Cebu

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Cebu is a city on Cebu Island in the Philippines. It is known as the Queen City of the South. It is one of the most popular destinations in all of the Philippines for foreign tourists. It has the largest sea port in the Philippines and the second largest air hub. It is the second largest city in the country and the fastest-growing large city in the nation with an annual growth of over 5% per year. Cebu is a booming metropolitan area with all the conveniences of a modern city. At the same time, it boasts natural resources like countless white sand beaches (both commercial and untouched), as well as historical sites that reflect its cosmopolitan past: from the birth of Christianity in Asia, to early commercial trade with Mexico and China, to vestiges of the American colonization of the Philippines. (less...) (more...)

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Cities

  • Metropolis over 100 hotels
  • Big city 50-100 hotels
  • Medium city 20-50 hotels
  • Small city 5-20 hotels
  • Village below 5 hotels

Points of Interest

  • Beach Beach
  • Business object Business object
  • Casino Casino
  • Civic property Civic property
  • Education Education
  • Entertainment Entertainment
  • Golf course Golf course
  • Green space Green space
  • Harbor Harbor
  • Historic site Historic site
  • Interesting place Interesting place
  • Medical Medical
  • Monument Monument
  • Museum Museum
  • Shopping Shopping
  • Skiing Skiing
  • Sports facility Sports facility
  • Theater Theater
  • Winery Winery

Points of Interest in Cebu

Shrines and historical landmarks

  • Basilica of Santo Niño (Basilica del Santo Niño (Basilica of the Holy Child)), Osmeña Boulevard,  +63.32.2556697. A large and venerable church that traces its history to the founding of the convent of the Santo Niño de Cebu in 1565. It contains a statue of the Santo Niño (Holy Child) that regarded as the oldest religious relic in the Philippines. The statue was presented by Ferdinand Magellan to Queen Juana during the baptism of King Humabon and his wife Queen Juana on April 14, 1521. The natives of Cebu were formally Christianized by Miguel Lopez de Legaspi and Father Andres de Urdaneta on April 27, 1565. However, as they found the natives hostile, the village was set on fire. Later on, in a burnt-out house, a soldier named Juan Camus found the statue untouched. This was proclaimed a miracle. The statue, adorned with gold and precious stones, is in a glass case to the left of the altar. The church sees a constant stream of devotees praying at pews in the sanctuary and in front of statues of saints. The Basilica del Santo Niño Museum (open Tue-Sun 08:00-11:45, 13:30-16:45) contains the vestments used to dress the Santo Niño and jewellery offered to the Santo Niño for use during his feast on the third Sunday of January. ₱10.
  • Colon St. Brave the cacophanous traffic to see the oldest street in the Philippines with some nice worn-out classical buildings dating back to the American Era. At night, this street transforms into a market with good buys everywhere. Be wary of pickpockets though.
  • Fort San Pedro (Fuerza de San Pedro). The smallest Spanish outpost in the Philippines during the colonial era. It has a small museum showcasing the wreckage and treasures from the sunken San Diego galleon from Mexico. The area is scenic with the newly renovated and open-air Plaza Independencia at the entrance.
  • Fuente Osmeña
  • Lapu-Lapu Monument, Lapu-Lapu, Mactan Island. Lapu-Lapu was a local hero who fought Ferdinand Magellan during the historic Mactan Landing in 1521. A small marker to Magellan is nearby. A few minutes' walk away is Shangri-La Mactan Hotel Resort and Spa, which is a tourist spot in its own right. The compound is a large park where visitors (even if they don't stay in the hotel) can roam the huge reception and its environs. Check out the beach, the chapel, the spa and the various restaurants.
  • Life-size statues of popes, Stations of the Cross and Mysteries of the Holy Rosary in Danao City.
  • Magellan's Cross, Plaza Sugbo, off Magallanes St (between the Colegio de Santo Niño (south of the Basilica of Santo Niño) and Cebu City Hall - if you approach the Basilica from Osmeña Boulevard, walk through the courtyard of the Basilica and the Colegio to reach the Plaza). An octagonal building decorated with murals containing a large wooden cross that commemorates the Portuguese conquistador Ferdinand Magellan who planted a wooden cross upon converting the original inhabitants to Christianity. A plaque states that the visible wooden cross contains the original cross, but some historians say the original cross was reduced to firewood by local inhabitants when the Magellan fleet headed elsewhere. Take time to appreciate the various candle sellers who dance around during worship and while selling the candles.
  • Casa Gorordo Museum, 35 Lopez Jaena St,  +63 32 2555630, fax: +63 32 2555630, e-mail: chp@rafi.org.ph. Tue-Sun 10:00-18:00. A well-preserved Spanish colonial mansion constructed largely of wood, set in a pleasant, manicured garden. The lower floor has a collection of old tools, and an A/C room that has changing displays such as art exhibitions. The more interesting upstairs level was the former living quarters of the Gorordo family. It features lovely carved wooden furniture and a wide patio. The kitchen is particularly interesting, as it contains a traditional dirt stove, a wooden food safe, and a traditional dish drying rack fitted to the outside of the window. Adults: ₱70.

