Cebu Travel Guide: Top Tourist Spots, Fun Facts & Insider Tips!

Fly To Cebu NOW — Here’s Why And Where You Should Go

A tropical tourist spot that offers both nature retreats and the best of city life, Cebu has it all!

Whether or not you believe in new year’s resolutions, it’s high time you make 2019 YOUR year of travel. And to begin 2019’s adventures with a bang, why not fly to Cebu? There are many world-class islands in the Philippines, but nothing is quite like it. A tropical tourist spot that offers both nature retreats and the best of city life, Cebu has it all!

cebu travel guide

Magellan’s Cross | Image credit: Psalm Ramos (left); Sumilon Island (right)

There’s plenty to see and experience: mesmerising natural wonders under its seas and high up on its summits to its buzzing urbanscape and its rich heritage seen in its culture and food. Add to that the historical structures that transport visitors back in time, and you’ll see why Cebu is your gateway to the ultimate holiday in the Philippines.
Also read: 5 Perfect One-Week Itineraries for Your Ultimate Vacation in the Philippines

Why you should fly to Cebu

Did we get your attention? There are more reasons to love Cebu! Read on so you can seal the deal and book that Cebu getaway stat.

1. Cebu offers the best of all worlds

When people think of Cebu, only one of either of these come to mind: beaches or images of Cebu City. But here’s the thing — you can actually have both, all in one trip! We said it before and we’ll say it again: Cebu offers the best of nature, history, culture, and the city. You also get to embark on the most filling gastronomic adventures while you’re there! And while Cebu offers an action-packed stay, it is also home to very comfortable accommodations.

One Central Hotel pool area

One Central Hotel pool area | Image credit: Psalm Ramos

Insider Tip: Speaking of accommodations, did you know that you can make the most out of Cebu City by booking a stay near Downtown Cebu? That way, you can easily tour the sights nearby in a day or two. You can even take day trips from this area, with Cebu City as your base. Book a stay with a reliable deluxe hotel that can meet all your needs without burning a hole in your pocket. One Central Hotel along Sanciangko Street offers exactly that. It even houses an in-house restaurant, a spa, pool, and gym for times when you just want to unwind and stay in. Planning your stay now? Click here for the best Cebu accommodations.

2. Cebu is a beach bum’s tropical paradise

Sumilon Island

Sumilon Island | Image credit: Psalm Ramos

It cannot be denied; Cebu is a beach bum’s paradise since it’s home to many sandy shores and pristine waters with abundant marine life. All you have to do is pick a destination down south (Sumilon Island and Moalboal!) or up north (Bantayan Island and Malapascua!) for some foolproof fun in the sun.
You won’t even miss out if you prefer staying near the airport. There are lots of resorts that are just half an hour away from the Mactan-Cebu International Airport like Crimson Resort and Spa Mactan and Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa, both of which have their own private beaches and marine sanctuaries.
But perhaps the cherry on top is that Cebu is also a perfect jump-off point to other beach destinations in the country. Fly to Cebu and consider it your all-in-one gateway to nearby paradises in Bohol, Boracay, Iloilo, and Siargao, to name a few.

3.  Cebu is your convenient ticket to the rest of the Philippines

On top of all that it has to offer, Cebu is also a great entry point to the rest of the Philippines — and we’re not just talking about the country’s breathtaking beaches. From Cebu, you can easily make your way to other bustling metropolises like Manila, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, and Clark in Pampanga! The key to doing this? Select an airline that has numerous domestic flights connecting from Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

Mactan-Cebu International Airport

Mactan-Cebu International Airport | Image credit: Psalm Ramos

For the best airfare deals all year ‘round, your best bet is Cebu Pacific and it’s failsafe inter-island connectivity. With Cebu Pacific, you can fly from Cebu to Manila, Davao, Iloilo, Aklan, Bohol, Clark, Siargao, and many more! You can actually check out the airline’s domestic network map here.
Fun Flight Fact: Cebu Pacific is a budget airline that has many wonderful add-ons for every client’s utmost convenience and comfort. Flying with a surfboard? No problem, CEB Surfboard has you covered. Cebu Pacific also offers Halal-certified in-flight meals that every foodie should try. Read more about CEB Meals here. Need seamless island transfers? Worry not, click here to know how CEB Transfers can help. Now that’s an airline that’s worth every peso!
Also read: Here’s Why I Think this Airline’s Food Selection is Friendly for EVERYONE

4. Cebu lets you fly to and from various international destinations

The new Mactan-Cebu International Airport Terminal 2

The new Mactan-Cebu International Airport Terminal 2 | Image credit: Alyosha Robillos

Surprise — Cebu Pacific also lets you fly directly to international destinations from Mactan-Cebu International Airport! Set off to Singapore, Narita (Japan), Incheon (South Korea), Hong Kong, and Macau (the newest route in the roster!) from Mactan in Cebu. How convenient is that? Click here to check schedules and book flights.
Fun Flight Fact: Look out for seat sales and promos. They make Cebu Pacific’s all-in low fares even more affordable!

Where you should go when you fly to Cebu

We’re not a fan of spoilers… and the best way to appreciate Cebu’s diversity and unparalleled energy is to experience it for yourself. So here are snippets of what Cebu has to offer — sneak peeks of its best spots and must-see sights.

1. Sumilon Island

sumilon island cebu

Image credit: Psalm Ramos

Sumilon Island is a public shifting sandbar that’s but a stone’s throw away from Bluewater Sumilon Resort. You can just opt to visit the sandbar or go for a day pass at Bluewater Sumilon Resort to be able to enjoy all the island’s amenities.

2. Fort San Pedro

Considered the oldest fort in the Philippines (and one of the smallest ones, too!), Fort San Pedro is a must-see especially if you’re a history buff.

