Cebu City may be known for its fast-paced nightlife and giant shopping malls, but you’ll also discover adventurous island hopping and world-class diving. Cebu’s colourful history and culture are on show at several Filipino-Spanish buildings, fascinating museums and the annual Sinulog festival.
Things to do
Stroll around Cebu City to uncover the historical structures within, such as the 16th-century Fort San Pedro and Basilica Minore del Santo Niño. Traverse the steps of The Taoist Temple and you’ll learn more about Cebu City’s Chinese traditions while witnessing local worshippers in prayer.
Shoppers will love the cosmopolitan vibe at Cebu City’s malls, including SM Seaside City Cebu, Robinson’s Galleria Cebu and Ayala Center. Each one boasts a number of retail outlets, restaurants, cafes and entertainment options. SM Cebu City has a huge IMAX cinema, while Ayala Center is known for its landscaped park.
Coincide your visit with one of the local music or cultural festivals held each year. The Cebu Reggae Festival features two days’ worth of reggae and roots music, while the Sinulog festival includes dance rituals, street processions and city-wide worshipping.
Most visitors also travel to Mactan Island, about an hour’s drive from Cebu City, known for its excellent diving spots right near the airport. Island-hopping cruises depart from its docks, bouncing between one island paradise to the next in the Bohol Strait, including the marine sanctuary of Hilutungan Island.
If you can’t walk somewhere in Cebu City, your best bet is catching a jeepney or taxi. The taxis are relatively cheap and most use the metre, but some will charge visitors flat rates to popular destinations. Heading outside of the city? Some scenic destinations within Cebu Island can only be reached via bus or car. If you want to explore the islands, consider taking a boat instead. Boats regularly run from Cebu City to Leyte, Biliran, Bohol, Panay, Negros and other alluring destinations.