Museums, nature and other

  • Dance with the smoothest criminals in the world Experience the life behind prison bars and dance with the smooth friendly dangerous criminals. You can mingle with them take pictures with them but you don't have to worry much; guards and police are around. Still your life is in your hands. Free performances and bus. The inmates' performances are held on the last Saturday of each month.
  • Cebu Parkmall and Cebu International Convention Center
  • Cebu Provincial Museum (Museo Sugbo) (a short taxi ride from Fort San Pedro). The museum is housed in the former Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center, which was once the Carcel de Cebu. Its four Spanish-era buildings made of coral stone contain artifacts relating to the history of Cebu.
  • Provincial Capitol, which is particularly scenic at night, is by far the largest provincial Capitol building anywhere in the entire archipelago. Its original design is a miniature of the White House and was built during the American Era.
  • Heritage of Cebu (Eastern end of Colon St). A massive and particularly detailed monument showcasing the heritage of Cebu from the old Spanish to the American colonial era.
  • Mount Manghilaw
  • Santa Rosa Falls
  • Taoist Temple. Visit the temple for a unique look at the island's Chinese heritage. The Chinese make up a significant part of the population, with many of the locals having full or partial Chinese ancestry.
  • Crocolandia. Witness different sizes of crocodiles, snakes, deer and birds.
  • Jose R. Gullas Halad Museum, is a musically-themed museum in Cebu City, Philippines that pays homage to the musical heritage of Cebu. This museum is operated under the Tipiganan sa mga Handumanan sa Kanta ug Kinaiyang Sugbuanon (Treasury of Memories) Foundation. It is located along V. Gullas St. (former Manalili) and D. Jakosalem St. Cebu City, which used to be the old building of The Freeman Newspaper and now houses Cebuano and Visayan musical treasures and memorabilia.

Magellan\'s Cross

Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral

Basilica of the Holy Child

Ayala Center

Fort San Pedro

Fuente Osmena Circle

Cebu Doctor\'s University Hospital

Robinsons Plaza

SM City Cebu

Cebu International Convention Center

Heritage of Cebu Monument

Philippines Taoist Temple

Casa Gorordo Museum

Tops Lookout

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Popular events in Cebu in the near future

Date: Category: The event list provided by Eventful
The event list provided by Eventful

