Cebu City is the capital of Cebu Province in Central Visayas. It is home to around 900,000 people (Data from the 2015 census) and is the 5th most populous city in the Philippines. Cebu City is also the center of the Metro Cebu, which is composed of seven neighbor cities: Carcar, Danao, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, Naga, and Talisay including Cebu City. Several municipalities are also included; Compostela, Consolacion, Cordova, Liloan, Minglanilla, and San Fernando. Cebu City is considered the oldest city in the Philippines, as well as the forefront of Christianity in Southeast Asia.
Cebu City is highly urbanized. There are a lot of structures like tall buildings, condominiums, malls, and restaurants. But this doesn’t mean that Cebu has lost its charm. It only meant that Cebu can now compete with Metro Manila in terms of providing job opportunities and property investments to the Visayas Region.
The city is also the set-off point to other places and attractions in the province. This means you can still enjoy the best beaches, the best food (spelled as L-E-C-H-O-N!), and the best experiences within an arm’s stretch from the hustle and bustle of the city. Here are some of the things that you can do and places to visit during your trip to Cebu City.
WHAT'S IN THIS GUIDE?
1. Visit the oldest church in the country — Basilica Del Sto. Nino
Basilica Del Sto.Nino, also known as the Sto. Nino Basilica is the most visited church in Cebu, especially on Sundays. There are many pilgrims and devotees who visit the basilica to pay homage to Sto.Nino. To accommodate them all, a pilgrimage center was built inside the basilica’s compound.
2. Admire the Roman and Greek Architecture at the Temple of Leah
Also famous for being the Taj Majal of Cebu, the Temple of Leah was built by Teodorico Soriano Adarna (Yep, the grandfather of actress, Ellen Adarna!), two years after the death of his wife, Leah Villa Albino-Adarna. The temple has a museum, an art gallery, an even a library which contains the precious belongings of Leah. You’ll also find a bronze statue of Teodorico’s beloved wife in the middle of the temple, which stands at approximately 9 feet. The temple’s structure and interiors were inspired by Greek and Roman architecture.
3. Smell the fresh flowers of Sirao Flower Garden
Also known as the “Little Amsterdam” of Cebu because of its fields of Celosias which are abundant in the Netherlands, the Sirao Flower Garden is must visit when you’re in the city. It’s about 17 km away from the city center and you can either take a habal-habal or ride a public van or v-hire going to the garden. The best time to visit this place is during the months of September and October when the celosia flowers are in full bloom. Aside from celosias, there are also sunflowers, daisies, chrysanthemums, and asters planted in this garden.
4. Enjoy the cool breeze at West 35 Eco Mountain Resort
You can either book a room in this resort or go on a day tour and have lunch at Haven Café. The resort is located in Balamban, around 35 km away from Cebu City. But, the ride is totally worth it. You’ll be surrounded by pine trees and views of mountain ranges. There’s also a 570-meter zipline if you’re looking for a more adventurous thing to do.
5. Take a tour of the Cebu Taoist Temple
This temple is within the city center and you can easily reach the place by taking a Grab or a taxi. It is located inside a private subdivision and was built by one of the most influential Chinese communities of Cebu. The entrance to the temple resembles the Great Wall of China. You’ll also get a great view of the city from its balcony.
6. Visit the Magellan’s Cross
This is one of the most iconic structures in Cebu. You can find the original cross brought by Magellan encased in this location. A journey to Cebu is not complete without visiting this historical site.
7. Be mesmerized by the 10,000 Led Roses in Cordova, Cebu
This attraction is still undeniably the most sought-after attraction outside Cebu City. Most of my friends who visit Cebu would ask me how to reach the place. It’s a bit far from the city and about a 3- to 4-hour drive from the airport. But, if you’re a fan of Koreanovelas like me and would like to experience this unique attraction you can only see in those K-novelas, you should definitely visit this place.
Other Places to Visit from Cebu City
- Simala Church
- Kawasan Falls
- Osmena Peak
- Pescador Island
- Olanggo Island
Where to Stay in Cebu
Cebu is a favorite destination of tourists both local and international. So, it is not hard to find great hotel accommodations at an affordable price within the city. Here are some key areas in the city:
- Fuente Osmena. This is the center of Cebu City. A lot of malls and hotels can be found in this area. If you want to get a feel of the “old Cebu”, you can stay in this area.
- Mandaue. If you’re planning to go to the northern towns of Cebu Province, you must stay in Mandaue because this is where the Northern Bus Terminal is located. Also, if you’re coming from the airport, it is about a 15-minute drive sans the traffic.
- Cebu Business Park. If you love shopping and exploring new restaurants, you can stay in the Cebu Business Park area. You can find Ayala Center Cebu here and dozens of new restaurants.
- Mactan. This is the area where the Cebu-Mactan Airport is located. If you’re in Cebu for a quick visit, Mactan is your best place to stay in.
Here are some of the top accommodations as rated by Agoda users, in no particular order.
- Radisson Blu Cebu. ✅ CHECK RATES & AVAILABILITY
- ABC Hotel Cebu. ✅ CHECK RATES & AVAILABILITY
- Seda Ayala Center Cebu. ✅ CHECK RATES & AVAILABILITY
- Best Western Plus Lex Cebu. ✅ CHECK RATES & AVAILABILITY