50 Cool Tourist Spots to Visit in Cebu


by Kim Jay Vinas

Cebu has a lot to offer when it comes to tourist attractions. To make your trip easier, I have gathered a list of places you could visit and things you could do in this island paradise. Read along and decide which sites deserve a spot in your itinerary.

 

Table of Contents 

 

1. Tan-awan, Oslob

2. Sumilon Island

3. Oslob Heritage Park

4. Tumalog Falls

5. Aguinid Falls

6. Binalayan/Hidden Falls

7. Dau (Dao) Falls

8. Inambakan Falls

9. Kanlaob River

10. Kawasan Falls

11. Lambug White Beach

12. Badian (Zaragosa) Island

13. Pescador Island

14. Osmeña Peak

15. Balay sa Agta

16. Mainit-Mabugnaw Cave

17. Mantayupan Falls

18. Bojo River

19. Hermit’s Cove

20. Hidden Beach

21. Fort San Pedro

22. Sto. Niño Church

23. Magellan’s Cross

24. Taboan Market

25. Cebu Heritage Monument

26. Yap-San Diego House

27. Casa Gorordo

28. Museo Sugbo

29. Taoist Temple

30. Temple of Leah

31. Sirao Flower Farm

32. Tops Lookout

33. Adventure Cafe

34. Buwakan ni Alejandra

35. West 35 Eco Mountain Resort

36. Neri’s Ville Selfie Corner

37. Crown Regency Hotel

38. Camotes Island

39. Malapascua Island

40. Carnaza Island

41. Kinatarcan (Guintacan) Island

42. Bantayan Island

43. Hilantagaan Island

44. Virgin Island

45. Mulao River

46. Mactan Shrine

47. Lapu-Lapu Monument

48. Alegre Guitar Factory

49. 10,000 Roses Cafe

50. San Vicente, Caohagan and Sulpa Island

 

1. Tan-awan, Oslob. Tan-awan used to be just another quiet place in Oslob. These days, it's buzzing with activity as the only place in Cebu where you can do a Whale Shark Watching tour.

 

According to the National Geographic, Tan-awan hosts the busiest Whale Shark watching operation in the world. This is the case due to a variety of reasons. First, it’s very accessible. Cebu has an international airport and Tan-awan is just a 3-hour drive from the city. Second, it’s affordable. It doesn’t cost a fortune to go on a Whale Shark watching tour. The average traveler can easily pay for it.

 

 

Finally, there are other good tourist spots nearby. After swimming with the Whale Sharks, you can then visit some waterfalls.

 

2. Sumilon Island. Sumilon is a 15-minute boat ride away from the coast of Tan-awan. There is one resort that operates here. However, one side of the island is open to the public. Here, you can walk up the rocks to a spot with some benches. If you brought some food, you can eat it in this area. Enjoy the breeze coming from the sea as you take refuge under the shade of trees. There is a cliff on the side where you can jump to the sea. Once you’re in the water, you can snorkel around and check out the marine ecosystem below you. The area around Sumilon is a fish sanctuary so you’ll tend to see more fish here as well as varying shapes and colors of corals.

 

The distinguishing feature of Sumilon is an elongated sandbar that extends toward the sea. If you’re here during the low tide or wait long enough for the low tide, you’ll be able to enjoy the sandbar. Walk around, bathe in the sun, and get your tan while you’re in Sumilon.

 Sumilon Island sandbar

 

Tour Sidekicks offers a Whale Shark watching and Sumilon Island tour that will pick you up from your hotel in Cebu City.

 

3. Oslob Heritage Park. The park is located behind the Municipal Hall of Poblacion, Oslob. Here you’ll see the Immaculada Concepcion Church. The church took 18 years to build - from 1830 to 1848. Its completion is a testament to the perseverance of the local people. The church, just like other structures in the area, was built by cutting corals and placing them on top of another. Near the church is the cuartel or military barracks. Decades have passed to build it but construction stopped when Spain lost the Spanish-American war and the Americans took over the Philippines. It stood the test of time and is now one of the main attractions of the Heritage Park.

 

 

Recently built near the cuartel is the Oslob Museum. It contains furniture and tools used by the locals during the 19th century. Various residents of Oslob donated their stuff in order to fill the museum.

 

At the northern end of the park is a towering structure called the baluarte or watchtower. Moros constantly raided the shores of Cebu. These watchtowers were built along Cebu’s coastline to let guards alert the locals about incoming raiders. If they were in bad position for battle, the locals would burn their stuff to the ground so that the raiders won’t be able to make use of what they left behind. This is the same strategy that the Russians used when Germans were encroaching on their territory during World War II. The local term for Cebu that is ‘Sugbo’ means burnt earth. It came from this wartime practice.

