Cebu is one of the most visited destinations in the Philippines by both local and foreign tourists. With its white sand beaches, awesome diving spots, remarkable historical sites, and scenic views, you’ll never run out of wonderful places to go and fun things to do in Cebu. Here are the top 10 tourist attractions that you should see while visiting Cebu.
Being a tropical island, Cebu is famous for its white sand beaches that you can find from the northern down to the southern part of Cebu.
Bantayan Island and Malapascua Island. These islands from the north are famous tourist destinations especially during the Holy Week celebration in summer. Its fine white sand beaches and breathtaking sunrise and moon rise views will make you want to stay longer and relax in these islands. The town of San Remegio in northern Cebu is also a popular tourist attraction in Cebu with a lot of white sand beach beaches.
Mactan Island. Mactan Island, where the airport is located, is also famous for its beach resorts. Here you will find five-star resorts, such as the Shangri la Mactan Resort and Spa, Plantation Bay Resort and Spa, Imperial Palace Water Park Resort and Spa, and Crimson Resort and Spa Mactan.
Moalboal and Badian. The towns of Moalboal and Badian down south are also famous for their white sand beaches and various water activities for locals and tourists.
Snorkeling and diving spots
For a closer encounter with the underwater life, Cebu also has breathtaking snorkeling and diving spots. Malapascua Island, which is labelled as one of the best diving destinations in the Philippines, lets you witness a spectacular view of corals and different kinds of colorful fishes. The Monad Shoal, in particular, is known for regular sightings of thresher sharks, manta rays, and hammerheads.
Other equally great diving spots in Cebu include Moalboal and Mactan Island, particularly Hilutungan, Nalusuan, and Talima Islands.
If you are in Mactan, your trip will not be complete without the island hopping experience. There are many neighboring islands in Mactan that you can go to, including Hilutungan Marine Sanctuary, Caohagan Island, Sulpa Island, and Nalusuan Island. While you are island hopping, you can also enjoy fish feeding, swimming, snorkeling, diving, and dining in the islands you visit.
Other water adventures
Aside from swimming, snorkeling, diving, and island hopping, you can also go on other exciting water adventures in Cebu.
Yellow submarine. Embarking on the famous Yellow Submarine found at the Imperial Palace and Water Park Resort in Mactan lets you view beautiful coral gardens and different species of fish under the sea.
Olango Island bird watching. If you happen to be in Cebu between February to April and between September to November, you can see the migratory birds flocking over Olango Island near Mactan, Cebu. Aside from this beautiful site of migratory birds, you can also go boating, diving, and dining at Olango Island.
Whale shark watching. Going south of Cebu, you can go whale shark watching at the town of Oslob, which is about three hours from Cebu City. These whale sharks are locally known as Butanding. To see these Butandings, you can go boat-riding, snorkelling, or scuba diving.
Extreme adventure attractions
Another tourist attraction in Cebu includes famous extreme adventure destinations.
Sky Experience Adventure at Crown Regency Hotel Cebu. This exhilarating must-try adventure includes the Edge Coaster on the 38th floor that follows a rail around the building; the Sky Walk that lets you walk around the edge of the 37th floor with glass flooring; the Tower Zip that lets you cross a building on a zip line that’s almost 500 feet up in the air; and the Paramout Climbing Wall, where you do wall climbing on top of a 40-story building.
Danasan Eco Adventure Park, Danao City. About an hour from Danao City proper, north of Cebu City, you will find an adventure park where you can do extreme sports and adventure, such as ATV rides, zipline, and wakeboarding. You should not miss this place if you love nature and adventure.
Churches and temples are also famous attractions that tourists love to visit in Cebu.
Basilica Minor del Santo Nino. The most famous and most-visited church in Cebu is the Basilica Minore del Santo Nino in Cebu City. It houses the image of the miraculous Sto. Nino or baby Jesus, which is said to have been offered by the Spaniards in 1565 and have survived after the church has been burnt down three times. Sto. Nino is the heart of the annual Sinulog celebration held every January in Cebu City.
Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral. Another old and beautifully restored church in Cebu City is the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, which is just two blocks away from the Basilica Minore del Sto. Nino. It was built in 1591 and is frequently visited by many Catholics and tourists today.
Taoist Temple. This Chinese temple found in Beverly Hills, Cebu City, was built in 1964. Its beautiful architecture and breathtaking view of the city attracts many tourists. The temple consists of 81 steps, which symbolizes the 81 chapters of the scriptures of Taoism.
Celestial garden. This serene memorial park overlooking the city of Cebu also features Stations of the Cross. The Celestial garden is one of the favorite destinations of Catholic tourists and locals during the Holy Week.
Monastery of the Holy Eucharist. This church found in Sibonga, south of Cebu City, is becoming more popular, attracting hundreds, thousands, and even millions of devotees every year. Devotees visit this miraculous place to offer their prayers and petitions to Mama Mary, especially those who are sick, those about to take board and bar exams, and those with other special favors. Going up to the magnificent church, you will also find stories of prayers answered, such as healing testimonies. There are also prayer rooms and a gallery of Mama Mary’s photos in the shrine.
Other churches worth visiting include Dumanjug Church and Boljoon Church in southern Cebu and the Bantayan Island church in the north.
If you love to learn more about the history of Cebu, you can also visit its museums, including the famous Casa Gorordo in the downtown area of Cebu City. You will see how houses looked like during the 1800s, including the materials used to build houses, the kitchen utensils, the beds, and other furniture. Other museums to visit include the Cathedral Museum of Cebu and the Museu Sugbo, which are all located in Cebu City.
The historical landmarks in Cebu were usually built during the Spanish era during the 16th century.
Fort San Pedro. This fort, located in the downtown area of Cebu City, was built by the Spanish conquerors in 1565 as their camp. It also served as a prison and even a city zoo.
Magellan’s cross. Another famous landmark in Cebu is the Magellan’s Cross. It is situated near the Basilica Minore del Sto. Nino in the downtown area of Cebu City. The cross symbolizes the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines as planted by Ferdinand Magellan’s people.
Mactan Shrine. In Lapu-lapu City in the island of Mactan, another famous shrine can be found called the Mactan Shrine. This shrine is said to be the site where Lapu-lapu, a local chieftain, defeated Ferdinand Magellan in the Battle of Mactan.
If you’re easily stunned by breathtaking city views, Cebu won’t fail you with its scenic attractions.
Tops. Found in Mt. Busay, the Tops lookout gives a beautiful scene of Cebu City and Lapu-lapu City, as well as the Mactan Channel.
Mountain View Nature Park Resort. This scenic area also gives a nice view of the city with other amenities, including a swimming pool, camping sites, picnic tables, viewing decks, videoke, and halls for different functions and occasions. For the kids, there is a children’s playground and a mini zoo.
Bagacay Point Lighthouse. Found in the north of Cebu City, in the municipality of Liloan, you will find the Bagacay lighthouse. It is 72-feet tall lighthouse standing on a hill and was built in 1904. The lighthouse looks vintage and is the venue for many pre-nuptial pictorials.
Aside from these scenic spots, there are also famous restaurants with great views frequented by tourists and locals alike. These include the Mr. A and the new Lantaw Restaurant, which are both found in Busay, overlooking the cities of Cebu and Lapu-lapu.
The Island of Mactan or Lapu-Lapu City in Cebu is also famous for its guitars. Visit guitar factories, such as Lilang’s Guitar and Alegre guitar and find a wide range of guitars made of Nangka or Jackruit, Narra, and Kamagong or hardwood. Among the three, the guitars made from Narra and Kamagong are more durable and can endure temperature changes.
From north to south, Cebu will always have a tourist attraction you can visit that will make your vacation truly fun and memorable. Whether you are lover of adventure, of nature, of the sea, or of history, Cebu will always be a place that will fascinate you.