Regarded as the Queen City of the South and the oldest city in the Philippines, Cebu is an incredibly diverse metropolis that offers tourists and locals much to discover and explore.
A melting pot of disparate people and culture, Cebu is one of the exciting places in the Philippines that will delight and excite you. For one, the metropolis has practically everything a traveler would look for in a vacation destination. But, more importantly, most points of interest are about a couple of hours drive away, depending on traffic. So if you are looking to hit the beach, camp at mountainsides, go on an epic food trip, dabble in a bit of culture or history or indulge your inner nocturnal party animal, Cebu has it all.
Whether it is your first time or nth time visiting Cebu, it will surprise you. So, if you are looking for things to do in Cebu or perhaps more compelling reasons to visit the city, then take a gander at the list below:
1.) World Class Beaches
The Philippines is known for its beautiful beaches with azure waters and powdery white sands. Cebu, in particular, attracts millions of tourists every year for this reason. With more than a hundred islands in and around Cebu, tourists get to have their fill of the beach and enjoy island hopping. Travelers also get to enjoy a myriad of beach-related activities such as swimming with the whale sharks, diving to see majestic coral reefs, or going on a sardine run. Cebu is very well-known for its post-card worthy stunning beaches that any visit would be incomplete without a stop at any of its famous beach hotspots (Sumilon, Malapascua, and Bantayan Island)
2.) An Epicurean Adventure
Cebu is known for its lechon, and the Cebuanos are incredibly proud of it. In fact, you will be hard-pressed to find a Cebuano who would not proclaim their lechon as the best in the Philippines. True to their word, Cebu’s lechon is indeed the best in the country with its succulent meat and crunchy skin. Beyond lechon, however, Cebu has a lot to offer in terms of a gastronomic adventure. Tourists who wish to treat their taste buds to an exotic adventure can very well do so. Whether you are a courageous foodie looking to try anything or a cautious eater wishing to stick to the usuals, Cebu’s food scene has something to offer you. From the unique street food to the homegrown restaurants, Cebu’s food will delight your tastebuds and take them on an epicurean adventure. Some of Cebu’s must-try food apart from lechon are Cebuano chorizo, chicharon, and pochero. However, if you are feeling a bit adventurous, do not miss their famous Ginabot (deep-fried pork intestine), Nilarang Bakasi (eel stew), and Tuslob Buwa (pork brains). As a bonus tip, compliment the Cebuano chef by telling them you find their food delicious. Simply saying “Lami kaayo” will be enough, and you will be rewarded with a warm smile.
3.) Rich History
History buffs will enjoy immersing themselves in Cebu’s incredibly rich history and culture. As the first Spanish settlement in the Philippines, it is inevitable for history to permeate throughout the city. History would tell us that Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan arrived in Cebu to claim the archipelago for Spain. The Philippines was then under Spanish rule for more than 300 years. That said, much of Filipino culture is derived from Spain. A good majority of Cebuano words are Spanish words. If you have a penchant for the rediscovery of old cities or walking through old streets, you are going to love Cebu. Among the many shrines that bore witness to the Queen City of the South’s history are Colon Street, Fort San Pedro, Basilica Minore del Santo Niño, and Magellan’s Cross.
4.) Friendly Locals
Despite their thick and strong sounding accents, Cebuanos are some of the friendliest and most charming people you will find ever encounter in your life. They are easygoing, accommodating, and fun-loving individuals. You can easily strike up a conversation with one and ask them for tips about Cebu’s best eateries, restaurants, and nightlife hotspots. Even better is that most Cebuanos have an excellent command of the English language. But if you wish to truly connect with locals and form lasting friendships, impress them by learning a few key phrases in their dialect. You will be rewarded with a smile and a lifelong friend.
5.) Majestic Mountains
Apart from pristine beaches with azure waters, Cebu is also known for its majestic mountains that make for excellent hiking spots. Outdoor enthusiasts would love conquering the mountains of Cebu. If you are an intrepid adventurer, make room in your itinerary to visit the highest peak in Cebu, Osmeña Cebu located in Dalaguete. The view from up here is unparalleled and incomparable! The climb itself would already treat you to verdant visual delights, but reaching the peak is an accomplishment that would reward you with a panoramic view of surrounding mountains.
6.) World-Class Resorts
Depending on traffic, Mactan is Cebu’s designated resort city just an hour away from the city. It is home to the city’s best and world-class hotels and resorts where checking-in can already guarantee you a lavish getaway. Dubbed as a resort city, Mactan’s hotels and resorts offer a unique experience, but a common theme is the fine white sand beaches and clear blue waters suitable for swimming. However, if you wish to travel further and explore more of Cebu’s resorts, you can take your adventure to Bluewater Sumilon Island Resort in Oslob or to the wellness resort in Badian. If budget permits, you may even choose to elevate your experience by booking your stay with Daanbantayan’s exclusive luxury resort.
Undoubtedly, Cebu is one of the Philippines’s top destinations as it offers every kind of attraction a tourist might ask for. Whether you are looking to hit the beach, visit heritage sites, book luxury resorts, or go on a food trip, Cebu has it all. The list above contains just some of the reasons why Cebu makes for a compelling visit. That said, go ahead and visit Cebu yourself as you may find even more reasons to fall in love with the city.