 

4. Tumalog Falls. The waterfalls of Tumalog are spread out and less concentrated towards a single point. Combined with a low height, the resulting pool of water at the bottom is shallow compared to its counterparts in Cebu. The beauty of the place is in seeing how the waters embrace the rocks like a curtain.

 

Tumalog falls in Oslob

 

5. Aguinid Falls. A waterfall in Samboan that’s popular for its challenging climb is Aguinid Falls. It has 8 levels but only 5 of them are easily accessible. When visiting Aguinid, having local guides is a must. They are aware of the terrain and a much-needed help when going through some parts.

 

The first level will have you crossing the Tangbo River. You’ll then get to a small pool of water right above it. This is the first part of the falls where you can cool off. A bit further is one of the most nerve-wracking parts of the falls. Here, you have to climb the face of the waterfall to move forward. This is about an 80-feet climb on a rock that’s approximately 120 degrees vertical. You’ll be stepping on the rock while water flows on it. Looking down, you’ll know that falling would be a terrible thing. Thankfully, the rock here isn’t ordinary so being constantly wet didn’t make it slippery. You can put your weight on it as you move up. After a short walk, you’ll reach the third level. Here you can sit in front of the waterfall and get a quick shower.

 

The challenge here is that you’ll have to skirt through the side of the rocks and climbing would require stepping on certain spots as your guide pulls you up.

 

The next level has a 6 ft. jump-off point towards a small pool of water. 6 foot isn’t so high but when standing there, your viewpoint includes your own height so the jump seems higher.

 

After climbing a bit more, you’ll reach the 5th level. It has a slightly rounded facade of rocks clumped together.

 Aguinid Falls Samboan

 

The secret of Aguinid is at the 6th level. It’s a difficult climb to get past the 5th level but if you succeed, a natural infinity pool awaits you on the other side.

 

6. Binalayan/Hidden Falls. Another Samboan waterfall is Binalayan Falls. It can be found in Bonbon, Samboan. Binalayan is a 5-minute ride away from Aguinid Falls. The path to Binalayan goes through a field of coconut trees before you reach the river and get your feet wet. The river is shallow but after 10 minutes of walking through it, you’ll reach the first level of the falls. It has a nice basin where you can lounge around before moving forward.

 

A short walk later and turning left, you’ll finally reach the main waterfall of Binalayan. The fall features 3 distinct columns of water flowing down. There are carvings on the rock through which you can climb and reach the tiny caves on the cliff. From there, you can jump down to the bottom. Be sure to test the depth of the water first. It’s not so deep here and if you’re a heavy person and jump from a higher point, you could end up hurting yourself.

 

Binalayan Falls

 

Overall, waterfalls are a perfect place to chill and this one is no exception.

 

7. Dau (Dao) Falls. One waterfall that can be found in Samboan is Dao Falls. Getting here is an adventure. The jump-off point is a 15-minute drive from the highway. The trek to the main waterfall will take another 45 minutes. A short walk after the jump-off point, you’ll be passing through a bamboo bridge that’s set high above the river. It’s a nice spot to take some photos. The swaying of the bridge will get your adrenaline glands warmed up for what’s to come.


After the bridge, you’ll follow a path that goes alongside the river. As the terrain gets more elevated, the path gets narrower and eventually merges with the river. You’ll find many shrubs, trees, and ravines as you go along. The locals also stuck some bamboo into the rocks along the banks of the river. These bamboo installations funnel fresh water out and you can drink from it as you go along. You can also store some of the water in your bottle. The trek takes you further upriver, passing through rocks and boulders. At some parts, there are bamboo ladders positioned to help you climb up.

A bit further and you’ll be in the sides of cliffs that have been carved up so that people can pass through. Bamboo railings are there for visitors to hold on to and to stop them from going over the cliff.

You’ll get deeper and deeper into a natural landscape. As you look up, you’ll see lots of vegetation. At the end of the cliffs is the main waterfall of Dau Falls. It got its name from a huge Dau tree that stood nearby but eventually got cut off.

Dao Falls

 

The waters in Dau, unlike other falls, touch the rocks from the top of the cliff all the way down until they reach the bottom. The water’s wetness is recognizably imprinted on the huge rock. Through the passing of several years, it has carved the rock into its present shape. The bottom of the fall has a nice basin filled with the light green water coming from above. Here you can swim, cool off and relax. You have arrived.

 

8. Inambakan Falls. It’s a 5-level waterfall in Ginatilan. You can ride a motorbike or a 4-wheeled vehicle up to the reception area. It’s best to hire someone as your guide. Locals are familiar with the terrain so they can help you reach the other levels. People who go on their own usually only access the first level.

