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Cebu has so much for a tourist to discover. When you visit Cebu it’s important to have knowledge of what it has to offer and what peaks your interest. This small yet amazingly beautiful destination keeps visitors coming for many, many different reasons. In order to make it easy for you, we’ve listed our top 10 but it’s important to point out that this top 10 is only the beginning of an extremely long list! 

The beautiful blue sea of Cebu.
The beautiful blue sea of Cebu. © Courtesy of Shutterstock


World Class Cebu Beaches and Islands

We’ve lumped beaches and islands together as one because they go hand in hand. It’s impossible to not mention the pristine beaches in and around Cebu. With cheap travel from the city to most of the surrounding islands, getting to one of the most beautiful beaches you’ve ever seen is easy! There are many beaches to choose from but here are some of our favorites: Paradise Beach (Bantayan Island), Santiago Bay (Camotes Islands), Bakhaw Beach (Camotes Islands), and Bounty Beach (Malapascua Island). Believe us when we say there are more to choose from, but this topic could be a long article in itself!

Bantayan Island, Cebu, Philippines
Bantayan Island, Cebu, Philippines © Courtesy of Shutterstock


Very Affordable 

One of the reasons that the Philippines is such a popular tourist spot is because it’s cheap! You’ll find that meals at restaurants can be as low as $2 or $3USD while street food is even cheaper. Nicer restaurants still won’t break the bank, as dinner for two typically costs around $15USD. Of course, there are price ranges and differences all over as you’d find in any place, but the amount you’ll pay for a fancy meal will certainly be less than what you’d pay in the USA or most of Europe. If your income is a typical Western wage, you will most certainly enjoy paying Filipino prices during your vacation. Any touristy place will be more expensive than where the locals go, but in Cebu these places aren’t really expensive, they’re more like… “expensive.”

Filipino Pesos © Courtesy of Shutterstock
Filipino Pesos © Courtesy of Shutterstock


English Speaking Locals

Unlike many of the surrounding countries in Southeast Asia, the level of English in the Philippines is amazing! Most tourists in this part of the world are looking for a new culture but are timid to immerse themselves in one which does not communicate with the same language. There aren’t any problems about that in Cebu City, as English is prevalent. Making friends in the Philippines is super easy because of this, too! Many travelers enjoy hanging out with the locals at popular bars and restaurants to get their perspective on Cebu. Exchanging culture is a lot easier when there is a common language!

Western tourists should have no problems communicating with local Filipinos! © Courtesy of Shutterstock
Western tourists should have no problems communicating with local Filipinos! © Courtesy of Shutterstock


Super Friendly People!

The people of Southeast Asia, the Philippines, and specifically Cebu City are some of the kindest people in the world. Many tourists believe they are only being nice because tourism brings them money. While yes, the tourism money does help sustain their economy, you would find the same level of kindness in an area with no tourism whatsoever. It’s very difficult to go more than five minutes without seeing a smile from one of the locals! We suggest, as mentioned above, that you go out and have an in-depth conversation with at the very least one local. If you are going to a new part of the world, you should immerse yourself a bit to really understand how the people there feel about their home!

Local Filipinos at the Carbon Market - the oldest and largest farmer's market in town.
Local Filipinos at the Carbon Market – the oldest and largest farmer’s market in town © Courtesy of Shutterstock


Cheap to get to and cheap to tour around

Getting to Southeast Asia from Europe or the USA isn’t as expensive as you might think with good deals on flights often costing less than $1000 round trip if you take the time to research and plan accordingly. Once you’re in Southeast Asia, travel between destinations is CHEAP. Getting from Manila to Cebu often costs less than $25 by plane. Even farther starting points, such as Bangkok, Thailand, have flights to Cebu (some direct, some laying over in Manila) for under $100USD. Once you’ve landed in Cebu City, island hopping is cheap too, with organized transportation taking you to the specific island or beach you want to visit.