About Cebu

Activities

  • Biking - Go to Tops, which literally sits at the top of the Mt Busay for an unobstructed view of the entire city at night. A few shops and restaurants stand along the way for a short stop. At one time taxi drivers charged a whopping ₱500+ for the ride to Tops but the price has doubled to a ridiculous non-negotiable ₱1000, the best way to experience Tops is by mountain bike. This is a world class climb and on any given day, Cebu's bikers are humping the 45 minute to 1 hr trek filled with switchbacks and views better than you see actually at the very top. Ask your hotel where you can rent a mountain bike. They will have to ask around a bit, but it's worth it.
  • Drink, Eat, Laugh and Party - Cebu city is one of the cities which won't miss the party scenes at night, being a major city of commerce and finance in the Philippines; the development of bars, clubs and other commercial establishments are at a fast rate. Take a break from the hectic busy urban life... take a laugh, comedy bars are common in the Philippines and usually Sarcasm the lowest common of wit as most people would say is the common specialty of comedians, don't get pissed at them if they make fun of you, smile back and just get along. Comedy and disco bars, coffee shops and restaurants are found in Gen. Mexilom Ave., Fuenta Rotunda and Osmeña Blvd.
  • Ride a Tartanilla - Head to Cebu's old quarters in Carlock St and try riding a horse drawn carriage called a tartanilla. Remember to negotiate with the driver before taking a ride.
  • See the scenic view of Cebu City's skyline - The Marcelo Fernan Bridge or Second Mactan Bridge offers some interesting views of the city at night, and is even picturesque from below. Arrange for a taxi to take you there.
  • Shop - Cebu City is well known for two spacious and modern malls outside Manila. SM City Cebu and the Ayala Center Cebu are the most famous and luxurious shopping centers at the heart of the city. Boutique shops, mini-malls, themed malls, fine and alfresco dining include ParkMall, Banilad Town Center, among others.
  • Sinulog Festival - The island of Cebu gets especially busy on the third Sunday of January due to the Sinulog Festival. It is the local way of honouring the Child Jesus. Main thoroughfares around the city are blocked for an all-day and all-night loud and colourful street party. Don't forget your dancing shoes!
  • Swim and Sun - Mactan is actually the popular place when it comes to beaches which is just minutes away from Cebu City and is where the Airport is located. But despite it's popularity, Mactan is a poor choice for travelers who are looking for a real beach experience. One would be hard-pressed to call any beach in Mactan a "paradise"...that is unless you enjoy fenced off, for-pay, mostly man-made muddy swim holes. Two ironies are at work on Mactan. Number #1: If you really like beaches, you are only about 90 minutes from great beaches , world class beaches ( examples include Moalboal and Alona in Bohol)... those are closer to the ones you see on postcards from the philippines. Number #2: most people who enjoy Mactan absolutely hate the sun (count the number of umbrellas opened on any given day in Cebu!) ) and have a slightly less strong aversion to the water...and instead are enjoying mactan as the result of a someone else's generosity or purchased time, or bought a package deal back in korea without knowing any better, or as furloughed cebu city workers who take some pleasure telling co-workers and friends they were at the so and so 3 star hotel for the weekend but do little else than take picture of the event rather than simply enjoying the experience.

For a real beach experience, visit nearby Bantayan Island. It is accessible by chartered plane from Mactan Cebu Airport or through Hagnaya Port (3 hr by car from the city) where it is around an hour ferry ride to Sta Fe port of Bantayan Island. Day trips to Virgin Island can be arranged with your resort as well.

  • Snorkel, bird-watching and scuba diving - The island of Olango and its 6 small satellite islands are ideal for snorkelling and scuba diving as well as observation of migratory birds.
  • Xtreme Rides - Just adjacent Robinson's Mall is the Crown Regency Cebu which is the tallest building in the city. Adventure seekers may head to the top floor to experience a breathtaking view of this modern city and its environs. You may also opt to join in the Xtreme Rides that literally puts you on the edge of the city, or you may walk around the edge of the building (don't worry, safety cables are attached) to experience this once in a lifetime experience. All of these you can enjoy for a small fee.

Food

The great thing about Cebu is that, while being an island paradise, on the one hand, it's also a sophisticated city, with a wide range of pretty decent restaurants to choose from. Street-food abounds in Cebu and is amazingly cheap. You can buy all sorts of Philippine delicacies from the many street stalls scattered around Cebu City.

Cuisine

  • SuTuKil - An acronym for sugba (grilled), tula (soup-based/with broth), and kilaw (raw, soaked/pickled in vinegar). This is a popular term for ordering a selection of fresh seafood and meat from the market and cooked any way you like it in an eatery.
  • Lechon - Roasted suckling pig. The whole province of Cebu is known for its lechon which is known to be the best in the Philippines.

Restaurants

Cebu has Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Italian, Continental, fusion, and of course local restaurants. It also has other international cuisines like American, Spanish, Thai and Indian. For tourists, the two best areas to find great restaurants are Ayala Mall and IT Park. Ayala Center Cebu recently opened a modern extension called The Terraces with an abundance of food choices adjacent to Marriott Hotel. It also has two grocery stores with large sections of food imported from the rest of the world. The IT Park has over 20 great restaurants and most of them are open 24 hours a day. Both of these eating areas offer free WiFi. On the other hand, SM City Cebu also opened an extension to the main mall called SM Northwing with more than 10 choices of local and international cuisines.