The path after the reception area is a mixture of mud and concrete. It follows along the side of the river leading up to the falls. Whenever you’re visiting a waterfall, there’s a point where you can hear the water before you see the falls. That point is more defined here as the water at the first level drops from about 100 feet.

As you look behind some trees and rocks, you’ll finally see the glory of Inambakan. You’ll witness waters rushing as if they couldn’t wait to reach the bottom. The splash is loud and a lot of water droplets are floating near the base. The basin is deep enough for a nice swim.

Inambakan Falls
The second level is quite small but still features impressive cascading pools with a turquoise hue. The level after that is perfect for diving with clear waters and a deep basin. The surrounding palm trees offer a magnificent view.

There’s not much in 4th level so you can skip it. It’s best to go straight to the 5th one. You can be a bit of a daredevil here by jumping from a 14-meter cliff.

A whole day can definitely be spent on Inambakan falls alone. It’s not as popular in the tourist trail as Aguinid and Kawasan Falls. There’s a good chance you’ll find your group to be the only ones in a specific section.

 

9. Kanlaob River. The river that feeds free-flowing water into the majestic falls of Kawasan is the Kanlaob River. Kanlaob is surrounded by lush green vegetation with large rocks supporting each side. A few years back, tourists have started flooding into this river to experience Cebu’s most exhilarating adventure tour - Canyoneering.

You’ll be guided to jump into the river. From the drop-off point, you’ll trek the terrain of the river. In some parts, you’ll climb, slide, and dive your way along the route that the water takes. This 3-hour mixture of walking, swimming, and jumping will surely get your adrenaline pumping. You’ll feel closer to nature as you look up at the trees above and feel the moisture of the surrounding forest.
     

     

    Book a Canyoneering tour to try this experience for yourself.

     

    10. Kawasan Falls. As you may have noticed, waterfalls are one of the top attractions in Cebu. The most popular of them all is in Badian - named Kawasan Falls. After getting off the highway, you can immediately get on the trail that leads to Kawasan Falls. The trail follows the side of a stream. The calm sight and sound of the flowing water will soothe your senses. As you go deeper, you’ll find yourself in the midst of a tropical forest before reaching the main waterfall.

    The free-flowing stream of clear water plunging from a very high cliff is enough to take your breath away. A wide and deep aquamarine pool lies at the bottom of Kawasan. It’s a great place to go for a swim. If you climb the steps on the left side, you’ll be able to summit the waterfall. The view from here is staggering.

     

    Kawasan Falls Cebu

     

    You’ll be able to further appreciate the height of the falls when you’re at the top. This area is usually quiet with a shallow pool of water. Walking further, you’ll reach another set of waterfalls. Here you might see people jumping from up high. If you’re up for the challenge, you can go on a Canyoneering tour on the river that leads to Kawasan. That tour involves jumping from cliffs of varying heights to get your adrenaline pumping.

     

    11. Lambug White Beach. Located in Badian, Lambug beach is often overlooked in the area. When people go to Badian, they are there for Kawasan Falls and to experience Canyoneering in Kanlaob River. With less attention, there are also very few structures in the area. Lambug Beach, with its long and wide stretch of sandbar, feels like a real getaway. It offers a contrast from the highly developed beaches of Cebu. The sand is fine with plenty of room to run around. There is the ever-present turquoise water prevalent in this part of the world. It’s the perfect place to spend a day by the sea.

     

    Lambug White Beach

     

    12. Badian (Zaragosa) Island. Off the cost of Badian, a 10-minute trip by boat is Badian Island. The island is quite small considering it only takes an hour to walk all the way around it. There is a resort here called the Badian Island Resort. They have a private beach where guests can go swimming. They also have a couple of swimming pools - with an ionized one recently installed. The resort serves organic food with ingredients sourced from a garden in the island. Swimming in the beach of Badian Island gives you a different vantage point of mainland Cebu.

     

    Badian Island

     

    13. Pescador Island. Pescador can be found beyond the coast of Moalboal, Cebu. It may look like an ordinary island, but as soon as you dip your head below sea level, you’ll know right away why this place is special. The area around the island is home to hundreds, even thousands, of colorful fishes. The crevices on the body of the island, as well as the corals on the sea floor, serve as perfect homes for the fish. The prohibition of fishing has turned this spot into a very lively marine ecosystem.

     


    When you book a tour for Pescador Island, you’ll also find some sea turtles along the way. They like to feed on the shore of Moalboal especially during the low tide. During the high tide, they will be swimming around occasionally lifting their heads above the water to get some air. Our boatmen would tell you when they see one and you can then swim towards it to get a closer look or take some footage.

