Cebu City DIY Itinerary Guide (with Bohol Sidetrip)
Going away from the bustling atmosphere of Metropolitan Manila is one of the best gift you could give to yourself. It’s been 2 weeks since we visited and explored the beautiful islands of Cebu City. Cebu City offers an array of scenic spots from majestic falls, adrenaline-pumping canyoneering activities, oldest yet most charming churches, whale shark watching, stunning beaches and so much more.
General Information (Cebu)
Cebu City is a first income class island province of the Philippines. It is located in the Central Visayas region, and consisting of the main island itself and 167 surrounding islands and islets. Cebu City, its capital, considered as the oldest city and first capital of the Philippines.
Cebu is also tagged as a gateway to Central Visayas. From Cebu City, you could easily transport to different neighboring provinces such as Dumaguete, Negros Oriental, Bohol, and Siquijor.
How to get to Cebu
Flying is the most convenient way to get to Cebu. Major airlines have daily flights en route to Mactan-Cebu International Airport. It is considered as the second busiest airport in the Philippines. The travel time from Manila to Cebu City is approximately 1 hour.
- Cebu Pacific Air– Several daily flights from Manila.
- Philippine Airlines– Several daily flights from Manila.
- Air Asia– Several daily flights from Manila.
Journey Freaks’ Cebu DIY Tip #1: Always be on the lookout for promos from airlines like AirAsia and Cebu Pacific. Local airlines usually align their promo sales days before and during holidays like New Year sale, Labor day sale, and many more. We got promo tickets from Cebu Pacific for only P500 each way.
The airport is located in Mactan and if you want to visit the central part of Cebu City, just flag down a white taxi. The price usually ranges between P150-P300 depending where you’ll be going.
Journey Freaks’ Cebu DIY Tip #2: White taxis are a lot cheaper than the yellow ones (airport taxis). Cebu City implements a strict rule which only allows 5 pax in the taxi (driver already included). You may also opt to take a Grab or an Uber.
Via Boats and Ferries
If you’re not in a rush and just want to chill, try 2GO Travel’s route to Cebu City. The approximate travel time from Manila to Cebu port is 22 hours. Read our 2GO Travel experience here to get an idea. Click this link to our 2GO travel experience. (Note: Ferry bound to Cebu is a lot bigger and nicer than the one we rode to and from Coron, Palawan)
For 2GO Travel’s schedules and updated prices, click this link: 2Go Travel Website
Where to Stay in Cebu City
Since we arrived in Cebu at ungodly hour, we managed to just check-in on a cheap hotel located near the Fuente Osmena circle. We had to roam around the city for just 24 hours before heading to Southern Cebu. There are a lot of hotels popping out in Cebu from cheapest, mid-range and luxury ones. Also, there are cheap lodging houses, inns and guesthouses for the budget travelers. Here are some of it we’ve seen in Cebu:
(Adelfa Hotel @Night)
- Adelfa Hotel – We stayed here for a night and it was so good. It has a spacious bathroom, comfy beds and clean sheets. The A/C worked well despite the hot weather. The fast WiFi and cable TV really entertained us by. Also, it houses a 24-hour food stall that sells sandwiches, hot coffee, breakfast meals and so much more.
- Waterfront Hotel and Casino – Castle-like structure can make you feel like you’re a royalty. It is one of the most popular luxury hotels in Cebu City. Their breakfast buffet is really worth-while!
- Crown Regency Hotel and Towers Cebu – The building surrounded with colorful lights at night made it so iconic. This hotel offers some adreanaline-pumping activities like Edge Coaster, Skywalk Extreme and Tower zip.
- Sugbutel Family Hotel – One of the cheapest accommodation you could get but it is a bit far from Fuente Osmena. The price could go as cheap as P250 per night.
Other available accommodations:
Journey Freaks’ Cebu DIY Tip #3: Choose to stay near Fuente Osmena Circle. It is so convenient for travelers to get some supplies and roam around since the place are surrounded by many commercial establishments and public utility jeepneys mostly passes by this area.
How to Get Around Cebu City
Cebu City is one of the touristy place so better bring some extra patience for its traffic.
Jeepneys – Jeepneys in Cebu City has a particular numbering for specific routes. The numbering depends on your route. It is really hard to go to a certain place because you need to wait for a specific numbering of jeep. Never think it is a no-brainer.
Walk – If you’re going to a nearby place just get your legs working! Cardio!
Journey Freaks’ Cebu DIY Tip #4: Don’t be afraid to ask some directions! Cebuanos are really helpful in nature.
Where to Eat in Cebu City
Cebu offers a variety of food. From grilled (sugba), stewed (tuwa) or raw (kilaw), other word SuTuKil. It is also tagged as the land of lechon (roasted pig).
Larsian – This is a barbecue haven that should be included in every traveler’s Cebu DIY itinerary. It is a no-fuzz eatery that serves freshly-grilled seafood, barbecues, chorizo de cebu and so much more. Barbecued dishes are usually partnered with puso (hanging rice).
Cebu: Eating in Larsian can really be cheap. And don’t miss ordering their chorizo de Cebu for P20 per stick. It is one of the best grilled food you can have!
Zubuchon – A well renowned chef, Anthony Bourdain, once said that Zubuchon’s lechon is the best pig ever. I would personally say it is! You must try their lechon monggo, kamias shake, grilled squid and so much more. Just prepare yourself for the prices, but I’ll guarantee you it is worthy!
