With its capital Cebu City, Cebu Island is known as the Queen City of the South because of its good potential in regards to economy, advancement, and infrastructure that it is, even competing with Manila. The two cities are already almost the same in traffic, buildings, I.T parks, and buildings. The only difference is that Cebu has kept its island aura where there are still beaches and mountains just 20 km away from the city center.
Cebu Island is the oldest and first capital city of the Philippines. In Cebu, the famous Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese explorer, arrived to baptize the islanders and Raja and his wife to Christianity. This ceremony was symbolized by the province’s patron saint, Santo Niño that was a gift from the King of Spain to the Cebuaños.
Cebu is a long and narrow island in the center of the Visayas region; it is between Negros, Leyte, and Bohol. Also, Cebu is known for its beaches and over a hundred smaller islands like Bantayan, Sumilon, and Camotes Island because of its narrow coastline.
Like most other places in the Philippines, Cebu has only two seasons – wet and dry. It is sunny most of the year, but there are occasional rains during the wet season (June – Dec). Northern Cebu gets more rainfall and typhoons than Southern Cebu since it is nearer the Pacific Ocean.
Since Cebu is like Manila of Visayas region, flights are catered by the three local airlines – Philippines Airlines, Cebu Pacific, and AirAsia. Cebu Pacific (15x a day), PAL (10x a day), and AirAsia (9x a day) offer a direct flight from Manila to Cebu with approximately almost an hour travel time.
Cebu flights are usually on seat sale that generally sells at less than 1,000PHP all in. Regular airfare tickets start at 3,000 PHP to 5,000 PHP. Here are some estimated fares from different airlines.
2Go Travel also caters almost a 24-hour ferry ride from Manila to Cebu for 1,000 – 3,500 PHP depending on the room you’ll avail.
*All prices here are when booked three months before the travel dates. Seat sales are usually based on their promotional posters.
You can travel to Cebu from its neighboring provinces and cities in Visayas like Bohol, Leyte, Dumaguete, and Mindanao like Butuan, CDO, and Ozamis via sea or air.
(all prices listed below are one-way fares)
Bohol to Cebu
Ride a roro from Tagbilaran Port to Cebu City Pier. Travel time is 2 hours.
Leyte to Cebu
There are two places – Ormoc City and Maasin, you can ride a roro from Leyte to Cebu City. Travel time is 3 hours.
SuperCat (from Ormoc): P660 – P1100
OceanJet (from Ormoc): P850 – P1500
Weesam Express (from Maasin): P600- P800
Cokaliong Shipping (from Maasin): P400 – P1165
Dumaguete to Cebu
From Dumaguete Port, you can choose to ride a roro directly to Cebu City or a bus that will travel through South Cebu. Travel time is at least 6 hours.
George & Peter Lines – P370 – P2600
Ceres Bus (via South Cebu) – P340
Visayas Cities to Cebu
Since Cebu is in the centre of Visayas region, most of the provinces/cities in Visayas has a direct transportation to Cebu City. Travel time via plane is less than an hour and at least 12 hours via roro.
Cokaliong Shipping (from Calbayog): P850 – P1150
SeaCat (from Calbayog, Samar): P1200 – P1600
Cokaliong Shipping (from Iloilo): P930 – P3500
Trans Asia (from Iloilo): P800 – P1000
Cebu Pacific (from Dumaguete) – P1700
Cebu Pacific (from Caticlan) – P1000
AirAsia (from Caticlan) – P1000
Philippine Airlines (from Caticlan) – P1700
Cebu Pacific (from Kalibo) – P1000
Philippine Airlines (from Kalibo) – P1200
Cebu Pacific (from Iloilo) – P1000
Philippine Airlines (from Iloilo) – P1500
Cebu Pacific (from Samar) – P1000
Cebu Pacific (from Bacolod) – P1000
Philippine Airlines (from Bacolod) – P1400
Cebu Pacific (from Tacloban) – P1300
Philippine Airlines (from Tacloban) – P1400
Mindanao Cities to Cebu
Cebu is so accessible to these number of Mindanao provinces via sea and air. Travel Time is usually just less than an hour by plane and at least 10 hours via roro.
