One of my favorite places to go back almost every year is what people call as The Queen City of The South — Cebu. Every time I visit, I get that familiar feeling of comfort that only a home can make you feel. I also get that buzz of energy and excitement knowing that I still have so many things to try and places to go.
A few days ago, a friend of mine messaged me on Facebook asking what can she do and where can she go in Cebu for only one full day. Her question excited me so much that I immediately made a list. To be honest, there are so many things you can go and do — I have yet to experience some of them myself too! — and so I narrowed it down to five categories:
Visit tourist spots
Taoist Temple, Beverly Hills, Cebu City
If you’re visiting Cebu for the very first time, checking out its popular tourist spots is a must. It’s one of the oldest cities in the country, which makes it very rich in well-preserved ancestral homes, churches, museums, and historical landmarks.
In the city alone, there’s a lot of places to see such as the Magellan’s Cross, Basilica de Sto. Nino, Museo Sugbo, Fort San Pedro, Casa Gorordo Museum, Taoist Temple, Rizal Memorial Library and Museum, to name a few. If you’re up for a little thrift shopping and adventure, Colon Street (the oldest street in Cebu City) is a good place to go. Just be alert and careful at all times. Also, if you’re looking for an adrenaline pumping activity in the metro, you can try the Edge Coaster and Skywalk in Crown Regency Hotel Cebu.
There are also tourist spots that are several minutes away from the downtown area of Cebu City and these places are still worth visiting. One of them is the Temple of Leah in Busay and the Lapu Lapu Shrine in Mactan Island.
Cebuanos are deeply proud and in love with their historical sites to the point that there’s a huge event dedicated to it every year. Gabii sa Kabilin or Night of Heritage is held annually during the last Friday of May as a way of celebrating the Philippine National Heritage Month and International Museum Day. For an affordable fee, there are buses (and even calesa rides!) that will take Cebuanos and tourists around historical sites for only one night. It’s one of the things I’m hoping I could try very soon! :)
Go on a Food Trip
Cafe Racer, Cebu City
Cebu City is a haven for everyone who loves food. Whatever it is that you crave for, there’s like a hundred places you can go to satisfy it. If you’re up for casual dining in a place with a garage-like feel, you can try Cafe Racer. If you like cute cafes with good food and drink, you can check out Cafe Caw in Mandaue City, Cafe Talk, Coffee Prince, and Cafe Tiala.
For everyone who loves grilled food, a popular place to eat in is Larsian. My friends had dinner there once during our internship last year. The moment you step inside the compound, people would greet you and offer cheap meals. We kind’a felt a bit like a celebrity that time haha!
Another must-try restaurant in Cebu City is Casa Verde. They offer reasonably priced food with big servings. Also, their milkshakes are really tall and I think it’s enough for a group of three. They also have this dessert called Death By Chocolate and it’s living up to its name.
These are some of the places I’ve tried. To know more restaurants and cafes, check out I Luv Cebu’s list :)
Have a Drink (or two)
La Vie Parisienne, Gorordo Street, Cebu City
Just like restaurants and cafes, you will never run out of places to have a drink. If you want to chill and enjoy a bottle of good wine, La Vie Parisienne is number one on the list. It’s probably the most Instagrammed place I’ve been in. They have a wide range of wines and craft beers. French desserts such as macaroons and croissants, high quality cheeses and meat are also available.
If you’re up for a good night out where you can dance like nobody’s watching, try Liv Super Club in City Time Square. My friends went there last year and everyone had a really good time. It’s one of the city’s premiere clubs.
Tingco Beach, Alcoy, Cebu
One of the perks of living in a tropical country with 7,107 islands to explore is that there’s always a pretty beach somewhere. The island of Cebu is immensely blessed with pristine waters and white sand beaches. Whether you go to the north or the south, there’s always a place where you can get your dose of vitamin sea.
Last year, when we ventured out to the southern side of Cebu, we hung out at Tingco Beach in Alcoy. The entrance fee cost us 10 pesos each. We opt not to rent a cottage or a table and settled under the shade of the lush coconut trees instead.
Aside from Alcoy, there are other white beaches in the south such as the ones in Dalaguete, Santander, and Samboan. If you’re heading up north, you can choose to hang out in Malapascua Island, Bantayan Island, or Camotes Island. The travel time to these places are quite long so it’s best to plan your 24-hour itinerary right.
The island of Cebu can easily charm anyone with its food, night life, historical sites, beaches, highland and countryside adventures. It has the right mix of the urban and island life. I think it’s all clear to me now why a lot of people I know have moved there and fell in love with the place.
If you’re spending 24 hours in the island, plan your itinerary well so you can experience so much in such little time. Also, check out blogs about Cebu, and read reviews. Google mo lang!
I'm Pearl, a digital nomad and wide-eyed wanderer from the Philippines. I like to take photographs and write lengthy blog posts. Long and deep conversations are one of my "things." I mostly blog about travel and anything else under the sun. More?