Known as the “Queen City of the South,” Cebu boasts a stunning coastline, pristine beaches, and an abundance of historical landmarks and cultural sites. With so much to see and do, it can be overwhelming to plan your itinerary. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the 15 best things to do in Cebu to make sure you don’t miss out on any of the highlights.
1. Visit Magellan’s Cross
It marks the spot where Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese explorer, planted a cross in 1521 to signify the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines. The original cross has since been encased in a wooden structure to protect it from damage, but visitors can still see it and take photos.
2. Explore the Basilica del Santo Niño
The Basilica del Santo Niño is the oldest Roman Catholic church in the Philippines and is home to the Santo Niño de Cebu, a statue of the Child Jesus that dates back to the 16th century. The church also has an impressive collection of religious art and artifacts, including vestments, chalices, and other sacred objects.
3. Swim with whale sharks in Oslob
Whale shark watching in Oslob has become one of the most popular tourist activities in Cebu. Visitors can snorkel or scuba dive with the gentle giants, which can grow up to 40 feet long. While controversial due to concerns about animal welfare, it remains a popular attraction for those who want to get up close and personal with these magnificent creatures.
4. Island hopping in Mactan
Visitors can take a boat tour around the island to explore its hidden coves, coral reefs, and sandbars. The tour typically includes stops at popular destinations like Nalusuan Island, Hilutungan Island, and Caohagan Island.
5. Visit the Taoist Temple
The Cebu Taoist Temple is a tranquil retreat located in the Beverly Hills neighborhood of Cebu City. Built in 1972, it is the center of worship for the city’s Chinese community and features a winding staircase, intricate carvings, and ornate decorations. Visitors can also enjoy panoramic views of the city from the temple’s terrace.
6. Walk across the Marcelo Fernan Bridge
The Marcelo Fernan Bridge is a cable-stayed bridge that connects Mandaue City to Lapu-Lapu City on Mactan Island. It is one of the longest and most iconic bridges in the Philippines, spanning over two kilometers. Visitors can take a walk across the bridge to enjoy stunning views of the surrounding area.
7. Hike up Osmeña Peak
It’s a great spot for hiking, camping, and taking in breathtaking views of the island and surrounding sea. The trail is relatively easy, making it accessible to hikers of all levels.
8. Visit the Magellan Shrine
Located in Punta Engaño on Mactan Island, the shrine is a popular spot for tourists to take photos and learn about the island’s history.
9. Go canyoneering in Badian
Canyoneering is a thrilling adventure activity that involves jumping from cliffs into natural pools and rivers. Badian is one of the best places in Cebu to go canyoneering, with its crystal-clear waters and stunning scenery. You can also hike through the canyons and explore the surrounding forests.
10. Relax on Malapascua Island
Malapascua Island is a tiny paradise located in the northern part of Cebu. It’s known for its white-sand beaches, clear waters, and world-class diving spots. Relax on the beach, go snorkeling or scuba diving, or take a boat tour around the island are very interesting things to do whey you visit Cebu.
11. Visit Fort San Pedro
Fort San Pedro is a military defense structure built by Spanish conquistador, Miguel López de Legazpi, in 1565. It served as a garrison for Spanish soldiers during their occupation of the Philippines. Today, it is a popular tourist attraction and features a museum showcasing various artifacts and sculptures.
12. Explore the Sirao Flower Farm
The Sirao Flower Farm, also known as the “Little Amsterdam” of Cebu, is a popular tourist destination located in Busay. It’s known for its stunning display of celosia flowers, which bloom in vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow. Visitors can stroll through the gardens, take photos, and buy souvenirs made from the flowers.
13. Take a dip at Tumalog Falls
The cool and crystal-clear waters cascade down in a curtain-like fashion, creating a mesmerizing sight. Visitors can swim in the pool beneath the falls or take photos with the stunning backdrop.
14. Visit the Cebu City Zoo
It features a wide variety of animals, including tigers, lions, monkeys, and birds. Visitors can also watch animal shows, ride ponies, and take photos of various animal species.
15. Shop at the Carbon Market
The Carbon Market is the largest in Cebu City, offering a wide variety of goods, including fresh produce, seafood, clothing, and handicrafts. It’s a great place to experience the local culture and sample traditional Filipino cuisine like lechon (roasted pig) and dried fish.
Cebu is a fantastic destination for anyone looking to experience the best of the Philippines. With its rich history, stunning natural beauty, and warm and welcoming locals, it’s no wonder that it’s becoming an increasingly popular tourist spot. From exploring historical landmarks to swimming with whale sharks, there’s something for everyone in Cebu. So pack your bags, and get ready to discover the Queen City of the South one adventure at a time!