I have been meaning to write about the major tourist’s attractions that Cebu City offers and finally I am doing something about it. 🙂 I will try to be as specific as I can and hopefully as complete as I can make it so this post can be of used to you reader, especially first time visitors to Cebu ^_^.
There is no need to avail of expensive Cebu Day Tour package especially if you are backpacking because this is a guide for a do-it-yourself Cheap Cebu Tour.
I have acted as an unofficial tour guide on various instances over the years for friends and colleagues who came over, and experienced taught me that the following are the usual mainstay in a tourists’ Cebu City Day Tour Itinerary: Note that this is the cheapest way to have a day tour in Cebu.
Basilica Minore del Sto Nino
Most first timers to Cebu especially local tourists never fail to visit this church.
We are a catholic nation and Sto Nino Church is one of the most historically important church in the country, this is because the image of the Sto Nino or Baby Jesus which can be found in this church is said to be the very one that was handed to Queen Juana by Ferdinand Magellan when the first Catholic Baptism in the Philippines occurred.
We Cebuanos often say or advises first time Cebu visitor especially fellow Filipinos to visit the Sto Nino Church so the Child Jesus will not feel left out, para hindi magtampo.
The Basilica also houses the Sto Nino Museum which you can check too. While there you can request a Sinulog from the ladies with the candles to ask the Child Jesus for special favors or thanksgiving, these ladies will light the candles and dance in the Sinulog steps – one step forward, two steps backward – at the same time saying a prayer with your intentions. You can go near the glass enclosed image of the Sto Nino but be prepared for a very long queue. Anyhow, that’s just a minor sacrifice I think, and a must do in my books.
The Cross within the Cross
This Cebu iconic symbol is just a few steps from Sto Nino Church. Go there early because authorities lock the gates at 5pm. Located inside this landmark is the cross used during the first Catholic baptismal in the country. The original cross is said to be enclosed in a Tindalo wood for its protection so what you actually see is the housing for the original cross that is inside.
Fort San Pedro
If you don’t mind hiking you can actually go to this Spanish fort from Magellan’s Cross by walking. It’s about 15 minutes walk tops. Fort San Pedro is an old Spanish Fort that serves as a look-out for any ships that enters the Cebu harbor. Entrance fee is P40.00. Personally I tend to skip this destination because it’s not that impressive in my opinion especially if you have been to the walled city of Intramuros.
Taboan Dried Fish Market
The most famous and widely visited dried fish market by local tourists in the whole country! Here in Taboan you will be amazed by the tons of dried fishes that you can see,smell and take home! For more on Taboan and how to go there, pls click here -> Cebu’s Taboan Market: A Fishy Tale.
Anthony Bourdain in his show No Reservation hails the Cebu lechon or roasted pig as ‘Best Pig Ever!”. Know why — click here –> There is Only One Cebu Lechon! You want to compare famous Cebu lechon? Check this out: CNT, Zubochon, Marina Lechon 🙂
Taoist Temple in Cebu
Another Cebu fame landmark is the Taoist Temple which is located inside the posh subdivision Beverly Hills in Lahug, Cebu City. Taxis are the only public utility vehicles that are allowed to enter the subdivision.
If you are somewhere near Fuente Osmena rotunda you can ride any Lahug bound jeepneys, those jeepneys bearing the route code 04 and 17, just tell the driver you are getting off in JY Square. From JY hail a taxi it’s only about 8 minutes to Taoist Temple.
No entrance fee but please respect the temple for it is a place of worship. You can take all the pictures that you like except inside the mini chapels.
On going back, if there is no taxi outside the temple’s gate, don’t worry for it is safe to walk to the main gate of the subdivision and usually, before you reach the main gate you will be able to catch a taxi. Reminder :Taoist Temple closing time is 5pm.
The Top or more popularly known as Tops is located in the mountainous area of Busay, Cebu City. No jeepney goes there, your best bet would be to hire a taxi that will take you there and will wait for you BUT it is extremely expensive unless there are 3 or 4 of you in a group.
Try to haggle with the taxi driver because usual fare is P600.00 to P800.00. There is another option and that is to ride a habal-habal, they charge about P100 to P200 per person, these habal-habal motorcycles can be found usually around JY Square. But I don’t advise this because the road to the Top is a bit dangerous, and it’s really, really steep especially for a motorcycle. Better be safe guys.
The best time to go to Tops is nearing dusk so you can see most of Cebu City and nearby Mactan Island light up before your very eyes. ^_^ . Don’t go there on a rainy or cloudy day for you will be denied the fame Tops view. Entrance fee by the way is P100.00 per pax. It is better to bring food; you can also use any of the tables inside the property. You can stay overnight if you choose to.
