The title says it all.
I find this ‘topic’ subjective that’s why it took me so long to decide whether I’m going to write about it or not. By now a lot of people have been sharing their experience in Cebu, listing what they think is best.
As what most travel blogs say “Do as the locals do”. So I’ll try my very best to help you plan your next Cebu trip by listing stops and places that you MUST check out.
This is my version of Cebu’s best.
I’m not a fan of mainstream places in Cebu but if it’s really outstanding, I might include them on my list.
What a perfect way to start! I remember a friend shared how amazed she was on how we, Cebuanos, spend much time planning where to eat. I can’t speak for the majority though but to her, she finds Cebuanos passionate about food.
- Cebu’s Lechon
Have you heard of Cebu’s Lechon Wars? If you must know, Cebuanos love their Lechon to the extent that they’d fight for it. I believe that Cebu’s Lechon is distinct from others. And here’s why: CEBU LECHON DOES NOT NEED ANY SAUCE TO TASTE GOOD. Period.
Your Cebu trip would not be complete if you haven’t tried Cebu’s Lechon. Here are my Top 2 Lechon spots in Cebu:
Address: Mactan Promenade, Lapu-Lapu Airport Rd, Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu
Address: Carcar Public Market, Carcar City, Cebu
- Alejandro’s Crispy Pata (Restobar)
Try their mouthwatering Crispy Pata paired with Sisig Rice! If you’ve been to Cebu during Sinulog week you won’t miss this restobar. It’s located at Century Plaza Cebu, Juana Osmeña St, Cebu City, situated near the street party venue.
- Bucket Shrimps
Literally shrimps in a bucket, very delicious shrimps! You can either have it in Cajun or Garlic Butter sauce. Bucket Shrimps have three branches. Their main one is located near the Capitol, A. Climaco Street, Cebu City. The second one is across in Salinas Drive, Lahug, Cebu City, just across Metro Sports Cebu. The third one is in Mactan Island, just beside Cebu Yacht Club.
There are options for the fancier group too. These are just some of the restaurants I consider best: Circa 1900, Beqaa, Tymad, Anzani.
For the adventurous, you MUST try Pungko-pungko sa CDU or Siomai sa Tisa and end it with a cold cup of halo-halo by Monbi’s. If you’re a sweet tooth, like me, don’t miss Leona’s Cakes and Pastries! You’ll surely enjoy a slice of cake plus coffee for only 80 PHP or less.
There are actually a lot of good food places in Cebu. It varies depending on what kind of cuisine you prefer. The restaurants or food places I mentioned above are just some of what I think best describes Cebuano’s great taste.
I’ve heard soooo many people claiming different things like Boracay has the best beach, Palawan has the best underwater environment, Siargao has the best waves…the list goes on. What can I say? The Philippines is truly a gem! If you’re not from the Philippines you’ll surely have plenty of things to do and you have more than 7000 islands to explore.
So what about Cebu?
I believe Cebu has one of the most beautiful sandbars and beaches. It’s underwater is considered to be world-class too!
Here’s a list of the must-visit beaches in Cebu:
Moalboal, a small town on the south-west side of Cebu, has been one of my go-to-paces during weekends and holidays. It’s a 3-4 hour drive from the city depending on whether you’ll take the bus, van or drive your own car.
Moalboal is famous for its world-class diving spots and white sand beaches. It is also considered as the “hidden gem” of diving destinations in Asia. Diver or not, you are definitely going to enjoy Moalboal, whether you’ll just go there for a day or stay in overnight. Need not to worry about your accommodations, Moalboal has plenty of rooms to offer, from simple hostels to awesome resorts! Book here.
The drive to Oslob is a smooth and scenic experience. You’ll get to see the south coastal road, passing several cities and towns – Talisay, Minglanilla, Carcar, Argao, Alcoy to name a few. It’s a 3-hour drive from Cebu City. You can either ride a bus or van, rent or drive your own car.
Oslob became known to most tourist since its whale shark watching activity boomed. Aside from this activity, Oslob is also known for its white sandbar – Sumilon. Rent a boat and enjoy the public sandbar. You’ll spend around 1,500-2,000 PHP for the boat and 50 PHP for the entrance fee. Most people visit here for just for a day. The usual itinerary starts with whale shark watching and either ends with island hopping or a trip down to Tumalog Falls. But if you want a more relaxed itinerary, there are several resorts along the beach.