    It doesn’t stop there. The Pescador Island tour ends with a snorkeling session alongside a school of sardines. Imagine being surrounded by so many fishes that you could almost not see what’s behind them. Observing their synchronicity is simply beautiful. The sardines would fall in line, swim and scatter as if they are a single organism. If the cars on the road had the same sensors as the sardines, there would be very little mishap on the road. Their movement is truly one of the wonders of nature.

    Do you want to visit key attractions of southern Cebu in one day? We can take you on a tour to swim with the Whale Sharks and go to Aguinid and Kawasan Falls.

     

    14. Osmeña Peak. This is the highest mountain in Cebu after Mt. Manunggal. What’s good about Osmeña Peak is that it’s quite easy to reach the top. The vegetable market on the Dalaguete side of the mountain doubles as a basecamp and is accessible to both two and four-wheeled vehicles. From there, you’ll go on a 700-meter hike to the top. There you’ll feel the cool mountain air blowing to your face. Jagged rocks can be seen in the background that adds texture to your photos when you strike a pose. If you asked a local to guide you, he would be able to direct your poses toward the best angles and views for good pictures.

     

    Osmena Peak

     

    15. Balay sa Agta. A cave that’s called ‘The house of the Giant,’ is surely a place you wouldn’t want to miss out on. The cave is located in Conalum, Argao. The tour here involves trained guides from the local government. You’ll be equipped with spelunking gear such as a headlight, a helmet as well as harnesses and ropes.

    On the walk to the cave, you’ll go past an area with lush vegetation. Afterward, the trail gets narrow on the part where you’ll be traversing a cliff. The drop from here is about 60 feet so you have to be very careful not to slip. Equipment is used starting in this area and the guides are close by to ensure your safety. After a few minutes, you’ll reach the entrance of the cave that is a huge triangular opening.

     

    Balay sa Agta

    As you go further in, there’s less and less light until you reach some parts that are pitch black. The cave is filled with stalactites and stalagmites, some of which would sparkle when exposed to light. There are bits of water flowing in some sections and you’ll see droppings of the bats littered everywhere. Another resident of the cave is a grasshopper looking insect that seems larger than normal. Some rocks inside are smooth and some are rough. Be careful where you step so you can keep your balance.

    After reaching the middle of the cave, you’ll find a hole in the ceiling where the sunlight comes through. The light spreading out onto the cave from a small opening is such an enchanting sight. About 30 minutes of walking later, you’ll reach the end of the cave. At a dark corner, you’ll be able to make out a rough image of a giant puffing a cigarette. It’s from him whom they named the place.

    The cave is cool and it’s a quiet place to be in. It will take about an hour to get back to the entrance after you reach the end point.

     

    16. Mainit-Mabugnaw Cave. The name roughly translates to Hot Cold Cave. It’s located inside a national park of the same name. Although the park is inside the territory of Barili, it is more easily accessible via Guadalupe, Carcar if you’re traveling from the city. You just need a motorbike to take you to the park after getting off in Guadalupe.

       

      On the way to the cave, you will come across a pool of water where many locals like to go for a swim. You’ll then have to trek through a loose trail surrounded by lush vegetation. About an hour later, you’ll finally reach the cave. The inside of the cave isn’t dark due to holes in its ceiling that allow light to penetrate the interior.

       

      It’s in one of these holes where you can get to the good part - rappelling from 70-feet above down to the ground of the cave. Just looking down from one of the ceiling holes is enough to make your stomach churn. You’ll then need to summon enough courage to step in and get ready for the descent.

       

       Mainit Mabugnaw Cave

       

      The next major step would be to let go of the rocks and have all your weight on the rope! This is where you really give your trust to your guides that the rappel setup will hold. Unlike the sudden rush of adrenaline after jumping out of an elevated structure, the start of rappel is just you feeling your position and reassuring yourself that you’re safe. Slowly but surely, you can go down. You can control your speed so you can either go fast or slow. The first time I did it, I stopped right in the middle. I wanted to live in the moment and appreciate the view that I had before me. I saw my friends waiting down at the bottom as I proceeded to continue my descent.

       

      17. Mantayupan Falls. With waters falling from a height of over 320 feet, Mantayupan is the highest waterfall in Cebu. It is the main attraction in the town of Barili. Getting here, you will first be met with a 45-foot waterfall. You will need to go through a concrete bridge to reach the second level that is the main waterfall. As you approach it, you will begin to hear the roar of the water as it smashes into the basin formed at the base of the hill. The basin is perfect for taking a swim to cool down especially during hot weather.

