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Ultimate Guide to Cebu

Guide to Cebu

Where to work?

My recommendation is:

Get an apartment with decent internet and work from there.

If that’s not your thing, there is a chain called Coworking Café that offers proper workplaces in a coffee shop style for 300 Peso per day. They have several locations in central Cebu City and also serve cheap food and drinks.

There aren’t that many Coworking Spaces in Cebu City and Coffee Shops at literally every corner. But be aware that many of them don’t offer free wifi just like in Manila.

If you choose accommodation and can pick your internet provider, pick PLDT. In our experience, it’s the most reliable and fastest provider for Cebu City.

In general, the Internet is stable and fast anywhere in Cebu City.


Where to stay?

If you stay in Cebu just for a night or two:

Stay close to the airport on Mactan Island or in Mandaue just on the other side of the bridge.

You can also stay in one of the beach resorts on Mactan island. Travel time from the resorts to the airport can vary between 20 min and 40 min (without traffic) and 40-60min with traffic. (Taxi)

For travelers seeking a brief stay of a day or two there are numerous accommodations that offer convenience and comfort. One such option is the elegant Crown Regency Hotel & Towers, situated in the heart of Cebu City. This centrally located hotel provides easy access to key attractions such as Magellan’s Cross and the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño. Alternatively, the stylish Quest Hotel Cebu offers modern rooms and excellent amenities, including a rooftop pool with panoramic views of the city skyline. Both hotels provide a comfortable base for exploring Cebu’s vibrant culture, delicious cuisine, and historical landmarks during your short visit.

For budget-conscious travelers there are several affordable accommodation options that offer comfort and convenience without breaking the bank. One such option is Sugbutel Family Hotel, located in the heart of Cebu City. This budget-friendly hotel offers clean and comfortable dormitory-style rooms, perfect for solo travelers or small groups. Another excellent choice is Sampaguita Suites Plaza Garcia, which provides affordable rooms equipped with essential amenities like air conditioning, Wi-Fi, and hot showers. 

Stay for a week or longer:

I recommend you to stay around Fuente (aka Mango), Ayala Center Mall or in IT Park.

IT Park is the high-end area and offers all kinds of accommodation, food and high-end nightlife options.

Ayala Mall is the biggest mall with a small park and is very central.

The Fuente/Mango area is a bit more local and also has plenty of food and accommodation options, as well as two local clubs right in front of Mango Square.

If you want to be local but still within 30min walking distance to everything of interest you can also check out Lahug and Mabolo.

A place we highly recommend is Blanco Beach Resort, it is an idyllic haven in Cebu, offering a perfect retreat for an extended stay of a week or longer. Nestled along the pristine shores of the island, the resort boasts luxurious accommodations, including spacious villas and cottages, ensuring utmost comfort and relaxation. With its serene atmosphere, stunning ocean views, and array of amenities such as a swimming pool, spa, and beachfront dining options, Blanco Beach Resort provides an unforgettable escape for travelers seeking a tranquil and rejuvenating experience in Cebu.

Additionally, Hostels like Ananas Hostel provide budget-friendly dormitory-style rooms with basic amenities, ideal for those prioritizing savings without sacrificing comfort. Alternatively, guesthouses such as Casa Rosario Pension House and GV Tower Hotel offer affordable private rooms with essential facilities, perfect for longer stays. 

If you’re not too tight with your budget, consider booking a stay at the luxurious Crimson Resort and Spa Mactan. Situated on the picturesque Mactan Island, this five-star resort offers elegant accommodations, including spacious villas and suites with private balconies overlooking the ocean or lush gardens. Guests can indulge in a variety of leisure activities, from lounging by the infinity pools to pampering themselves at the award-winning Aum Spa. With its impeccable service, stunning surroundings, and world-class amenities, Crimson Resort and Spa Mactan promises an unforgettable and rejuvenating stay in Cebu.


Where to eat?

Of course, that highly depends on where you stay.

Most people will stay in the city center or close to the airport. That’s why I will focus on this area.

Like in Manila, every mall will have plenty of food options for cheap prices compared to western countries. So for the quick bite, Filipino or western style (Burger, Pizza) food just go to the closest mall again and also just like in Manila: Malls are everywhere, you won’t have troubles finding one!

If the mall is not your thing, you can also try the Sugbo Mercados. Those are local food markets where mostly local restaurants have food stalls. They offer live music and a wide range of food choices but mostly Western and Filipino.

