Planning your next big adventure? You might want to add Cebu City into your long list of dream travel trips and see what it’s like to experience the Queen City of the South.
There’s so much more to this place you could explore for adventure. From dazzling marvels of city life to exhilarating nature escapades, the stunning array of wonders is endless! Here are eight reasons to fall head over heels for Cebu City:
Getting to Cebu is easy; you can catch flights from many of the major cities in Southeast Asia to Mactan-Cebu International Airport. Being the second major metropolitan area in the country, Cebu has become one of the most accessible places in the Philippines.
2. Mouthwatering halal dishes
As Cebu is now pushing for halal-conscious tourism, there’s no longer need to worry about where to eat when visiting. From budget-friendly eateries to first-class fine dining, the list of halal and Muslim-friendly choices is gradually increasing in Cebu.
This authentic Lebanese Artisanal Restaurant is known to serve the best shawarma in town. There are also well-loved healthy vegetarian selections like the Fattoush Salad and Lentil Soup.
Halal status: Halal meat and vegetarian options available, alcohol served in the establishment.
Address: Escario Central Mall, Escario Street Barangay Camputhaw, Cebu City 6000, Philippines
Operating hours: 11:00AM - 11:00PM daily
Contact: +63 915-983-3133
Other than Persian cuisine, this place also serves Indian and Middle Eastern food. They have a variety of halal tasty dishes with ample choices for vegetarians that will surely satisfy your cravings.
P.S. Veggie-lovers can opt for their EAT-ALL-YOU-CAN Healthy Veggie Buffet every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday starting from 6PM till 10PM!
Halal status: Serves halal meat and ingredients (Previously halal-certified, in the process of renewing their halal certification)
Address: General Maxilom Avenue | Mango Square Mall, Cebu City 6000, Philippines
Operating Hours: 10:00AM – 8:30PM daily
Ama's Choice Halal Foods Restaurant
This eatery offers scrumptious Filipino food dishes. The food served here is halal, unique, budget-friendly and delightful, a nice way of filling your tummy and putting yourself in good mood.
Halal status: Halal meat is served and staff has confirmed that it is a halal establishment. We advise that you dine at your own discretion.
Address: Second Floor, Colonnade Mall, Colon Street, Santo Nino, Cebu City
Operating hours: 8:00AM – 8:00PM (Mon-Sat), 8:30 AM – 8:30PM (Sun)
A small restaurant managed by a Muslim family, this eatery serves different halal dishes and delicacies from different cultures of the Philippines. They have a mix of Suluano/Zamboangeño and Cebuano food like satti (satay), tiyula itum (braised beef or goat soup dish), and other Tausug (a Muslim ethnic group of the Philippines) delicacies.
Halal status: Muslim-owned
Address: J. Climaco Street Corner Dimas Alang Street
Operating Hours: 8:00AM -7:00PM (Sat-Thurs), closed on Fridays
Contact: +63 917-657-3555
3. A Diverse and Muslim-friendly Community
Even with Roman Catholicism as the major religion in the city, there are Muslim communities found in the city as it is a place rich in cultural diversity. You can interact with the local Muslims at some of the few mosques located in Cebu City such as the Al-Khairiah Mosque in Mambaling, the Cebu Green Mosque and the Cebu Islamic community.
4. Rich history and festivals
History buffs are in for a treat because Cebu is a city with centuries of intriguing history. There are many historic spots found all around the city, such as the Heritage of Cebu Monument. Some of them have an entrance fee but most of them are free and open to the public.
Magellan’s Cross is another iconic landmark which has religious significance to the country. For the uninitiated, the cross was planted here by Ferdinand Magellan, the Portuguese explorer who brought the Philippines under Spanish rule. After that, swing by the Fort San Pedro, a former stronghold built in 1738. The University of San Carlos, the oldest University of the country is also found in Cebu.
#HHWT Tip: There are tourist guides for hire to help you tour around the city to all the historic places with in-depth background stories of each or you can just befriend locals and ask your curiosities away, they’d always be happy to help.
Kadaugan sa Mactan is one of the many festivals celebrated in Cebu. It literally translates to “Victory of Mactan”, and celebrates the victory of the Mactan people over Magellan's troops in the 16th century. It is celebrated every 27th of April but the festivity lasts for about a month! Filled with the most festive colours and very rich history, this is an event you wouldn’t want to miss. The main highlight is the reenactment of the Battle of Mactan which is usually played by famous local actors or other personalities. Fun-filled events are also organized - expect days full of food festivals, live concerts, dance competitions, and the hype of rampada sa kalsada; where streets of Cebu would have a long stretch of different entertainment stops which could include food stalls, kiosks, and disco stations.
5. Shopping Galore
Bargain hunting or luxurious spending, you can never have enough of the shopping scene in Cebu. Whatever you’re looking for, Cebu has everything for you. You can easily spot various international brands and local brands with over 12 shopping malls in the city.