2Go Travel (from Butuan): P750 – P3500
Cokaliong Shipping (from Butuan): P1000 – P1500
Cokaliong Shipping (from Ozamis): P1200 – P1600
Trans Asia (from Ozamis): P910 – P1400
Cokaliong Shipping (from Iligan): P1045 – P1600
Trans Asia (from Iligan): P910 – P1400
Philippine Airlines (from Butuan) – P1700
Cebu Pacific (from Butuan) – P1700
AirAsia (from CDO) – P1500
Philippine Airlines (from CDO) – P1900
Cebu Pacific (from CDO) – P1500
Cebu Pacific (from Ozamis) – P1500
Philippine Airlines (from Ozamis) – P1500
AirAsia (from Davao City) – P1500
Cebu Pacific (from Davao City) – P1000
Philippine Airlines (from Davao City) – P1800
Cebu Pacific (from Surigao City) – P3700
Mactan Cebu Airport is an international airport, so multiple international countries have direct flights to Cebu, Philippines. The following countries are Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan (Taipei & Kaohsiung), South Korea (Seoul & Busan), Thailand, Singapore, Japan (Tokyo, Osaka & Nagoya), China (Guangzhou, Chongqing, Kunming & Shanghai), and Malaysia. You can check airfare prices using Skyscanner.
Cebu, like Manila, is used to traffic. There are multiple ways of getting around, but the most efficient one is to rent a car (or van if you’re a big group) to roam around the city. If going around North and South Cebu, it’s cheaper to take the bus.
Mactan Cebu International Airport introduced this myBus shuttle airport bus (25PHP) which are way cheaper than taking a taxi. The bus trip starts at 7:00 AM until 9 PM, and the endpoint will be at SM Cebu City. Guides and other routes for this myBus can be seen here. The buses are big and just like the ones abroad and very cheap. Excellent Cebu, very good!
Cebu is one of the biggest cities in the Philippines, so taxis are all over the area. They are strict with their four passengers only, especially within the city. If you’re going to Busay Hills (Tops and Temple of Leah) and Sirao Peak, taking the taxi can cost more than P1000+. Grab is also available in Cebu for an accessible taxi or private car booking.
Renting a car or a van (in case you’re in a big travel group) is the most convenient and comfortable way of roaming around the city. There are several car rentals around Cebu like Safe Ride Car Rental or avail through Klook. It is also cheaper, especially when you want to see the mountain sights of the city like Tops, Temple of Leah, and Taoist Temple that can cost P1000+ when you take the taxi.
Aside from Cebu City, the South and North Cebu municipalities offer beautiful beaches, islands, and other natural sights. If you want to do some nature adventure outside the city, the Ceres bus is your friend. They cater most of the direct travels from different Cebu municipalities like Oslob, Moalboal, Bantayan, Siboanga, and Badian. Head to South Bus Terminal or North Bus Terminal, depending on where you are headed.
In Cebu City and Mactan, there are numerous inns and hotels in the area. We stayed in Beverly Boutique Business Hotel (the photo on the left) on our first travel. It is budget-friendly and good location wise. If staying in the city, it is better to book somewhere near Ayala, IT Park or Osmena Circle.
Aside from Agoda, Airbnb is also an excellent site to book your accommodations. They have gorgeous condo rooms for rent in the city for a lesser price and condo living.
On our trip to South Cebu, we stayed with Ging Ging Hotel and Resort. They have one in Oslob if you want to spend a night in this gorgeous town and a tourist inn in Badian (near Canyoneering and Kawasan Falls). It is big, clean and most of all affordable.
Here are other Cebu accommodations you can choose from:
Around Basilica Minore del Santo Nino
In this area lies the history of Cebu and how Roman Catholic started here in the Philippines. In this area, you can check out the Basilica who houses the oldest and original relic of Santo Nino, Magellan’s Cross & Fort San Pedro.
Entrance fee: P30 (for Fort San Pedro)
Simala Church, Siboanga
This church is a castle-like church that is inspired by churches in Europe.
Check out private charter to Simala Church via Klook.
