25-must-experience-lists-for-first-timers-in-cebu

Never leave Cebu without experiencing the 25 in our list

Cebu is an island that has much to offer. It boasts its very rich culture and heritage. It is the oldest city in the country and still one of the fastest developing cities today in terms of economy. With the rapid growth of tourism, Cebu has attracted a lot of tourist both local and foreign.

For people who are first timers in Cebu, we highly recommend you to try or experience the 25 recommendations we have listed. We guarantee you that your stay in Cebu will become a fruitful and memorable one if you can complete the list. Do your best to try as many as you can.

So let the fun begin…

1. Visit Sto. Niño Church

The Minor Basilica of the Holy Child (Cebuano: Basilica Menore del Santo Niño Spanish: Basilica del Santo Niño and Filipino: Basilica Menor del Santo Niño) and commonly known as the Santo Niño Basilica, is a minor basilica in Cebu City in the Philippines that was founded in the 1565 by Frays Andrés de Urdaneta, O.S.A. and Diego de Herrera, O.S.A.. The oldest Roman Catholic church in the country, it is built on the spot where the image of the Santo Niño de Cebú was found during the expedition of Miguel López de Legazpi. The Sto. Niño Church is one of the symbols of Cebu, and the world-famous Sinulog Festival is celebrated yearly in honor of the Holy Child.

Contact Information:
Basilica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebu Pilgrim Center
Osmeña Boulevard
Cebu City, Philippines
Telephone No.: +63-32 255-6697


2.    Eat Pungko-Pungko

Pungko is a Cebuano term which literally means “to sit” or “to squat” while eating. This is not your casual restaurant where you eat on a regular table and sitting on a chair. Pungko-pungko is a street food whereby the vendor is selling his food at the sidewalks. You have to sit on a small bench or chair while eating and just grab whatever food is available inside the basket tray. Highly recommended and must try is the “ginabot” or also known as “chicharon bulaklak.” This is a deep fried pork stomach mixed with flour and some seasonings. Once you eat it dip it in the vinegar provided. Add onions and chili for better taste. Softdrinks and water are usually available. After eating, inform the vendor you’re done and you will pay for what you ate.

Popular Pungko-Pungko locations in Cebu:
1. At the back of Elegant Circile Inn and Rajah Park Hotel Fuente Osmeña, just across Apple Tree Suites beside Fuente Pension House. (just Google it)
2. Near Redemptorist Church just beside Foodarama Mango Avenue.
3. Across University of Cebu (Sanciangko St.)

3.    Try the Skywalk Extreme Adventure

The Skywalk Extreme Adventure is one a kind experience at the top of Crown Regency Tower whereby you get to where a jumpsuit like attire, hooked on a harness with ropes for safety and you have to walk along edge of the skyscraper which is one of the highest in Cebu.
Rates & Schedules: http://www.skyexperienceadventure.com/page/rates-and-schedules

Contact Information:
Tower 1, Crown Regency Hotel and Towers, Fuente Towers, Fuente Osmeña Blvd., Cebu City, 6000 Philippines
Telephone Nos.: +63-32-418-8888  or +63-32-418-7777
Monday – Friday (Open from 2pm till 12mn) * Saturday – (Open from 10am till 2am) * Sunday – (Open from 10am till 2mn)

4. Visit Simala Shrine

With the help of God , this amazing and Holy Church was built.💒🙏🏻 #blessed #simala #cebu #God #pray

A photo posted by Sharp Morales (@sharpydully) on

Simala is a town in southern Cebu, estimated to be an hour and a half drive. It has become very popular to tourist both local and foreign because of Simala Shrine. It is believed that your wishes will be granted if you undergo a pilgrimage of prayer and devotion to the Virgin Mary.

Contact Information:
Mobile Number: +63-975-488-9468
Address: Brgy. Lindogan, Simala, Sibonga, Cebu, Philippines 6020

5. Eat Lechon from Carcar

One of Cebu’s signature food is lechon and there’s no better place to find the island’s best lechon than in Carcar City which is roughly 40 km. south away from Cebu City, an hour’s drive. Just go inside Carcar Public Market and you will see a lot of lechon vendors lining up. You can just buy small orders, a kilo or even less, then bring it to the carinderia or eateries beside the vendors. Just buy rice and some additional food and drinks from the carinderia and eat your lechon there. These vendors also take orders and deliveries.


