The 6 must-do things to do in Cebu - Philippines

If you are going to visit Cebu, make sure you do not miss the activities that we have listed for you in our selection of must-sees. Walks, idleness, swimming, and diving, this island of the Philippines brings together all the necessary ingredients for a dream holiday.

Here are the six must-do things to do in Cebu, for the next vacation in the sun, with family or friends!

1. Cebu City

First place colonized by the Spaniards, Cebu City is the second city of the Philippines after Manila. Teeming with life and colorful, it will be your base during your trip to the Visayas archipelago. Its central location makes it possible to reach all the tourist attractions on Cebu Island, which is situated on the east coast of the aforementioned island.

Cebu City also has a good number of attractions to discover. Among them, is the Fort San Pedro built in 1565 or the Basilica of the Holy Child (where a statuette of the baby Jesus dating from 1521 was found).

From the 38th floor of the Crown Regency Hotel, you can enjoy panoramic views of the city and experience the Sky Walk, a walk by the void equipped with a harness.

To move around the city to visit Cebu, use the jeepneys, these emblematic buses decorated in all colors by their driver where you will rub shoulders with the locals.

2. Osmena Peak

What could be better than visiting Cebu while dominating the island? Osmena Peak is the highest point on the island of Cebu, at an altitude of 1013 meters. Located in the Dalaguete area, a hundred kilometers south of Cebu City, it is a perfect expedition if you are looking for what to do in Cebu over a day.

You can choose a private tour, or rent a scooter or car from Cebu, for example. You can also reach the village of Mantalongon, then take a Habal-Habal, The Filipino motorcycle taxi, for 5 kilometers. The last rise requires walking for about 30 minutes through a winding, rocky, but generally accessible path.

Arrived at the top, you will enjoy a breathtaking view of the surrounding mountain formations. Shades of a green mix between meadows, crops, jungles, and forests. The azure of the sea in the distance beckons adventurers to travel to the end of the earth.

3. Kawasan Falls

Kawasan Falls is certainly a tourist spot and the best known in Cebu. 45 minutes from Moalboal, they attract visitors for their beauty, photographic interest, and the opportunities for activities they offer.

From the road, you will take a path for about twenty minutes that will take you to the first waterfall, the best known and the one seen in all the photos. A second and then a third waterfall, each equally stunning and calmer, may be found if you take the steps on the left.

And to change the pose in his prettiest jersey, why not opt for a canyoning session? Proposed by guides, the activity promises a real experience before the falls. After a short scooter ride and then on foot, find the river. Let yourself slide on the natural slides and swim between the rocks in a breathtaking setting. Then comes the time of the adrenaline rush with ever more impressive jumps, up to 12 meters high!

4. Moalboal

The city of Moalboal stretches along the west coast of Cebu, about 2 hours by bus from Cebu City. It's the perfect starting point to reach the Kawasan Falls, but the city also has its share of tourist attractions if you're looking for what to do in Cebu.

Moalboal is a quiet town, which lives to the Filipino rhythm and where you can make beautiful encounters. Take the time to stroll through the market near the bus station and taste the typical dishes seated with the locals. Tourist infrastructure is concentrated along Panagsama Beach, where you can enjoy a drink on the terrace of a restaurant while watching the sunset.

check this article about 10 budget-friendly Philippines beaches

In the same place, a few meters from the coast is the major attraction of Moalboal: a huge school of sardines. To see them, bring a mask and snorkel and go near the yellow pontoon. A few fathoms later, you are in the middle of thousands of sardines, a magical show!

Amateur of diving? Experience the depths at Pescador Island, an island 30 minutes from the coast. The charm of the region invites you to ride a scooter to White Beach for example, where you will discover a huge white sand beach. On the program: warm sand and whispering waves!

5. Malapascua Island

Malapascua is a small island north of Cebu located 30 minutes by boat from the mainland. To get there, embark on a Bangka, the traditional Filipino boat (a kind of wooden boat transformed into trimarans to face the waves). Make the most of your time while you're on the main beach by selecting a hotel beside the water!

The atmosphere is relaxed in Malapascua: no cars, we move on foot on this island of barely 1 kilometer wide and 2 kilometers long. Despite itself, Malapascua offers a clever mix between local life and tourist infrastructure. Before visiting the market, a great location to learn about the regional specialties, do not be afraid to get lost in the muddy streets. In the evening, beach bars install cushions and candles on the sand for romantic moments to the sound of island music.

If you're looking for sports activities in Cebu, Malapascua is one of the few diving locations worldwide where you can encounter the renowned thresher shark. You will have to get up early to meet this mysterious animal of the abyss! Gato Island, a little island connected to the mainland by an underwater passage, is the habitat of magnificent white-tip sharks. Unforgettable moments are guaranteed!

6. Oslob

Southeast of Cebu Island, the Oslob area is famous for whale sharks. In Oslob, the premises have set up a feeding system that always allows several specimens to be presented nearby. It is one of the only places in the world where it is guaranteed to be able to swim a few meters from the whale shark. It is a fact, that this activity is often decried because of feeding: the latter would divert whale sharks from their migration.

Not far from the shark-watching spot are the Tumalog Waterfalls. A little less known than the Kawasan Falls, they are nevertheless very beautiful and can complete the day if you hesitate about what to do in Cebu and Oslob.

You will also have the choice to embark on Sumilon Island, a tropical island that hosts a unique luxury hotel. Day trips are offered, but if you want to have a little fun, spending the night in a luxury hotel on a paradise island can be a good idea.

You can take a picture of yourself on the nearby sandbar, a tongue of white sand that protrudes from turquoise waters for postcard-worthy images.

Things to do also in Cebu

  • Canoeing on the Bojo River
  • Sink into the caves of Bukilat
  • Walk or cycle along the paths in Danasan Eco Adventure Park
  • Bird watching at Olango Bird Sanctuary
  • Take a day trip to Nalusuan Island
  • Discover the waterfalls of Inambakan, Dao, Aguinid, Mantayupan

How to get to Cebu?

By plane

Mactan-Cebu International Airport will be your gateway to Cebu Island. Located on Mactan Island 20 kilometers from Cebu City, it is connected to the major cities of Southeast Asia.

From France, you will transit either through Manila or through a major Asian city such as Singapore, Bangkok, or Seoul. 

Afterward, you can take a taxi or a bus. The latter leaves every 20min in the direction of Cebu City. The price is ridiculous since it costs only 25 Pesos (0.60$) for 11km.

By ferry

You can arrive by ferry to Cebu from the nearby islands of Negros, Bohol, or Siquijor. The boat also serves Cagayan De Oro, Iligan City, Manila, Nasipit (Butuan City) & Ozamiz. The surrounding islands such as the Visayas Islands, the Islands of Mindanao, and the Luzon Islands are also served.

The journey takes between 8am and 3pm, but schedules may vary depending on the time of year. 

Where to stay in Cebu?

When you arrive to visit Cebu, you will be better off staying in Cebu City or on Mactan Island which has many quality resorts with swimming pools and private beaches. If to visit Cebu and stay there, you have a smaller budget, we recommend you take an Airbnb.

You should stay a few nights on a tiny island like Malapascua or Sumilon, as we advise. The two main tourist areas are Oslob and Moalboal, where you will find a wide choice of hotels.

Accommodation in the Philippines is sometimes a little more expensive than in other Asian countries but remains very affordable by European standards. Use a hotel comparator to find the best deals based on your criteria and budget.

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