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- Bantayan Island
Bantayan Island is made up of three municipalities – Bantayan, Madridejos, and Sta. Fe. Bantayan takes up the western and central areas and known for its picturesque sunset and centuries-old church. Madridejos is a fishing village and known for its rich history. Sta. Fe boasts of its beautiful sunrise and famous for its wide stretch of fine white sand beach.
To go to Bantayan Island, catch a bus in Cebu North Bus Terminal going Hagnaya seaport. You can also opt to ride a van or bring your own car. From Hagnaya Port, ride a ferry or barge to get to Bantayan Island. It’ll take three to four hours from the city to reach Hagnaya and another hour to reach Bantayan. Quite far for the first timers but I assure you it’ll all be worth the travel.
- Camotes Islands
Camotes Islands is located east of Cebu Island, southwest of Leyte Island, and north of Bohol Island. This group of islands is still part of Cebu. It boasts of its white sand beach and vast shores.
Camotes is much like Bantayan when it comes to the community. The main island has not been commercially developed. It’s a perfect destination for those who just want to unwind. Islands like Camotes, Bantayan, and Siargao are my favorite ones because they have lesser tourists and you can actually “relax”, in its truest sense.
You are lucky! Today, there are several options to reach Camotes. You can either ride a fast craft from Cebu’s Main Port, from Mactan Island – the port beside Cebu Yacht Club, or from Danao City Port. Fare ranges from 180 PHP to 550 PHP.
You can look for resorts and hostels here.
Every place offers different sorts of activities. Cebu offers a looot, for the adrenaline junkies, the beach bums, the explorers, the athlete-type, the simple travelers. Here are some of the best activities you shouldn’t miss when you visit Cebu.
TOP OF THE LIST! I still can’t believe I was able to do this despite my fear of heights. This activity will surely keep your adrenaline pumping. Canyoneering or ‘Canyoning’ started years ago to boost tourism in Alegria and Badian, Cebu. The government regularized this activity to avoid bad incidents. So once you decide to go Canyoning, you have to make sure to register with an official tour group or agency.
The activity requires you to jump, slide, swim and walk. It’s that simple…not! Canyoning is not for the faint-hearted. Once you’ve done your first jump, there’s no turning back. Need not to worry if you don’t know how to swim. Each group requires two tour guides, they will assist you every step of the way. After three to four hours, you’ll be greeted with a view of the Kawasan Falls and of course food!
I always wanted to try this activity but I haven’t made peace with my panicky self. Cebu has always been one of the best diving destinations. The island has several dive shops which offer classes from Beginner to Divemaster. You can either dive in Mactan Island, Moalboal, or Malapascua Island.
- Sardine Run
You can do the Sardine Run at Panagsama (Bas Diot), Moalboal. No need to check-in to a resort or rent a boat. Just drive down to Panagsama Beach, rent snorkeling gears or bring your own gears, and start swimming from the shore. You will be amazed!
- Island Hopping
What’s Cebu without island hopping? If you haven’t tried this then you’re missing a lot. Enjoy a full-day of boat rides and fish-feeding but you can also opt to just chill on the boat and stop in the middle of nowhere to dip in the water.
Usually, island hopping packages include three islands – Caohagan, Nalusuan, and Gilutungan as the most visited stops. But of course, when you’ve done it countless times, you can already tell the boatmen where you want to go. You can get a boat at Roro Parolla Cordova, Punta Enganio beside Movenpick Hotel, or Maribago beside JPark Island Resort and Waterpark.
Preferences vary from one person to another. I could not ‘claim’ that these are the best among the best but I can assure you that you will have the time of your life once you try some of the items on this list. Food, beach, and the countless activities are just some of the things to look forward to in Cebu. But what will make your Cebu experience best? It is when you’re with great company. I hope this helps you fill out your Cebu itinerary or any travel plan for that matter. If you have questions or you need more details about any of the items above, leave a comment or send me a message via email.
Disclaimer: I am not in any way sponsored or paid to write about this but I am open to collaborating with anyone.