There is a Sugbo Mercado on the Fuente circle at Mango, one close to Ayala Mall and the biggest and most popular one in IT Park. The one in IT-Park opens from Wednesday to Sunday.

The other two are sometimes open and sometimes closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, and don’t have a fixed schedule. Expect them to open/get busy from 5pm onwards.

For vegans / vegetarian diets:

Not that many options, but international restaurants usually have at least one vegetarian option.

Cooee Cafe at Raintree Mall has good vegetarian options and even some vegan ones.

I recommend cooking for yourself and buying vegetables from markets or supermarkets.

Like a local:

In general, you can find small “Cantinas” everywhere where you can find normal 1-3 story houses.

And many locals go to the Sugbo Mercados. But If you want to dive into the biggest Filipino street food market, go to Carbon Market.

Carbon is a 24/7 local market where you can eat but also buy the freshest vegetables from Cebu Island. New stock usually arrives in the afternoon/evening. Which makes it the busiest time of the day as well.

For a date / with a view:

On the hills behind the city in Busay, you can find a few restaurants like La Vie en Sky with views all over Cebu City.

Be aware that it might be hard to get a taxi/grab to come back once you are there.


What to do?

Stay in town:

Cebu City has not much to offer other than its night-life and being an excellent base to explore the other Philippine Islands or Cebu Island itself.

There is a Taoist Temple and the Temple of Leah (Good view). But if you have seen temples elsewhere, you won’t miss much if you skip them.

If you don’t want to leave the city but enjoy a resort and an “OK-Beach” there are several hotels in Mactan offering a resort experience. Check the website “Klook” for special offers.

By Bus:

Oslob: About 2-3h south from Cebu City. Swim with Whale Sharks and explore Tumalog Waterfall – One of the most beautiful waterfalls in the Philippines.

Moalboal*: About 3h south-west from Cebu City you can find Moalboal. It’s great for snorkeling as the reef is right at the beach. You can swim between swarms of Sardines or chill at the beach.

Malapascua: About 4-6h north from Cebu City you find a small island just 20km off the coast of Cebu Island. It is one of the best Scuba dive spots in the entire Asia.

Bantayan: If you think about your dream beach, you will probably find it in Bantayan. It’s famous for its laid back atmosphere and world-class beaches. It’s about 4-5h from Cebu City.

By Ferry:

Bohol/Panglao*: Bohol is a big island with many attractions like the chocolate hills and Tarsiers, small night active monkeys with very big eyes. But you can also find world-class beaches all over the island, but especially in a village called “Anda”. Connected to Bohol is Panglao which offers great beaches but also resorts and is catering a bit more to crowds. The ferry trip to Tagbilaran (port for both Bohol and Panglao) is about 2h (Fastcraft) or 4h (Car Ferry).

Siqujor*: Siquijor – pronounced: Sick i whore – is also called which island as locals believe that people from Siquijor practice Wodoo. Find out yourself if it’s true and enjoy some of the most stunning waterfalls and beaches that teh Philippines has to offer.

It’s about 4h by ferry (Fastcraft) from Cebu City and 30-120min by ferry to Dumaguete.

How to get to Cebu from: MANILA!

  1. Flight : The fastest and most convenient way to travel between Manila and Cebu is by air. Numerous airlines operate daily flights from Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila to Mactan-Cebu International Airport (CEB) in Cebu. Choose a flight that fits your schedule and budget, and book your tickets in advance to secure the best deals.

  2. Land Transportation: Upon arrival at Mactan-Cebu International Airport, you’ll need to take land transportation to your final destination in Cebu City or elsewhere on the island. You can easily find taxis, airport shuttles, or ride-hailing services outside the airport terminal. Alternatively, if you’re on a budget, you can take a public jeepney or bus to downtown Cebu City.

  3. Ferry: Another option is to take a ferry from Manila to Cebu. Several ferry companies operate regular services between Manila and Cebu, with travel times ranging from around 22 to 30 hours. Ferries depart from the Manila North Harbor and arrive at the Cebu City Pier. This option is more time-consuming compared to flying but can be a scenic and budget-friendly way to travel if you have the time.


How to get to Cebu from: CLARK!