Another option so you can see Metro Cebu from Busay area is to go to Marco Polo Hotel and take the elevator to the topmost floor where they have a restaurant. You can dine there saving yourself the Tops fare for you will be looking at the same awesome top view. I just don’t know how much the meals there cost though hehe.
Asiatown IT Park
Asiatown IT Park is home to The Walk, a famous one stop dining & entertainment place in Cebu, located in Salinas Drive, Lahug beside the Waterfront Cebu Hotel. Asiatown IT park is also the address of Cebu’s BPO players like Convergys, JP Morgan & Chase and many more.
This place never sleeps because of the hundreds of call center agents that works in the compound, the locals that hangs out there and the tourists that made this place a regular stop. Perhaps after your Tops adventure you can come here because it’s near JY Square. If you are coming from Lahug, take a jeepney with “IT park” signage in JY Square. If you are in SM Cebu take the 04L Lahug-JY jeepneys for it will pass by IT park.
Check out La Marea or the more recent one The Pyramid when you want pastries, coffee & cakes. There is also Casa Verde Restaurant a favorite among Cebuanos when it comes to baby back ribs .
There are lots of dining choices in IT park fr
om fine dining restos to fastfoods like Jollibee, KFC, Chowking etc. There is also a Zubuchon in IT Park.
Lapu-Lapu Monument and Magellan Shrine
In a strip of shoreline in Mactan Island, the forces of Datu Lapu-Lapu, a local chieftain and that of the Spanish explorer Ferdinand Magellan met in a battle popularly known today as the Battle of Mactan, the first battle ever fought by the natives against foreign aggression.
This is also recognized as the battle that made Datu Lapu-Lapu the first Filipino hero by not bowing to the foreign invaders like what his counterparts in mainland Cebu did. Ferdinand Magellan died in the hands of the datu and his men in 1521. For further readings and directions on how to go there, kindly click here –> Lapu-Lapu, Magellan and the Battle of Mactan.
Guitar Factories in Abuno, Mactan
The sleepy barrio of Abuno, Mactan is home to the guitar factories that produces the popular Cebu Guitars.
After you pass by a big guitar landmark that stands in the middle of a street junction, you know that you have reached brgy Abuno. This is located in the Pajac – Maribago Road.
Guitar factories are lined up along the street so you can choose from the small backyard guitar makers or head to the large factories. The more popular guitar factories along that road includes Alegre Guitars, most frequented by those who availed of Cebu City Tour packages especially foreign tourists like Koreans; Inday Celia’s Guitars and The New Susing’s Guitars.
To read more about the popular Cebu guitars and how to go to this barangay, pls click here –> Cebu’s Pride: The New Susing’s Guitar. Ukelele is getting popular too and one of the products of Susing’s.
Cebu and Mactan Beaches!!!
Please, please,please when you come here in Cebu, don’t miss our beaches! That is what Cebu is known for and that is why decades ago when the Philippines’ reputation suffered because of political turmoil, the province of Cebu continued to draw in tourist both local and foreign.
The tagline of the province in the international market then was — Cebu, An Island in the Pacific. You can choose from beaches in Mactan Island for closer to city action, but I have to say that the beaches in the outskirts of Cebu are the best like Bantayan and Virgin Island, Camotes Island and Malapascua (awesome diving spot) in North Cebu and Sumilon Island and Moal-boal (best for diving) in the South.
Save on your hotels by booking discounted rates –> CEBU CITY HOTELS or these hotel / resort choices from low to high price.
Check out updated Commuting Guide from Mactan Airport. This transport guide was updated last 2017. 🙂
My Lovely Adventures says
A very informative post! Thanks for sharing this. Now, I already have an itinerary for our upcoming trip to Cebu. Much thanks 🙂
way sapayan 🙂 hope you’ll have a great Cebu vacation!
You help me a lot. Thanks so much for your itinerary.
you’re welcome. Hope you’ll enjoy Cebu!
backpacking philippines says
i suddenly got a confirmed trip to cebu on thursday and as always, i’m looking for not the usual destinations…probably new restaurants serving unusual fare…can you point me to tuslob bua and the likes? 😛 very limited time though
Hi tutubi! =)
Tuslob bua is in Pasil, an area bagsakan ng isda. And tuslob bua fare it’s not your usual restaurant alright hehe. I’m not sure if they even have seats for diners because you just literally buy puso and dip it in boiling oil (ang dami ng dinana-an ng oil that’s why its pack with different flavors). You can re-dip your puso if you feel like it.
