Probably the best list recommendation you can get out of Google. This list is directly from a Cebuana who loves to explore here own hometown a.k.a. me. I’ve decided to make this list as this is the top question I always get from people. I could actually list this to my personal Guinness World of Record as the most asked question.
I made this list comprehensive enough for you to make your holiday in Cebu a very memorable one. And hoping to make my life a lot easier in the future — hehehe!
You can use this list as your reference and decide which ones interest you. While if you want to make your holiday hassle-free then I recommend you to book a day tour. Package tours are floating around the net, all you have to do is reach out to them. You may also email your inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website. I always used them when I’m too lazy to arrange our family out of towns.
Let me start this list around Cebu City. If you don’t have much time to travel outside the metro then these are the best things to do.
1) Visit Ancestral Houses turns Museum
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There are more ancestral houses around Cebu, but I would like to recommend this three: Yan-San Diego House (built in 17th Century), 1730 Jesuit House ( Museo De Parian, built in 18th Century), and Casa Gorordo (built in 19th Century).
They are convenient to visit and feature more interesting stuff. It will give a clear picture of the kind of life those families lived during those centuries.
So many antiques around the house from giant images of Roman Catholic Saints to appliances and house furniture. I would like to bring home one of the dining table sets, if only it can fit it into my bag. The beds, lights, kitchenware, living areas, and more are all equally exquisite.
If you decided to visit one of these ancestral houses, why not visit them all since they are just walking distance away from each other.
Read more – Ancestral Houses to Visit
2) Explore Neresvilla
Nerisville opened to the public last September 2018. A small park that replicates the iconic landmarks of Bali, Indonesia, and Hobbiton in New Zealand.
It’s located in Barangay Lusaran. It’s the last barangay of Cebu City before Balamban. It’s roughly a 1-hour drive from the City proper (minus the traffic) to Nerisvilla. The road is cemented, so it’s easy to drive. I’ve shared on a post below how to get there via public transportation.
Read more – What to Expect in Nerisville
3) Experience the Sky Adventure – Rooftop Theme Park
Sky Adventure is located at the rooftop of the Crown Regency Hotel & Tower Cebu City. It’s a 38th story building and said to be the tallest tower in the Philippines. It’s is situated at the heart of Cebu City which is very near to the oldest street in the Philippines — The Colon Street.
It offers extreme activities such as taking a stroll on their Skywalk Extreme, Edge Coaster, and Tower Zipline.
This is near to my home but I haven’t tried this Sky Adventure, if I do probably zipline excluded. — hehe!
Location: Tower 1, Crown Regency Hotel and Towers,
Fuente Towers, Fuente Osmeña Blvd.,
Cebu City, 6000 Philippines
Contacts: (032) 418 – 8888 / (032) 418 – 7777
Operating Hours: Monday – Friday (Open from 2pm till 12mn)
Saturday – (Open from 10am till 2am)
Sunday – (Open from 10am till 2mn)
4) Visit Temple of Leah
“I constructed this temple in the year 2012 A.D. as a symbol of my undying love for and ceaseless devotion to Leah Villa Albino-Adarna, my wife of 53 years. I adopted an architectural design that can withstand time and still be appreciated for a millennium so this temple will become a landmark of Cebu, where future generations of the Adarna clan can come and trace their roots and heritage,” written on the brass plaque placed on the wall beside the nine-foot bronze statue of Leah.
Temple of Leah is labeled as “Taj Mahal of Cebu”, is a grand gesture of love from a husband to his late wife. But unlike the Taj Mahal, which is a mausoleum, Temple of Leah is a shrine holding the memory and treasures of Leah Albino-Adarna, the late wife of Teodorico Soriano Adarna and the grandmother of actress, Ellen Adarna.
Location: Cebu Transcentral Hwy,
Cebu City, Cebu, Philippines
Contact: +63 906 324 5687
5) Enjoy the view of Cebu from Tops Lookout
View of Cebu from Tops
During my teenage years, this is one of the best places to visit and still is until today. The best spot to see Cebu City from the top of the mountain. It’s relaxing and magnificent both day and night time.
I recommend that you visit this place in the late afternoon before the sun sets, so you can enjoy it during the day and its beauty at night. There are restaurant and bar where you can chill and enjoy a meal.
Location: Cebu Tops Rd, Cebu City, Cebu,
Operating hours: 10AM to 2AM daily
Entrance fee: ₱100 per person
Cottage fee: None
Corkage Fee: None
Allow walk-in? Yes
6) Visit the little Amsterdam of Cebu – Sirao Flower Garden
These three different tourist spots I mentioned above (No. 5 to 7) are on the same way, so why not visit them all. It can take you half day to 1 day, depends on how fast you can explore and take your snaps.
You have to visit Temple of Leah first, followed by Tops Lookout, and last is Sirao Flower Garden.
There are 2 gardens in Sirao. One is the Sirao Pictorial Garden and Camping Site (PGCS) with swimming pool, the other is the original Sirao Flower Garden located just beside the PGCS.
