The Philippines comprises more than 7,000 wonderful islands and has numerous tourist attractions that travelers keep coming back to visit. The island of Cebu has all the attractions you need to see and experience that will surely make this island your favorite destination. Here are some of the best Cebu attractions that will guide backpackers in exploring the whole island.
Top City Attractions
Basilica del Sto. Niño
This landmark is probably what identifies Cebu from the rest of the provinces in the Philippines. This church houses the miraculous child Jesus, Señor Santo Niño, whom people from all over the country come to visit every January to celebrate the Sinulog festival.
Sinulog is a religious festival showcasing Cebu’s rich history. It commemorates the conversion of the Filipino people from paganism to Christianity through its dance rituals and performances. This month-long celebration is commenced by a 9-day novena where locals come to gather at the basilica in honor of Sto. Niño. This is the best Cebu attraction as a series of different activities are being hosted all throughout the city and is then culminated by grand feasts and colorful street performances on the third Sunday of the month.
Sitting beside the Basilica is the Magellan’s Cross. Named after the Portuguese explorer, Ferdinand Magellan who ordered the Spaniards to build it when he came to Cebu in 1521.
Local City Markets and Downtown
Some of the best Cebu attractions can be found around the city. Whether you’re in search of local eats, or a light stroll on the city markets, Cebu will definitely leave you in awe with everything it has to offer.
A short walk from this area will lead you to “Tabo-an” where you can find one of the famous delicacies sold in the province — dried fish, commonly known as “Buwad”. Although the more established business centers have transferred to a much more modern location far from downtown, one can’t take away the certain appeal it has to the visitors of Cebu.
After some short explorations of downtown Cebu, one can roam around the uptown area where the lucrative businesses are located. If you are one of the more adventurous types, you’ll surely enjoy Crown Regency’s Edge Coaster and Sky Walk. The edge coaster gives you a 360-degree view of the entire city from the top of the building.
If there is one thing Filipinos (especially Cebuanos) enjoy doing, it’s eating. Local eats can be found on every corner of the city. Cebu is known for cheap and delicious meals that will satisfy your palette. One of the famous ones that can be found in uptown Cebu is at Larsian. There, locals and tourists can enjoy some barbeque and seafood at a very reasonable price.
The Cebu Lechon is the most famous dish present in any feast or occasion. This roasted pig has a crispy thick skin and a juicy taste that makes it famously mouthwatering and brings so much pride to Cebu. In Talisay City Cebu, Lechon festival is celebrated every October where locals cook and display their crispy lechons at the streets for a grand celebration.
If you think Cebu already interests you by day, wait until you see it during night time. As the sun sets, things get more and more exciting in Cebu. Nightclubs and bars are spotted at the streets of Cebu where you can meet, socialize and party all night.
The Top of Cebu
Temple of Leah
Aside from the city markets and nightclubs, Cebu also has a few notable places one could sight-see. Going to the top of the city takes only 30 minutes. Temple of Leah is a new tourist site which is known to be the Philippine version of the Taj Mahal. The owner built this roman architecture design to show his powerful love and devotion for his wife, Leah.
Not too far from the Temple of Leah is Tops Lookout. This is one of Cebu’s go-to destination where locals go for a road trip in the mountaintop to chill and have a good time. This massive viewing deck is where people camp in for a picnic while enjoying the sunset view of the whole city. The fresh wind and serene setting are perfect for couples. Talk about massive city lights, this Cebu attraction is also best to visit during the night as you embrace the cold night with a cold beer for some relaxation.
Sirao Flower Garden
If you are looking for a good time with your family, Sirao Garden is the perfect Cebu attraction to visit. The Sirao Flower Farm or also known as “Little Amsterdam” has the most beautiful and colorful flowers lined up in a large field on top of the mountain. If you are a fan of the beauty of nature, this garden will definitely be your favorite destination in Cebu.
Dine at the Mountain
Going around the top of Cebu surely makes you want to relax and eat after hours of travel and sight-seeing. Just a few minutes away from the Cebu attractions mentioned, Lantaw Busay and West 35 can be found. These mountain view restaurants will give you the best and freshest meals that you definitely deserve after a long day.
Northern Province of Cebu
Cebu is known to have the best white-sand beaches and breathtaking marine sanctuaries to dive for. The best nearby islands in Cebu are up in the northern part where island hopping is always enjoyed. Some of these islands have many tourists because of the underwater activities offered at a very affordable rate.
This 4-5 hour trek from the city will take you to the serene island where clear waters and fresh sea breezes are present. Lay down on the pure white sand shore and experience the ultimate island life. This small island is also known for its wonderful mangrove gardens, a natural water pool inside a cave, and cliff jumping to satisfy your adrenalin.
If you are coming to Cebu and long for peace under the water, this island is certainly for you. The Malapascua island is the go-to diving destination in the northern islands of Cebu. Tourists come to this island to go snorkeling and diving and witness fascinating corals, different species of fish, and super cool thresher sharks.
Southern Province of Cebu
There are even more adventures at the southern part of Cebu. Explore majestic churches; from Carcar City head onto Simala Shrine in Cebu located at Sibonga. This church has a magnificent castle setting that locals always pay a visit to give thanks to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Devotees gather every September 8th of the year and visit the shrine as a Catholic tradition.
Cool off and dive into the clear waters and beautiful waterfalls of Oslob. From Sibonga, it will take you less than two hours to travel to Oslob. This small town became popular in tourism for the famous whaleshark watching and swimming activities that locals and tourists keep coming back to visit.
For mountain climbing adventure, going to the highest peak of Cebu is a perfect idea. The peak is approximately 1000 meter above sea level, making this the highest point of Cebu. The peak is part of the Mantalungon mountain range that is similar to the Chocolate Hills of Bohol.
The three-level waterfalls are famous for its natural aquamarine swimming pools. Relax and swim into the serene natural spring water. This natural wonder is located at Badian, which is 120-kilometers south of Cebu City. The Canyoneering adventure in Kawasan Falls is known to be the trendiest adventure in the South. With full gears and equipment, you are guided by local professionals to ensure safety.
Cebu Attractions: Canyoneering © Courtesy of Jeh Montebon
Where to Stay in Cebu
Mad Monkey Hostel Cebu is now open for backpackers traveling to Cebu. Our rooms are all air-conditioned with ensuite bathrooms and a personal locker storage to keep your valuables safe and secure. We offer good comfort food at our restaurant, which will make you want to stay even longer.
We have a bar that offers free shots every night to keep the party going. Our Customer Experience Reps will surely give you the best stay as you’ll enjoy nightly events, billiards, beer pong games and so much more. Meet tons of travelers here at the queen city of the south.
More Information About Cebu Attractions:
Did you love reading this article about Cebu attractions? Learn more about the beautiful attractions in Cebu and check out these articles below:
- Everything You Need To Know About The Temple of Leah by Cheryl Navarro
- Sirao Flower Farm by Cebu City Tour
- Lantaw Busay + West 35 Eco Resort by Valerie Kristel
- Best Places in North Cebu (Bantayan, Malapascua, and Kalanggaman) by Tom
- Osmeña Peak Travel Guide by The Pinay Solo Backpacker