Cebu Tourist Spots That You Shouldn’t Miss
Here are 35 beautiful attractions that you can only find in the incredible province of Cebu!
By Rhea J. Bernardino
February 05, 2018
35 amazing Cebu tourist spots for your bucket list
Cebu is just one of those places that are constantly evolving and adapting. You'll always find new attractions to be seen and hidden spots to be discovered, which is why it remains as a favorite destination among travelers. Whether you're visiting this beautiful province for the first time or rediscovering it on yet another voyage, here are some of Cebu's tourist spots that every traveler must include in their itinerary:
For history buffs and the religious
1. Basilica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebu
Established in 1565, it's considered the oldest Roman Catholic Church in the country, and it houses the image of the Holy Child, which was believed to have been brought by the Spaniards in 1521. Not only that, it was also declared by the Vatican's Holy See as the "Mother and Head of All Philippine Churches.”
2. Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House
Visiting Cebu means that you also have the chance to visit one of the oldest houses in the Philippines. Built in the early 17th century, the Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House is a treasure trove of artifacts and memorabilia dating back to the Spanish colonial period. Some of the featured antiques range from furniture and pottery to artworks.
3. Magellan's Cross
When Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan and his Spanish troops set foot in Cebu in 1521, he planted a Christian cross to symbolize the propagation of the Catholic faith in the land. The site for this historic event became one of the province's most popular landmarks, and up until this day, it bears the remains of the true cross which Magellan brought to the country.
4. Mactan Shrine
The Philippines claimed its first Filipino hero during the battle of Mactan. Lapu-Lapu, then native chieftain of Mactan, defeated the invading Spanish forces led by Magellan. In honor of his bravery, a statue of Lapu-Lapu was erected on Mactan Shrine, which you can visit in Lapu-Lapu City.
5. Fort San Pedro
Cebu is also home to the smallest fort in the country. Established in 1565, Fort San Pedro is a military bastion that bears a triangular shape. Though the fort is small, there's lots to discover here, including a museum and a garden where you can relax after a tour.
6. The Heritage of Cebu Monument
Curious about all the important events of Cebu's history? The Heritage of Cebu Monument will enlighten you about that. This interesting sculpture was made by local artist Eduardo Castrillo. Using a variety of media including bronze, brass, concrete, and steel, the artwork depicts some of the moments in the province's history, like the baptism of Rajah Humabon and the Battle of Mactan to name a few.
7. Cebu Taoist Temple
Even if you don't practice Taoism, a visit to the Cebu Taoist Temple is a must. Built by Cebu's Chinese community in 1972, it can be found within Beverly Hills Subdivision in Cebu City. It rises 270 meters above sea level, offering a great view of the city. On your visit, you'll marvel at its colorful and magnificent architecture, particularly its entrance designed to look like the Great Wall of China as well as its sprawling garden. There's also a library and a wishing well inside.
8. Colon Street
With its long history, it's undeniable that Cebu is a place of firsts. It's home to the first street in the Philippines—Colon Street. Located in Cebu City's downtown area, it was established in 1565 by Spanish troops under the command of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi.
9. Simala Shrine
The Simala Shrine is another must-see church when in Cebu. Located in the town of Sibonga in Southern Cebu, it's not only a popular pilgrimage site for Catholics but also for travelers who would want to be mesmerized by unique architecture. Also known as the Monastery of the Holy Eucharist, it's a peaceful place to reflect and relax.
10. Museo Sugbo
Cebu's history can also be relived through its various museums, and one of the most interesting ones that you can visit is Museo Sugbo, which is also known as the Cebu Provincial Museum. All of its memorabilia and artifacts on display are divided into several galleries for a more organized tour. In addition, the building of the museum itself is historic as it once served as Cebu's provincial jail during the Spanish colonial era.
11. Fuente Osmeña Circle
Looking for a place to relax in Cebu? Fuente Osmeña Circle is a rotunda park where people come to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city. With a fountain as its most distinct feature, it was built in 1912 in honor of the fourth president of the Philippines, Sergio Osmeña, who hails from Cebu.
12. Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral
Cebu plays an important part in the history of Catholicism in the Philippines so it comes as no surprise that you'll find many interesting churches in the province. The Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral is another impressive Spanish-era church you'll want to visit. It was built in 1595 when Cebu was established as a diocese and now stands as the ecclesiastical seat of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Cebu.