How to go there? errr.. i am not really sure, since its part of downtown Cebu that I haven’t been to. But I know its near Colon, close to Taboan.
sorry not much help here lol
Me and my girlfriend went to Cebu for our anniversary last Thursday. She was so happy that I researched on the tourist spots like the Taoist Temple and Tops. Plus the great eats from Ding Qua Qua and Larsians. She was also surprised that I knew what jeepneys to take. Thanks a lot Penfires! 🙂
Heyahhh Tope! Wow! Yan ang boyfriend nagreresearch talaga to make moments more special, great job!
And thank you for your wonderful comments and for utilizing Penfires tips and recommendations hehehhe
Wonderful! Wonderful! I really loved the info here in, especially about the Sto Nino Church..Thanks for taking time out to write such an informative post. Its good to know Phillipines through penfires:)
Thanks Nanz! I’m all smiles 🙂
Come visit Cebu! We’ve got awesome places here both natural wonders and historical sites ^_^
Pink MagaLine says
I wanna check that Cebu lechon. Yay!
Cebu lechon tastes so goooood you’d be so willing to gobbled up those unhealthy calories hehhehe
I’ll be staying in Sampaguita Suites JRG and I’ll be renting a car for a day for 1,500 without driver. Can you give an itinerary from Sampaguita Suites going around cebu city. pra I know where to go first then second destination and so on until around 8pm wherein we can head back to the airport cguro at 9pm. We are still considering going to the regency hotel for a sky walk so can you include this place to my itinerary. thanks you’re indeed a great help to me.
@agbay.. sorry for the delayed reply as I have been really mulling how to help you. Unfortunately, no matter where I look at it, medyo mahirap and a real challenge if you are behind a wheel and you are a first time Cebu visitor and you have no local with you.
I am not sure if we have Cebu Maps that are first-time-tourist friendly with own vehicles especially ang daming one way sa downtown Cebu.
I am just suggesting these sites for you: Skip Taboan, seriously. Go to Magellan’s Shrine – Sto Nino – Cebu Cathedral – Colon marker – Cebu Heritage Park – Yap-San Diego House – Fort San Pedro – SM and eat in CNT – Taoist Temple – Tops (entrance fee P100 per pax ) – IT Park (try La Marea’s warm brownie cup) – Crown Regency for the skywalk adventure – then dinner at Larsian.
I did not include Mactan Shrine since napakalayo na neto for you guys.
I hope this helps. Pls refer to maps of Cebu City nalang, hopefully it can help too.
ok, thanks a lot for the guide. I will be downloading maps from google to guide me while gong around cebu.
you have a very helpful blog; very generous with tips. sent you an email. if you’re not too busy i hope you can take a look. Thanks! 🙂
sorry for the above post…:). Anyway, thanks sa guides mo in visiting cebu, because of it we saved a lot of money and honestly, we only spent like 800pesos for one day (inclusive of multicab fares, breakfast, lunch and dinner for 2). Places we visited: Mactan Shrine, Magellans Cross, Cebu Cathedral, Fort San Pedro, Sto. Niño Basilica, Larsians BBQ and Fuente Area.
Penfires, thumbs up for you. Nainspire tuloy ako mgblog.;)
Nice Jam! Makakasave talaga pag mag jeepneys and multicabs hehe! Thanks for sharing your Cebu City Day Tour Experience via Public Commute here =)
And GO! start na blog para ma post mo pics and experiences sa travels mo! Nice ang blogging as a hobby! =)
i am making an itinerary para sa aming bakasyon dis june and your posts helped me a lot. thanks so much and keep up the good work 🙂
I have 6 nights for my vacation and based on the many places of visits , i wonder how many nights should i spent in Cebu and Bohol/Panglao ?
Cille Anne says
hi eric, i hope you came up with an ideal schedule for your Cebu and Bohol travels. Hope you enjoyed your visit in our Visayas Islands.
Your blog is very informative. I’m really looking for city tours for my Cebu trip this September. Me and my friend will have our vacation as a birthday treat to ourselves. You have helped me a lot for this itinerary and surely, we’ll have great time.. So excited. Thank you so much.. ?
Hi! We will be going to Cebu this coming november (4 pax), 3 days & 2 nights. We already book our hotel in Island Stay Mactan. Could you please help me for our itinerary? Thank you in advance.
Cille Anne says
Please read entries under categories Cebu City, Cebu North, Cebu South. These are resources which can help you craft your own do it yourself Cebu itinerary. Enjoy your vacation here in Cebu. Thanks!
Hannah Perez says
Hi. I found your blog very useful. May I ask for help on our itinerary for 3days and 2nights? We’ll be going to Cebu on July2013. Our arrival is at 12nn. Cant decide when will be our city tour, beaches and the famous falls there. Well be back to Manila on the 3rd day at around 3pm. Hoping for reply. Thank you so much po. 🙂