Over the years, the island of Cebu has successfully attracted tourists from different parts of the globe. Anyone who is interested to visit and discover the different islands of the Philippines is surely to hear Cebu to be one of the most recommended places to visit. But what is it really that makes Cebu unique and sought after by local and foreign travellers?

If you are thinking where to plan your next ultimate adventure, here are 8 reasons why you should visit Cebu, book your tickets to Cebu City and make it your next travel destination.

Chill and friendly people

The tropical vibe of this small island makes Cebuanos, the name called to people living in Cebu, one happy-go-lucky crowd. Cebuanos value practicality over anything else. People say Cebuanos are hard to please. That’s because they sense crap miles away. But they know how to appreciate worth too. Even with the arrival of big brands, both local and foreign, Cebuanos are loyal to their own. And everywhere you go, you will see groups hanging out either to eat, drink, sing at karaoke joints or go out swimming.

chill cebuanos
Cebuanos with their favorite chillax time – eating 😆

Cebuanos are very friendly and eager to help when one is in need. Also, when in Cebu, people prefer to talk in the local language, which is Cebuano or Bisaya. If someone from Manila or those non-Cebuano speakers talk to any local, they will respond in English, not because they are too proud and want to sound so know-it-all but rather because they either don’t know the other Philippine dialects or languages or they feel embarrassed about not being fluent of the mother tongue, which is Filipino or Tagalog. Even when speaking to someone, majority of Cebuanos would rather speak in English to a non-local than die of shame, while attempting to help out.

Want to know how chill Cebuanos are? Check out the Cebu Barter Community Facebook Group or the Cebu Plant Barter Community Facebook Group. Despite the Covid19 pandemic, people are busy rummaging unused kitchen appliances, groceries, pots and plants to happily barter away than worry too much about the pandemic.

Cheap and affordable food

If there’s one food that Cebu is known for, it’s lechon. Lechon is a whole pig roasted to perfection with its crunchy skin, and tasty and juicy meat. Everyone is crazy about lechon that no feast is complete without it.

lechon
House of Lechon

What makes Cebu’s food stand out is its affordability. Anywhere you go, you will find affordable food that won’t disappoint.

There are a lot of street foods in Cebu City too. Some of the famous dishes to try are ngohiong, humba, balbacua and more. As for desserts, be sure to find puto maya (sticky rice) and pair it with sikwate, a rich hot cocoa drink. There’s also masi, binignit, bibingka sa Mandaue, Argao’s famous torta, and many more. Oh don’t forget to try the sweet mangoes!

Rich cultural heritage

One of the things that makes Cebu unique is their faith and devotion to Senyor Santo Niño, the image of the Holy Child Jesus. Cebuanos believe that the whole island is spared from major calamities because of their faith. Every year, they show their deep gratitude by celebrating the feast of the Holy Child through the Sinulog Festival. Sinulog is one of the grandest mardi gras in the Philippines and people from different walks of life flock the island to join the festivities.

sinulog festival cebu
Sinulog Festival Queen carrying Senyor Santo Niño

The cultural heritage of Cebu is also preserved and can be seen from different historical landmarks and both public and private museums scattered all over the city.

Shopping

If you love shopping, Cebu is one of the best places to shop. There are different malls all over the city that will satisfy your shopping needs. In fact, SM Seaside, the fourth largest mall in the country can be found in Cebu City. If you are escaping from winter in your country, you can simply pack a small bag or luggage and get everything as soon as you land in the city. You will be surprised at the affordability of items. You can shop for clothes, accessories, footwear, guitars, souvenir items, etc. and hop from one mall to the next.

Ayala Center Cebu
The Terraces, Ayala Center Cebu

Pristine white beaches

The island of Cebu is quite famous for its white sand beaches. There are tiny islands spread out from north to south where one can enjoy beautiful beaches. One has to travel 2-3 hours away from the main city to discover these beaches. One can also go island hopping from Mactan Island to enjoy the white sand beaches. The famous white beaches can be found in Bantayan Island up north, and at Moalboal’s White Beach and Sumilon Island down south.

Malapascua Island Cebu
Malapascua Island, Cebu

Amazing underwater life

One of the things that makes Cebu popular is its awesome marine life and diving spots. Just a few minutes drive away from the main city will take you to diving spots with Mactan Island where you can witness a school of sardines swimming every now and then. There are also great diving sites along the Mactan Channel if you don’t want to travel far. But if you want some deep diving adventure, drive 2-4 hours north or south. You can find some school of sardines, thresher sharks, whale sharks and sea turtles along Moalboal’s Panagsama Beach and Pescador Island in the south western region. Malapascua Island, a 3-hr drive up north and a boat ride away is famous for its white tip sharks.

sea turtle at pescador island
sea turtle swimming at Pescador Island, Moalboal, Cebu

Cebu’s neighbouring islands, Bohol and Negros are both home to amazing underwater life too. You only need to ride a fast craft boat or ferry to take you to those islands. You can book your tickets for Cebu to Bohol here and back.

Nature and adventure awaits

Adventure awaits when you visit Cebu. If you are looking for some adrenaline pumping activities, you need to head south and do the Kawasan Canyoneering activity where you jump through canyons and trek along the riverbeds.

Kawasan Canyoneering adventure
Kawasan Canyoneering adventure with Ching The Viewfinder

The majestic Kawasan Falls will greet you at the end of the activity. You can also climb Osmena Peak and enjoy the sunset there while admiring the karst rock formations. The town of Samboan in the south is also home to different waterfalls if you’re up for some water falling adventure. Ziplines and rope course activities are available within Cebu City if you don’t want to go far.

World-class airport

Cebu is home to one of the best airports in the country. This is one of the reasons why you should visit Cebu. The Mactan-Cebu International Airport is not simply a gateway but a destination in itself and to experience it first hand, one has to choose Cebu’s international airport as a hub to fly out to international destinations. Winning the 2019 World Architecture Award under the Completed Buildings-Transport category and beating Singapore’s Jewel Changi Airport says a lot about the not-so simple architecture of the Terminal 2 of the Mactan Cebu International Airport. So if you are planning to visit the Philippines, do so by entering and leaving the country via Cebu.

mactan cebu international airport terminal 2
Mactan Cebu International Airport Terminal 2

Different local and international airlines flies direct to and from Cebu. If you are coming from different island cities and on your way to fly out of Cebu, let’s say for example from Bohol, book your tickets for Bohol to Cebu here. Spend a few nights to experience Cebu and be amazed by what this tiny island in the Pacific has to offer.

 

If you are looking for accomodations within Cebu City and nearby cities, here are recommended hotels:

Within Cebu City: Radisson Blu Cebu, Hotel Seda Ayala Center Cebu, Waterfront Hotel & Casino Cebu City, Quest Hotel and Conference Center, bai Hotel Cebu

Within Mactan Island (Airport Island): Crimson Mactan Resort and Spa, Bluewater Maribago Beach Resort, Dusit Thani Mactan Cebu Resort, Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa, Cebu

This is a travel blog of Doi Domasian. Her nature to explore both new and familiar places and share it with the rest of the world is what keeps this wanderer going and seeking for thrills and adventures. Due to her passion for travelling, she decided to leave the corporate world and started living the life of a nomad.

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