13. Cathedral Museum
Just next to the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedra is the ecclesiastical museum of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cebu, the Cathedral Museum of Cebu. Here, you'll see on display various items that hail from the Spanish colonial times, including religious artifacts. The building in which the museum is housed is also historic and dates back to the 19th century.
14. Kota Park
Kota Park is a place where you can both enjoy history and nature. Located in Bantayan Island, the park features amazing views of the sea. History buffs can explore Kota Fort, a Spanish-era fort which was used to protect citizens from invading pirates.
15. Casa Gorordo Museum
Casa Gorordo is a carefully-preserved residence that dates back to the Spanish area. Converted into a museum, it was opened to the public and showcases antique furniture, artworks, and religious artifacts of the Gorordo family, the owners of the house. It also houses a quaint café where one can enjoy refreshments after the tour.
For beach bums
16. Sumilon Island
Sumilon Island gives more popular beaches like Boracay a run for its money. Located in Oslob, this beautiful island boasts white sand shores and clear, turquoise waters perfect for some fun under the sun. Although privately owned by the Bluewater Sumilon Island Resort Cebu, day tours are still possible for tourists. One should not miss a visit to the island's famous white sandbar, where you can go swimming, snorkeling, and even sunbathing. You can even go on a trek to witness an amazing view of Cebu's mainland.
17. Basdaku Beach
If Moalboal is included in your Cebu itinerary, then you should not miss a visit to another beautiful white sand beach—Basdaku Beach. In Cebuano, "Basdaku" literally means "big sand,” which is what you'll exactly get when you go to this beach—a long and wide shoreline dotted with white, powdery sand you'll want to lie on. The best thing about it is that it's a public beach, so everyone is surely welcome there. Aside from the usual beach bumming and swimming, tourists also prefer snorkeling and scuba diving since Moalboal is known as one of Cebu's most popular dive spots. For accommodations, there are many resorts in the area. Camping is also allowed for overnighters who are on a budget.
18. Nalusuan Island
Part of the Olango Group of Islands, Nalusuan Island is another hidden island gem in Cebu. If diving and snorkeling is on your bucket list, then you'll surely enjoy exploring the clear waters of Nalusuan. A marine sanctuary, its waters teem with various sea creatures. The best thing about it is that it's located in Mactan Island, just near the airport so if you have some time to spare before you head to the Queen City of the South, you might want to catch a boat to this island first.
For nature lovers
19. Sirao Flower Garden
Have you ever wanted to visit the colorful flower fields of Netherlands? You don’t have to go far to see exquisite blooms because Cebu has them at Sirao Flower Farm. This charming farm bursts with color, thanks to the rows of different flowers planted on its beds. From celosias and hyacinths to daffodils and sunflowers, you'll surely appreciate each one's unique beauty. There's also a section in the garden called "Mini-Amsterdam", where you'll find various installations like a miniature windmill, some statues, and a bike, which you can pose with for photos.
20. Terrazas de Flores Botanical Garden
Couldn't get enough of the amazing flower fields of Sirao? Then you might want to follow up with a trip to Terrazas de Flores Botanical Garden, just a few minutes away. Much like Sirao, the blooms here come in different types and colors, and they are planted in terraces. Explore the vast surroundings of this terraced garden then take a breather in one of the quaint cabanas you'll find there.
21. Obo-ob Mangrove Garden
Lots of tourists go to Bantayan Island for its beaches, but nature lovers will discover that there's another thing worth seeing here: the Obo-ob Mangrove Garden. This eco-tourism park aims to let visitors know the importance of mangroves in the ecosystem. Enjoy an eco-friendly walk along a bamboo path, where you can enjoy a nice view of the lush mangrove forest. If hunger strikes during your tour, no need to worry because there's a floating restaurant onsite where you can grab a bite.
22. Ogtong Cave
Yet another one of Bantayan Island's best-kept secrets, Ogtong Cave is an underground freshwater cave perfect for taking a cool dip. It's the primary attraction at Ogtong Cave Resort. If you're too afraid to wade in the sea at Bantayan Island, then the clear, shallow waters of the mysterious cave may just be the perfect swimming spot for you.
For animal lovers
23. Jumalon Butterfly Sanctuary
If you've got young ones with you on your trip to Cebu, take them to Jumalon Butterfly Sanctuary for an educational visit. Home to 55 butterfly species, the sanctuary has a lush botanical garden as well as a museum featuring one of the oldest butterfly collections in the country and a gallery filled with artworks made by the sanctuary's founder, Prof. Julian N. Jumalon.
