Cebu City: The Most Livable City For All
The city of Cebu is the capital city of the province of Cebu and is the "second city" of the Philippines with the second most significant metropolitan center and known as the oldest settlement established by the Spaniards in the country. The city is located on the eastern shore of Cebu and was the first Spanish settlement in the Philippines. Cebu is the Philippines' main domestic shipping port and is home to about 80% of the country's domestic shipping companies. Cebu also holds the second largest number of international flights in the Philippines and is a significant center of commerce, trade and industry in the Visayas and Mindanao regions.
Cebu City is the center of a metropolitan area called Metro Cebu, which includes the cities of Carcar, Danao, Lapu-lapu, Mandaue, Naga, Talisay. Metro Cebu has a total population of about two million people. The Mactan-Cebu International Airport, located in Lapu-Lapu City is only a twenty-minute drive away from Cebu City. To the northeast of the city are Mandaue City and the town of Consolacion, to the west are Toledo City, the towns of Balamban and Asturias, to the south are Talisay City and the town of Minglanilla. Across Mactan Strait to the east is Mactan Island where Lapu-Lapu City and an aquarium attraction are located.
The Queen City of the South boasts of famed Cebuano hospitality and faith, reputable economic activity, competitive administration and renowned scenic spots. With its festive events, golden heritage and panoramic beauty, it boasts as a queen in its own right, contributing to the tourism of the Philippines.
You have come to the right place to know more about Cebu City: its rich cultural history and landmarks; the downtown tourism opportunities that have amazed tourists and locales alike; and its thriving trade and industry through its various businesses.
The news section keeps you updated with City Hall and Barangay activities, job openings, and notices to taxpayers. Our photo gallery showcases highlights, milestones and other imagery that promotes the city as a whole. For a more convenient service, you can also download business permit application forms and building permit application forms.
Behind the success of the city is organized governance that keeps it up and running, offering sensible services that have alleviated the lives of its constituents and services that aided the city to prosperity and efficiency.
There are plenty of reasons why Cebu City is branded as the Most Livable City for all.
What to See
Shrines and historical landmarks
- Basilica of Santo Niño, Osmeña Boulevard, Cebu City. A large and venerable church that traces its history to the founding of the convent of the Santo Niño de Cebu in 1565. It contains a statue of the Santo Niño (Holy Child) which is regarded as the oldest religious relic in the Philippines. The statue was presented by Ferdinand Magellan to Queen Juana during the baptism of King Humabon and his wife Queen Juana on April 14, 1521. The natives of Cebu were formally Christianized by Miguel Lopez de Legaspi and Father Andres de Urdaneta on April 27, 1565. However, as they found the natives hostile, the village was set on fire. Later on, in a burnt-out house, a soldier named Juan Camus found the statue untouched. This was proclaimed a miracle. The statue, adorned with gold and precious stones, is in a glass case to the left of the altar. The church sees a constant stream of devotees praying at pews in the sanctuary and in front of statues of saints. The Basilica del Santo Niño Museum (open Tue-Sun 08:00-11:45, 13:30-16:45) contains the vestments used to dress the Santo Niño and jewelry offered to the Santo Niño for use during his feast on the third Sunday of January.
- Colon Street, Cebu City Brave the cacophonous traffic to see the oldest street in the Philippines with some nice worn-out classical buildings dating back to the American Era. At night, this street is transformed into a market with good buys everywhere. Be wary of pickpockets though.
- Fort San Pedro (Fuerza de San Pedro). The smallest Spanish outpost in the Philippines during the colonial era. It has a small museum showcasing the wreckage and treasures from the sunken San Diego galleon from Mexico. The area is scenic with the newly renovated and open-air Plaza Independencia at the entrance. It is located in the area now called Plaza Indepedencia, in the Pier Area of Cebu City, Philippines.
- Fuente Osmeña (Cebu, City)
- Magellan's Cross, Plaza Sugbo, off Magallanes St (between the Colegio de Santo Niño (south of the Basilica of Santo Niño) and Cebu City Hall - if you approach the Basilica from Osmeña Boulevard, walk through the courtyard of the Basilica and the Colegio to reach the Plaza). An octagonal building decorated with murals containing a large wooden cross that commemorates the Portuguese conquistador Ferdinand Magellan who planted a wooden cross upon converting the original inhabitants to Christianity. A plaque states that the visible wooden cross contains the original cross, but some historians say the original cross was reduced to firewood by local inhabitants when the Magellan fleet headed elsewhere. Take time to appreciate the various candle sellers who dance around during worship and while selling the candles.