         

        Mantayupan Falls

         

        18. Bojo River. Located in Aloguinsan, Bojo River is one of the most underrated tourist spots in Cebu. Although it pales in popularity compared to other locations, it was still awarded as one of the top 100 Global Sustainable Destinations for three years in a row - 2016, 2017 and 2018. Given by Green Destinations, it’s been a well-deserved award through the efforts of the locals as well as the government.

           

          The river resides in the middle of a mangrove forest. After getting down from the road, you’ll be going through a wooden bridge. It’s a picturesque scene as you walk the path with several leaves protruding from each side in varying angles. After a few minutes, you’ll reach the port where several boats are docked. Here, one of the locals will have you ride on his boat to take you through the river. They are trained guides who are well versed about the river and its inner workings. Part of the money that’s earned from tours also goes to a fund that is spent on projects for the community. That’s why Bojo River has a special part in people’s lives here.

           

          Floating through the river is a serene experience. Several trees along the banks serve as a home for a variety of creatures. You’ll immediately notice that the water has a distinct blue color. This is a sign that it has a lot of mineral content. The river runs for 1.5 kilometers. As you move further from the dock, you’ll find yourself staring up at high limestone cliffs covered with shrubs.

           

          Finally, you’ll reach the mouth of the river. It’s framed by two limestone cliffs that face each other. It’s moments like this where you feel one with nature and glad to have the opportunity to visit such a wonderful place.

           

          Bojo River

           

          19. Hermit’s Cove. It’s a secluded paradise in Aloguinsan. When arriving here, all you’ll see is a wooden sign for Hermit’s Cove. As you get closer, you’ll immediately notice a set of wooden stairs that leads to the cove. Going down the stairs will give you an overlooking view of the area.

           

          This place features a large patch of sand cradled by rocks forming a semi-circle. The area is huge enough to play around. Start a game of volleyball, Frisbee or flag football. If you’re lucky, there will be some fresh catch from the locals that you can buy for your meals. You can also bring along food from the market. There are several cottages that can be used to relax and gather round.

             

            Hermit's Cove Aloguinsan

             

            You can then take a dip in the sea. It’s a bit rocky here but as you go deeper, you’ll find some nice spots for snorkeling. Observe the beauty of the corals and watch fish swimming around.

             

            Finally, as day turns to night, you’ll be able to witness a beautiful sunset.

             

            20. Hidden Beach. This is another gem in Aloguinsan. It’s kind of hidden because you have to go through some rough roads out of the highway to reach this place. However, the effort is well worth it. Here you’ll find a nice area of white sand dotted with coconut trees. After taking a walk by the beach, you can make a splash in the sea.

               

              Hidden Beach

               

              Some locals spend the whole day here, cooking barbecue in the area. There are cottages you can rent to get settled in.

               

              21. Fort San Pedro. It’s a triangular fort in Cebu City that served as the first base of operations for the Spanish colonialists. This building reflects the type of construction techniques during the 1500s. Some old cannons are still in their original defensive positions and you can access a platform that lets you see the surrounding area.

                 

                Fort San Pedro

                 

                22. Sto. Niño Church. The oldest church in the Philippines is the Sto. Niño Church. It is dedicated to the Sto. Niño - an image of the child Jesus. The statue originally came as a gift from Magellan. It managed to survive a great fire that occurred 44 years later and the Spaniards built a church right on the same spot where it was found. Sto. Niño is regarded as the protector of Cebu from major calamities.

                   

                  Sto. Niño Church

                   

                  Cebuanos used to live in wooden huts so what’s left of their past are the churches and military installations which are made of rocks. Some houses did manage to get preserved but they’re not as old as the churches.

                   

                  23. Magellan’s Cross. Sitting right beside the Sto. Nino Church is Magellan’s Cross. It’s a shrine built on the spot where Magellan planted a cross to symbolize the conversion of the local religion to Catholicism. Locals believed the cross to have miraculous properties. Over time, they chipped away parts of it to serve as lucky charms or to heal illnesses.

                     

                    It is believed that, in order to preserve it, the original cross was then housed in the one that you’ll see in the shrine.

                     

                    Magellan's cross

                     

                    24. Taboan Market. This market is one of the oldest such establishments in Cebu. It comes from the word ‘manabo’ which means to meet fishermen to buy the fish they caught. This market is now famous for dried seafood such as fish or squid. Many Filipinos like to drop by this market to shop for dried fish and bring it back as a gift for their loved ones back home.

