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Welcome to Cebu, Philippines


Introduction

Cebu Travel

Cebu is a tropical island paradise located in the central Philippines and one of the most popular tourist destinations in all of the Philippines. Cebu is a long narrow island stretching 225 kilometres from north to south and is known for its limestone plateaus, coastal plains and beautiful white sand beaches.

Cebu is one of the most developed provinces in the Philippines, with Cebu City as the main center of commerce, trade, education and industry. Cebu city is known as the Queen City of the South and is the second largest city in the country. Metro Cebu has a total population of about 2 million people. It is the largest sea port in the nation and has the second largest Airport. It is also the fastest growing city in the nation with an annual growth of over 5% per year. Cebu was the first Spanish settlement in the Philippines. The city's most famous landmark is Magellan's Cross, now housed in a chapel, which was supposedly planted by Ferdinand Magellan when he arrived in the Philippine Islands in 1521.

Cebu 's multitude of islets and islands are lined with idyllic white sandy beaches and warm, clear waters and has gained popularity for fantastic diving and snorkeling with many hotel resorts offering luxurious accommodation, excellent dive facilities and the services of competent dive masters.


Cebu Travel Guide

Travel to Cebu

Mactan-Cebu International Airport (CEB) is on Mactan Island in Lapu-Lapu city. The airport is located, across a bridge, about 20 minutes drive from Cebu city. Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific, a low-cost carrier, both fly between Cebu, other Philippine cities and many other Asian destinations.

Cebu Pacific is the Philippines' low cost airline. They fly to Bangkok, Guangzhou, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Hong Kong, Koahsuing, Kota Kinabalu, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Macau, Shanghai, Singapore, Taipei and Xiamen.

Taxi is the best method of transport to the city. The arrivals terminal only allows taxis that have a special airport permit that costs the taxi extra so these taxis will charge more. To avoid this go upstairs to departures where there are lots of metered taxis dropping off passengers and catch a taxi there. The taxi fare to down town Cebu should be around 200 pesos on the meter.

Ferry - Cebu City's domestic port is the country's busiest and home to almost 80 percent of the country's passenger vessels. There are many passenger ferries of all size transporting passengers to and from neighboring islands.

Local Transport

Taxis are inexpensive and metered in Cebu. Drivers may try to negotiate a fare and not use the meter but this will cost more. Ask for the meter to be turned on, if the driver won't get out and find another taxi. Avoid "Hotel" taxis that take advantage of tourists as they charge 5-10 times the price that would normally appear on the meter.

Jeepneys are a colourful and common form of public transport in the Philippines constructed from the remnants of World War 2 army vehicles. They operate like a public taxi and are cheap, simply negotiate a fare for your destination.

Ferry services operate all over the Philippines but become overcrowded in peak season and services still operate even in bad weather with lax enforcement of Western safety standards.

Supercats and fastcrafts connect short distances between islands on high-speed air-conditioned hydrofoil crafts. They provide a faster option than ordinary ferries, are much better maintained and have an excellent safety record. Among the major routes serviced by fastcrafts in and around Manila are: Manila-Bataan, Manila-Cavite and Batangas-Puerto Galera.

Cebu Attractions

Magellan's Cross Magellan's Cross is a Christian cross planted by the Spanish explorer Ferdinand Magellan upon arriving in Cebu in the Philippines on April 21, 1521. Magellan had sailed from Spain around the bottom of South America, discovering the Straits of Magellan, across the Pacific Ocean to the Philippines. The cross is housed in a chapel next to the Basilica Minore del Santo Nino on Magallanes Street in front of the city hall of Cebu City. A sign below the cross describes the original cross is encased inside the wooden cross that is found in the center of the chapel. This is to protect the original cross. Some people, however, believe that the original cross had been destroyed or had disappeared after Magellan's death, and the cross is a replica that was planted there by the Spaniards after they successfully colonized the Philippines.

Fort San Pedro, located at the port near the Plaza Independencia, is the oldest colonial fort in the Philippines and is also among the most well preserved. The fort was built in 1565, though much of the present structure dates to a renovation completed in 1738. The fort is now a museum open to visitors including documents, sculpture, and art work along with historical artifacts.

Plaza Independencia is a nice park located next to Fort San Pedro and is a favored spot for picnics and tourists.

Fuente Osmena is a circular park dedicated to the memory of the late President Sergio Osmena. This famous landmark has a fountain in the center and is perfect for picnics and people-watching. The park is considered the center of the city with roads stretching out into different parts of the city. Fuente Rotunda is an especially scenic spot at night - one road leads to General Maxilom Avenue, where most of the Cebu night life exists cafes, shops, bars and nightclubs line this busy avenue. Another road from Fuenta Rotunda is the Osmena Blvd.- with bars, restaurants, and cafes leading all the way to the largest provincial Capitol building in the Philippines. Its original design is a miniature of the White House (in Washington DC) and was built during the American Era.

Crown Regency Cebu (adjacent to Robinson's Mall & Fuente Osmena) is the tallest building in the city. Visitors should go to the top floor to experience a breathtaking view of the city and its surrounding areas. There are Xtreme Rides for the more adventurous who are after a thrill.