- Casa Gorordo Museum, 35 Lopez Jaena St. Open Tue-Sun 10:00-18:00. A well-preserved Spanish colonial mansion constructed largely of wood, set in a pleasant, manicured garden. The lower floor has a collection of old tools, and an A/C room that has changing displays such as art exhibitions. The more interesting upstairs level was the former living quarters of the Gorordo family. It features lovely carved wooden furniture and a wide patio. The kitchen is particularly interesting, as it contains a traditional dirt stove, a wooden food safe, and a traditional dish drying rack fitted to the outside of the window.
- The Taoist Temple reflects the Chinese heritage of Cebu.
Museums, nature and others
- Dance with the smoothest criminals in the world Experience the life behind the prison bars and dance with the smooth friendly dangerous criminals in the Philippines. You can mingle with them take pictures with them but you don't have to worries peace maker guards and jail police is around. Still your life is in your hands.
Free performances and bus. We went from the Cebu Guest House. The Inmates performance's were held every last Saturday of the month.
- Cebu Parkmall and Cebu International Convention Center
- Cebu Provincial Museum (Museo Sugbo), (a short taxi ride from Fort San Pedro). The museum is housed in the former Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center, which was once the Carcel de Cebu. Its four Spanish-era buildings made of coral stone contain artifacts relating to the history of Cebu. It is only a short taxi ride from Fort San Pedro.
- Provincial Capitol, which is particularly scenic at night, is by far the largest provincial Capitol building anywhere in the entire archipelago. Its original design is a miniature of the White House and was built during the American Era.
- Heritage of Cebu, (Eastern end of Colon St). A massive and particularly detailed monument showcasing the heritage of Cebu from the old Spanish to the American colonial era.
- Mount Manghilaw
- Santa Rosa Falls
- Taoist Temple. Visit the temple for a unique look at the island's Chinese heritage. The Chinese make up a significant part of the population, with much of the locals having full, half or part Chinese ancestry.
- Crocolandia. Witness different sizes of crocodiles, snakes, deer and birds.
- Jose R. Gullas Halad Museum, is a musically-themed museum in Cebu City, Philippines that pays homage to the musical heritage of Cebu. This museum is operated under the Tipiganan sa mga Handumanan sa Kanta ug Kinaiyang Sugbuanon (Treasury of Memories) Foundation. It is located along V. Gullas St. (former Manalili) and D. Jakosalem St. Cebu City, which used to be the oldest building of The Freeman Newspaper and now houses Cebuano and Visayan musical treasures and memorabilia.
What to Do
- Biking - Go to Tops, which literally sits at the top of the Mt Busay for an unobstructed view of the entire city at night. A few shops and restaurants stand along the way for a short stop. At one time taxi drivers charged a whopping 500+ pesos for the ride to Tops but the price has doubled to a ridiculous non-negotiable 1000 pesos, the best way to experience Tops is by mountain bike. This is a world class climb and on any given day, Cebu's bikers are humping the 45 minutes to 1 hr trek filled with switchbacks and views better than you see actually at the very top. Ask your hotel where you can rent a mountain bike. They will have to ask around a bit, but it's worth it.
- Drink, Eat, Laugh and Party - Cebu city is one of the cities which won't miss the party scenes at night, being a major city of commerce and finance in the Philippines; the development of bars, clubs and other commercial establishments are at a fast rate. Take a break from the hectic busy urban life... take a laugh, comedy bars are common in the Philippines and usually Sarcasm the lowest common of wit as most people would say is the common specialty of comedians, don't get pissed at them if they make fun of you, smile back and just get along. Comedy and disco bars, coffee shops and restaurants are found in Gen. Mexilom Ave., Fuenta Rotunda andOsmeña Blvd.
- Ride a Tartanilla - Head to Cebu's old quarters in Carlock St and try riding a horse drawn carriage called “atartanilla”. Remember to negotiate with the driver before taking a ride.
- See the scenic view of Cebu City's skyline - The Marcelo Fernan Bridge or Second Mactan Bridge offers some interesting views of the city at night, and is even picturesque from below. Arrange for a taxi to take you there.
- Shop - Cebu City is well known for two spacious and modern malls outside Manila. SM City Cebu and the Ayala Center Cebu are the most famous and luxurious shopping centers at the heart of the city. Boutique shops, mini-malls, themed malls, fine and alfresco dining include Park Mall, Banilad Town Center, among others.