3. Heritage houses-turned-museums

There are a lot of heritage houses in Cebu, and most of them have been adapted into museums, especially those found downtown. Most of them also offer guided tours. We recommend Casa Gorordo and Jesuit House.

jesuit house cebu

Image credit: Psalm Ramos

Casa Gorordo has a museum shop that’s filled with unique items from all over the Philippines — perfect for souvenir shopping! They also have a café and restaurant if you get hungry after the tour. Jesuit House, on the other hand, offers a visual timeline of Cebu’s history. After the tour, you can enjoy a cup of brewed coffee — on the house — inside their library. Some of the titles here are for sale as well.

4. Taoist Temple

The only Taoist temple in Cebu City, this structure is a favourite among those who practise the faith as well as tourists who love its bright, Asian aesthetic.

5. Sirao Flower Farm

Image credit: Psalm Ramos

For only ₱50, you can enter the Sirao Flower Farm. Here, you’ll commune with nature as well as take lots of Instagrammable photos.

6. Magellan’s Cross

Although many believe that this is the original cross that was left behind by Spanish conquistador Ferdinand Magellan in 1521, some say that it is just a replica. Either way, Magellan’s Cross has become a popular spot and is a symbol of how the Catholic faith was established in the country.

7. Basilica Minore del Santo Niño

Basilica Minore del Santo Niño Cebu

Image credit: Psalm Ramos

This magnificent church houses a garden, the actual church’s structure, an outdoor plaza where mass is held, a museum, and a revered image of the Child Christ or Santo Niño. Basilica Minore del Santo Niño is one of the most iconic churches in the Philippines and is visited often by pilgrims and devout Catholics.

8. Malapascua Island

Now this is where you go if you want to snorkel with Thresher Sharks in their natural habitat. If you’re not in the mood to dive, you can just sit back, relax, and enjoy Malapascua‘s island life.

9. Bantayan Island

Bantayan Island

Image credit: Roderick Eime

Often referred to as the Boracay of Cebu, Bantayan Island features crystal clear waters and powder-soft white sand. The only difference is, Bantayan is not as developed as Aklan’s Boracay so what you get is practically an untouched tropical paradise.

10. Osmeña Peak

To get to Osmeña Peak, you will need to travel for three hours from Cebu City. Once there, a day hike will reward you with fantastic views of green, jagged hills. Climbing Osmeña Peak is suitable even for beginners.

11. Moalboal

sardine run moalboal

Image credit: Lakshmi Sawitri

When you fly to Cebu, another beach destination you could head to is Moalboal. It offers shores perfect for sunset-watching and waters popular with avid divers because of the sardine run near Pescador Island.

12. Taboan Public Market

If you want to explore a public market, Taboan is tourist-friendly. It’s known for danggit (salted dried fish) and other local delicacies, which are often more expensive when sold at the malls. Other food items you have to watch out for are dried mangoes and crunchy chicharon!
Are you a fan of sweets and cookies? Then you should definitely try rosquillos (similar to a butter cookie), otap (a thin, flaky sugar-coated biscuit), and masareal (a confection made of sugar syrup and ground peanuts).

13. The Market by Sugbo Mercado

the market sugbo mercado cebu

Image credit: Psalm Ramos

Cebu’s newest food park, The Market by Sugbo Mercado, is actually the younger sibling of Sugbo Mercado at IT Park. Have your fill of melt-in-your-mouth lechon (roasted pork with crispy skin) and scallops drowned in cheese, butter, and garlic. Then wash it all down with fresh coconut juice or milk tea. Craving satisfied.

14. Colon Street

Why not visit Colon Street, the oldest street in the Philippines, while you’re at it? If you’re into street photography, then this is the place to be. It’s pretty modern now, but you’ll still see a few old structures that have clearly stood the test of time.
Insider Tip: This part of downtown Cebu can be a bit tricky for those who aren’t used to Manila’s hubbub. Visitors must keep their wits about them at ALL times. As an added precaution, don’t come here alone. Better go with a travel buddy.

15. Mactan-Cebu International Airport Terminal 2

We bet you’re surprised to see an airport terminal here. But just one look at Mactan-Cebu International Airport’s newest wing and you’ll understand why it’s a tourist spot on its own. Its wooden exterior (and interiors!) and bright mood lights obviously exude a tropical vibe, so much so that you’ll want to head to the nearest beach as soon as you land.

Mactan-Cebu International Airport Terminal 2

Image credit: Psalm Ramos

Do note that the terminal only caters to international flights. But those who want to get a peek may take photos of the facade, by the waiting area. Don’t worry about getting around. There are P2P (point to point) buses that will take you from Terminal 2 to other parts of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport free of charge!
You know you’re in for a very promising holiday when the airport alone is a must-see. That’s only a taste of what Cebu has to offer and you’ve barely scratched the surface. There’s no time to lose — fly to Cebu now and explore away… from north to south, from its mountains to its seas… to the rest of the Philippines and beyond.


For more information, please visit Cebu Pacific’s official website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Youtube.

Brought to you by Cebu Pacific Air.

About Author

Alyosha Robillos
Alyosha Robillos

In Russia, Alyosha is a boy's name popularised by literary greats Dostoevsky and Tolstoy—but this particular Alyosha is neither Russian nor a boy. She is a writer from the Philippines who loves exploring the world as much as she likes staying at home. Her life's mission is to pet every friendly critter there is. When she isn't busy doing that, she sniffs out stories and scribbles away on the backs of old receipts. She is an advocate of many things: culture and heritage, the environment, skincare and snacking, to name a few. She will work for lifetime supplies of french fries and coffee. Or yogurt. Or cheese, preferably Brie.