Every place has its own particular way of life. Just like how every person is different, places are the same way. The particular mix of people and place make for a unique experience. Cebu is no exception. You haven’t lived here if you haven’t tried experiencing a few things.

 

To ensure the full Cebu experience, we’ve compiled a list of to do’s:

1. Slow down. If you are from a city with a faster pace, turn your speed down a notch. Cebu is known to have a laid back island lifestyle. Appreciate the chill vibe and the go-with-the-flow attitude.

2. Take a jeepney or motorcycle (habal2x). I know Uber and Grab all the rage these days, but you haven’t experienced Cebu till you try riding the homegrown public transportation.

3. Walk around the city. Sad to say, Cebu is not a walking city, but walk around the city anyway. You’ll realize first hand how our lack of pedestrian lanes and commuting infrastructure could use improvement.

4. Spend the whole night out bar hopping. Many of us who spent our partying years in Cebu know all to well what it feels like to walk out of a dark night club only to be surprised by the bright sunshine greeting us on the other side.

5. Eat Lechon. How can you take a trip to Cebu without tasting lechon? We’ve got the best lechon in the world!

6. Argue which Cebu brand serves the best lechon. Everyone in Cebu has their own opinions.

7. Bring home a pasalubong from Titay’s in Liloan. They have a history that spans 100 years making them one of the oldest homegrown businesses in Cebu.

8. While we’re talking about food, let’s get all the Cebu staples out of the way. Eat the fried chicken in Sunburst, Ngohiong in Domeng’s, Siomai sa Tisa, Dried Mangoes, and Steamed Fried Rice.

9. The BBQ experience in Larsians also deserves a slot on its own.

10. Smell the air in Taboan Market and buy dried fish (danggit) while you are at it.

11. Be one of the first to try the new hole in the wall restaurant. Plenty of Cebu’s go-to-restaurants started out as small hole in the walls. Keep your ear on the ground and try the latest one. On our list right now is Fat Dois.

12. Experience Cebu music live. Cebu is known to have some of the best musicians and songwriters in the Philippines. Catch a gig and see why.

13. Learn to speak a few phrases of Bisaya. Or better yet, learn the whole language. It’s not uncommon to see white guys speaking in straight Bisaya.

14. Now that you know Bisaya, learn a few one liners; DMD, ISTORYAHEEEE, CHUBI2x, pag CHURE uy.

15. Roadtrip! Cebu is ripe for a seaside roadtrip. Some like to head South to Santander while others like heading North to Daanbantayan. For a truly epic trip, circle the entire Cebu island. It will probably take one full day to do so.

16. Stroll through one of the biggest malls in the world, SM Seaside City.

17. While in SM Seaside City, go ice skating.

18. Take a taxi and have a conversation with the driver. Many of them are good conversationalists and are usually much nicer than our Northern neighbors. They’ll even give you change.

 

The 55 Must Do's in Cebu Before You Die - Zerothreetwo - Carlo Villarica

19. Wake up early and join a fun run. Cebu in the early morning is very different from its busy bustling self in the afternoons.

20. Or better yet, take a bike ride through Cebu. You’ll see more and get to your destination faster.

21. Laugh at the Cebuano sense of humour. It’s nonsense at its best.

22. Experience getting stuck because of city flooding. It sucks, but it is a part of living in Cebu. Almost everyone has a flood story.

23. Find a spot in the city to picnic. Favorite locations are Family Park in Talamban, Plaza Independencia, Fuente Circle, IT Park and Cebu Business Park.

24. Complain about irresponsible drivers. To be honest, this might be a Philippine wide problem.

25. Go over any of the bridges that connect Cebu and Mactan. This is especially beautiful when you do it right before sunset coming from the Mactan side. Don’t forget to take a photo.

26. Have a staycation in many of the wonderful resorts glittered around Cebu.

27. Visit Magellan’s Cross. As the harbinger of Christianity to the Philippines, Magellan’s Cross signifies a very important part of Philippine history.

28. While you are in the area, don’t forget to stop by the Basilica del Santo Nino. Every year during the Sinulog celebration, thousands of people come over to celebrate their faith. Light a candle, pray, explore, and buy a balloon.

