Hailed as the Queen City of the South and lauded as one of the best tourist destinations in the Philippines, Cebu is so much more than just your ordinary beach city. In fact, there is a myriad of reasons to visit this quaint and unassuming resort city in the South than simply just for its outward façade of being a tourist city.
Known for being an eclectic metropolitan that takes you from the beaches to the city (and even to the mountains) in a matter of a few hours, Cebu has pretty much everything a progressive city can offer and so much more. Indeed, Cebu’s distinct charm stems from its heterogeneous destinations that make for incredibly diverse lifestyles—a feat that has apparently caught the attention of tourists all over the world.
Over time, this Visayan city has made quite a name for itself—both locally and globally, and it has become invariably evident—especially as of late. While 2018 has been one of the best years for Cebu (development wise as evidenced by the ever-worsening traffic in the metropolis), 2019 promises so much more to offer in terms of lifestyle and recreational activities and destinations. Today, Cebu’s lifestyle and recreational scene cater to a much more diverse demographic by opening its doors to a hodgepodge of establishments and a variety of entertainment districts.
Indeed, the Philippines’ Queen City of the South has lived up and is living up to its name with interesting attractions that just opened in 2018 and with so many more exciting surprises to look forward to this year. As more and more tourists flock from the capital city to explore neighboring cities and provinces, it is clear why Cebu remains as a premier choice for a holiday retreat: it offers something for every type of traveler there is, whether they are looking to immerse themselves in the city life, get in touch with nature or spend their days relaxing.
So, if you are planning to visit the Queen City of the South anytime soon and are weary of the same old destinations as offered by many tour and city guides, here are some of Cebu’s freshest and most happening places that just recently opened (and should definitely make it to your travel bucket list):
1.) Take Beautiful Photos at Neri’s Ville Selfie Corner
By the last quarter of 2018, this unique and rather obscure Cebuano destination has blown up on social media feeds with everyone asking the question: Where is this place?
Opening to the public just last September 2018, Neri’s Ville Selfie Corner is every social media influencer’s dream. With unique backdrops that make for excellent snapshots to fill your Instagram feed with, this ultimate selfie destination has remained a Cebuano favorite among millennials and tourists alike. Located in Barangay Lusaran Cebu City, this ultimate selfie destination is perfect for your social media feed goals and is ideal for individuals who wish to enjoy nature’s bounty of majestic scenery and fresh air.
Tagged as the Bali of Cebu for its lush and green scenery as well as the Cebuano counterpart of New Zealand for its Hobbit Houses, this is one destination that should definitely make it to your itinerary.
2.) Dine at The Pyramid
A trip to the Queen City of the South should always include a Cebu food trip and The Pyramid should be one of the places you should visit. Reminiscent of France’s very own Louvre, The Pyramid is Cebu’s rendition of this well-known French treasured destination. Revered for its unique architecture (the first of its kind in Cebu), The Pyramid Cebu is an upscale luxe dinner destination for individuals who wish to dine in a lush ambiance. To make the most out of your experience, visit The Pyramid at night as it is more of a nocturnal dining spot more than anything else. After all, the unique architecture against the nighttime sky would make for a very fetching photo backdrop.
3.) Take a Dip at Happy Beach Cebu
Opening its doors to the public just last December 15, 2018, Happy Beach Cebu promised visitors to be the happiest place in Cebu—and they wonderfully delivered in that aspect. As the first boutique resort in Mactan, Cebu, Happy Beach quickly rose to fame and popularity among Cebuanos and travelers alike. It should come as no wonder why this one-of-a-kind beach in Mactan has a distinct aesthetic that draws visitors in after all. With 16-rooms in its resort, Happy Beach is home to the world-famous “Unicorn Island” and has adorned their beach with elements reminiscent of the resorts you can find in Bali. Some of the things visitors can enjoy are the “Bali Beach,” “Pink Pool,” “Happy Jungle Lounge,” and a myriad more others.
4.) Cool Off at Snow World Cebu
Individuals who wish to escape the metropolitan’s unbearable heat should definitely head on over to Snow World Cebu. Opening its doors to the public, just last November 11, 2018, Snow World Cebu is the Queen City of the South’s first world-class indoor theme park and is the VERY FIRST of its kind in the Southern part of the Philippines that offers the public a glimpse of what real snow feels like. Apart from getting up close and personal with the wintry season, visitors can also experience the excitement and thrill of going on an ice slide as well as take photos with fascinating ice sculptures carved by the finest carves in the country.
