Cebu Experience Travel Tips

Things to Do in Cebu

Saturday, October 15, 2011Ryan Mach

Those who are seeking thrill and adventure in their trip will probably skip Cebu from their must-go-and-see list due to a common but nonetheless miscontrued notion that it's 'a city just like Manila.' While the two cities indeed share a few glaring similarities - urban setting and lifestyle, among others - Cebu has lots to offer than meets the eye.  For starters, Cebu is ringed by more than a hundred smaller islands and is home to several white sand beaches. Beaches that you can actually enjoy are non-existent in Manila.

If you're planning on spending a vacation in the paradise-island of Cebu but are still undecided, don't be dissuaded by those naysayers. For what it's worth, Cebu is a must-see destination for every traveller.

Here are some of the things you can do in Cebu:

1. Hit the Beaches

Camotes Island
You won't be disappointed with what Cebu offers in terms of beaches and dive spots. Bantayan for one is a famous beach destination with its pristine white coast that will definitely amaze every beach lover. If you prefer beaches that are off the radar, you can go North and try Malapascua, Alegre and Camotes; Olango, Mactan, and Sulpa in the East; and Moalboal, Badian, and Sumilon in the South.

2. Experience the Sinulog Festival

Sinulog is Cebu's infamous festival that also defines its culture. Best to plan your trip on the third week of January when the festival culminates with its annual mardi gras, happening every third Sunday of the first month of the year.  Feel the festive air and watch the city explode into a vibrant sea of dancers and extravagant floats taking over the street.

3. Travel Back in Time by Visiting Old Churches

Magellan's Cross
Cebu is a historical city that hosts several old churches which date back to the Spanish era. The Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño in the old downtown is definitely worth a visit as it's the country’s oldest church. It was constructed by the Spaniards in 1566 on the very spot where the image of the Santo Niño, left behind by Portuguese and Spanish explorers in 1521, was found preserved in a burned wooden box. Carcar, a three-hour drive to the south, is also home to a lot of old churches.

4. Go Downtown or Go Up High the Mountain Top

The oldest street in the Philippines can be found in Cebu. Built by the Spaniards in 1565, Colon St. has been the center of Cebu’s commerce. Although it has lost its glitz, you can still feel its old world charm with its old building facades and historic markers. Dine in one of the restaurants in the stretch and check out affordable finds in the flea markets. Don't forget your camera as you can take good photos of the beautiful houses that used to define the district. At the end of Colon St., just ahead the Gaisano Main department store, you can find a small obelisk (one of the many historical markers) in the middle of the road.

Mountain View
Don't miss out one of the attractions in the city - the nature park situated in the mountain which can give you a new kind of experience slightly away from the hustle of the city. It's a 15-20 minute ride from downtown Cebu and can be reached through a cab or a motorcycle which they call 'habal-habal.' If you're travelling in a big group, you can hire Mountain View Nature’s Park's van that would pick you up and drive you home. Entrance Fee is Php 50 per person for unlimited use of the park until midnight.

5. Indulge in Native Cuisine

You won't completely enjoy your Cebu trip without trying out their roasted pig, arguably the best tasting lechon in the Philippines.  Most recommended is the one cooked and prepared in Talisay City. Why? Because they say the Talisay inasal tastes best. Some say it is the herbs they place inside the pig, others say it is the way they cook it, still others say it’s the sauce they use for basting.

You won't miss out 'puso,' a staple rice wrapped in coconut leaves, because many establishments serve this instead of the regularly served rice to go with your meals. Puso rice pieces are strung together and servers just cut them off and slice them in half for serving, hence the term “hanging rice.”

Complete your Cebu adventure by heading over to the city's most prominent eating havens - the Larsian. Strategically located at the uptown area near Fuente Osmeña and Chong Hua Hospital, Larsian offers a myriad of scenes and various food choices that have CEBUANO charm. Loved by the rich and poor alike, the young and old, Larsian is a place where people go to not for luxury but for the food and mere experience. It opens from late afternoon up until dawn.

Kinilaw - a must-try

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