Hailed as the “queen city of the south”, Cebu is a mix of both historical and modern city in Visayas. It is one of the most highly-developed provinces in the Philippines, as a result, foreigners flock the city to experience its culture, explore the provinces and taste its good foods. Of course, every January people go to the city to join the fun in the most popular festival in the Philippines – Sinulog Festival. Needless to say, Cebu is like a second home to my mom since she studied there for as long as I can remember and everytime we have a random convo, she always stresses out: On how Cebuanos are really dovoted to their religion, how hospitable they are and how they cook extremely good food. So, when my friends planned a trip there, we took the chance to explore the south and metro of Cebu. Here are some of the things you may want to insert in your ititenrary whilst in the queen city.
We landed in Cebu during lunch time with an empty stomach. As a result, we opted for the city’s very popular lechon hosue – Rico’s Lechon at F. Cabahug Street. My friends claim that it’s the best lechon in town, so it automatically sky rocketed my expectations. But, it was like just any lechon: Juicy and Crispy. It was nothing special, for me at least. Nonetheless, their desserts took the spotlight in my stomach! After the hefty meal, we headed to our hotel to rest in preparation for the next activity. Fast forward to dinner, we then decided to have dinner at Pizza Republic Pick Mix at Salinas Dr,. This is like Project Pie where you get to choose variety of toppings like cheese, meat and all the good stuff. For 300 Php you get 9 pizza slices. Definetly a must try when in cebu!
COFFEE SHOP ADDICT?
Coffee shops in Cebu are everywhere! You won’t pass a street by without seeing one. Here are two of the cafe’s we tried on:
Osmeña Blvd., Capitol Site (across Cebu Doctors University)
Coffee prince is probably one of the most popular coffee shops in Cebu. I found out about this in while scrolling and lurking through Instagram. And it did not dissapoint me. From good interior , cool ambiance, good service and best caramel macchiato (up to date). Although you have to pull out extra cash because their variety of frappes and cakes are kinda pricy. But don’t worry, just like I said: “It won’t dissapoint you.” Every peso is worth it! And they have fast Wi-Fi too, that’s a good steal. 😉
Guadalupe, Cebu City
Another Cafe crossed in my bucket list! And yes, I found out about this on instagram too. Haha! I have always wanted to try this cafe mainly because of Cats! If you are a cat and coffee lover then this place is for you! Though they only serve sandwiches, salads and coffee. But hey, i’m after for the 13 lazy cats in this cafe! And you bet, it was a great experience! Definitely not your ordinary cafe.
BE A FRENCHIE AT LA VIE PARISIENNE
Gorordo Avenue Lahug, Cebu City
Cap off the night with a glass of champagne on your last day in the city! Without a doubt, La Vie is the place to be. Though at first I was kind of intimidated by the place because of the name itslef, and of course, we all know anything french is expensive. But every peso in this place is worth it! Their variety of wines, cheese, breads & macarons are a must try if you ask me. And the ambiance of the place at night is very good as the cherry blossoms light up! Such a romatic vibe ideal for lovers! 😛
CANYONEERING IN THE SOUTH OF CEBU
After the hustle and bustle of the city you might wanna take a route to the south of cebu and be one with nature. A trip to the south isn’t complete without Canyoning/Canyoneering. For wild souls out there this activity is for you! Basically, Canyoneering is a downstream of nerve wrecking jumping, sliding and trekking of obstacles that you go through for a minimum of 5 hours (depending on how long you will take that leap and how fast you walk). In Cebu’s canyoneering, there will be a total of 3 falls you will be jumping: first a 30+ feet, 2nd is 50+ feet and the last is 60+ feet (not sure, but its pretty high). For starters, take a bus (Cebu South Bus) heading to the Badian at 4AM and book yourself a day in this extreme activity for only 1,000 Php (with canyoneering gears, snacks and hefty lunch). First, you will be riding a 20 minute habal-habal ride to Barangay Kanlaob where the jump-off area is located and from there you will walk for 5 minutes to reach the first level. The first level is a whooping 20 feet high waterfall and landing on a deep pool of cold river-fed water! In this situation, you can’t back out because apparently this is the only way to enter the canyon – by high diving. And once you’re in the water, there is no backing out! Better make your jelly legs hard for it’s going to be a fun 5 hour of jumping, sliding and trekking! After all, at the end of the five hour activity, you get to see Kawasan falls! Personally enjoyed this activity, hope you will too.
