Cebu is one of the most popular destinations in the Philippines when it comes to pristine white-sand beaches, rich-tasting history and world-renowned culture inheritance. Not only it nestles undisturbed natural sites, it also home’s nearly 170 islands surrounding the Province. From good food to satiate your cravings, to remarkable Cebu tourist spots – there isn’t a shortage of explorations or things to do in Cebu.
Discover what Cebu province has to offer! Find out the prime tourist attractions and unique activities you can try to make the most out of your Cebu getaway.
Let’s start with the “Queen City of the South” itself, Cebu City.
This site is where Magellan planted the Cross (which marks the start of Christianity in the Philippines) on April 21, 1521. To preserve its form, the cross is encased in a bigger wooden cross and housed in an octagonal kiosk which has a ceiling decorated with murals that depict Cebu’s conversion to Christianity.
2.Basilica del Sto. Nino
Just right beside the Magellan’s Cross is the oldest Christian church of the Philippines. The Basilica was founded in 1565 which keeps the oldest image of Sto. Niño (the child Jesus Christ) that was presented by Ferdinand Magellan to Queen Juana, the chief consort of Rajah Humabon, during her christening on April 14, 1521. The See of Rome labels this church as the “Mother and Head of all Churches in the Philippines”.
3.Fort San Pedro
Fort San Pedro is the oldest and smallest triangular fort in the Philippines. It is an 18th-century structure which served as an army garrison to repel aggressors during the Spanish regime. In the later years, through the advent of colonisation, the fort was turned into a barracks (during American reign), a school, a hospital, a prison (during Japanese reign), and a zoo before it became a historical park as it is seen today. The original fort was made of wood; it was later replaced with stone in the 17th century to fight off Muslim raiders.
4.The Heritage of Cebu Monument
The monument is a tableau of cement, iron and steel which portrays the major events of Cebu’s history. Cebuano artist Eduardo Castrillo sculpted the monument in July 1997 and completed it in December 2000. It stands at the heart of Old Parian district which was believed to be the place of wealthy Filipino businessmen and Chinese merchants in early years.
5.Yap Sandiego Ancestral House
Right across The Heritage of Cebu Monument is the Yap Sandiego Ancestral House. This ancestral house is one of the oldest houses in the Philippines. Built during the Spanish era (between 1675-1700), coral stones and egg whites make the walls. Molave, balayong and terracotta glue the roof together.
6.Jesuit House of 1730 or Museo de Parian
A walking distance from YapSandiego Ancestral House is the Jesuit House of 1730. It is also the “Museo de Parian”. The second highest ranking Jesuit priest in the Philippines used to reside here. The place is really grand – the ceilings are high, the walls are high. This has become the meeting place of the early Cebuano elites, plus this house also preserves some ceramics spotted during the Ming Dynasty.
7.Casa Gorordo Museum
In about a five minute walk from the Jesuit House, you get to Casa Gorordo Museum. This house-turned-museum is where the first Cebuano bishop, Juan Gorordo, resided. Originally built during the 1800s, a Spanish businessman Juan Isidro de Gorordo purchased the house. Due to Ramon Aboitiz Foundation’s Cultural Heritage Program, Casa Gorordo became a museum in 1980. The museum depicts Philippine culture between the 1800s to 1900.
Cebu Taoist Temple in Beverly Hills Subdivision, Cebu City is a colourful and multi-tiered complex that was built in 1972 for the Chinese Taoism Community. It became popular because of its artistic structures and notable things like the chapel, a library, a souvenir shop and a wishing well. From there, you can see the striking view of the city and even Mactan Island. And of course, for Taoists, this is the ideal place to pray or meditate.
Hailed as the Taj Mahal of Cebu, the Temple of Leah has become one of the most famous landmarks in Cebu. Built in honour of a man’s undying love to his late wife, Temple of Leah – which is still undergoing construction – has drawn thousands of visitors due to its renaissance-inspired temple with 24 chambers, museum, gallery and library that keep all of Leah’s favourite collections. If you’re up for a Cebu hillside tour, the Temple of Leah is an excellent place to start. Located in the hills of Busay in Cebu City, Temple of Leah is a towering seven-story building inspired by ancient Roman architecture.
Another excellent Instagram-worthy spot in Cebu’s hillside is Sirao Garden. Dubbed as the “Little Amsterdam” of Cebu, this picturesque flower farm is located in the highlands of Busay. The array of celosia (or ‘Burlas’ by locals) flowers in flaring red, purple, yellow, orange makes it Amsterdam-ish. The put-up windmill and the cool wind complement the scenic view. Hence, this gives the guests the unique, touristy feel. The place is best visited in the morning to avoid the crowd. (Tip: Plan your trip for October where all areas are covered with flowers.)