Location: Busay Balamban, Cebu
Contact: +63 946 183 1320
7) The Historic Basilica del Santo Niño
It’s the oldest Roman Catholic church in the Philippines, it is built on the spot where the image of the Santo Niño de Cebu was found during the expedition of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and was founded in 1565.
When Pope Paul VI made the church a basilica in 1965, he declared it to be “the symbol of the birth and growth of Christianity in the Philippines.”
Location: Pilgrim’s Center, Osmeña Blvd,
Cebu City, 6000 Cebu, Philippines
Phone: +63 32 255 6697
8) The Magellan’s Cross
While the Magellan’s Cross is housed in a chapel next to the Basilica del Santo Niño, just when you exit the Basilica.
It’s a Christian cross planted by Portuguese and Spanish explorers as ordered by Ferdinand Magellan upon arriving in Cebu.
9) Visit Cebu Ocean Park
Cebu Ocean Park is a marine them park opened on 24 August 2019. It is known to be the largest Oceanarium in the Philippines with state of the art attractions, activities, function spaces, and food hall.
The Cebu Ocean Park accommodates as big as 10,000sqm area at SRP Cebu City, bigger than Manila Ocean Park’s 8,000sqm. The main oceanarium tank has 4,000 cubic meters, three times the size of Manila Ocean Park.
It is divided into several sections exhibiting both marine and terrestrial wildlife. And the four main attractions are Deep Tank Lagoon with a 360-degree view, Jungle Trek, Creepy Critters, and Multi-Animal Shows.
Location: SM Seaside Complex, F. Vestil St,
Cebu City, Cebu, Philippines (at the back of SM Seaside)
Opening hours: 9AM to 6PM daily
Contact: (032) 888 5288
10) Eat the best Lechon in Cebu City
If you have extra time, I would like to recommend Alejo’s Lechon. They have been in the Lechon business for over 25 years.
Growing up Alejo’s had been part of our home every special occasion and ordinary days when my mama had extra money to buy us Lechon for a meal.
Alejo’s Lechon never branches out but remain on their humble beginning at Katipunan St. You’ll always expect a crowd patiently waiting for their orders.
Location: 132 Katipunan St, Cebu City,
6000 Cebu, Philippines
Contact: +63 32 261 8575
11) Cebu Safari & Adventure Park
It’s approximately 2 hours drive (without traffic) from Cebu City to Toril, Brgy Corte, Carmen, Cebu where the Safari is situated. It’s own by Cebuano pawnshop tycoon Michel J. Lhuillier. The safari was born out of his passion to become a farmer.
Cebu Safari and Adventure Park is a 170-hectare property that showcases more than a thousand animals from 110 different species. It features a first in the country vehicle tour inside an African Savanna and a flora walking trail that displays 1 Million different variations of orchids.
Read more – Cebu Safari & Adventure Park
Location: Barangay Corte, Toril, Carmen, 6005 Cebu, Philippines
Contact: +63 961 298 6336
Wednesday to Sunday 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM
(last entry/ticket selling 2:00pm)
12) Swim with the Butanding in Oslob or Whale Shark Watching
This is highly recommended.
Whale shark watching started in September 2011. It becomes one of the popular destinations in Cebu both for locals and tourists. It will take you around 3 hours road trip from the city proper to Oslob in the South of Cebu. You’ll need 1 day for this trip but it is worth the visit. Nuff said.
Read more – Oslob Whale Shark Watching
Location: Tan-awan Oslob Cebu
13) Canyooneering & Kawasan Waterfalls
Canyoneering in Cebu becomes extremely popular after it was featured at “Biyahe ni Drew” TV show. This activity is not for kids and not for faint-hearted.
This activity involves trekking while you enjoy the beautiful nature, jumping into freshwater pools and high cliffs, swimming down the rapids, climbing, and screeeeeeaming hahahah! A guide is required for this activity, you cannot navigate the canyons on your own. Normally, guides would bring a dry bag, so you can leave your camera and phone to him.
You’ll end the Canyoneering at the most popular waterfalls in Cebu — The Kawasa Waterfalls. If you don’t intend to do the canyoneering activity you can straightway go to Kawasan Waterfalls and enjoy nature and swim. This is far from Cebu City, you need 5-6 hours road trip and the whole day for this trip.
Read more – Canyoneering & Kawasan Waterfalls
Location: Badian, 6031 Cebu, Philippines
14) Visit the Miraculous Simala Shrine
Since you’re already in the South part of Cebu, you may consider a side trip to Sibonga to visit the miraculous Simala Shrine. We used to visit this church way back when it was just a small chapel but was already miraculous back then. My eldest even wrote a letter to Mother Mary for me to be successful in my career in Singapore, one Sunday when we attended a mass in Simala a week before I left Cebu. She was around 8 years old then.
15) Island Hopping
Cebu is very blessed with beautiful beaches and islands which are near the City. So if you are a beach bum never neglect to explore Cebu’s gems.
Top Islands to visits are Pandanon, Nalusuan, Pescador, Hilutungan, and Sumilon Islands. While if you want to lazy around the beach, there are lots of choices around Mactan Island.
These are only a few of the places you can explore in Cebu while there’s more to it.