Introducing the city

£1.00 | P65.95

GBP | PHP

Gasoline £0.64 | P42.05

One-way ticket £0.12 | P8.00

Beer £0.76 | P50.00

Main Course £3.03 | P200.00

About Cebu

A tropical archipelago worthy of Robinson Crusoe, Cebu is an island region full of shark whales, turtles, white sand beaches and party-loving Cebu City.

Comprising of mainland Cebu, plus 150 smaller islands (including Mactan and Moalboal) this region is an idyllic Pacific paradise with some of southeast Asia's best diving spots. Golden beaches fringe turquoise, reef filled waters and low-lying palms sway in the warm tropical breeze. Cebu is not a frequent stop on the traveller circuit yet some of the best diving spots can be found on the north side of the island around Bantayan and Malapascua Islands (keep an eye out for whale sharks, turtles, untouched coral and all manner of rainbow coloured fish). The natural beauty continues on dry land, with Aguinid and Mantayupan waterfalls offering beautiful, serene settings.

Cebu City - the main hub - has plenty of options for those looking for a more urban experience, as well as some of the country's best nightlife there are also lovely sights including Basilica del Santo Nino and a Taoist Temple. Save room for some fresh and tasty street food from Colon Market or catch your own dinner on a fishing trip.

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Weather

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When Should You Visit?

April is the driest month and enjoys warm, sunshine-filled days.

Cebu has a tropical wet and dry climate; the rainy season runs from June to December and the dry season runs the rest of the year.

Having said that, northern Cebu can receive year round rainfall which makes seasons less distinct than the south side. Temperatures remain fairly constant all year round. The hottest month is May with an average of 29 degrees Celsius and the coolest month is January with an average temperature of 27 degrees Celsius. The wettest month is September.

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Travioor top tips

JEEPNEY
PENSION HOUSE
ECO FRIENDLY

Insider Info

  • Catch a Jeepney (a type of local route bus). They're crowded, fun, cheap and cover off the beaten track destinations.
  • If you're on a budget stay at a local pension house (a bit like a B&B). They don't usually have facilities like restaurants but they are authentic, cheap and cheerful.
  • Whale shark watching, swimming and snorkeling is popular but not always eco-friendly. Check if sharks are baited with food which disturbs their natural lifestyle. Or opt for a whale diving experience instead.

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Food and drink

Main Course £3.03 | P200.00

3-Course Meal £12.13 | P800.00

Cappuccino £1.60 | P105.75

Beer £0.76 | P50.00

The Scene

You'll find plenty of places to chow down on Cebu, from roadside shacks and beach bars to up market restaurants. There's a big emphasis on noodle dishes as well as stews and soups. Top choices include bam-i (egg and glass noodles with pork, chicken, seafood, vegetables and mushrooms), danggit (salted, sun-dried rabbit-fish usually served with rice, eggs and picked papaya) and binignit (savoury or sweet fruit stew that includes jackfruit, taro root, sweet potatoes, yam, sticky rice, landang and sweetened coconut milk). Snack wise pick up some budbud pilit (a rice cake), ngohiong (deep-fried spring roll) or puso (cooked rice wrapped in coconut leaves).

For drinks opt for locally brewed San Miguel or Tuba, a popular local coconut wine. Around Cebu City you'll find plenty of night-time spots including several clubs. Housed inside a ramshackle wooden building is Outpost which often has live music while Mango Square is great for all-nighters (although it can get overly wild at times).

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History

Cebu's Story

During the 13th century, Cebu (then known as Zubu) was inhabited by a mix of peoples (including animists, Hindus and Buddhists) and ruled over by the Rajahnate of Cebu. In 1521 a Portuguese explorer, Magellan, arrived on the island; interestingly, as he was funded by the Spanish rather than the Portuguese, many of the crew were Spaniards. Magellan befriended the ruling Rajah and the island formed an allegiance with Spain. However the king of nearby Mactan Island (a longstanding rival of Cebu's rajah) defeated Magellan and the Spaniards in the Battle of Mactan - Magellan was killed and the Spanish fled.

In 1564 a second Spanish fleet arrived, fought the new rajah and established a colony on the island - they built a university, housing quarters and churches. In 1901 it was briefly governed by the USA (during the Spanish-American war) and was also used as a Japanese base during World War II. In 1946 the Philippines (and Cebu) gained independence from colonial rule. Today it is one of the most densely populated islands in the country.

Language

Hoy | Hello
Salamat | Thank you

Cebuano

The official language of Cebu and an additional 167 surrounding islands, is Cebuano. It is also referred to as Bisaya and is an Austronesian language spoken by about 20 million people. Many people also speak English and tourist signs are often in multiple languages. If you want to give Cebuano a try the following might be helpful:

  • Please: Palihug
  • Excuse me: Ekskyus mi
  • Do you speak English: Maka-istorya ba ka ug ingles?

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Need to know

+63 32 DIALLING CODE
911 Emergency Services

Get The Low-Down

  • The airport that serves Cebu is located on the neighbouring island of Mactan - it takes around half an hour to transfer to Cebu Island. 
  • Cebu is made up of one large and around 150 smaller islands and islets. 
  • The area around Carbon Market in Cebu City is a hotspot for pickpockets - avoid if possible or be extra vigilant. 

 

VISA INFORMATION 

You can find out more about the visa requirements for the Philippines here.

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Travioor Recommends

1. CITY VIEWS

For amazing city-views walk up to Tops Lookout - go in the early evening for wonderful dusky city scenes. There are a few restaurants at the top.

2. Basilica Niño

Visit the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño on a Friday or Sunday when the surrounding roads are pedestrianized, pilgrims arrive en masse and there are dozens of street vendors.

3. Olango Sanctuary

If you head to Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary (home to 48 bird species) go between October and November or February and March, the peak migration seasons.

4. BUS DROP-OFF

Save your pennies by getting a bus to Kawasan Falls. If you ask, any southbound Moalboal bus will drop you off at the turnoff. It's about a 20 minute walk from there.

5. TAOIST TEMPLE

If you're planning to visit Cebu's Taoist Temple go between the hours of 8am and 5pm when it's free. Expect wonderful hilltop views.


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