Getting around the Philippines can be done for cheap and in style! © Courtesy of Shutterstock
Getting around the Philippines can be done for cheap and in style! © Courtesy of Shutterstock


Waterfalls within Cebu

Yes, we previously mentioned that the islands and beaches are amazing. Of course we stand by that but inland near the city of Cebu are beautiful crystal clear waterfalls! These natural wonders are all different from each other and are not to be missed. You may not have time to visit all of them so if you don’t here’s a list of our favorites: Kawasan Falls (touristy but there’s a reason for that… it’s beautiful), Aguinid Falls, Tumalog Falls, Dao Falls, and Bugasok Falls.

Kawasan Falls, Cebu, Philippines
Kawasan Falls, Cebu, Philippines © Courtesy of Shutterstock


Mountains in Cebu

Continuing on our trend of nature, hiking up the mountains near Cebu is a rewarding trek. Many of the mountains have campsites if you’re looking to stay a night or two while some people opt for a day trip. Mt. Kan-Irag is perhaps the most famous and visited while others worth noting (there are so many to choose from) are: Osmena Peak, Mt. Naupa, and Mt. Babag. Admittedly this list is too short. There are so many peaks to choose from so if hiking is your thing, do extensive research into which mountain trek is best for you!

Osmena Peak, Cebu Island, Philippines.
Osmena Peak, Cebu Island, Philippines © Courtesy of Shutterstock


Crazy Nightlife Scene

If you’re looking for night time entertainment, Cebu City has got you covered. One of the most popular areas is Mango Avenue or Mango Square. This area of the city is home to dozens of bars and clubs that have different vibes between them. The “best” one is up to personal preference, but there’s usually a good time at Alchology, Liv Super Club, J. Ave, Club Hype, and Ultra. Do be careful where you go as there is some prostitution and sex tourism around. We do not support any of that type of business.

A nighttime view of Cebu City © Courtesy of Shutterstock
A nighttime view of Cebu City © Courtesy of Shutterstock


Local Filipino Food

The food in Cebu could be a week-long tour in and of itself. If you’re a foodie, you certainly need to try new things like Cebu Lechon. This salty pork snack is going to be unlike any other pork you’ve ever tried before. Ginabut is another pork based dish worth trying if you’re feeling adventurous. It’s deep fried pig intestines! Linarang is another new choice for most foreign visitors. It’s a dish made from stingray and topped with coconut milk!

Lechon, a famous Filipino dish
Lechon, a famous Filipino dish © Courtesy of Shutterstock


Proximity to everything else

This last reason is a bit anticlimactic, but important. If you are traveling around the Southeast Asian area, it’s worth noting how central Cebu is within the Philippines and how accessible all other parts of Southeast Asia are from Cebu. Cebu is a perfect place for a long term stay or a pitstop as you tour around the world. Where should you go after Cebu? That’s totally up to you, but the options are nearly endless! Japan, Korea, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Bhutan, Malaysia… shall we go on???

Centrally located in the Philippines, Cebu makes getting to domestic and international destinations easy. © Courtesy of Shutterstock
Centrally located in the Philippines, Cebu makes getting to domestic and international destinations easy. © Courtesy of Shutterstock

When traveling to Cebu, it’s important for you to do a bit of research beforehand so you know where to go! Cebu is such a good place to visit and checking out a list of tourist destinations while or before you’re there is highly recommended. Traveling around Cebu is something you’ll never forget and you’ll be sure to discover new and amazing things that you’ve never experienced before. We hope you take a trip to Cebu soon! You will NOT regret it!

More Information About Why to Visit Cebu

Did you enjoy this article about why you should visit Cebu? Our list was certainly a limited overview so check out some or all of the articles below for other ideas and perspectives on what to do while visiting Cebu. Cebu has so many different things to offer, so it’s impossible to write about all of them in one short article!


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About the Author

Mad Monkey is Southeast Asia’s leading hostel operator — born in Cambodia with more properties in Thailand, Indonesia, Australia, Laos, and the Philippines. We pride ourselves in creating meaningful and sustainable travel experiences for our guests, whilst promoting socially responsible tourism.