  1. Flight: The most convenient and fastest way to get from Clark to Cebu is by air. Several airlines offer direct flights from Clark International Airport (CRK) to Mactan-Cebu International Airport (CEB). You can check for available flights and book tickets through airline websites or travel agencies. Flight duration is approximately 1.5 to 2 hours.

  2. Land and Air: If you prefer a more budget-friendly option, or if there are no direct flights available from Clark to Cebu, you can take land transportation from Clark to Manila and then catch a flight to Cebu. . From Clark, you can take a bus or shuttle service to Manila, which takes around 1.5 to 2 hours depending on traffic. Once in Manila, you can travel to Cebu by either taking a bus from the Cubao or Pasay bus terminals, or by booking a flight from Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL) to Mactan-Cebu International Airport (CEB).

  3. Land and Ferry: Another option is to take a bus from Clark to Manila and then travel by ferry from Manila to Cebu. Several bus companies operate routes between Clark and Manila, with travel times ranging from 1.5 to 3 hours. Once you arrive in Manila, head to the nearest ferry terminal (e.g., North Harbor or South Harbor) and book a ferry to Cebu. Ferry travel time varies depending on the type of vessel and route but generally takes around 22 to 30 hours.

  4. Land and Sea via Other Routes: Depending on your preferences and budget, you may also explore other land and sea travel options from Clark to Cebu, such as taking a bus or private vehicle to Batangas or Batangas Port, and then catching a ferry to Cebu. This route involves multiple transfers and longer travel times but can offer a unique travel experience.


How to get to Cebu from: DAVAO!

  1. Flight : The fastest and most convenient way to travel between Davao and Cebu is by air. Book a flight from Francisco Bangoy International Airport in Davao to Mactan-Cebu International Airport in Cebu. There are multiple airlines offering daily flights between these two cities, so you should have a variety of options to choose from.

  2. Land Transportation: Once you arrive at Mactan-Cebu International Airport, you can take a taxi, ride-sharing service, or airport shuttle to your accommodation or desired destination in Cebu City or elsewhere on the island. Taxis and ride-sharing services are readily available outside the airport terminals, while airport shuttles may need to be booked in advance.

  3. Ferry: Another option is to take a ferry from Davao to Cebu. While this option takes longer than flying, it can be a scenic and enjoyable journey, especially for those who prefer traveling by sea. Several ferry companies operate routes between Davao and Cebu, with varying schedules and amenities. Make sure to check the ferry schedules in advance and book your tickets accordingly.

  4. Bus: If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, you can also take a bus from Davao to Cebu. This option involves a long journey, usually taking around 20-24 hours, depending on the route and stops. Several bus companies operate routes between Davao and Cebu, offering both regular and air-conditioned buses. Make sure to pack essentials for the journey, including snacks, water, and entertainment.

Once you arrive:

  1. Hotel Transfers: Many hotels and resorts in Cebu offer airport or port transfers as part of their services. If you have arranged for a transfer beforehand, look for a representative holding a sign with your name in the arrival area. They will assist you with your luggage and transport you directly to your accommodation.

  2. Tricycle/Motorcycle Taxi: Tricycles and motorcycle taxis are common modes of transportation in Cebu, especially for short distances. You can find them waiting outside the airport or around the city. Negotiate the fare with the driver before boarding, and be prepared for a slightly bumpy ride if you choose a motorcycle taxi.

  3. Taxi/Ride-Sharing Services:: Taxis and ride-sharing services like Grab are readily available at Mactan-Cebu International Airport. Simply follow the signs to the designated taxi or ride-sharing pickup area outside the terminal. Make sure to choose a reputable taxi or ride-sharing service and confirm the fare before starting your journey. Alternatively,  ride-sharing apps like Grab are also available in Davao, offering convenient and reliable transportation options. Simply download the app (if you haven’t already), book a ride, and wait for your driver to arrive at the designated pick-up point. We suggest this so you can get potentially cheaper taxi fares.

  4. Public Transportation: If you’re comfortable navigating public transportation, you can take a public bus or jeepney to your destination. Public buses and jeepneys are affordable options for getting around Cebu but may be crowded, especially during peak hours. Ask airport or port staff for directions to the nearest bus or jeepney terminal.

  5. Renting a Car or Motorbike: For travelers who prefer the flexibility of having their own vehicle, renting a car or motorbike is an option. Several rental companies have counters at the airport, allowing you to easily arrange for a rental vehicle upon arrival. Make sure to familiarize yourself with local traffic rules and regulations before driving in Cebu.