Moving to the nearby island of Mactan, you can visit the 10,000 Roses of Cebu. This magnificent spot, which is in Day-as Barangay Rd, Cordova, Cebu, is where you can witness 10,000 artificial LED-powered roses lit up at night. It’s originally a Cafe that offers sumptuous food and the owner adds some romantic ambience to it-explains the roses.
The Shrine is dedicated to honour the Battle of Mactan where Lapu-Lapu, the first Filipino hero, defeated and presumably killed the Spanish invader Ferdinand Magellan in April 27, 1521. It is the very place where the battle happened and to celebrate Datu Lapu-Lapu’s bravery and honour, a statue of Lapu-Lapu is installed and on the opposite side is an octagonal-based obelisk dedicated to Ferdinand Magellan.
Olango is a nearby island from Mactan. Its wildlife sanctuary makes for a refuge of the largest concentration of migratory birds found so far in the Philippines. The sanctuary also has an immense seagrass bed which supports life for marine creatures and naturally grown mangroves. Best part of this Island, it’s definitely your escape from the buzz of the City – perfect to unwind.
Now let’s move to South Cebu attractions…
Going south, you could climb the Osmeña Peak of Cebu in Mantalongon, Dalaguete (pronounced “Dalaget”) is considerably the highest point of Cebu with an elevation of 1013 metres above sea level (MASL). The ascent to its summit is approximately 1.3 kilometres and would take about 20 minutes at a continuous pace. The sharp protruding peaks which has a capacity of 30-40 visitors at a time offers a view of a fascinating vista composed of Badian Island, the Tañon strait, and farther, the province of Negros Oriental. Trail is a bit rocky but well-defined which makes trekking relatively easy that even a beginner would not necessarily have a guide.
The most famous attraction in Badian is Kawasan Falls, a three-tiered cascade that features distinctly turquoise water. It is one of the most popular tourist spots in Cebu south that’s always mirrored with Kawasan Canyoneering. The canyoneering adventure starts at Canlaob river downstream going to Kawasan falls. Local accredited guides accompany all tourists and facilitate the activities such as walking, jumping, swimming, climbing and abseiling through the streams. Most of all, when you do canyoneering, be prepared to be thrilled.
Sumilon Island is inarguably one of the most popular tourist spots in Cebu. This 24-hectare island is situated on the southern tip of the leading Cebu Island and features its prominent sandbar attraction, diving spots, mangroves, hectares-wide forests and more. If you’re driving South and up for more private vacay, visit Sumilon Island.
17.Oslob Whale Shark Watching
Experience swimming with the Oslob Whale Sharks, locally known as the “Tuki”. Oslob Municipality is known for old churches and beautiful beaches but became more popular because of the gentle giants – the Whale Sharks. Oslob Whale Shark watching is definitely a noteworthy rare experience for Cebu tourists – especially if you have a close encounter with them.
18. Tumalog Falls
Few kilometres away from the whale shark attraction is the Tumalog Falls. It is also situated in the municipality of Oslob. Locals call this body of water, the “Toslob Falls” or “Mag-ambak Falls”. Tumalog Falls is a curtain-like waterfall that covers the entire cliff with cool and clear water. This has become one of the most visited Cebu tourist spots in South Cebu as it reflects an undeniably amusing curtain effect.
Pescador Island is in Tañon Strait – a few kilometres off the coast of Moalboal in the south of Cebu Island. It is one of the best diving spots in Cebu. Its island reef is a sandy slope covered with soft coral from 5–10 metres (15–35 ft). It is also gaining more and more attraction because of the popular Sardine Run where you get to swim with millions of Sardines (also known as Herring).
If you’re the adventurous type, you’ll get to experience your mini-canyoneering session in Aguinid Falls. The waterfall is multi-tiered, each layer giving enough dose of fun, thrill and excitement. It boasts of beautifully refreshing cascades of water, a shallow pool between its layers and non-slippery formation of limestone which can make trekking easy, safe and bearable.
In Sibonga, southern town of Cebu, lies the prestigious Simala Church. Simala church stretches its grandiose arm as if to welcome religious people all over the globe. The design is inspired from European cathedrals. Not only is the place magnificent in structure, but this also reveals a culture that is deeply seated among Cebuanos – the essence of Roman Catholicism. Whether or not you differ in religion, the Shrine is worth visiting.
Panagsama beach of Moalboal is where all water adventures happen. Like Pescador Island, common sights under its water are slow-swimming turtles, some dolphins, a tornado of tiny flickering sardine fish, and unadulterated coral reef which make Moalboal one of the best diving sites and marine sanctuaries in the Philippines. Its shore is filled with diving centres which offer scuba and freediving courses both for beginners and advanced divers; and an island hopping experience to Pescador and its neighbouring islands.
