Cebu City is the capital of Cebu province in Central Visayas. Although famous abroad because of the tourist resorts that line the shores of nearby Mactan Island, Cebu City is rich in history—it was the site of the first Spanish settlement, the first capital of the Philippines, and the point from which Christianity spread throughout the country.

The main language in Cebu is Cebuano, more commonly known as Bisaya. However, being a strong center of commerce and tourism the general level of English is good, and you certainly won’t have any problems in the hotels.

Mactan-Cebu International Airport is the entrance point for the majority of visitors. This is actually located on Mactan Island in Lapu-Lapu City. While technically a separate jurisdiction, “Cebu” is broadly thought of as encompassing this area in the minds of travellers. The waterfront of Lapu-Lapu City is where you’ll find most of the resort-style hotels with private beaches and luxurious pools. In contrast, Cebu City is far more bustling, polluted, and congested—a sort of smaller version of Manila. Despite many tourists staying on Mactan Island, Cebu City still offers a good number of sightseeing spots and things to do.

Key Attractions

1730 Jesuit House

Former house of Jesuit priests built in the 18th century
8:30am to 5pm (closes for 1 hours at midday)

Ayala Mall Cebu

Popular shopping mall in Cebu City with plenty of restaurants
Open 10am to 9pm (until 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays)

Basilica del Santo Niño

Basilica built upon the site where the Santo Niño de Cebú was discovered

Carbon Market Cebu

The oldest farmer’s market in Cebu and a good place to buy handicrafts
Open 24/7

Casa Gorordo Museum

Casa Gorordo is a superb example of a Spanish colonial era house called balay nga tisa. Its architecture…
10am to 6pm every day
P70 for foreigners, P40 for Cebu residents, and P15 for students

Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral

Major cathedral which serves as the ecclesiastical seat of the Archdiocese of Cebu

Cebu Taoist Temple

Taoist temple in the suburbs of Cebu built by the city’s Chinese community in 1972. Good views over the city.

Jumalon Butterfly Sanctuary

Small family-run butterfly sanctuary that has been open to the public since 1974
8:30pm to 5pm
Adults P50, Children P25

Magellan’s Cross

A Christian cross planted by Portuguese and Spanish explorers in March 1521

Museo Sugbo

Former provincial jail that is now home to Cebu’s provincial museum
9am to 5:30pm. Closed on Sundays
Philippine nationals: Adults P30, students P10; Foreign nationals: Adults P75, students P50

Sirao Garden

Garden opened in 2016 known for its many celosia flowers
6am to 7pm
Entrance is P30

Taboan Public Market

Popular food market famous for selling danggit or dried rabbitfish
The market runs from 4am until 8pm every day

Temple of Leah

The Temple of Leah was in fact constructed in 2012 AD by Teodorico Soriano Adarna—owner of the Queensland…
6am to 11pm

Terrazas De Flores Botanical Garden

Flower terrace botanical garden outside the city home to 120 species of flower
8am to 9pm

“Tops” Viewpoint

Famous viewpoint that looks over Cebu City
Entrance to the viewpoint area is P100
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