Getting around Cebu is fairly easy, thanks to the fact that it is one of the most developed provinces in the Philippines. You’ll find a good choice of modes of transport here, including several bus companies, Jeepneys, tricycles, taxis and boats linking Cebu to other islands. In fact, the modes of transportation you’ll need while in Cebu will mostly depend on the area you stay and the extent of the travelling around you want to do.
Cebu is divided in the following sub-sections: province, island, metro and city. Even though some modes of transport can appear to be scarce in remote areas, it’s easy to get to almost anywhere when departing from the airport or Cebu City. See below all the modes of transport that you could use to get around Cebu.
Taxis (Metered, Uber, Grab, Private)
Taxis can be found everywhere in Cebu City. It’s always best to use a metered taxi, and to ensure that the driver puts the meter on. The yellow metered taxis in Metro Cebu are licensed airport taxis and are slightly more expensive than the white cars. It’s best to avoid private taxis (found in upscale hotels, for instance) as they usually charge exorbitant fares. Uber and Grab taxis are a convenient choice. Most trips around the city should not cost you more than PHP 120.
Jeepneys - ‘Dyipni’ in Filipino, are the most popular means of transport in the Philippines. Formerly US military vehicles, these colourful jeeps follow scheduled routes and are available in different versions, depending on the period they were built in. For instance, vehicles with air conditioning and expanded seat capacity are available in most modern Jeepneys, making them rather similar to minivans.
As the cheapest and most convenient (for short distances) mode of transport in the Philippines, Jeepneys are a must-try to get a genuine feeling of the country by mingling with locals. Available 24/7, the price of a ride within Cebu City should not cost you more than PHP 10.
A common mode of transport throughout the Philippines, motorised tricycles can comfortably accommodate up to four passengers, although you can often see them transporting up to nine passengers! It’s best to use them only for short distances as they are not especially comfortable or quick. Their price range is similar to that of Jeepneys and they can be found all around Metro Cebu. A new generation of electric tricycle is emerging, offering a ‘greener’ way of getting around Cebu.
From LTO 7 to Sunrays Bus Lines to Corominas Bus, there’s a good choice of bus companies providing travel within Metro Cebu. They are not that useful for visitors from abroad as more convenient modes of transport are already available for short distances. However, bus services in Cebu are essential for long-distance journeys at a fair price, for instance from Metro Cebu to the northern and southern tips of the island.
Companies such as Ceres Liner, CBL Liner, ABC Liners and others operate from the two bus terminals located in Cebu City. Cebu North Bus Terminal is located near Cebu International Port in Mandaue City, while Cebu South Bus Terminal stands a short distance from Taboan Public Market.
Obviously, the north bus terminal is linked to northern destinations (Bogo, Maya, Medellin, and others), and the south bus terminal is connected to southern destinations (including Moalboal and Oslob). Pricewise, a four-hour journey from Cebu City to Moalboal by bus costs around PHP 700. The same journey in a private taxi would cost around PHP 1,800.
Cebu Ferries and Other Boats to Nearby Islands
Ferries and other boats offer a prime way to travel around Cebu Province or to go to islands such as Bohol, that lies some 40 km south of Cebu Island and belongs to the province of the same name. Cebu City alone features no less than five ferry terminals, from which you can get to a wide range of destinations from Ormoc City on the island of Leyte to Jagna on Bohol Island, and many others.
Getting to nearby small islands such as Malapascua or Bantayan requires a two-leg trip from Metro Cebu. The first leg is from Cebu North Bus Terminal to get to the local piers of Hagnaya (for Bantayan Island) and Maya (for Malapascua Island). Both of these ports are located toward the northern tip of Cebu Island. The second leg of the trip is by boat to reach these barely developed islands that offer a pristine tropical environment for a holiday off the beaten track.