                       

                      Taboan Market

                       

                      25. Cebu Heritage Monument. It’s a monument that depicts key symbols and events of Philippine history. Here you’ll see the baptism of Rajah Humabon, The Battle of Mactan, a scene in a procession, a mass, as well as a Spanish Galleon, Magellan’s Cross, Sto. Niño Church and The Cebu Cathedral.

                         

                        Cebu Heritage Monument

                         

                        26. Yap-San Diego House. The old house that still stands in Parian, Cebu is the Yap-San Diego House. Parian used to be the trading district of Cebu. It got its name from ‘Pari-pari’ – a word that means ‘trade.’ The place naturally attracted Cebu’s wealthiest families who decided to build their houses in the area.

                           

                          Yap San Diego Ancestral House

                           

                          The house exhibits houseware and furnishings used on its heyday. Antique furniture, silverware and other appliances can be found here as well.

                           

                          27. Casa Gorordo. Another house that will take you back in time is Casa Gorordo. ‘Casa’ means house and this has been the residence of the Gorordos for over a hundred years. To preserve the place and turn it into a museum, it was acquired by the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation. It has since been recognized as a National Historic Landmark.

                             

                            Casa Gorordo

                             

                            The house was constructed via a common method at the time - using coral rocks for the ground floor with wood for the second floor. The house features antique furnishings and clothes as well as kitchen tools and farming equipment.

                             

                            28. Museo Sugbo. The former city jail has been turned into a museum called Museo Sugbo. It’s facade features canons used in the Spanish era. This museum houses the only known historical account of Cebuanos before the arrival of Europeans. It started with a half-Tamil prince of the Chola Dynasty. He was sent out to subjugate the local population in Cebu in order to make them a tributary of the empire. He ended up settling on the island to start his own society. His grandson, Rajah Humabon, was the one who met Magellan when the latter landed in Cebu. Humabon then allied with Magellan to go up against Lapu-Lapu who was then living in Mactan Island.

                             

                               Museo Sugbo

                               

                              It's more convenient to see the tourist destinations of Cebu City if you book a tour.

                               

                              29. Taoist Temple. The center of prayer and meditation for Taoist devotees in Cebu is built on the side of a hill, facing east. Going here gives the visitor an overlooking view of the Mactan channel. The rising number of Chinese residents in the area lead to the construction of the temple.

                                 

                                Its design is simple compared to other Chinese temples. The signature elements of Chinese architecture are prominent throughout the place - the shape of the roof, the dragon statues and tall columns. It’s colorful red and green accent is a refreshing sight from the structures that permeate the city down below.

                                 Taoist Temple in Beverly hills

                                 

                                30. Temple of Leah. Further up in the hills of Cebu is the seven-story-tall Temple of Leah. Its imposing facade makes it instantly stand out from the other tourist spots in the Philippines. The huge stone columns that support the structure and the triangular face of the roof makes one think up images of the Parthenon in Greece. The marble fountain makes you feel like you’ve been transported somewhere in Italy.

                                   

                                  The temple was built by Teodorico Adarna to symbolize his love. It is dedicated to Leah - his deceased wife. The main focus of the temple’s interior is a 9-foot statue of her. The rest of the building is meant to house and showcase various belongings and memorabilia that were dear to Leah.

                                   Temple of Leah Cebu

                                   

                                  It’s a bold move by Teodorico to choose to adopt an ancient architectural design for the temple as opposed to going for a more modern approach. It is his hope that the temple lasts for a thousand years and be the place that future generations of his family can turn to trace their heritage.

                                   

                                  31. Sirao Flower Farm. The higher up in the mountains you go, the smaller the city looks down below. What used to be a humble farm is now a buzzing tourist attraction. Sirao features a sprawling garden full of blooming flowers. They are the kind of flowers not normally seen in the front yard of the houses of locals. Grouped together and using the right camera angles and you’ll end up with pictures that look as if you’ve been transported to wonderland.

                                     Sirao Flower Farm Cebu

                                     

                                    32. Tops Lookout. On the top of a hill in Busay, Cebu City is a viewing deck called Tops Lookout. It’s a place where locals and tourists can enjoy some peace and quiet away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The view from here is stunning. The air is fresh and cool.

                                       

                                      Food stalls in the area will fill your appetite for various local dishes. You can then wash it off with a bottle or two of alcohol.

                                       

                                       Tops Lookout Busay

                                       

                                      33. Adventure Cafe. Grab a seat, sip some coffee and enjoy the scenery. The cafe was built beside the highway on one side and overlooking a valley on the other. This is the perfect stopover for travelers after going on a long drive. They also serve up some pastries and meals as well. As you get your fill, you’ll see other guests ziplining their way to the other side of the valley. That’s right, it’s not called Adventure Cafe for nothing. If you feel like it’s your turn to get some piece of the action, go up the rooftop. The staff will set you up with a helmet as well as the harnesses for the ride. And off you’ll go! Don’t forget to look down for maximum effect. Enjoy the moment as you glide over trees before reaching the other side.