23.White (Basdaku) Beach
White (Basdaku) beach of Moalboal prides itself on its long stretch of fine, white sand suitable for beach bumming. At sundown, the beach also offers a perfect spot for sunset viewing.
24.The Cuartel Ruins (Moseo Oslob) / Oslob Church
Also known as Nuestra Señora de la Inmaculada Conception, the Oslob Church is one of the oldest churches in Cebu. The church was constructed in 1830, and was designed by Bishop Santos Gomez Marañon – the same person who built the Magellan’s Cross kiosk in Cebu City. A fire gutted the Oslob Church on March 26, 2008 but was then reconstructed by the locals. Just beside the church is where you will see the Oslob Cuartel which was built to house Spanish troops that were assigned in Oslob. This unfinished structure has double rows of arches, and is made of thick corals.
25.Danasan Eco Adventure Park of Danao
Moving up to North Cebu Tourist Spot is Danasan Eco Adventure Park. This place will give you the experience of the great outdoors. Go rappelling, trekking, waterfall exploration, high cable traverse, zipline, wakeboarding, or ATV ride at Danasan Eco Adventure Park.
If you’re travelling with your kiddie cuties, Cebu Safari should be top of your list to visit. Get giddy at the biggest zoo in the Philippines. Visit is pre-arranged and is good for a full day activity .
Malapascua Island is a small island off the coast of Daanbantayan in the northern part of Cebu. It’s well known for its plethora of spectacular diving spots in Cebu – all teeming with vibrant coral walls and large sea vertebrates. It is famous among locals and international tourists, especially among divers, because it is the only place in the whole world where you can dive with thresher sharks daily. A typical day at sea involves thresher sharks, hammerhead sharks, blue ring octopus, and manta ray sightings. But if you’re not too keen on diving, don’t worry! Malapascua’s attractions aren’t all underwater.
Bantayan Island is a small island off the coast of northern Cebu. Don’t be fooled by this sleepy fishing village, the beaches of this humble island exude the same charm and beauty as the famous Boracay Island. The best part is, Bantayan Island is not as commercialised and crowded as Boracay. If you want a relaxing vacation by the beach and witness one of the most beautiful sunsets, Bantayan Island won’t disappoint you. The white, coraline sand of Kota beach at Santa Fe, Bantayan island is a perfect spot for sunrise viewing.
29.Paradise Beach Bantayan Island
Bantayan Island is blessed with several sprawling white-sand beaches and calm azure waters. The quiet, clean and secluded Paradise beach (or now known as Sandira beach) as an example. It has a serene stretch of white sand that features beautiful rock formations and crystal clear waters. Bantayan Island also boasts two natural cave pools, the Ogtong Cave and the Sto. Niño Cave. A natural cold spring feeds both caves, so you can expect chilly water that’s great for cooling off after a morning of beach-hopping.
Carnaza Island has become the hottest summer go-to destination in Cebu last 2018. It characterises a powdery, white sand that can rival the best beaches of Bantayan and Malapascua. The island offers a glamping experience where guests can sleep in glamorous tents as seen in the photo.
31.La Manok Island
La Manok Island is a secluded and less visited piece of tropical paradise at the northernmost tip of Cebu. It is another sandbar close to Carnaza which makes for a good mix of island hopping experience if you plan to see both.
Camotes Island is also known for its blanket of powdery, white sand public beaches– most of the beach faces east and is a perfect location to wait for the sun as it rises in the morning.
33.Gibitngil Funtastic Island
Gibitngil Island is listed as a famous resort with colourful cottages on top of rocks, coral rocks and black rocks surrounded with pristine turquoise waters in Cebu tourist spots record. Some call this place a ‘little’ Palawan due to its walls of rocks that look fantastic. It is located North of Cebu, a 3-hour drive from the City will let you reach Medellin where you can find Gibitngil.
34.Medellin’s Bamboo Forest
Medellin’s Bamboo Forest is one of the most solemn, undisturbed, and peaceful tourist attractions in Cebu. Found in Barangay Luy-a, this serene man made forest is one of Cebu’s most instagrammable venues. Though it is still quite undeveloped, the rise of social media has made more people aware of this natural marvel.
35.Maravilla Shoreline, Tabuelan
Maravilla Shoreline is a well-known beach destination in Tabuelan due to its long stretch of white sand and numerous affordable beach resorts along the shore. It’s a happy place to be in because it is accessible and worth the trip. The water is clear and clean. The sand in the water is soft, unlike many other beaches where the shore is composed of harsh rocks and pebbles. Camping is allowed in some areas too, perfect stop if you’re having a road trip up North.
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