6.    Sky Dive in Bantayan

Skydive in Bantayan Island with a professional sky diver. You will be a sky diving student and you will be harnessed with your sky diving instructor. If you are an adrenaline junkie and the type of go Y.O.L.O. then this adventure is for you. There are some sky diving services there but we recommend SkyDive Greater Cebu.
Contact Information:

Address: Santa Fe, Bantayan Island, Cebu, Philippines
Mobile No.:: +63 923 875 1689
Email: skydive_cebu@yahoo.com
Website: http://www.skydivecebu.com/

7. Dare to go for a Canyoneering Adventure

GoPro Cliff Jumping Selfie – Kawasan Falls Level 3 Canyoneering from Cebu Wanderlust on Vimeo.

Alegria and Badian, two of Cebu’s southern provinces famous for white sand beaches and placid rivers, have become a tourist hot spot due to the rising popularity of the canyoneering adventure. The Alegria to Badian Canyoneering Adventure is a 3-4 hour trekking, jumping and diving through the rivers, peaks and cliffs of Kanla-ob River from Alegria which will exit at Kawasan Falls in Badian. It is a one of a kind experience and a highly recommended for anybody seeking thrill.

There are a lot of canyoneering service groups and guides, make sure they are accredited with the Department of Tourism. The guide will usually ask between PHP 600.00 to PHP PHP 1,500 per head depending on how many of you are joining. Some packages includes lunch and transportation so just inquire. We recommend the Kawasan Canyoneering Group. They are very popular in Facebook. But hey, there are a lot of great services guides out there too. Just check them out.

Contact Information:
Address: 6021 Badian, Cebu, Philippines
Mobile Nos.: +63-0918 654 4111 / +63-0905 333 2623
Email: kawasancanyoneering@gmail.com
Website: http://kawasancanyoneering.com.ph/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kawasancayoneering

8. Swim with the Whale Sharks

Often misunderstood, whale sharks are one of the many shark species that are actually harmless and gentle with people. They are the gentle giants and locally known as “butanding”. To swim with the whale sharks, take a bus to Tan-awan, Oslob which “whale shark point.” There are several beach resorts in Tan-awan that offers whale shark watching services. Rate is PHP 500.00/person which includes life jacket and goggles plus a pump boat going to where the whale sharks are being fed by the fishermen.

Note: Just swim there and take photos. Don’t horseplay, get on top or do anything harmful to these creatures as they are an endangered species.

9. Experience Sinulog – the Philippines biggest festival

Sinulog is definitely the Philippine’s most popular and fun festival. The grand parade and the highlight of the festival is celebrated every 3rd Sunday of January every year. The feast is in honor of Santo Niño or the Holy Child Jesus and masses are held at the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebu. There will be street parties, concerts, merry making and dancing everywhere. From Friday to Sunday there’s fun everywhere. On the event itself, expect the streets to be over crowded and vehicles couldn’t pass because of road blocks and the crowd. Wear something comfortable and bring some extra clothing for your comfort.

10. Climb Osmeña Peak

When in Osmeña Peak for the 2nd time.

A photo posted by Claudine Canama (@klauican) on

If there’s a place in Cebu that can take your breath away, Osmeña Peak is one of those. It is popular for people to trek the peak and witness the sunrise. Expect a cool climate, you can see fog sometimes so bring a jacket, wear an outdoor attire and trekking shoes, snacks and extra money. If you want to go there, take a bus going to Dalaguete from Cebu South Bus Terminal and tell the driver you’re headed for Osmeña Peak. Once you reach the drop off point in Dalaguete you will ride a motorcycle taxi, also known has “habal-habal” locally, going to the peak.


11. Swim in Kawasan Falls

Kawasan Falls located at Badian, a town in southern Cebu approximately 111 km. and a 3-hours drive, is a place to be. It’s a must visit. Experience the blueish-green ice-cold waters of the Matutinao River following the falls and take a shower of the raging falls. It’s also where you will have your last cliff jumps if you go for the Canyoneering Adventure. Kawasan Falls has 3 stages or areas, stage 1 has the biggest falls but is the most crowded, stage 2 is a better place to hangout but still crowded but stage 3 is our recommended place to stay, it is more peaceful and quiet. It’s probably a 15-minute hike from stage 1. There are restaurants in stage 1 and cottage are available from stage 1 to 3 for a minimum of PHP 300.00, depending on the size, for a whole day use.