- Sinulog Festival - The island of Cebu gets especially busy on the third Sunday of January due to the Sinulog Festival. It is the local way of honoring the Child Jesus. Main thoroughfares around the city are blocked for an all-day and all-night loud and colorful street party. Don't forget your dancing shoes!
- Swim and Sun - Mactan is actually the popular place when it comes to beaches which is just minutes away from Cebu City and is where the Airport is located. But despite its popularity, Mactan is a poor choice for travelers who are looking for a real beach experience. One would be hard-pressed to call any beach in Mactan a "paradise"...that is unless you enjoy fenced off, for-pay, mostly man-made muddy swim holes. Two ironies are at work on Mactan. Number #1: If you really like beaches, you are only about 90 minutes from great beaches , world class beaches ( examples include Moalboal and Alona in Bohol)... those are closer to the ones you see on postcards from the Philippines. Number #2: most people who enjoy Mactan absolutely hate the sun (count the number of umbrellas opened on any given day in Cebu!) ) and have a slightly less strong aversion to the water...and instead are enjoying Mactan as the result of a someone else's generosity or purchased time, or bought a package deal back in Korea without knowing any better, or as furloughed Cebu city workers who take some pleasure telling co-workers and friends they were at the so and so 3 star hotel for the weekend but do little else than take picture of the event rather than simply enjoying the experience.
- For a real beach experience, visit the nearby Bantayan Island. It is accessible by chartered plane from Mactan Cebu Airport or through the Hagnaya Port (3 hour by car from the city) where it is around an hour ferry ride to Sta Fe port of Bantayan Island. Day trips to Virgin Island can be arranged with your resort as well.
- Snorkel, bird-watching and scuba diving - The island of Olango and its 6 small satellite islands are ideal for snorkelling and scuba diving as well as observation of migratory birds.
- Xtreme Rides - Just adjacent Robinson's Mall is the Crown Regency Cebu which is the tallest building in the city. Adventure seekers may head to the top floor to experience a breathtaking view of this modern city and its environs. You may also opt to join in the Xtreme Rides that literally puts you on the edge of the city, or you may walk around the edge of the building (don't worry, safety cables are attached) to experience this once in a lifetime experience. All of these you can enjoy for a small fee.
Magellan's Cross Kiosk
Cebu City Hall
Mid-rise office buildings in Cebu IT Park, Cebu City
Mactan-Cebu International Airport
A View of Cebu City at Night
List of Accommodations in Cebu City
- Parklane International Hotel - Archbishop Reyes Avenue and Escario St.
- Montebello Villa Hotel - Banilad
- Waterfront Cebu City Hotel & Casino - Salinas Drive, Lahug
- Radisson Blu Hotel Cebu - Sergio Osmena Boulevard corner Juan Luna Avenue
- Marco Polo Plaza - Cebu Veterans Drive Nivel Hills Apas
- Golden Prince Hotel and Suites Cebu City - Acacia Street, Corner Archbishop Reyes Avenue, Barangay Kamputhaw
- Cityscape Hotel - Ayala Access Road, F. Cabahug Street corner Hernan Cortes Street
- Harolds Hotel - 146 Gorordo Avenue corner Rosal St., Lahug
- Rajah Park Hotel - Fuente Osmena
- The Beverly Boutique Business Hotel Cebu - F. Manalo St.
- Citi Park Hotel - F. Cabahug Street, Kasambagan Road
- Crown Regency Hotel & Towers Cebu City - Fuente Tower 1 Osmena Boulevard
- Summit Circle Hotel - Fuente Osmeña
- Alto Pension House - D. Jakosalem St
- Marriott Cebu City - Cardinal Rosales Avenue
- Hotel Asia Cebu City - 11 Don Jose Avila St., Capitol Sit
How to Get There
By Plane: From Manila, there are daily flights going to Cebu City.
By Boat: Cebu City's domestic port is the country's busiest. Cebu City is home to almost 80 percent of the country's passenger vessels. The country's largest shipping lines, namely WG&A, Sulpicio Lines, Trans-Asia, George & Peter Lines and Lorenzo Shipping Lines, are headquartered in Cebu. Large passenger ferries with a capacity of 2,000 to 4,000 passengers ply the more distant routes such as Manila, Davao, Butuan City, Zamboanga, and Cagayan de Oro.
From the airport, you can ride a multicab, jeepney, or taxi. Simply ask around for which route to take. They are available 24 hours and cover most of the nooks and crannies of the city. Just be sure you know what part of the city the jeepney will take you to.