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Where to stay in Cebu

Exploring Cebu

Cebu, an island province in the Visayas region of the Philippines, is the economic and transport hub of the south. It consists of the long, sword-shaped mainland and about 160 islands surrounding it, some of which are home to beautiful beaches and great dive sites. The main language here is Visayan, specifically Cebuano, a variety of the language which is predominantly spoken in the southern Philippines.

The island of Cebu was ruled by the Rajanate of Cebu, a kingdom with connections to the ruling dynasties of Sumatra in Indonesia. Famous Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan actually arrived here but was met with opposition by the king of Mactan, Lapu-Lapu, considered the country’s first national hero. It was not until 1565 that the first Spanish colony was established on the island.

Sights nearby

Sightseeing alone will occupy the schedule of any tourist visiting this island. Visitors beginning their itineraries in the central area and the capital city, Cebu City, can stay at the luxurious Marriott Cebu City, located in Cebu's central business district. The beaches and the sea are naturally where most of the tourist activities in Cebu take place.

The Basilica and the Cross
Structures dating back to the Spanish occupation can still be found in Cebu City. An important one is the Basilica Minore del Santo Nino, the city’s main Catholic church which is said to contain the oldest figure of the Holy Child in the country. South of the church is Magellan’s Cross, a large wooden cross commemorating the arrival of the explorer Magellan to the island.

Extreme Rides
Thrill-seekers can head to the Crown Regency Cebu, the tallest structure in the city. The hotel has Xtreme Rides on the top floor. Here, brave individuals are strapped into mechanised chairs that tilt on the edge of the building. Visitors can also walk around the barrier-less ledge with only a cable attached to their waist.

There are a number of great beaches in and around Cebu. Those willing to venture to the north will inevitably end up on Bantayan Island, an old Spanish outpost with great beaches and resorts. Also in the north is Malapascua Island, considered one of the best dive sites in the country. The water around the island is home to the majestic thresher shark. Dive centres and agencies can be found on the island. Closer to the province’s capital city are the Camotes Islands. Beautiful rock islands with underground caves are the tourist attractions here. The islands are also home to excellent beach resorts.

Whale sharks
In the southwest area of Cebu mainland is the municipality of Oslob, a popular spot to dive among the whale sharks which reside in the waters around the area.

Eating and drinking and shopping nearby

The food of the southern Philippines figures prominently in the dishes served in Cebu. Seafood is exceptionally fresh and good here. Kilawin, a type of ceviche, is a specialty here. The same goes for the small dried fish and squid bought in buckets in Taboan Market in Cebu City. The Cebuanos proudly proclaim that they, too, have a version of the signature Filipino dish lechon – a whole pig cooked in a pit. In their version, diners will notice the stronger flavours of the spices liberally used in the meat. Being the de facto capital of Southern Philippines, Cebu's capital, Cebu City, has a lot going for it in terms of great shopping. Ayala Center Cebu, which has not only shops but also restaurants and bars, is a great place to start. Other shopping areas in the city include Mango Square, Cebu Parkmall, and Robinson's Mall.

Public transport

Cebu is home to one of the country’s major airports, Mactan-Cebu International Airport, which handles both domestic and international flights. To get around Cebu City and the surrounding suburbs, taxis are the most popular form of transport. There are plenty of them and they are cheap. For longer journeys, bus operators such as Ceres or Sunrays run services covering the length of the island. Short ferry rides can also be taken to reach nearby islands.

Cebu travel guides

Cebu Travel Guides