24. Oslob Whale Shark Watching Experience
Southern Cebu has seen a rise of tourist activity over the past years, and one of the attractions that piqued the interest of travelers was the whale shark watching experience in Oslob. Not only will you get to spot a whale shark but you'll also get to swim with them and see them up close and personal. Just remember to maintain your distance and follow the guidelines implemented by the boatmen and the tour guides so your experience goes on without a hitch.
For chasers of waterfalls
25. Kawasan Falls
Been wanting to take a dip in the turquoise-colored waters of Kawasan Falls? Brgy. Matutinao in Badian, Cebu, is where you'll find this famous three-tiered waterfalls. To get there, you'll have to trek and endure an uphill climb to explore every tier. After your Kawasan adventure, you can also try out canyoneering while you're still in Badian.
26. Tumalog Falls
On your trip to Oslob, don't forget to swing by Tumalog Falls. This beautiful cascading waterfall is a sight to behold and is perfect for a nice, chilly dip if you want to cool off from the heat. Its base is not that deep so adults can freely swim without a life vest, but if you're traveling with your little one, you might want to bring a floatie just to be safe.
For Instagram addicts
27. Temple of Leah
Who'd have thought that you'll find a slice of Greece in Cebu? Temple of Leah is the perfect place for travelers with a wanderlust for the Mediterranean country. Nestled on top of a hill in Barangay Busay, the grandiose temple boasts Roman architecture and is adorned with Greek statues. The temple is owned by the Adarna family and was built by its patriarch, Teodorico, in honor of his deceased wife, Leah, which is how it came to be known as the "Taj Mahal of Cebu."
28. 10,000 Roses Café
10,000 Roses Café brings in hordes of locals and tourists, but it's not the drinks and the food they're after (at least not at first), but the 10,000 white-colored artificial roses that are planted by the café. Just when you think it couldn't get more beautiful, when it turns night, the LED light of every single roses is lit up and brightens the entire place.
29. Tops Lookout
Scoping the perfect spot to get a nice shot of Cebu's skyline? Head to Tops Lookout, which offers a panoramic view of Cebu City. Aside from sightseeing, this viewpoint is also a great hangout and pig-out spot. What's more, the observation deck is also Instagram-worthy if you need more reasons to stay.
For adventure seekers
30. Sky Experience Adventure
Ready to face your fear of heights? Sky Experience Adventure at Crown Regency Hotel & Towers takes you to new heights (literally) with an assortment of adrenaline-pumping rides and activities that'll give you the rush you've been looking for. From a ride that tilts you 55% degrees as you look down on a panoramic view of Cebu to a unique walking activity that allows you to walk on the edge of a building while attached to a harness, tons of options await all types of adventurers.
31. Sirao Peak
Mt. Kan-irag, more popularly known as Sirao Peak, is a beginner-friendly mountain located in Brgy. Sibugay, Cebu City. Since it is just near the metro, it's a popular day hike for tourists. Depending on which trail you choose, the trek can be done in as quick as an hour, or as long as five hours. Nevertheless, the breathtaking view of the surrounding green fields will surely be the perfect reward for your feat.
32. Osmeña Peak
Another beginner-friendly mountain is Osmeña Peak, located at Dalaguete in Southern Cebu. At 1,013 meters above sea level, it is the highest peak in the province. The trek takes about an hour, and once you reach the summit, you will be mesmerized by the view of some jagged hills and the sea from afar.
33. Danasan Eco-Adventure Park
Danasan Eco-Adventure Park in Danao, Cebu City, has just about every kind of fun outdoors activities and attractions for adventurers out there. From ziplining and rappelling to ATV riding and kayaking, it truly offers a unique way to explore the great outdoors.
34. Cebu Business Park
This massive urban development in Cebu City is not just a hotspot for business but a lifestyle spot as well. Locals and tourists will enjoy the variety of shops here, offering both local and imported goods so you'll have plenty of choices for pasalubong. Here you'll also find Ayala Center Cebu, the first Ayala malls outside of Metro Manila.
35. Taboan Public Market
Danggit and dried mangoes are well-known pasalubong items from Cebu, which you'll both find at a relatively cheap price at Taboan Public Market. Heaping baskets of dried fish will greet you as soon as you arrive, but don't be overwhelmed—make sure to scout for the store that offers you the cheapest price so you'll get a good deal if you're planning to buy in bulk.