Casa Verde – This restaurant has been taking Katipunan by storm. Casa Verde originated in the heart of Cebu City. We were not able to visit this place in Cebu but the one located in Katipunan is really good.
Journey Freaks’ Cebu DIY Tip #5: If you’re on a budget, just bring some canned goods and buy a bundle of puso (hanging rice).
Places to Visit in Cebu City
With the busy atmosphere of Cebu City lies some charming churches, museums and historical spots. The modernization of Cebu City complements its rich and old history. Modem establishments popping out every now and then.
Fort San Pedro – This is the oldest fort in the Philippines. The best time to visit Fort San Pedro is early in the morning because it tends to be hot around 10:00AM.
Museo Sugbo – This museum is named as the Best Museum by Tripadvisor. It is located in the former Provincial Jail of Cebu and now houses several galleries. We were informed that the walls of the museum were made from the egg whites. There is a nominal fee required for each visitor (the fee depends if you’re a foreigner, a student, or a local traveler)
Basilica del Santo Niño – It is one of the iconic spots in Cebu. The painted ceiling of the church is really mesmerizing. Don’t miss offering a prayer to the sacred Holy Child. And pay a visit to their museum too!
Magellan’s Cross – It is just a few steps away from the Basilica del Santo Niño. Never miss seeing the historic cross that made a huge difference in the history of the Philippines.
Taoist Temple – A 99-step is required for you to reach the Temple itself. The temple is highly ornate and a bit modern compared to other Chinese religious architecture.
Temple of Leah – This is a tribute of love. The construction started around 2012 and as of this writing, still undergoing construction. Golden lion statues seem to guard the entrance door. Its Roman architecture made it so iconic and beautiful.
Cebu IT Park – This can be compared to Metropolitan Manila’s BGC The Fort. The modern architecture and upscale vibe complements the Cebu’s old history.
What to Buy in Cebu City
If you’re visiting Cebu City maybe a lot of your friends will ask you to buy them some danggit – a popular dried food best found in Cebu City. Also, this city offers the best dried mangoes, chorizo de cebu and other Cebu delicacies.
The best place you could buy these is in Tabo-an Market. There you can exercise your haggling skills with the vendors. There are a lot of stalls which technically sells same delicacies and types of danggit. The price usually ranges between P45-P800 depending on what type of pasalubong you’ll gonna buy.
Journey Freaks’ Cebu DIY Tip #6: Bring an extra shirt if you’re planning to visit Tabo-an Market. There’s a penetrating stinky smell in that market that could lasts in your shirt.
From Cebu City to Southern Cebu
Cebu City isn’t just the touristy place that can be found in Cebu. Southern Cebu is already taking the internet by storm. Southern Cebu has an array of activities that can make you one with nature. You may read our Kawasan Falls guide (Badian, Cebu) and Whale Shark Watching guide (Oslob) here. We also stayed at Tum’s Resort for one night before encountering those gentle giants. Here are the other scenic spots or activities you can pay a visit are as follows:
- Sardine Run in Moalboal
- Mainit Hot Spring in Malabuyoc
- Mantapuyan Falls in Barili
- (Sand bar) Sumilon Island in Oslob
- Kabutongan Falls in Malabuyoc
- Osmena Peak in Dalaguete
From Southern Cebu (Oslob) to Bohol
Since Cebu City is tagged as the gateway to Central Visayas we managed to go to the neighboring province of Bohol. There in Bohol we were able to see the popular Chocolate Hills, quiet Tarsier Sanctuary, Butterfly Conservation Center, breath-taking Loboc River, Man-made Mahogany forest and iconic Baclayon Church.
Normally, boat/ferry at Cebu City Port will take you to Bohol for only P800 roundtrip. The travel time to reach Bohol is roughly 2 hours. OceanJet is the most popular option to reach Bohol from Cebu. But there are other ways like the one we did. We were at Oslob when we decided to go to Bohol via pump boat. It costed us P1000 each for a 2-hour sickening ride. Our pump boat was too small and big waves were greeting us during the voyage. The whole voyage felt like we were riding a rolling coaster. I almost vomited.
Journey Freaks’ Cebu DIY Tip #7: The pump boat will take you to Panglao, not Tagbilaran. Panglao is one the popular diving sites in the Philippines. Consider taking this route if you’re up for the challenging ride.
After a sickening ride on a pump boat we finally arrived at Panglao. We had to rent a van to drop us to Tagbilaran. There we checked-in at Constrell Pension House for a very cheap deal. We got a family room however, we were quite disappointed with the room. The A/C doesn’t work well and the bathroom need some upgrade. Bohol felt like a sleepy province compared to Cebu City. I was astounded when I was informed that there is no single supermall (SM – the most popular mall chain in the Philippines) in the province of Bohol. It wasn’t easy to roam around Bohol (Tagbilaran) at all. Renting a car is a must if you want to visit and explore the scenic spots of Bohol. We got ours for P2000 for the whole day of adventure.
To know and read our whole Bohol experience click here.
Sharing this with you our Cebu-Bohol DIY travel video:
In conclusion, although we encountered some problems during our trip we still managed to embrace it with positivity. I wish we could’ve stayed longer in Bohol to see more of it. However, we still no regrets of having a 15-hour trip to Bohol since we almost dedicated our whole trip to Southern Cebu. As a result, we do look forward to going back in both Cebu and Bohol.
You may also want to check our popular DIY Travel blogs:
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Coron DIY Itinerary: Coron Palawan Budget Travel Guide