                                         

                                        Adventure Cafe Busay

                                         

                                        34. Buwakan ni Alejandra. The name of the place translates as ‘Alejandra’s Flower Garden.’ As you come in, you’ll immediately be met with a collection of various types of flowers. The layout is carefully set up so that similar species are lined up against others with contrasting colors. The garden has been meticulously manicured so that walking down one pathway will have you framed by flowers on both sides. An arch in the middle of the garden that is filled with vines is the perfect spot to take a photo as a remembrance of your visit in the garden.

                                         

                                           Buwakan ni Alejandra

                                           

                                          35. West 35 Eco Mountain Resort. This is a popular destination for locals, especially during weekends. It’s situated further up in the hills of Busay. After parking your vehicle, you’ll find that the reception area doubles as a viewing deck. From here you can get a glimpse of what’s to come with your visit as well as get your bearings regarding the location.

                                             

                                            West 35 offers cottages for various visitors to spend the day in. They have activity areas with swings, bridges made of ropes and a small zip line set up where you sit on a hole in a used tire. The main building houses a huge restaurant. It’s a perfect venue for special events given that it’s in a secluded location and it has a well-designed interior with a serene ambiance. 

                                             West 35 Eco mountain resort

                                             

                                            The restaurant offers a 360-degree view of the surrounding area. You can also go up the rooftop to get an even higher vantage point. Behind the building, after going through a few flights of stairs, you’ll find yourself in the zip line area. If you want to try their zip line, go to the reception area first to make your payment. This is the most exciting part of West 35.

                                             

                                            36. Neri’s Ville Selfie Corner. Do you like taking photos with bizarre furnishings? If your answer is ‘yes,’ then Neri’s Ville is just the right place for you. Inspired by other popular destinations, Neri’s Ville was built especially for photography. This is where you can really fill up your social media feed with awesome content. With its relatively elevated location, you’ll have blue skies as the backdrop of your photos. That’s the icing on the cake!

                                               Neri's Ville Selfie Corner

                                               

                                              37. Crown Regency Hotel. Yes, it’s a good place to stay. However, setting aside the overnight accommodations that they have, there’s so much more that this establishment offers. The late founder of Crown Regency, Richard King, said he wanted to build a destination within a destination. That’s exactly what he did. Although it’s no longer Cebu’s highest building, the top of it still boasts an activity area that’s jam-packed with rides and entertainment facilities. The most popular one is the SkyWalk where you’ll get to walk on a reinforced glass that encircles the building. You can sit, stand on the edge or lift one of your feet to see how far you can go without falling off. Beneath you is the city running at its usual pace.

                                                 

                                                Then there’s the Edge Coaster. It’s a coaster on the edge of the building with seats facing outside. Guests would then go through the rails. They also get to adjust their seats to make it tilt towards the ground below. If that doesn’t get your heart beating faster then I don’t know what will. They also have a zip line that goes from the top of one building down towards the top of another.

                                                 Sky Experience adventure

                                                 

                                                There’s a wall-climbing are this high up as well. You can wrap up your visit with a movie or two in their 4D Cinema.

                                                 

                                                38. Camotes Island. Camotes is a butterfly-shaped island located 63 km from Cebu City. You can ride a ferry from Cebu City to go to Camotes or travel by land to Danao City before riding a ferry. If you’re already in Cebu City then going direct is better so you can avoid the traffic going to Danao.

                                                   

                                                  If you’re into caves then Camotes is the place you should visit. Paraiso Cave, Holy Crystal Cave, Timubo Cave, Amazing Island Cave, and Bukilat Cave are some of the main places to see in Camotes. Bukilat has nice blue waters inside and the cave’s interior is illuminated holes coming from the ceiling where the sunlight goes through.

                                                   

                                                  Camotes has a lot of beaches as well such as the one in Santiago Bay, Borromeo Beach Resort and Mangodlong Resort. However, the most amazing of them all is the sandbar in Tulang Diot. The beach is really wide here and the white sand blends nicely with the crystal clear water.

                                                   Camotes Island

                                                   

                                                  39. Malapascua Island. Located 8 kilometers north of the mainland, Malapascua is the number one spot for scuba diving in Cebu. Malapascua’s waters feature a wide diversity of aquatic creatures that include the Thresher Shark, Manta Rays, Blue-Ringed Octopus, Mandarin Fish, and Pygmy Seahorses.

