Cebu Travel Blog: Table of Contents
Cebu on C&C
Best Time To Visit Cebu
Where to Sleep
Let’s Go For a Drink
What to See and Do
Tipping in Cebu
Common Scams & What to Avoid
C&C’s Google Map of the City
Cebu Travel Blog: Where, How?
Cebu City, Cebu Island, Visayas, Philippines, Southeast Asia
Population: 922,611(2015 Census)
Currency: Peso (Php)
Mactan-Cebu International Airport (CEB)
Airport Notes: The airport caters to both international and domestic flights. It is a more modern alternative to Manila’s packed Ninoy Aquino International Airport with significantly faster and more efficient passport control and baggage handling. There are several direct flights to Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and others to Japan, Qatar, Malaysia, Taiwan, and China. There also seasonal chartered flights to Russia, China, the United States, and other nations.
The airport has a wide range of facilities that include a shopping center, a 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.
Transportation to-and-from the airport: The airport is on Mactan Island in Lapu-Lapu city. It will take about 40 minutes to 1 hour – or more depending on Cebu’s notorious traffic – to get to the actual city of Cebu by taxi.
You may ask in advance for a free van from your hotel to come and pick you up, which is the best option.
MyBus service is comfortable and gets passengers to and from the airport at a fixed and cheap rate. Travel like the locals by Jeepney if you don’t mind the heat and intense petrol fumes for a long period of time.
The most affordable way of transport is to get around the city on a local jeepney. The downside is that the only way of finding out the route is by either looking on the outside of the jeepney, or by asking someone. Also beware of pickpockets while taking the jeepney. Otherwise, this is a great 24 hour mode of transport around the city to suit your Cebu itinerary.
Taking a bus would be a safer choice if you are plying the north-south route. Ceres Bus lines is a reputable company with regular buses connecting the North and South Terminals.
Taxis can also be found everywhere in the city. As with everywhere else, make sure the driver uses a meter to avoid any scams.
A Note on Taxis:
They’re ubiquitous, somewhat safe and very cheap. If possible, try and find a white taxi which has the price printed on the exterior. Always ask the driver to use the meter. Also avoid any private taxis that target tourists and charge more than usual.
Just like anywhere, Uber is cheaper and safer. If you don’t already have an account, use this link and get 15 dollars off your first ride!
Beverly Hills is an affluent gated community found north of the city. Other gated communities include Forbes Park, Dasmariñas Village, and Ayala Alabang. There are a couple of nightclubs and pubs found in Mango Square. Several consulates are located in Gorordo Avenue in Lahug. There are a number of restaurants around Ayala Center Cebu and the IT Park.
Cebu is built along the coast. The water is always southeast, but since the city’s main arteries are built along the coast, you might get the impression that the water is southward.
More About Cebu on C&C
Best Time To Visit Cebu
Average Monthly Minimum And Maximum Temperatures
Average Monthly Rainfall Or Snowfall
Cebu Travel Blog: Personal Notes
What’s This Place About?
Cebu is the beautiful gateway to the Philippines. Many people, especially travelers, will try to avoid the city of Manila and its traffic when coming in and out of the country. Cebu is much smaller and not as chaotic as Manila. It is a more welcoming place to use as a hub to get to your final destination. Cebu’s friendly population makes it a destination in and of itself.
What’s Great and Fun?
The street food of Cebu is underrated and tourists should enjoy its many delicacies. Here is a video about it:
Cebu Travel Blog – Personal Anecdotes
I have met some of the nicest people in Cebu, many of whom have remained my friends. It is also one of the strongest Couchsurfing communities in the world.
Cebu Travel Blog: Where to Stay
Finding the best hotel in Cebu is not hard. There are plenty of options that are both cheap and excellent.
Are you looking for a super-social, super-cheap hostel/guesthouse? Check out Hey Fellas!
Shejoje Poshtel Hostel is the only hostel I recommend in Cebu if you’re on a budget.
Best Western Plus Lex Cebu, Harolds Hotel and Hamersons Hotel offer surprising value.
Of course, there are also the typical major chain hotels in Cebu such as Cebu City Marriott Hotel (PERMANENTLY CLOSED) and Cebu Parklane International Hotel.
Just like everywhere, Airbnb is a very interesting option. If you’re not already a member, you can use this Airbnb link to get $40 off your first reservation.
Cebu Travel Blog: Let’s Eat!