OSLOB: WHALE SHARK DIVING
Another popular destination in Cebu is the Whale Shark Swimming in Natalio Bacalso, Tan-awan. In this activity you will get to interact with the gentle giants or tuki (locally called) up close, literally up CLOSE! Before the swim, I was giddy to jump off already and swim with them but my legs shaked after diving underwater. They are literally humungous! Even my friend keeps on screaming the whole time. Nonetheless she enjoyed the experience! But don’t fret, they don’t eat human. Just be sure to abide the city protocole imposed for the gentle ones. First is, you must stay at least 5 meters away from them. Second, don’t splash so hard as the whale sharks are very much attracted to bubbles. And lastly, no flash photography since they’re very sensitive.
HOW TO GET THERE?
- From Cebu City, ride a bus to Oslob at the South Bust Terminal. Tell the conductor or driver to drop you off at Brgy. Tan-awan in Oslob for the whale shark. It’s roughly a 3-hour bus ride from Ceby which costs 160 Php per person.
- Upon reaching Tan-awan there are tons of resorts to choose from . And from there, you have to pay entrance fee (more or less 50 php) .
- From there, you will pay again another fee (city ordinance) in order to go whale shark swimming.
- After that shizz, you will have a brief reminder on the do’s and don’ts whilst swimming with the gentle ones.
OSLOB WHALE SHARK FEES:
- Whale watching: P500 (that includes a boat, life vest and snorkelling gears)
- Camera fee: P500 (if you don’t have an underwater camera go rent yourself one from them. The package includes: a CD & USB)
A FEW REMINDERS:
- Whale shark diving is only up until lunch time.
- The best time to go whale shark swimming is on weekdays where there’s not much crowd. The best time to swim with them is at 6AM-9AM.
- Don’t bother applying sunblock/screen before hand since this kind of chemicals are very harmful and sensitive to the whale sharks. And they’ll let you take a shower before swimming just to be sure.
- Avoid kicking or touching the the whale sharks. Trust me, they have bigger fins to slap you if you do so.
- After the tiring encounter, eat lunch near the highway. There’s this one and only mini “carenderia” where kuya cooks good food with very affordable price!
- Enjoy your trip! And don’t be scared! 😉
From whale wark watching you can ride a lawin going to the Cuartel and witness the ruins from the Spanish Era. The Cuartel was basically built to house Spanish Troops assigned in Oslob but when the Americans came to our doorstep, the Spanish left and construction was terminated – forever. Nevertheless, the unfinished barracks, which is made up of thick coral blocks, remained standing after enduring another war and withstanding earthquakes and frequent typhoons. We just basically checked out the place and the church since we’re in a hurry to catch a bus going to Carcar for some Chicharon goodnes. Yum!
SIMALA PARIS CHURCH
Since our travel route is the South of Cebu we paid a visit to Simala Paris Church in Brgy. Simala, Sibonga, Cebu. First, you have to take a south bus going there. It’s easy to find the Church because the bus driver will inform the passengers once you get there. It’s a 2 hour and a half hour ride from Cebu, by the time you reach the stop point for the church you will take a motorcycle ride to bring you to the the said church. I have heard a lot of stories about the said church – from multiple miracles they witnessed and of course, the crying of the statue of Virgin Mary. After that miraculous circumstance, people all over flock Simala paying their tribute and giving their prayers. From then on, people started giving their donations to the church, as a result, a beatiful structure rose from a very humble church in Simala. P.S. If you’re wearing a bit reaveling clothes there are kids outside the church area whereyou can rent cover ups for only 20 Php.
That’s about it! A round up of things to do and places to explore in the city and south of cebu. There are definitely places & restaurants ( The Falls in Oslob & Osmeña Peak) we skipped because of the lack of time and money. Also, there are a few places from the city not included above, like Fat Cow, Yakski Barbeque, Azul and many more (I lost count haha). Nevertheless, we enjoyed our 3 day stay in the city and it’s province. For sure, you will enjoy every bit of it like we did. Always remember: keep on moving forward to places! 😉