  • Alberto's Pizza, B. Rodriguez Ave. (opposite Vicente Sotto Hospital). Offers a good and rather affordable locally made thin crust pizza.
  • Ang Manok ni Señor Pedro. Specialises in Lechon Manok or roasted chicken which is a local favorite.
  • Bens Lechon, Has branches in Mactan Marina Mall, Airport Rd, Parkmall Mandaue and also in White Gold Supermarket.,  +63 32 420-4320., e-mail: benslechon@gmail.com. Popular for its Native Cebu Lechon, in its branch in STK Food St. they offer STK an abbreviation for sugba, tuwa and kinilaw, offering sinugbang panga, tuna belly, squid and the famous Bisaya chicken. They also offer pochero, caldertang kambing along with other Filipino dishes.
  • Casa Verde, Has branches in Ayala Center Cebu, IT Park and the original restaurant in Ramos.. Well known for their baby back ribs.
  • Cielo (2nd Level, The Forum, Archbishop Reyes),  +63 32 412-9887, e-mail: cielocebu@gmail.com. Open daily, except Mon., 11AM-2PM and 6PM-12midnite. Cielo is an authentic Italian style restaurant with a contemporary bar and lounge, the interior and music is quite reminiscent of NY City. Specialties include gourmet pizzas, pasta, osso buco, scallopini ala marsala and traditional Italian desserts such as bread pudding, panna cotta, tartufo.
  • CNT Lechon, SM City Cebu. Serves authentic Cebuano Lechon.
  • Golden Cowrie, Branches in Salinas Drive, SM Cebu and Robinson's Cybergate..
  • Giuseppe's, Marie Luisa Drive, Banilad. Authentic Italian restaurant.
  • Hola Espanol. Spanish cuisine in the Philippines. Try their Paella Negra, and other paella varieties.
  • Joule's chicken, Talamban (Across Blue Gym, No signs at all, look for the smoke on your left and motorbikes on your right, and long lines at the window.). Famous for their lechon manok (roasted chicken).
  • The Jungle Restaurant. They serve international cuisine. Aside from dining, they too have entertainment, dances from around the world, fire dancing, Local Filipino traditional dances, Filipino culture, arts and crafts etc.
  • La Buona Forchetta da Paolo Ristorante Pizzeria, Advent Business Center, 139 Acacia St., Kamputhaw. is popular among foreign residents for offering authentic Italian cuisine at reasonable prices. Equally noteworthy Italian restaurants are La Tegola (with outlets in Busay and Banilad) and Brescia (Salinas Drive, Lahug), which also has a wide range of imported wines.
  • Larsian Barbeque (Near Fuente). Best and the cheapest around the city. The barbeque portions are small so you have enough space to store dessert. Try various kinds of barbequed local delicacies not for the faint of heart: innards, coagulated blood, squid, hotdogs aside from the usual pork and chicken varieties.
  • Mooon Cafe. Is a local restaurant located at the Terraces in Ayala Mall as well as in Guadalupe not far from the Capitol building. Its specialty is Mexican "inspired" food and ambiance, but they serve a wide variety of options.
  • Little Saigon Big Bangkok, 1 Paseo Saturnino Drive ( Old Maria Luisa Road) next to The Spa at Cebu, Banilad, Cebu City,  +63 32 4150228, e-mail: littlesaigonbigbangkok@gmail.com. Little Saigon Big Bangkok is an Asian restaurant specializing in creative Thai and Vietnamese "street food" cuisines, among many others.
  • Gustavian's near Giuseppe's for steaks, euro-continental, and a pub theme. Also in Ayala terraces. Pretty good deli too.
  • Siomai sa Tisa. Steamed Pork Siomai served with chili sauce.
  • Spice Fusion, It has branches in Banilad Town Center and SM Cebu. They offer a wide selection of Southeast Asian food.
  • Tajimaya Yakiniku, Lahug (End of Crossroads Mall). Serves Japanese cuisine.

Desserts, pastries and cakes

  • Postrio Bakery and Cafe. Cebu-based bakeshop and cafe
  • Chedz Designer Cakes. Cebu-based bakeshop specializing in designer birthday and wedding cakes
  • La Marea - Cebu-based bakeshops specializing in cakes
  • Leonas Cakes and Pastries - Cebu-based dessert and pastry shop with several outlets in Cebu. Try their banana walnut cake.
  • Dessert Factory. Dessert restaurant in Ayala Center Cebu
  • Cebu La Fortuna Bakery. Try their masi, a Chinese Filipino sweet product of crush nuts and sugar wrapped in rice paste. This is their only excellent product; the others may not be worth much for a try.
  • 10 Dove St - in the village of Santo Nino. The owner converted a garage like structure into a cheap, sandwich bistro. Real star are her fantastic cakes, very fresh, served by the slice from old-fashioned cake platters.

