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.
Check out updated Commuting Guide from Mactan Airport. This transport guide was updated last 2017. 🙂