60 Must-try Things To Do In Cebu
Cebu, heralded as one of the top tourist destinations in the Philippines, is truly a blissful Filipino hub full of bangs, attractions and thrills. From historic landmarks to state-of-the-art modern wonders, Cebu has a dazzling and endless array of pleasant things to offer to foreign globe-trotters and wandering Pinoys. Whether you are a foodie, history buff or a fitness junkie, there is something sweet and special that awaits you in Cebu.
Wondering what are the best things to do in Cebu? Check out our eclectic list of the top things to do in this lovely and laid-back Filipino city.
Within metro Cebu
1. Spend a day at Cebu Westown Lagoon
Traveling with a bunch of kids? Then, make your way to the newest man-made lagoon in the metro – Cebu Westown Lagoon. Trust me, your children will love the kiddie pools, gazebo and water park in this extraordinary oasis. Adults, on the other hand, may soothe their jaded muscles in the relaxing Jacuzzi, or try the whirling Aztec-designed slides.
2. See the first ever terraced flower garden in the Philippines
Be mesmerized by the jaw-dropping beauty and remarkable floral arrangements at Terrazas de Flores in Busay, Cebu. As an added bonus, the garden has soothing fresh mountain air and a sleek café where you can sumptuous snacks.
3. Take pictures of SM’s The Cube
SM’s “The Cube” in SRP is fast becoming one of the city’s most popular icons.
4. Visit Temple of Leah
The wondrous Temple of Leah in Busay, although it is still under construction, draws dozens of visitors every day, thanks to its wondrous overlooking city views, and Greek-inspired architectural design.
5. Hike Mount Babag
Up for a challenging trek? Lace up your hiking boots, and go for a slightly challenging hike up Mount Babag – a playground and practice ground for seasoned mountaineers in Cebu.
6. Eat lechon
When it comes to roasted pig or lechon, I believe no one cooks it better than my fellow Cebuanos. I may be a little bias, but everyone knows Cebu has the best-tasting lechons in the country. As a matter of fact, Anthony Bourdain, a world famous TV host, had nothing but sweet words for Cebu’s lechon. He even called it as the best pork dish ever.
7. Enjoy a sumptuous dinner at Lantaw
Head to Lantaw Floating Restaurant in Cordova, and treat your palate to a wide array of filling and tasty dishes. As an added plus, Lantaw also boasts a super lovely atmosphere as well as offers striking views of the sea and Cebu.
8. See 10,000 Roses in Cordova
After a sumptuous dinner at Lantaw Floating Restaurant, head to 10,000 Roses and soak up its magical and extraordinary ambiance. Just don’t forget to snap a jillion photographs of its gleaming roses.
9. Barbecue overload in Larsian
Indulge on the appetizing barbecued goodies of Larsian in Fuente, Cebu.
10. Sample Tuslob Buwa
The Tuslob Buwa, a trending food craze in the metro, is an exotic street food dish that guarantees to please your gastronomic urges.
11. Food trip in Tisa
To experience the ultimate food trip in the city, head off to Barangay Tisa, and tickle your taste buds with its tasty street food dishes like the noteworthy siomai, steamed rice, siopao, batchoy, inasal manok, pancit canton and a whole lot more.
12. Eat ginabot
Ginabot, or also referred as chicharon bulaklak, is a salty and crunchy street food delicacy you must try in Cebu.
13. Late night treats
Grab a cup of sikwate and a plate of puto in Salvador, for an appetizing late night culinary experience.
14. First-class dining
Are into Vietnamese cuisine? Want to sample some tasty Italian staples? Dine and wine at a top-notch restaurant in the Terraces in Ayala Center.
15. Run with the best runners
Here is something for running aficionados and fitness junkies like me. Every week, Cebu hosts at least one running event that oftentimes includes Kenyans and some of the elite runners in the country. To get more information about the city’s upcoming running events, visit Cebu Fun Run.
16. Learn the art of pole dancing
Burn tons of calories and build strong ripped abs in a fun and sultry way by taking pole dancing lessons at Pole Sphinx.
17. Enjoy the lovely panoramas from Sirao Peak
Go on a hiking adventure to Sirao Peak, or also known as Mount Kan-Irag, and drink in the magnificent vistas from the top. Better yet, pitch a tent, camp, and see the Metro Cebu glitter from the summit at night.
18. Zumba party
Dance and burn hundreds of calories, by joining a Zumba fitness class in Abellana Cebu City Sports complex.
19. Learn to box like a pro
ALA Boxing gym, the biggest boxing stable in the Philippines, offers classes to people who want to lose weight as well as to aspiring boxers who want to hone their boxing skills. In ALA Boxing gym, not only will you get to sweat it out and torch fats, but you may also get a close look at the country’s upcoming and top boxing superstars, such as Donnie “Ahas” Nietes and Rodel Mayol. Who knows? You might get a chance to spar with these world-class athletes.
