro and Independence Square; 3rd House Casa Gorordo Museum; 4th Taoist temple. You can walk from the first point to the second in 30 - 40 minutes, and then take a taxi to save time, the cost of the trip is about $ 40 one way (from the second to the last point of the route).
What to see in the surroundings
It is worth considering excursions around the area: Cascading waterfalls of Cebu Kawasan in the vicinity of the rainforest (in a southwestern direction 120 km from the city of Cebu). Here you can rent a bamboo raft for 20 pesos ($ 0.15) for those who want to swim to the waterfall itself and dive :) or if you have the strength and desire to swim to the waterfall, you can also from the shore.
kawasan falls, cebusite.com
In addition, you can order food, Filipinos will be happy to cook grilled seafood and vegetables (approximately 1000 pesos / $ 20 for 5 servings).
Look at the whale sharks. To do this, you will need to go to the neighboring village of Oslob 100 km from Cebu. Filipinos will kindly take you on their boat to the desired point to snorkel or go diving, look at the peace-loving 20-meter giants, maybe someone can even touch them, but this is forbidden :). The transfer fee for the boat is 2,000 pesos / $ 30 for an 8-seater boat.
whale sharks, cebusite.com
View on chocolate hills about. Bohol. 50 km from the capital of the island are more than 1200 hills covered with grass. Chocolate hills are so named because the grass dries out during the dry season and they look like chocolate peaks and truffles.
chocolate hills, cebusite.com
Routes to neighboring cities Cebu - Cebu 0 km Cebu - Catmon 14 km Cebu – Consolasion 15 km Cebu – Balamban 29 km Cebu - Aloguinsan 38 km
The Philippines is a country on the islands, each of which is endowed with its own attractions. Nearby islands to Cebu:
Mactan (the nearest place where you can swim on the beach), Bohol (there you can see the chocolate hills), Leyte (an island for a relaxing holiday and oblivion). Comfortable hotels, sandy beaches for every taste, warm sun, places for diving - all this on one island. At the same time, in its southern part, on the beach of Santa Sofia, you can be alone with yourself, there are practically no people here.
Food. What to try
In Asian countries, including Cebu, divine seafood is prepared. Almost in any institution they provide a huge selection of menus: different fish, shrimps, grilled mussels and so on.
The grand festival, the festival of Sinulog, is held every year in January (every third Sunday of January begins and lasts 9 days). This year you will not be able to get on this holiday but you manage to mark Sinulog 2020 or Sinulog 2021. It is dedicated to the Holy Lledger Christ, and the culmination of the performance is a ritual dance, and the whole event ends with an enchanting parade, procession and fireworks. If you are planning a trip at this time, try to get on this bright and unforgettable show!
Security in Cebu. What to watch out for
Sebauntsy friendly people, if you want to take a walk around the city at night, you can safely go out to Mango Street. Girls can go on this trip without male escort. But you should beware of "night" walks in Down Town: the unlit streets of poor areas leave a terrible impression.
Things to do
You can go have fun in the night city and visit the hot spots. For example, to watch the transvestite show “Amazing Show”, in Cebu this show is not inferior to the performance in Thailand. In addition, if you play poker or other gambling, you can visit the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel & Casino. Maybe someone is very lucky :).
Shopping and shops
Cebu city is a paradise for shopaholics. Large shopping centers:
Ayala Center Cebu, Address: Cardinal Rosales Ave, Cebu City, Cebu Chain of shopping centers gaisano mall, Cyber Plaza and Robinsons Galleria Cebu, S&R, J Center Mall, Banilad Town Center. Only one Ayala Center Cebu can walk all day and not have time to go around all the shops. Four floors of various goods, a huge assortment of everything that the soul desires. On sales that take place in late October or early November on the eve of the New Year, you can save up to 90% on purchases. Prices for T-shirts / hoodies from $ 3, here you can buy jewelry made from natural pearls and bring it home. Prices vary in product quality, processing and length.