5.) Relax in the Splendor of Issa’s Haven
Individuals who wish to have a glimpse of Greece’s world-famous island, Santorini need not go far and book a trip to Southern Cebu instead. Issa’s Haven is the Southern Cebu’s rendition of the iconic Grecian island in Oslob, Cebu. The resort has borrowed unique and distinct concepts from the famous island in Greece and in the same way; the resort is styled in Santorini’s iconic blue and white color scheme to give the place a touch of authenticity.
6.) Explore Kinatarcan Island
Visitors who have more than enough time to explore the City of the South fully should definitely pay one of Cebu’s best-hidden beach spots, specifically Kinatarcan Island. While the island has been in existence for quite some time now, it had not made waves until just last April 2018 when it beguiled local and foreign tourists to come and visit. As the island is within the municipality of Santa Fe, a city in Bantayan Cebu, getting there will require at least one full day—that is if you wish to enjoy the experience fully.
Much like the other beaches in Bantayan, Kinatarcan Island boasts of long white sand beaches and majestic overlooking views. Apart from that, tourists can also enjoy visiting the lagoon or while spelunking enthusiasts might want to try their hand at exploring the number of caves that are peppered within the island.
7.) Go Camping at Bacalla Woods Campsite
Known as Southern Cebu’s go-to place for camping, Bacalla Woods campsite is the perfect place to disconnect to reconnect. Devoid of any mobile signal, you and your companions can are guaranteed a day of uninterrupted bonding. The experience is certainly one of a kind as the place ensures the kind of tranquility and relaxation you will not otherwise find in the busy city. Regarded as the home of environmentalists, extreme sports athletes, explorers, campers, nature enthusiasts, and the artists, it is a place that caters to a diverse demographic. But one thing is for sure, visiting Bacalla Woods Campsite will be a refreshing break from the city’s perpetual hustle and bustle.
8.)Witness Exotic Animals at Cebu City Safari and Adventure Park
If you have always dreamt of visiting the African Safari or Savannah to witness animals in the wild, you no longer need to make the expensive trip just to do so. With the opening of Cebu City Safari and Adventure Park, you can finally observe how wild animals behave as if they were in their natural habitat. Cebu City Safari and Adventure Park prides itself on being the largest zoo in the Philippines. Unlike typical zoos, however, Cebu City Safari and Adventure Park does not keep wild animals in cages but instead, has them freely roam around in a large expanse–much like their natural habitat. The park features a savanna, botanical gardens and its newest addition, the White Lion Safari. Apart from that, visitors can also enjoy plenty more thrilling activities such as swaying in the ziplines, biking, hiking and so many more. Getting to Cebu City Safari and Adventure Park might take a bit of a trip though as it is located all the way in Carmen, a northern town in Cebu. To make the most out of your trip, be sure to visit as early as possible. They open as early as 8AM with their last admission being at 2PM in the afternoon.
9.) Go on a Marine Adventure at Cebu City Ocean Park
Not to be outdone by the safari in Carmen, the Queen City of the South made sure it included an Ocean Park to its long list of attractions. Known to be the country’s biggest oceanarium, Cebu Ocean Park is conveniently located beside Cebu’s largest mall, SM Mall of Asia making it an accessible attraction to those who live near the city. Considered as an educational and entertaining experience, the Cebu Ocean Park features thousands of marine species settled in a wide range of aquariums in different shapes and sizes. If you want to regale your kids with an exciting but informative trip, then take your kids on an underwater journey and visit the biggest oceanarium in the Philippines.. Cebu City Ocean Park opens from 9AM-6PM daily.
10.) Indulge the child in you at Anjo World Theme Park
Since the closure of Ayala Center Cebu’s Glicos and SM City’s Fun World, two theme parks the Queen City of the South had in the nineties, Cebu always had this glaring lack of theme parks. With the opening of Anjo World Theme Park, that void is seemingly filled. Situated in Minglanilla, Anjo World Theme Park is Visayas’s largest theme park yet. The theme park’s zones are based on major continents of the world which makes an exploration of the theme park akin to a trip across different countries and witnessing various cultures around the globe. The park features plenty of exciting rides and a “snow world” where you can cool off after spending hours under the heat. The park opens from 12NN to 8PM on weekdays with a 450Php entrance fee per person for unlimited rides. On weekends, the park operates from 10AM to 9PM with a door fee of 550 pesos per person.
So, if you are heading to the famed Queen City of the South anytime soon, be sure to check out its freshest and latest offers to experience firsthand what the pride of the South has new to offer its visitors.
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