Taoist Temple is located on a hillside overlooking Cebu city about 15 minutes drive from the city. The temple offers visitors beautiful gardens with plenty of benches to sit, relax and spacious balconies to enjoy the spectacular scenic view of Cebu City. The temple includes a chapel, a library, a souvenir shop and a wishing well.

Tops Lookout sits at the top of Mt Busay with a viewing deck that gives visitors an unobstructed and spectacular view of the entire city. There are kiosks at the top selling refreshments. There is a steep, winding road to the top and the best way to get to the top is by jeepney or taxi.

Diving

Mactan Island (where the airport is located) is close to Cebu City anf the place to go for diving. The east side of Mactan Island has a steep coral reef and home of many dive spots. There are many dive centres and beach resorts within 15 minutes from the airport or within 30 minutes from the heart of Cebu City. One of the best dive spots for advanced divers is Marigondon Cave, a giant cave 30 meters deep.

Moalboal is a sleepy town on the west coast of Cebu, about 92 km south of Cebu City, and is known as a great diving spot. It is about 2 hours in a car or bus. Panagsama Beach about 4 km from the town center is a great dive spot accommodating visiting divers from all over the world in the many beach resorts.

Cebu Nightlife and Entertainment

General Maxilom Avenue (or Mango Avenue) and Mango Square is where most of the Cebu night life exists. Cafes, shops, bars and nightclubs line this busy avenue. Another road from Fuenta Rotunda is the Osmena Blvd.- with bars, restaurants, and cafes. There is also a variety of strip clubs (such as Lone Star, Silver Dollar, Firehouse, St. Moritz Bar or Papillion) on Mango Avenue leading up to Mango Square. There are many other clubs and bars dispersed around town ask a local taxi driver of their whereabouts. Juliana's is a large dance club in Mango Square andcrowded every night of the week. The Ayala Shopping Mall is home to the Ayala Entertainment Center with plenty of restaurants, cafes and bars.

Waterfront Cebu City Hotel & Casino Cebu Hotels , on Salinas Drive, Lahug is where visitors can dine, drink and enjoy gaming all night in this 5-star hotel and entertainment center.

Cebu Accommodation

Cebu has plenty of hotels, inns and apartelles from budget to luxury. Most accommodation is located within the city area and near the harbour. Cebu's hotel accommodations are about 30 minutes away from the international and domestic airport. Hotel rates are generally cheaper than compared to the same class of hotels in western cities.

Dining

Cebu's shopping complexes all contain restaurants, cafes and food courts. The two best areas for tourists to dine are Ayala Mall and IT Park. Ayala Mall has a food extension with over 15 great cafes and restaurants. The two supermarkets have large sections of food imported from the rest of the world. The IT Park has over 20 great restaurants and most of them are open 24 hours a day.

Waterfront Cebu City Hotel & Casino hosts a restaurant row referred to as "The Gourmet Walk". The cobblestone strip, flanked with hand-painted scenic walls, teems with international restaurants unique in concept and flavor to ensure a memorable dining experience.

Cebu has most of the usual American fastfood chains such as McDonald's and Burger King. Jollibee is the Filipino version of McDonald's and very common in Cebu. Cafes such as Starbucks and Gloria Jeans have become common in malls and commercial centers.

Street food vendors are common and can usually be found in places with high amount of pedestrian traffic. Traditional Marinated Sweet Pork or Chicken Barbeque on sticks are delicious and very cheap, along with "Halo-Halo", a refreshing mix of grated ice, sweet beans, tropical fruits and ice cream.

Cebu Shopping

The Philippines is one of Asia's most inexpensive shopping destinations where visitors can find value for money. Here you can find imported name brands from the West, as well as products handcrafted in the Philippines.

SM City Cebu is the largest shopping mall with four levels of shopping with a department store, supermarket, movie theaters, bowling center and over 200 shops and restaurants.

Ayala Mall is an upscale shopping mall with a large department store, two supermarkets and a movie theater, IMAX, and it offers many restaurants and stores that appeal to tourists.

Robinson's Mall is another popular mall being one of a chain of malls across the Philippines. It is located adjacent Fuente Osmena roundabout and park.

Colon Street, the oldest street of the country, has many classical buildings dating back to the American Era. At night, the street transforms into an exciting, bargain night market.

There are many other, older and smaller malls all over the city, such as Country Mall, e-Mall, Mango Square and Cebu Parkmall.

Beyond Cebu

Boracay Island Boracay Island is famous for its striking natural beauty, crystal clear water and pristine white sand beaches. White Beach is the most famous beach on Boracay with its 4 km stretch of fine, white sand lined with resorts, restaurants, cafes, open-air bars and discos. Only a one hour flight from Manila, Boracay offers countless water sport activities e.g. scuba diving, snorkeling, wind surfing, sailing, parasailing, water skiing, banana riding, and many others. For golf-lovers, Boracay also offers an 18-hole golf course.

Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park is located at Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, a one hour flight from Manila. At over 8 kilometers in length, experience an exhilirating ride on a canoe down the longest underground river in the world. The National Park, which has been inscribed in UNESCO's World Heritage List, is Palawan's most popular attraction and covers 5,349 hectares of lush forest, mountains, caves, and white beaches.