29. While in the Basilica del Santo Nino, visit the image of the child Jesus, the Sto. Nino. People line up to get a glimpse of this very sacred piece of our history. It is said that this was originally a gift from Ferdinand Magellan to Rajah Humabon and his wife when they first landed in the island in 1521.

30. Since you visited Magellan, you need to also visit the first Filipino hero who famously killed Magellan, Lapu-Lapu. In the Lapu-Lapu Shrine in Mactan, he stands tall and proud with a big ass sword and shield protecting the Filipino people from foreign invaders.

31. While in Mactan, make sure to drop by any of the SuTuKil restaurants. SuTuKil is a word derived from the three methods to preparing seafood; Sugba (grill), Tula (stewed), or Kinilaw (raw with local vinegar).

32. Don’t forget to visit a guitar factory in Mactan. The streets are lined with wonderful looking guitars. But if you want to buy a really good ukulele and have good food, stop by Uke Hub Kafe.

33. Mactan is also the favorite jump off point for Island Hopping. Most everyone in Cebu has tried island hopping. Favorite destinations to island hop are Hilutungan Island, Caohagan Island, Pandanon Island, Olango Island, and Nalusuan Island.

34. The whale sharks in Oslob have gotten plenty of press. Not everyone can agree on the ethics of continuing the attraction, but one thing is for sure, it is a rare experience to swim right next to these wonderful creatures.

35. While in Cebu, don’t forget to purchase a Cebu shirt. We’ve got a brand suggestion (shameless plug).

36. Trek up Osmena Peak.

37. Spend the night camping in Osmena Peak.

38. Wake up bright and early to traverse to Kawasan Falls from Osmena Peak. That’s about a 20 kilometer trek. It usually takes about half a day.

39. Swim around Kawasan Falls. Plus points if you did the trek right before.

40. Experience a Cebu wedding. Everyone who has gone through the chaos of organizing a Cebu wedding knows that it usually ends with wonderful results.

41. Play a game of basketball with the locals. Get ready for flying elbows, crazy drives to the rim, and non stop running.

42. Watch the world famous dancing inmates in CPDRC.

43. Say a prayer in the Simala Church in Sibonga. Through the years, many miraculous events were reported in the Simala Church, prompting devotees to take the drive down south and make a prayer request.

 

The 55 Must Do's in Cebu Before You Die - Zerothreetwo - Carlo Villarica

44. Spend your Sinulog watching the parade and reveling in the awe inspiring floats and dances.

45. Spend your Sinulog partying on the streets and feeling awful the next day.

46. Exercise in the Abellana Sports Complex.

47. Get in touch with our roots and learn a little history. Stop by Casa Gorordo, Museo Sugbo and the Jesuit House.

48. Visit Downtown Cebu. Walk through the Carbon Market and Colon Street. If you happen to be a photography enthusiast, this is the best place for a photowalk.

49. A trip to Cebu isn’t complete without taking in the view from Tops. This is one of the few places open to the public with the iconic view of our beloved city.

50. For the coffee enthusiasts, Cebu is blessed with legit good coffee. The list of good cafes change on a yearly basis, current recommendations are Degree 9 Coffee, Linear Coffee Roasters and 32 Umber.

51. While in the coffee shop, bump into a long lost friend and spend the next two hours talking. Cebu is a chill city and never is it more true than when you see a friend in a cafe.

52. The best beaches are usually a few hours drive away from the city, but they are well worth the trip. Highlights include the beaches in Moaboal, Alcoy, Bantayan, Camotes, Malapascua, Badian, and Aloguinsan.

53. A Cebu experience isn’t complete without getting stuck in traffic. How else can you complain about the traffic if you don’t get stuck in it first?

54. While stuck in traffic, marvel at all the wonderful Cebu street art. Cebu is home to some of the best artists.

55. Speaking of art, make sure to catch an art exhibit.

 

I’m sure we missed a good to do. What did we miss? Tell us in the comments.

The 55 Must Do's in Cebu Before You Die - Zerothreetwo - Carlo Villarica

 

Carlo Villarica

If you want to hear more from me, I publish a weekly newsletter called Monday Musings — a set of recommends and thoughts I had that week, subscribe here. Or follow me on instagram @sobermusings.

 

 

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