Bantayan & Malapascua Island
These are the gorgeous islands in North Cebu you should head to if you want a chill trip on the beach.
Aside from the luxurious beach resorts on this island, you can visit multiple places like the Lapu Lapu Monument, 10000 Roses, Happy Beach Cebu, and island hopping in Pandanon, Nalusuan, and Hilutungan.
Northern Cebu City
One hour away from the city center is the mountainside of the city. This area has the Taoist temple, Temple of Leah, TOPS Lookout, and the Sirao Flower Farm.
Entrance Fee: P50 (Temple of Leah); P100 (TOPS); P30 (Sirao)
Kawasan is the most famous waterfall in Cebu. For the adventure-seekers, never miss the Canyoneering.
Avail Canyoneering and Kawasan Falls Tour from Cebu City in Klook.
Just beside Badian is Moalboal, famous for its sardines run, Pescador island, and white beaches.
You can join a day tour when you’re coming from Cebu city.
Osmena Peak is the highest mountain in Cebu and is said to be like the Chocolate Hills in Bohol.
Entrance fee: P30 + guide fee
A day trip to Osmena Peak and Kawasan Falls is available in Klook.
Danasan Eco-Adventure Park
Danasan Eco-Adventure Park is for the adventurers who love a thrill. They have activities like sky drop, wake-boarding, and wall-climbing. You can also avail their Danasan Falls and Peak trekking.
You can avail a day pass in Klook.
Bohol is just a 2hour boat ride away from Cebu City. Its major tourist attractions can be toured for a whole day as long as you start early as 7 AM. You can also spend a night here to have the half-day tour island hopping the following day.
Boat Ride: 1,000 PHP RT | Bohol Day tour: 1850 PHP
If you’re already in South Cebu, you can ride a roro to Bato port, a few minutes away from Oslob, to bring you to Dumaguete City. Roro ride is less than an hour, and the bus ride to the city is also half an hour. You can visit the beautiful Siliman University, eat some Sansrival and watch the sunset in Rizal boulevard.
Kalanggaman Island, Leyte
But if you’re in North Cebu, Malapascua Island, to be exact, you can hire a boat to bring you to Kalanggaman Island for a day tour. This island is famous for its beautiful long sandbar and white fine sand.
Kalanggaman Island via Klook
Price Range: P200-P400
Recommendation: baby back ribs!!
Casa Verde has already a branch here in Manila but if you’re a fan of it or their ribs, visit their original branch in Cebu City. Their Brian’s Ribs is the restaurant’s favorite. We ordered the one in the bucket since we are 5 in the group. It’s also cheaper that way.
Price Range: P250-500
La Vie Parisienne is one of the Instagram-worthy food places in Cebu City. They only have pasta, pizza, and pastries. If you’re a rice person, I advise you to get dinner somewhere else and just come back here for the wine. Their wine is affordable, yet so many to choose from.
Rico’s Lechon, Mandaue, Cebu
Cebu is famous for its Lechon, and Rico’s is one of the renowned Lechon restaurants in Cebu.
Larsian sa Fuente, Fuente Osmena Circle, Cebu City
Larsian is the go-to barbeque place in Cebu City. It is recommended to go here around 6 PM – 11 PM even though it is open 24 hours.
Price Range: P200-P400
Recommendation: their seafood
Lantaw in Cordova is a floating family restaurant. It is just near the 10,000 roses attraction. We went here to end our Cebu trip, and the restaurant looks pretty given the affordable Filipino dishes they have. We ordered three sharing meals, and we ended up spending only around P1,000 for a group of 5.
The Pyramid, IT Park Cebu
Another Parisian inspired restaurant here in Cebu City is the Pyramid. It looks like a fancy restaurant, but it is an affordable bistro. Same with La Vie Parisienne, this one offers wine, beers, pizza, and pasta.
Zubuchon, SM Seaside Cebu
Another lechon restaurant famous in Cebu is Zubuchon.
Sugbo Mercado, Cebu IT Park
If you can’t decide what to have, you better head to Sugbo Mercado, which offers a variety of foods in food market style. It is open only from Thursday to Sunday, 5 PM to 1 AM.