Our list of the best things to do in Cebu has something for most visitors to this tropical beach destination in the central part of the Philippines. The province of Cebu belongs to the Visayas region and features no less than 168 islands and islets. It should come as no surprise that Cebu is a prime beach holiday destination and most of the things to do gravitate around sun, sea, and sand.
From stunning waterfalls to historical landmarks, and from religious sites to pristine beaches, Cebu’s most popular attractions will spice up your holiday in this warm and relaxing area of the Philippines.
Scuba diving or snorkelling
Scuba diving and snorkelling are 2 prime activities in the Cebu Province. Most of the islands that compose this area are surrounded by crystal-clear warm waters which house an impressive marine life, including large species such as manta rays, whale sharks, and the rare thresher shark.
Dive sites such as Monad Shoal near Malapascua Island, Pescador Island near Moalboal and Kansantik in the Olango Channel have gained an international reputation, and many dive centres in Cebu and nearby islands run daily diving excursions.
In a province that counts 168 islands, boarding a boat for a day of island hopping is one of the most popular things to do. Whether you stay on Cebu, Mactan, Malapascua, Bantayan, or any other island nearby, there’s always an island-hopping day trip at hand from where you are.
Pescador Island is the main day trip destination from Moalboal, while Dakit-Dakit, Biliran, and Kalanggaman islands are three great island-hopping destinations from Malapascua Island. If discovering soft sand beaches lapped by turquoise waters is your idea of a successful holiday, then Cebu Province delivers.
Covering an area of over 4,000 km2, Cebu Island features rugged mountain areas and limestone plateaus to the north and south of Metro Cebu.
You can find more than 90 waterfalls in the thick jungle around Cebu. A few of them have become famous: Tumalog Falls near Oslob, Kawasan Falls near Moalboal, Aguinid Falls near Samboan, and another Kawasan Falls in Badian Island, near Malapascua Island. Organised tours and guides are available to help you access these stunning waterfalls.
Visit sacred and religious sites
The long and hectic history of the Philippines started in Cebu, which was the first European settlement in the country. The different nations that occupied or simply visited the country since the 16th century have left a lot of sacred and religious sites in the province of Cebu.
From the Basilica del Santo Nino on Osmena Boulevard to the Taoist Temple on Beverly Hills, and from the Monastery of the Holy Eucharist in Simala to the Chapel of San Pedro Calungsod on Cebu South Road, you’ll find a wide range of religious edifices on Cebu.
Dolphin and whale watching are very popular attractions in Cebu. Located on the southeastern coast of Cebu Island, Oslob is the prime destination to go whale shark watching, while Moalboal – on the southeast coast of Cebu Island – is famous for its dolphin watching day trips.
The Cebu Strait between Cebu and Bohol Islands is home to plenty of large pelagic species. Thankfully, most tour companies try to implement strict rules to ensure the safety and well-being of the animals. Read More...
Located in Mandaue City, just north of Cebu City, Cebu Westown Lagoon is a resort with a water park settled in a large man-made lagoon. It's equipped with giant slides and water fountains, as well as 2 large Jacuzzis for adults to take a break while sipping a cocktail.
Other leisure amenities include Happy Jacqs Café & Bistro, and karaoke with a selection of tracks in English and Tagalog. It's the perfect place to spend the day with your family, or as a base for a longer vacation in Cebu. Read More...
- Location: FF Cruz Moonlight St, Subangdaku NRA, Mandaue City, 6014 Cebu, Philippines
- Tel: +63 (0)977 215 8529
Visit historical landmarks
Cebu was the first island of the Philippines colonized by the Spanish, led by the Portuguese Magellan, during the 16th century. This long and tumultuous history has left plenty of landmarks, many of them located in Cebu City.
From Fort San Pedro to Yap Sandiego Ancestral House, and from Colon Street – the oldest street in the Philippines – to Lapu-Lapu Shrine, there’s a great choice of secular historical landmarks to visit in Cebu. If you're pushed for time, there are several museums in Cebu City that explain the history of the region in detail.
Hike to Cebu's viewpoints
Cebu Island is rather mountainous, which offers visitors a fair deal of viewpoints and observation deks. For instance, panoramic views of Cebu City can be seen from Tops Lookout at Busay Hill, and from Mountain View Nature’s Park, also on Busay Hill.
Other stunning viewpoints that require serious hiking can be found in the southern part of Cebu. The tallest mountain on the island, Osmena Peak, is located in Dalaguete municipality, some 90 km south of Cebu City. Tours to this summit, and many others throughout the island, are readily available.
Ayala Center Cebu is a large shopping mall that features all the necessary facilities to spend a pleasant day when it rains in Cebu (it’s also good to visit on sunny days). From health and beauty centres to sportswear, and from electronics to brand-name fashion, you’ll find a wide selection of goods to browse here.
With a choice between over 40 restaurants, there’s no chance you'll starve come meal times. Ayala Malls Cinema and other leisure entertainment venues are also at hand for some popular any-weather activities. Read More...
- Opening Hours: Daily from 10am to 9pm (open until 10pm on weekends)
- Location: Cardinal Rosales Ave, Cebu City, Cebu, Philippines
- Tel: +63 32 888 3777
If you’re looking for an escape from the hustle and bustle of Cebu City, then Terrazas de Flores Botanical Garden is a great place to breathe some fresh air, discover over 120 species of plants and flowers, and enjoy a meal or simply a drink at this quaint venue.
Settled on the flank of a mountain in Malubog, a 15-minutes drive from Cebu City, you are surrounded by majestic mountain views, enhanced by the terraces covered with colourful flowers and plants. Read More...
- Opening Hours: Daily from 7am to 8pm
- Location: Cebu Transcentral Hwy, Cebu City, Cebu, Philippines