12. Trek and Camp at Sirao Peak

I live the life I deserve. #happiness

A post shared by Joh LD (@joannamaldita1990) on

Sirao is more known for its stunning views of colorful flower farms. It has become a tourist attraction to many but there’s more to Sirao than just flowers. For the travel junkies and outdoor enthusiasts, Sirao Peak offers a break-taking view of Cebu as well as a good travel route for a hike. Travelers can also setup tents and stay there for the night.

13. See Cebu from the top

Tops #sanmiguel #ad #topscebu #nomanssky #mongo #steinsgate #cebu #ofc #sanmig #busay #mountains

A photo posted by Paolo Ibarlucea Colmenares (@colmepao) on

Tops used to be the most popular spot in Cebu for people who wanted to relax and enjoy an overlooking view of the city from the top of the mountain. It is actually a small mountain resort located at the top of Busay, Lahug. Best time to go there is around 4:00pm down up to midnight. You can go there on your own by taking a habal-habal motorcycle taxi from JY Square or you can use your private car.  It is just a 15-minute drive away. They also provide transportation services, see contact information below.

Contact Information:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gototops/
Mobile No.: +63-942-518-0870

14. Visit Camotes Island

Camotes Island has one of Cebu’s finest white sand beaches, truly a definition of serene tropical blue waters barely touched from the public. The reflection of the light and on the waters during sunset is absolutely priceless. Gaze upon the sky as if it is on fire, a sight the beholder can never forget. Should anyone go to Camotes, check out Mangodlong Paradise Beach Resort, Santiago Garden Bay and Resort, Boho Rock Resort (if you’re fun of cliff jumping) and Lake Danao.

15. Go Island Hopping Between Mactan and Olanggo Island

Cebu has one of the best beaches and sea waters in the Philippines and Mactan and Olanggo Island are a testament to that. If you’re the barkada or squad type of person then this is a great experience for you. Simply book a pump boat at Mactan Island for an island hopping adventure. Rates and packages may vary depending on the number of people and the size of the boat.  We recommend Galore Tours as your tour guide.

Contact Information:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/galoretours/
Website: http://www.galoretours.com/
Mobile No.: +63-943-809-7822


16. Experience the white sand beaches of Bantayan Island

Bantayan Island is also known as the Boracay Island in Cebu, except that it’s less crowded and isolated. Bantayan has also one of the best white sand beaches and crystal clear blue waters in Cebu. It is only crowded during Holy Week because there’s a festival celebrate there and people from the city go to Bantayan to party for a few days and nights. On other occasion, if you just want to relax and stay away from the city, it is a very nice place to be. There are many good resorts there with affordable prices. You can do your own research; however, we recommend Beach Placid and Anika Island Resort for our top picks. They are beach front resorts, have excellent accommodation, food are affordable and staff are very hospitable.

Contact Information:
Anika Island Resort
Phone Nos.:  +63-32-253-4966 (PLDT) and +63-32-410-7069 (Globe)
Mobile Nos.: +63-922-852-5150, +63-919-991-3828 and +63-917-626-2242

Beach Placid
Phone Nos.: +63-32-253-4966 (PLDT) and +63-32-410-7069 (Globe)
Mobile Nos.: +63-922-852-5150, +63-919-991-3828 and +63-917-626-2242

17. Dive in Malapascua Island

#threshersharkdivers #sunset

A photo posted by Kai (@steuerkd) on

Malapascua is one of Cebu’s highlights for white sand beaches, blue waters and a tropical paradise. It is a very popular tourist attraction for both local and foreign. Because of its rich and diverse marine life, it has also become a popular diving spot. Scuba diving shops are common all over Malapascua Island. What makes scuba diving in Malapascua a worthwhile experience is that you get to sea and dive Thresher sharks

  1. Swim with Tuna and Sardines

Freediving with sardines in Cebu. Shot by Bernard @singaporefreedivers #freediving #moalboal #cebu #singaporefreedivers

A post shared by Mr Xayadeth (@biscuits_and_cream) on

You don’t need to be a professional diver for this great experience, just book an island hopping trip package for Pescador Island in Moalboal, you will be taken to Pescador Island and some places where the sea turtles breed, tuna and sardines swim in abundance just like you see them in National Geographic or Discovery Channel. If you have your own swim gear, goggles and slippers then much better. It’s best to take photos if the weather is sunny.

19. Visit Fort San Pedro

If you’re on a mood to rekindle with Cebu’s history then Fort San Pedro is one of the places to be. The fort was once a stronghold of the Spaniards during the Spanish Era in the 18th century. It is strategically built along the cost of Cebu to guard the city from pirates, it also once served as a garrison of Spanish soldiers and as a prison jail as well. Today, it is renovated and made into a museum thanks to the efforts of the city government. You will see a lot of antiques, old paintings and other items with historical value inside. Outside the fort is a beautiful park where you can sit and relax.