Famous Foods and Specialties
- Lechon (roasted suckling pig)
- Bam-i (stir-fried Cebuano noodle dish)
- Biko (yummy sticky rice cake)
- Lechon manok (rotisserie chicken stuffed with lemongrass)
- Sizzling pochero (beef joint/shank with pochero marrow)
The Best Drunk Food
- Sinugba (charcoal-grilled meats)
- Street-food abounds in Cebu and is amazingly cheap. You can buy all sorts of Philippine delicacies from the many street stalls scattered around Cebu City.
Our Suggestions – Dishes And Restaurants
There are a lot of nice restaurants all across the city, however somewhat few of them offer what can be called “Filipino food” per se. Most restaurants are located in malls and the experience there isn’t what I’d call “good”. This is why the number of restaurants listed here is small. This also means that it’s, in my view, a pretty extensive list!
One of the must-go’s is STK Ta Bay! You should have the fish jaw dish!
Bordz is a pub that turns into a bar later at night. I loved the pochero there. Plus, right behind the pub and in the back alley, there’s a great street burger joint!
One more very good restaurant that actually serves (mostly) Filipino classics: Golden Cowrie. It’s a chain, but it’s not bad!
There are a lot of good – and not-so-good – lechon places in Cebu City. My favourite is Frina’s Special Lechon. Check it out.
Other than that, there are many, many great street food stalls, including simple but delicious satays, everywhere in the city. Don’t be afraid to add it to your Cebu itinerary, it’s great!
Cebu Travel Blog: Let’s Go For a Drink
What Do the Locals Drink?
Local beer, wine and cocktails.
Drinking in Public
In Cebu, you have to be 18 and above to drink legally. Locals are usually tolerant of drunk tourists. Regardless, remember stay aware of how much you’re drinking, especially since locals tend to invite people for drinks on the street.
Our Suggestions – Bars and Pubs
- Many expats like to go to Marshall’s Irish Pub for good food, drinks, and live music. Unfortunately, this restaurant has since closed its doors.
- You will be able to find majority of the nightlife at Mango Avenue and Mango Square – as well as some of the more rough and tumble facets of Cebu.
- I have to admit my total love for Popeye’s Grill – I wouldn’t eat there, but the gritty outdoors bar offers everything and anything you can imagine – live music, karaoke, beer pong, pool… and cheap drinks! Unfortunately, this restaurant has since closed its doors.
- As I mentioned in the restaurant section, Bordz is a cool spot late at night.
As regular readers of this column know, I don’t know anything about clubs. Sorry!
Cebu Travel Blog: What to See and Do
Here are some suggestions to add to your Cebu itinerary!
- Eating at the food court at shopping mall SM Cebu, the country’s second largest mall after Mall of Asia, is something to experience.
- Look at some nice graffiti walls as you stroll around the Chinese Cemetery Queen Gardens.
- Go to Minglanilla public market for your shopping needs as it is cheaper than the shopping malls.
- Visit Fort San Pedro, built to defend the locals from Spanish invasion and colonization.
- Right next to Fort San Pedro is Plaza Independencia, a square frequented by lovers and couples.
- The Malacanang of the South is a big white building built at the request of ex-president Gloria Arroyo to thank the people for voting for her.
- Magellan’s cross is where the Ferdinand Magellan put the cross when he introduced Christianity to Cebu.
- Santo Nino Church is said to be the oldest church in the country and where believers lit candles and prayed.
- The Cathedral and its museum with artefacts were like Santo Nino but for the wealthy.
- Colon Street is the shortest and oldest street in the city and is named after Christopher Colombus.
- Lapu-Lapu Monument in Mactan celebrates the hero who led the battle to defeat Magellan, resisting the Spanish colonization.
Tipping in Cebu
Just like in most of Asia, it is not expected to tip but it is as nice gesture. If you feel like you’ve received good service, you can tip 7-10% to the staff.
Cebu Travel Blog: Common Scams & What to Avoid
I haven’t personally experienced any scams, but you should be careful anywhere in the city because of the widespread poverty. Don’t flash expensive items around and keep your wits about yourself.
Alcohol is very cheap in the Philippines. Be careful to not get too drunk. I was traveling on a motorbike in Cebu around 5:00 am and turned on the wrong street. I noticed a crowd of people that did not appear to be friendly, so I left quickly. Knowing where you are at all times and having a good sense of orientation is important. Avoid dark alleys and stick to what you know, especially at night.
I haven’t personally witnessed any pickpockets or crime.
Taxis are extremely cheap and safe. Make sure to use the meter.
How to Stay Safe: Tips and Tricks
READ MORE: Travel Canada Advisory for the Philippines.