With its rich history and famous lechon, Cebu City is everyone’s top place to tick off on their bucket lists (including us). When we booked our flight last February, I kept on reading blogs about Cebu City’s top destinations. I actually checked every places on Google Map if they are near to each other, so it is easier for us to transfer from place to place.
Since our flight was too early, we had time to explore the City before we check-in at our hotel. We just deposited our bags and ate breakfast at Mcdonalds near Fuente Osmena. We started off our tour at 9:00 in the morning.
Cebu City is the oldest city and the first capital of the Philippines. It is also rich in Spanish history like the famous Magellan’s cross which can be found in downtown Cebu near the Sto. Nino Church. Just like other cities, Cebu is now becoming crowded and urbanized, plus traffic is becoming a huge problem. However, this didn’t stop us to explore the city’s highly recommended places.
We booked out tickets in Cebu Pacific Air. But there are other airline carriers that cater a direct flight to Cebu City.
You can check the ferry schedules here.
WHERE TO STAY:
Accommodations in Cebu are almost everywhere. Just check TripAdvisor for reviews and and prices. I suggest that you should stay near the places that you wanted to see. Just like us, I chose ABC Hotel & Homes near Fuente Osmena because it is in the middle of everything. The location is accessible to almost all the top spots of Cebu City. I will provide a separate review of this because we super love our stay here!
Here are other hotel options I found online which have good reviews in Agoda:
GETTING AROUND CEBU:
It is just easy to commute in Cebu. They have taxis, Grab cars, jeepneys, rental cars, and even habal-habal roaming around the city. We tried riding in Grab Car and Taxis because our bags were heavy. However, during city tour, we opted to choose jeepneys and habal-habal ride. On our experience, drivers in Cebu were nice, just tell them where exactly you want to go and they will drop you off on the exact location.
WHAT TO DO IN CEBU:
Offer a prayer in Basilica del Sto. Nino
From Fuente Osmena Circle, we rode a jeepney bound to the Cathedral. We told the driver to dropped us off and we paid P8 for the fare. There were lots of people around the church just like here in Quiapo. There are vendors, tourists, and beggars everywhere. We explored the interior of the church and prayed as well.
Historical Fact: Basilica del Santo Nino is the oldest Roman Catholic church in the country. The exact location of the church was where the image of Santo Nino was found during the expedition of Miguel Lopez de Legaspi.
Visit the historic Magellan’s Cross
Just a short walk outside the Basilica, Magellan’s Cross is situated. I remembered during schools days where we always discussed this in history class. And now, I had the chance to see this in person. There are ladies selling candles in exchange of dance (just like in Sinulog) and prayer. It costs P10 per candle.
Historical Fact: This historic cross was planted by the famous explorer, Ferdinand Magellan. It became symbol of Christianity here in the Philippines.
Throwback in 19th-20th Century in Casa Gorordo Museum
From Magellan’s Cross, we took a cab going to Casa Gorordo Museum because I didn’t know how to get there by commuting. It was just a short ride. We dropped off at the front gate of the museum but unfortunately, it was closed for renovation. We just took photos from the outside.
Historical Fact: Casa Gorordo was built in 19th century in a Parian district in Cebu. It showcased old centuries of 19th to 20th culture and lifestyle. It was declared as National Historical Landmark in 1991.
Travel back in time at Yap-San Diego Ancestral House
Another short walk from Casa Gorordo, there’s the Yap San Diego Ancestral House. It is considered as one of the old houses in the country. Upon entering, we paid P50. The smell of the house is an like old rotten wood. There are lots of old statues, sculptures, glassware, and furniture inside. The house was divided into different rooms and every room has its own story.
Historical Fact: Yap San Diego Ancestral House was built in 17th century by family of Chinese merchants. The house is passed from generations to generations.
Take a photo of Heritage of Cebu Monument
Just a short walk from Yap-San Diego House, there’s the Heritage of Cebu Monument. Just take a photo for souvenir that you’re in Cebu. It’s like the Luwasang Bonifacio here in Manila (without vendors).
Historical Fact: This structure depicted the famous landmarks in Cebu: Basilica del Santo Niño, the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, the Saint John the Baptist Church, the Magellan’s Cross, and a Spanish Galleon.
Lure around SM Cebu
There are lots of jeepneys roaming around Cebu. From Heritage of Cebu Monument, we rode a jeep bound to SM. The fare is P8 each and the driver dropped us off at the mall’s entrance. Since the weather was really hot that time that we were there, SM was good option to go.
Go to Europe aka Temple of Leah
Around 4pm, we decided to go to JY Mall to reach Temple of Leah. From there, we rode a habal-habal that took us to the top of a mountain where the temple is located. There’s still construction ongoing so expect a bit of hassle. The fare for the ride is P60 per way. We paid Kuya P300 because he insisted to take us to our hotel after the Temple of Leah tour.
Historical Fact: Temple of Leah is a symbol of undying love owned by Adarna clan of Cebu.
Try the Famous SUTUKIL at Larsian
Sutukil stands for Sugba (grilled), Tuwa (soup), and Kilawin (Ceviche). From our hotel, we just walked to Fuente Osmena where Larsian is located. You can easily see it because of the smoke coming from the grill & the smell of the barbecue. We ordered chicken & pork bbq, scallops, and squid. Yum! The prices were all worth it, we paid P500 for two.
Buy pasalubong at Tabo-an Market
Vacation won’t be complete without buying pasalubong. Tabo-an market is the answer! We bought danggit (dried fish), squid, and longganisa for cheap prices. Just go here early to choose from different vendors.
Of course, eat Lechon!
Don’t forget Cebu lechon because why not! All of the tourists coming to Cebu should taste their famous grilled pork. We tried the Zubuchon in The Walk, IT Park and it was so good and crispy. Other options are the CnT and Rico’s. Next time, I’ll try the CnT because some reviews said that it’s the number 1 lechon in Cebu.
Because we just had limited time in Cebu City, we weren’t able to see other attractions. If you are planning to go here sometime, you may include these in your itinerary:
- Fort San Pedro
- Taoist Temple
- Tops Lookout
- Sirao Flower Farm
- Lapu-lapu Shrine
Here’s our estimated expenses of our Cebu trip. Expenses may differ from number of pax or the actual activity.
We really had fun in Cebu City especially the things we learned and the food we tasted. Actually one or two days are enough to explore all the places here, then go to South Cebu for jam-packed adventures. Until next visit Cebu!
CONTACT + GUIDE
ABC Hotel & Homes
Corner F. Ramos & Lim Tian Teng Streets, Barangay Sta. Cruz, Cebu City, Cebu, Philippines 6000
Tel. No. (032) 412-8788; 888-6899
Mobile No(s). (0933) 508-8982 (SUN) / (0977) 013-6868 (Globe)