Drinks

  • Mango Avenue and Mango Square is where the bulk of the nightlife is located. The typical venues are nightclubs, bars and karaoke boxes. There is also a variety of girlie clubs lined up on Mango Ave leading up to Mango Square. There are also dispersed clubs and local-frequented bars off the beaten track. Ask a taxi driver of their whereabouts.
  • J Ave. (Formerly Juliana's), a large dance club in Mango Square, is crowded every night of the week. ₱100 entrance fee that includes one free beer of your choice. A local beer will cost you only ₱50 (Red Horse). The more expensive drinks are around ₱280. The music is a mix of hip hop and electronic music and it can get pretty loud and bumping. Excellent bar staff. This establishment is especially popular with young Japanese and Korean tourists. Great place for meeting friendly non-prostitute Filipina women, but that's not to say that there aren't working ladies here. (March 2012)
  • Se Bens Authentic Cebu Lechon offers the Authentic Cebu Lechon Tastes and Quality with other pulutan menus with your favorite beer along with its Native Filipino short orders such as Pochero or Bolalo on its newly open restaurant and grille. Visit Se Bens to experience the Cebuano Hospitality.
  • Waterfront Hotel and Casino Cebu - Gamble away your kid's college fund and drink all night in this 5-star hotel and entertainment center.
  • Crossroads is an array of shops and restaurants that offer an alternative nightlife to IT Park which is just nearby.
  • Sunflower is a famed nightclub that is a little way out of the city center but most taxi drivers will know where it is.

Shopping

Cebu City has many shopping malls - the biggest being SM City Cebu, which is a four-level shopping mall with a huge department store, supermarket, movie theater and over 200 shops and restaurants. A more upscale shopping mall is the Ayala Mall, it also has a large department store, two supermarkets and a movie theater, and it offers more restaurants and stores that appeal to tourists. These are modern buildings with lots of western goods in addition to local stores. There are other, older and smaller malls dotted all over the city, such as Country Mall, Robinson's Mall, e-Mall, Mango Square and Cebu Parkmall. In addition to this there are many stores and places to stop. One nice place is the Colon part of the Old Downtown.

If you need to fix something there are hardware stores in all of the malls. Cebu Home and Builders Center along AS Fortuna-Mandaue, Mactan (near old bridge) and Cebu Parkmall is the home depot style that carries the most complete line for finishing and building materials. There is a large warehouse store called Makro, located near SM that offers good prices on goods in bulk. Another great place to buy household goods on the cheap is White Gold, also near SM. For furniture the two best places to go is Sun Gold and Mandaue Foam, just remember to ask for at least 10-20% off the price. If you want to buy groceries, the Metro Supermarket in Ayala Mall is well stocked - local and imported products - and affordable. They also have another supermarket located at the foot of the Marcelo Fernan Bridge in Mandaue City, their biggest yet. If you are in the southwestern part of Cebu, they also have a store in Toledo City and the City of Naga. Metro also has lots of great buys and the lowest prices you can get in their department stores in Ayala Mall, Mandaue City and Colon St. You may also shop at the SM Supermarket in SM City or for best value go to SaveMore Supermarket in Mactan Marina Mall, e-mall and it's largest branch in VisMin at Cebu Parkmall.

  • HSBC Bank, Ground floor, Taft Ayala bldg, Cardinal Rosales Avenue (Cebu business park). Has the Only ATMs without a php200 fee for Overseas cards in Cebu city, also the only ATM in Cebu where u can take up up to php40.000 per time.

there is also a Citi Bank (USA). and a Standard Chartered Bank (UK). both are along Mindanao Avenue in the Cebu Business park. both the Citi Bank and the Standard Chartered bank have a php200 fee for the use of there ATMs for Overseas Cards.

Books

  • Fully Booked, Level 2, The Terraces, Ayala Centre (Cebu Business Park),  +63 32 4171007, e-mail: fb_cebu@fullybookedonline.com. Or +63 32 4171400. A modern bookshop with a good selection of imported fiction and non-fiction books, a smaller collection of books about the Philippines and an in-shop café.
  • National Book Store, Ayala Center Cebu, Mango Cebu and SM City Cebu, e-mail: info@nationalbookstore.com.ph. Bookshop chain with local and foreign books, academic texts and stationery.

This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Cebu (city) on Wikivoyage.

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