20. Spend an afternoon in the Celestial Garden
The Celestial Garden, or also referred as Go Shepherd, is a quaint 12-acre memorial park known for its lush rolling hills, peaceful scenery, and wondrous white statues. By the way, the park also offers a panoramic view of SRP and other parts of Cebu.
21. Pay homage to Santo Nino
Lit a few candles, and say your prayers to the Supreme Being at Santo Nino, home of the oldest church in the country.
22. The heart-pounding thrills at Crown Regency
For those who are looking for an extra dose of adventure within the city, make your way to the Crown Regency Hotel, and try their spine-tingling activities like the Vertical Climb, Urban Zipline, and Coaster.
23. Gun firing
Experience Cebu with a bang by firing off a few rounds at Crown Regency’s Ultima Sharp Shooters Club.
24. A view from the “Tops”
One of the most romantic spots in Cebu, Tops is definitely an awesome park that has lived up to its name and billing. On a good and clear day, Tops will give you breathtaking panoramas of Cebu, the sea and its adjacent islands.
25. Visit the Celosia Flower Farm in Sirao
Take a selfie and be wowed by the fiery medley of blooms at the Celosia Flower Farm in Sirao.
There are literally hundreds of places in Cebu, where you can sing your favorite karaoke tracks.
A friendly tip
Don't have the guts to sing in public or in front of a bunch of friends? I suggest that you drink a few ice-cold bottles of Red Horse Beer. Not only will drinking help you overcome your fear of singing in public, but it can also increase your scores in the karaoke machine. Don't believe me? Just give it a shot, and you'll notice your scores improve drastically.
27. Buy seafood and Cebuano goodies in Tabo-an
Tabo-an market offers the best deals for seafood delights like the dili, squid, tuyo and danggit. As you drop by this market, you will also find a handful of other Cebuano delicacies, such as otap, and dried mangoes.
28. Wander around Carbon market
Frenetic, vibrant and supremely colorful, the Carbon Market is the place to be, when buying fresh vegetables and fruits as well as cheap clothes, handicrafts, shoes, toys and more. Here, not only will you get good deals for produce and items, but you will also get a chance to savor exotic Filipino culinary treats, such as balut and isaw.
29. A glimpse of Cebu’s history
Delve into the gripping history of Cebu by making a quick sojourn to the Heritage of Cebu Monument.
30. Pay homage to the Magellan’s Cross
The Magellan’s Cross, which is one of the most iconic landmarks in the city, draws throngs of foreign travelers and locals every day, thanks to its religious significance in the country’s history.
31. Visit Museo Sugbo
Museo Sugbo, a former prison, is a treasure trove full of relics from the Spanish colonial era.
32. Swing by Fort San Pedro
For a deeper insight of Cebu’s intriguing history, make sure to pay a visit to Fort San Pedro, a former stronghold built in 1738.
33. Take pictures of Fuente Osmeña
Nestled right at the heart of a circular park, the Fuente Osmeña is by far one of the highly valued symbols of this burgeoning metropolis.
34. Visit Taoist Temple
Behold the spellbinding beauty of Cebu’s Taoist Temple, a peaceful Taoist haven open for tourists and worshipers.
35. Experience the grandest festival in the Philippines
Visit Cebu during the Sinulog Festival, and be utterly amazed by its vibrant street parades, chromatic fireworks and brilliant cultural shows.
36. A python spa treatment
Looking for something out-of-the-ordinary in this destination? Go to Cebu City Zoo, and get a one-of-a-kind spa massage from four big pythons.
37. Meet the zoo’s charming animals
While visiting the Cebu zoo, take time to meet and greet Boggart the tiger as well as the other charming creatures in this animal refuge.
38. Drop by Jumalon Butterfly Sanctuary
One of the undervalued gems in Cebu, the Jumalon Butterfly Sanctuary is a lovely, educational and museum that displays a fantastic collection of paintings and exhibits. Moreover, it has a small garden that has served as a breeding ground for psychedelic butterflies.
39. Relax at Plaza Independencia
The Plaza Independencia is a lush and eye-catching park that gives you a peaceful respite away from the urban jungles of the metro.
Outside Metro Cebu
40. A heavenly mountain escape
Do you want to get away from all the buzz and commotion in your bustling city life? With its cool mountain temperature and marvelous scenery, it is easy to see why some Cebuanos have fallen in love with the JVR Island in the Sky resort. Aptly nicknamed as “Little Baguio”, this mountainside resort will treat your senses with its lush greenery, cool breeze and scenic sights. And, did we mention that it is one of the must-visit hidden gems in Cebu?