Bars Where to go
Unfortunately, we did not go to the bars, so we have nothing to tell about them. But we recommend you try the signature light cocktail "Mango Daikari", it is served in almost any institution and consists of fresh mango and local Tanduay rum.
Clubs and nightlife
You can have fun dancing the night away at the best clubs in Cebu City. Typically, the cost of admission to the club is from 100-300 pesos ($ 1.5-5), alcohol for Cebu is cheap, the cost of cocktails is from 150 pesos ($ 2). All nightclubs in Cebu usually close at 3:30 in the morning, but Juliana Club, located on Mango Square, is open until 7:30 in the morning, there is no specific dress code.
Popular Cebu City Nightclubs:
1. Juliana, 2. J. Ave, 3. Rotary Club, 4. ICON night club
Cebu City Nightclubs, cebusite.com
The Philippines is a paradise for surfers. But there are no places to surf on Cebu, the best place for surfing is Siargao Island.
This island can be reached by ferry or plane, local airlines in 1.5 hours. The famous Cloud 9 is located here. You can read about this and other places of surfing in the Recommended places to visit in Cebu section of our website. Many surf schools (Philippines, Cebu) organize high-level surf trips around the world.
Souvenirs. What to bring as a gift
The choice is great, depending on preferences: hand baubles and magnets, T-shirts with the name of the island :) prices from $ 0.5; Filipino rum, prices from $ 8 per bottle 1 liter; products from natural pearls (necklace / bracelets / earrings / rings and so on) from $ 10; musical instruments (guitars from manual workshops), you can purchase a souvenir version for memory for $ 5, the price of a real instrument is from $ 60.
How to get around the city
You can move around the city in the following ways: by taxi, on rented cars / bikes, by buses jeepney using traysikel and traysikab. In the Philippines, public transportation is organized without special stops. On buses and jeepneys, the end point is usually written on the side, where the transport follows. You just need to give a sign, wave your hand to stop the minibus, and check whether the bus goes where you need it and how much the ticket will cost. However, in almost every major city, including Cebu, there is a bus station where you can come to learn about bus routes and purchase tickets at the box office. If with the first modes of transport from the list above it is all the more less clear, since their appearance is obvious, then the last group of transport - traysikel and traysikab - are a motorcycle / bike with a sidecar, which can safely accommodate up to 2 people.
Taxi. What features exist
Typically, a taxi ride from the airport to Cebu city center costs $ 40 per car. Moving around the city by taxi, you pay the amount on the meter plus 60 pesos ($ 1). Be careful when you get into the car, sometimes unfriendly taxi drivers wind up the counters, charge a double tariff (when boarding / leaving).
Taxis can be caught right on the street or near shopping centers, as well as hotels. There is a special crowd of taxi drivers.
Public transport in Cebu: buses, jeepney, traysikel and traysikab
Bus / jeepney rides start at 10 pesos ($ 0.2). Even the coloring of public transport is vibrant and cheerful. There are no public stops in Cebu, so you need to catch transport along the roads and talk to the driver / conductor about the end point in order to get off the transport. Trayskills and traysikades are 2 times cheaper: from 5 pesos per km. But before getting into the vehicle, check the price with the driver / conductor.
Rent a car from $ 55 per day. You can see how much rental cars will cost on your dates here. Rent a bike from $ 5 per day. Rights are required, but some tenants provide transportation without a license. When renting a bike you need to be very careful and attentive: a large flow of cars / buses and other public transport keeps drivers in constant tension. Therefore, having no driving experience, it is better to choose another option for moving around the city. And for exploring cultural attractions outside the city, you can think about renting a minivan ($ 65 per day).
Cebu - holidays with children
Many hotels have equipped playgrounds for families with children. You can even temporarily use the services of staff, putting the children under supervision. You can have fun with your children in the water park, which is located on the territory of the Imperial Palace Resort and Spa, located on the neighboring island of Mactan (the cost of visiting is 3,500 pesos, about $ 55). It is also worth a visit to the zoo or butterfly park, which we talked about above.