20. Experience the lifestyle capital at Cebu IT Park

Cebu IT Park, a 20 hectare masterpiece mixed-used development, is home to the upscale condominium residences and multinational companies outsourcing their business through the call center industry. It is a cluster of high-rise skyscrapers, restaurants, coffee shops, retail stores and other commercial establishments. It has become a lifestyle capital because a lot of establishments are open 24/7 and people just love to hangout here. It is a lively neighborhood where the fun never gets ends. If you want hangout at night, this is a good place to be.


21. Try out the delicious foods at Sugbo Mercado

Sugbo Mercado, which literally means Cebu Market, is a venue for the smaller startup restaurants and food stalls to showcase their delicious menu at affordable prices. One of the aims of Sugbo Mercado is to provide these startups a place to do business at affordable costs. It is literally a place of gastronomy and fun. This is a really recommended place to visit. The first Sugbo Mercado was established at the Garden Bloc of Cebu IT Park, then then expanded in Cebu Business Park and recently at the South Road Properties (SRP) near Cita di Mare. Sugbo Mercado is open only from Mondays to Sundays from 5:00pm to 12:00am.

Contact Information:
Mobile No.: +63-917-772-7077
Website: http://www.sugbomercado.com
Email: Ruby Pansoy at ruby@sugbomercado.com or JP Chiongbian at jp@sugbomercado.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SugboMercado/

22. Visit Magellan’s Cross

It was said that when Ferdinand Magellan came to Cebu in the 14th century he brought with him a cross and converted the island’s natives into Christians. Magellan’s Cross is a small historical dome just outside the Sto. Niño Church, it is said that the original cross that Magellan brought with him is kept inside. It has become a tourist attraction and a must visit. Cebu City’s official seal carries with it the image of the Magellan’s Cross.

23. Try out Funtastic Island

Are you the type to dare to go to remote places? Go to Funtastic Island, a small mixture of man-made and natural rock formations with cottages on top. Funtastic Island is located at Gibitngil Island, a small island across Medellin of northern Cebu. It is surrounded by open seas so expect big waves and strong winds as you cross the seas. Overnight stay is allowed, they have solar power, but be advised to bring your own food and water because the resources in the island is limited and the store will close as early. We recommend you stay in the cottages at the top and cliff jump to the sea from the cliff board which is said to be 70 feet high.

24.    Road trip to West35

West 35 Eco Mountain Resort is a very popular place to visit for those who want to escape the busy city life. Car enthusiasts who want to go for a joy ride often visit this place as it is a long drive from the city. West 35 offers stunning mountain views of Balamban, a cool climate and a wonderful experience. Among several facilities, the zipline of West 35 is probably among the best of them. It also has a restaurant, children’s playground, viewing deck, function rooms, trekking trail and accommodation rooms for those who want to stay overnight.

Contact Information:
Address: Gaas, Balamban, Cebu
Gaas Telephone No:  +63-32-514-3262
Lahug Telephone. No.: +63-32-520-2633
Mobile No.: +63-933-995-3245

25.    Luxury Dining at Ibiza

Ibiza Beach Club is the definition of ultimate luxury beach front dining experience in one of Cebu’s premier resorts, Movenpick Hotel & Resorts. Indulge yourself in exquisite gastronomy and savor your cravings to your heart’s content. While the food is expensive, it is worth the price. Best time to visit here is at late afternoon around 5:00pm as the sun sets and stay a little late and you will see why Ibiza is a place to be.

Contact Information:
Phone No.: +63-32-492-7777
Email:  hotel.cebu@movenpick.com
Website: http://www.movenpick.com/en/asia/philippines/cebu/hotel-mactan-island-cebu/restaurants/restaurants/ibiza-beach-club/


So this is our top 25 on the list! There’s probably dozens more that are fitting to be part of the list but this is just our version. Also note that the contact information and the prices/fares we provided may change from time to time without prior notice.

If you’re new to Cebu, whether you just moved in to study or work in the city or probably just staying for a few days then try out the activities we mentioned in our list. It’s going to make your stay worth it!

Should you need information on how to go around the city, check out our blog post about Cebu jeepney travel routes, codes and numbers:

Cebu Jeepney Travel Routes, Codes and Numbers

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