41. Freshwater fishing
Liloan has a trio of spots where you can try freshwater fishing, namely Co-Jordan, D’pond and Papa Kit’s Marina and Fishing Lagoon. Additionally, these fishing spots have other awesome diversions, like horseback riding and boating.
42. Zipline ride in Papa Kit’s
Speaking of Papa Kit’s, this fishing lagoon is also well-known for its 800-meter zipline ride.
43. Visit Esoy Hot Springs
Experience a nature trip like no other by visiting Esoy Hot Springs.
44. Swimming with the Butandings (whale sharks)
Swimming with the gentle sea giants in Oslob, Cebu is a surreal and memorable experience that you will surely cherish for years to come. For some travelers, this breathtaking experience may only happen once in their lifetime.
45. Experience the gorgeous sandbar of Sumilon Island
After getting up close and personal with Oslob’s butandings, go to Sumilon Island, and treat yourself to a wondrous tropical escape.
46. Hiking in Dalaguete
Be mesmerized by the awe-inspiring views of the entire Cebu and its nearby islands by taking a trekking adventure to Dalaguete’s Osmeña Peak. For mountaineers and campers, the peak is also a great place to set up a camp.
47. Diving in Nalusuan Island
With its kaleidoscopic corals and turquoise waters, it is no wonder a lot of professional divers deem Nalusuan Island as one of the finest diving spots in the Philippines.
48. Spend a weekend in Kawasan Falls
The Kawasan Falls is an inviting natural wonder that delights its visitors with its dashing ice-cool waters, breathtaking natural backdrop, and relaxing vibe. A favorite weekend getaway among city dwellers in Cebu, this spectacular waterfall also has a plethora of adventures to offer to outdoor aficionados, including trekking, rock climbing, canyoneering, waterfall jumping and rapelling.
49. A week in an idyllic tropical paradise known as Bantayan
In Bantayan, you won’t find any flashy restaurants, chic shopping centers, luxurious hotels, movie houses and metro discos. Still, it continues to lure countless of way-faring foreigners and Filipinos every year, thanks to its warm locals, bucolic feel and of course, pristine white sand beaches like the highly acclaimed Sugar Beach.
50. A layover to a solemn shrine
Sacred and downright beautiful, the Simala Shrine is a splendid monastery with a medieval castle-like architecture. Known as a miraculous church, Simala Shrine is usually flocked with pilgrims who would pray and show their devotions to Mother Mary.
51. Chasing waterfalls in Alegria
Alegria has a cluster of beautiful and little-known waterfalls that can give you a refreshing getaway, such as Cambais and Cancalanog Falls.
52. Trek Mount Lanaya
53. Hike Candongao Peak from Badian
Want to add an extra dose of outdoor fun and adventure in Cebu? Go for a challenging and energy-draining trek to Candongao Peak – a less-explored summit with stunning panoramas of Cebu.
54. Visit Capilla Santa Ana
55. See Biga Pit
Once you’re done exploring Capilla Santa Ana, make your way to Biga Pit, and gaze at this wondrously weird man-made lake.
56. Camping at Ablayan Peak
Need a quick break from the non-stop frenzy in Cebu City? Head to the highlands of Boljoon, and pitch a tent on the windy and splendid Ablayan Peak. With its fresh mountain breeze and panoramic vistas, Ablayan Peak is indeed the ultimate spot to escape the city buzz.
57. Hike Mount Mago
Stand in the landmark where you can be in three places at once – Tuburan, Carmen and Danao, with this picturesque climb in Cebu.
58. Unwind at Carnaza Island
Even though it's not as popular as Bantayan, Carnaza Island is fast becoming one of the most sought-after island destinations in Cebu. Praised for its easygoing feel and pristine beaches, Carnaza Island will sweep you away and alleviate your daily stress.
59. Scale Casino Peak
Casino Peak, with its ethereal scenery will unleash your inner shutterbug with its Chocolate-Hills-like sights and enthralling panoramas.
60. Hit Danasan Eco Adventure Park
Yearning for a heavy dose of thrill and adventure? Why not drop by Cebu's ultimate adventure park - Danasan Eco Adventure Park? Not only will it quench your thirst for thrill rides and adventure, but it will also sweep you away with its refreshing mountain scenery.
Cebu, as a booming city and a sought-after tourist destination, is oozing with pleasures, bonanzas and excitement in every corner. And to be honest, the suggestions shared in this list are just the tip of the iceberg. Despite its relatively small size, there are hundreds of treasures and exciting things you can do in the “Queen City of the South” and its nearby areas. I could list a hundred of them, but unfortunately I don’t have much time to do that. On the bright side, I’ll be sharing more about Cebu on the next posts. Till next time. Ayu ayu bai!
Headed to Southern Cebu? Then, grab a copy of this travel itinerary, and make your South Cebu trip an epic adventure you’ll remember for years to come!