On my first flight to Cebu last 2013, I saw how similar Cebu city to Metro Manila – the buildings and traffic. But what I didn’t know is that my Cebu City itinerary will be jampacked for our last day because this city has a lot to offer if you properly do your research.
FIRST STOP (10AM): SAFE RIDE CAR RENTAL
Cebu city’s jeepneys are route-numbered and no one in the group is an expert in this so we know that we will end up getting lost and losing precious time. Its taxis, on the other hand, strictly ride only 4 persons so we need to split into two cabs hence a higher fare. Also, we can’t afford to carry our luggage around after the pm check out (Hassle mga teh!). With these dilemmas on hand, we decided to just rent a car that will solve everything.
I saw SafeRide Car Rental online and decided to call them last minute (as in night before ng city tour) and good thing is that they’re accommodating and promised us a car for tomorrow. We head off to their place (just beside SM Cebu City) the next morning and we got an automatic Wigo for 2000 PHP. Also, the renting process was simple, I just presented the driver’s licenses of the persons who will drive the car, my valid ID, a bill statement under my name (Meralco, cable or credit card) and a 5,000 PHP deposit. They’ll, in your presence, list all the present scratches of the car that they will check again after the car is returned. Of course, you’ll be liable on whatever happens on the car the moment you have it.
SECOND STOP(11 AM): MAGELLAN’S CROSS
Since we are already in the city center, we went to iconic Magellan’s Cross first. On my first visit to Cebu, the cross is under repair due to the earthquake. So seeing it now back to its normal self is heartwarming. Back from what I can remember on my Sibika classes, this cross was Magellan’s which is used to spread Christianity in the country that started in Cebu. Also, there are old ladies around who sells different colors (a color correspond a certain aspect like red is for love) of candles and prays for you.
THIRD STOP (11:30 AM): BASILICA DEL SANTO NINO
Same with the Magellan’s Cross, this church undergone constructions and renovations due to the earthquake last 2013. It is the oldest Catholic church in Cebu that houses the image of Sto. Nino, a representation of Jesus Christ as a Black Holy Child, that happens to be the patron of the city. We entered the church to pray and my friend was given a shawl because she is wearing shorts. You can also visit the museum beside that shows Cebu’s history or you can light a candle in the open garden area or both.
FOURTH STOP (12 NN): PLAZA INDEPENDENCIA & FORT SAN PEDRO
From the Basilica, we walked a little more to Plaza Independencia. Catholic churches in the Philippines are mostly beside a plaza, maybe because people gather in the plaza to unwind or talk after church. Well, there’s no malls during the Spanish time so we cannot blame them. The plaza is wide enough and clean too. But since it’s noon time and a Monday, the plaza is dead silent. Beside the plaza is the Fort San Pedro. Fort San Pedro has an entrance fee of P30 but we chose not to enter because we are already late for our itinerary.
FIFTH STOP (1 PM): TABO-AN MARKET
If you are looking for apparel souvenirs, I advised you to buy in Islands Souvenirs just near the Magellan’s Cross. But if you’re looking for authentic Cebu delicacies and seafood, never miss Tabo-an Market. Pusit and Danggit are seriously cheaper here compared to Manila. They have it in all different sizes and variety. I advised that you buy the small unsalted ones. My mom prefer it more than medium-sized ones because they are crunchier. I also bought half kilogram packed dried mangoes here (not the branded) for my office mates for P240. They prefer it compared to the branded ones because it’s not too sweet.
SIXTH STOP (2PM): CASA VERDE MAIN BRANCH
After picking up our baggage on our hotel, we had our super late lunch in Casa Verde main branch! I love this restaurant so much in Manila that I’m so happy that I was able to eat in the branch where everything started. The restaurant is an old house renovated but a lot bigger than all the branches here in Manila. Of course, we ordered the famous Brian’s ribs. (Sulit to the bones!)
SEVENTH STOP (3:30PM) : TAOIST TEMPLE
After lunch, we head north of Cebu City. Our three remaining tourist spot are far to the city center and will cost almost P500 to P1000 in taxis. We started with the Taoist Temple located in a exclusive subdivision. The Taoist temple is for people who practice Taoism who are mostly Chinese. Dress code is strictly implemented and as well as taking photographs of their worship temple. What I enjoyed here is that I got the chance to ask a question and wish like a Taoist. They have instructions outside and a guide that will guide you all through out. Additional points is that you can already see the captivating view of the city on top of the temple.
EIGHT STOP (4:15PM) : TEMPLE OF LEAH
On our way to Temple of Leah, the road started to get steep and the rain started to fall. It was sad because I’ve been dying to take a lot of photos in the temple. Temple of Leah is like the Taj Mahal of Cebu. Ellen Adarna’s grandfather built this Greek-inspired temple for his wife Leah Adarna who adored everything Greek.
The place would have been gorgeous if not for the heavy rain and the ongoing construction. They are opening a museum of all the Greek pieces that Leah collected. But since it’s not yet open, the only thing that is open to public is the gold statue of Leah in the middle of the temple and her husband’s declaration of love below. The place looks like its been teleported right from Greece. I will definitely go back someday when its open.
Temple of Leah has an entrance fee of P50. And since cabs are asking almost P1000 for a round trip to the temple, they open a shuttle service in Cebu IT Park in front of Jollibee. I think it’s just P15.
NINTH STOP (5:00PM) : TOPS
From Temple of Leah, we continued driving up to a steeper road until we reached the top. Maybe that’s why they named it Tops. (haha!) It has a P100 entrance fee and honestly is dead during the day time. The place is much more alive during the night because it is converted from a tourist spot to a night bar/drinking hangout. There are already alcoholic drinks available at 5pm but we just decided to get hot drinks instead because the rain got us all freaking cold.
The Tops is wide enough, maybe almost a hectare. There’s a covered area, made in big concrete stones, that housed the bar, cafes, souvenir shops and an eating/hang out area. While on the opposite side is the viewing deck with benches and the whole Cebu City as the view.
LAST STOP (8 PM) : LANTAW FLOATING RESTAURANT
Since our plane ride home to Manila is around midnight, we decided to spend our last remaining time at Lantaw Floating Restaurant in Mactan. I’m warning you that it is in the most corner of the island. We traveled almost 1.5 hours from the city center but it is all worth it. The restaurant is literally floating in the shore of the sea, overlooking the Cebu city light from the other island. The place is romantic, with only candles and torches giving light, that most of the people there are couples on a date and foreigners.
The restaurant is big that it has an open area and a covered one. We decided to sit with most of the people in the open one. Their couches are soft and we felt like we didn’t want to leave. The food is good too and cheap. I recommend their sisig and of course their seafood! I think the place is in its most gorgeous in sunset time. Nevertheless, I think there is no other better way to end this Cebu trip than here.
So with our DIY Cebu City Itinerary with a rental car, we only spent P500/each for our transportation. And with the places we’ve been, I think it is cheaper than taking taxis and, of course, more convenient and comfortable. We asked SafeRide to just meet us at the airport but they require a fee of P300. (Don’t forget your P5000 deposit!) The day went so fast that we didn’t able to do some of the places on our list – Chapel of St Calungsod, Sirao Farm, & Crown Regency’s Sky Experience. Well, there’s always a next time. But for now, you’ve reach the finale of my Cebu trip series.
Until my next travels!