Also, check out Tabo-an and Carbon Market –where there are fresh meats, fruits and vegetables from early mornings until night time. They also sell the best local handicrafts and Cebuano delicacies you can bring home such as Otap (puffy pastry snack), dried mangoes, and dried seafood. These Cebu-classic favourites are loved by the locals and tourists alike!
6. There’s more to malls in Cebu than just shopping
There’s a lot to do in major malls in Cebu than just shopping. The SM Seaside City is a huge mall with 4 zones; you can find an ice-skating rink, bowling alley, arcade, open children’s playground which overlooks the beautiful view of the coast, and so much more here. Different sorts of exhibits are also held here from time to time.
Ayala Center Cebu is another mall known for its open terraces which exhibits a relaxing landscape of lush green garden. At night, it glows up to beautiful colour of lights. A lot of locals would just sit here and soak in the romantic ambience.
7. Paradise for Thrill Seekers
If you’re into extreme adventures you will be thrilled to know that Crown Regency Hotel and Towers is home to the heart-pounding rides including the Edge Coaster, which circles around the building of 38 floors. You can also try the Skywalk, where you walk along the translucent glass floor of a 126.55 meters high building with only a strap to hold you, or take an extreme zip line 473 feet in the air.
Address: Tower 1, Crown Regency Hotel and Towers, Fuente Towers, Fuente Osmeña Boulevard, Cebu City, Cebu, 6000 Philippines
Operating hours: 2:00PM – 12:00AM (Mon-Fri); 10:00AM - 2:00AM (Sat); 10:00AM - 12:00AM (Sun)
Price: Starts at ₱250 for combo rates
Contact: +63 32-418-8888 or +63 32-418-7777, or email [email protected]
Another popular adrenaline pumping activity in Cebu is Canyoneering. It is a one-for-the-books experience as you revel in exciting activities and breathtaking sights. You will pass over canyons, slide with the flowing waters, leap into pools, and the highlight; jump-off from a 50 feet high cliff into clear waters of Kawasan Falls. At Kawasan Canyoneering they offer canyoneering gears and skilled tour guides to make your adventure safe and more fun:
Address: Matutinao, Badian, Cebu, 6021 Philippines
Operating hours: 6:00 AM – 2:30 PM daily
Price: Varies according to activity package
Contact: +63 918-654-4111 or +63 905-333-2623
If you are daredevil enough, you should check out the extreme sport that’s gaining popularity in Cebu, Skydiving. Jump off an airplane and dive into the sky while enjoying the magnificent view of the blue ocean and the mix of nature and people-occupied spaces. Skydive Greater offers a tandem jump with a professional skydiver for beginners, or if you're already experienced you can present your own license and log book to dive on your own.
Address: Santa Fe, Bantayan Island, Cebu, Philippines
Operating hours: Mon-Fri; 2:00 PM – 12:00 AM
Price: ₱19,000 (Tandem skydive)
Contact: +63 923-875-1689
8. Heavenly Nature Adventures
Longing to chill and enjoy the majestic and magical wonders of nature? Experience the clear blue ocean water, fresh breeze of sea air, a stunning view of natural surroundings, and a chance to bond with wildlife? Maybe accompany it with some outdoor activities while you’re at it? Scenic Mountain treks, diving paradise, spectacular waterfalls –you name it, everything wild and natural is within easy reach in Cebu.
With over 90 known waterfalls you will never fall short of a chance to enjoy nature at its grandest. These are perfect for thrill-seekers too: there are spots popular for waterfall jumping, rappelling, and rock climbing. Some famous ones include Kawasan Falls, Aguinid Falls and Tumalog Falls.
There are plenty of mountaineering groups in Cebu that will take you through some of the metro’s challenging trails, such as Mount Babag, Mount Kan-Irag and the Spartan Trail. After challenging yourself up these rugged trails, you will reach the peak and be mesmerized by the splendid views of the entire Cebu and its nearby islands. You may even get lucky and spot the incredibly rare wide-eyed tarsier on your way up!
9. Magnificent sightseeing Views
Do you enjoy taking strolls at parks, breathing in fresh air and taking in some spectacular panoramic views? Cebu has some of the best parks and landmarks which overlooks the most picturesque and jaw-dropping view of the city and the coast.
Just like the Taj Mahal in India, the Temple of Leah was also built in honor of a beloved wife and mother. It is a popular destination with its white Roman and Greek-like architectural design, and grand statues of gigantic lions and elaborate staircases with brass angels. Being able to look over the city from here is truly wondrous!
Tops Lookout offers a jaw-dropping 360-degree view of the whole city, lush greeneries, the ocean and its nearby islands. At night, it becomes a romantic spot as you can see the lit-up veins of the city sparkling against the darkness the same way the starts light up the evening sky. This will leave you with the perfect memory of the city, and keep you wanting to come back for sure!
To be honest we are just touching the tip of the iceberg with this short sweet list, we can go on forever. What's there not to love about Cebu when you can find everything in this charming city? Whether you are a foodie, nature lover or someone who is looking for heavy dose of adventure - Cebu is the perfect destination for your next travel escapade!