                                                     

                                                    It’s fine if you’re not into diving though. The southern part of Malapascua has a white sand shoreline perfect for beach aficionados. It’s easy to walk around the island since it’s relatively small with a 6 km circumference. As you go around you’ll find places to eat and sample some Filipino cuisine.

                                                     

                                                    If you’re here on a Saturday night, you might be able to join the disco. It’s held on a basketball court and you’ll find locals and foreigners alike joining in on the party.

                                                     Malapascua Island

                                                     

                                                    From Malapascua, you can also take a day trip to nearby Kalanggaman Island. The island has a nice strip of white sandbar in the midst of tropical waters.

                                                     

                                                    Kalanggaman Island

                                                     

                                                    40. Carnaza Island. Carnaza is a turtle-shaped island north of Malapascua. Just like nearby islands, it's filled with tropical greenery. It’s distinguishing feature is that it has several coves - 21 to be exact. That should allow you to find some private spot with your friends or a loved one.

                                                       

                                                      There’s only one resort here that is the main option if you’re looking for accommodation: Carnaza Eco Park. It lies on a cove in the northern part of the island. The sand is white all over the island. In the Eco Park, the shoreline is lined with coconut trees making the place even more picturesque.

                                                       

                                                      Carnaza Island

                                                       

                                                      If you want to see a rarely visited place, La Manok Island is just a 30-minute boat ride away from Carnaza Island. Here you’ll find an elongated sandbar connecting two land masses.

                                                       La Manok Island

                                                       

                                                      41. Kinatarcan (Guintacan) Island. A small island sitting in the northwest of Cebu is Kinatarcan Island. You can get here after a 1-hour boat ride from the port in Daanbantayan. The total area of the island only covers 13 square kilometers but it is filled with places to visit. As you arrive in Pasil beach, you’ll be greeted by a good stretch of white sand. After spending time on the beach, you can start visiting the island’s attractions.

                                                         Kinatarcan Guintacan Island

                                                         

                                                        First off is Laaw Lagoon. You’ll be trekking through a rocky path before starting your descent to the lagoon. You’ll be going between huge rocks amidst tropical vegetation. The lagoon features clear blue water surrounded by rock cliffs. It’s a great place to chill after the hike. Some parts are deep so you can also climb the rocks and jump to the lagoon.

                                                         

                                                        Afterward, you can visit a cliff on the side of the island called Tamboan ni Leon. Here you’ll have an overlooking view of the surrounding waters. You can then spend the rest of the day in a cave of coral cliffs.

                                                         

                                                        If you’re staying overnight, you’ll be able to catch the sunset and sunrise from the island.

                                                         

                                                        42. Bantayan Island. Sitting northwest of Cebu, right across the Tañon Strait, is Bantayan Island. You can get here by riding a ferry from Hagnaya port. The ferry will drop you off in the southeast part of the island called Santa Fe.

                                                           

                                                          Going south, you’ll find a long white sand beach being serviced by different resorts: Amihan, Kota, Yooneek, etc. This is one of the best beaches in Cebu. The white sand is expansive and the blue sea offers a nice contrast in color to it. Taking a walk here would be one of the highlights of your trip. You can rent rooms by the sea so you’ll have more time to enjoy this island paradise.

                                                           Bantayan island Cebu beach

                                                           

                                                          One attraction in the western side of the island is the Obo-ob Mangrove Garden. Mangroves are seed-bearing, salt-resistant trees that live throughout the Philippines. Mangroves provide food for marine organisms. In this garden, you’ll get a closer look at the Mangroves as you go through the cluster of trees. A 2016 movie called Camp Sawi was filmed here adding a flavor of pop culture to the island.

                                                           

                                                          43. Hilantagaan Island. Just east of Bantayan is Hilantagaan Island. It’s a 25-minute boat ride away. Boats docked in the coast of Bantayan can take you there. You can negotiate the rate you’ll pay based on how long you’ll be out on the tour. There’s a nice beach on the southwestern part of Hilantagaan. There are fishing boats docked on the shore with a couple of houses a few meters inland. The beach has powdery white sand and you can enjoy more privacy since there are lesser people here compared to Bantayan.

                                                             Hilantagaan Island

                                                             

                                                            44. Virgin Island. An even smaller island that lies in between Bantayan and Hilantagaan Island is Silion Island - also known as Virgin Island. Yes, it has powdery white sand. Yes, it has crystal clear waters around it. The sand seems to extend further below the water giving the shallow part of the sea a green hue. As the sea gets suddenly deep, you’ll see a line where the color of the sea turns to blue. Virgin Island is another place that makes you feel that you’ve arrived in paradise.

                                                               

                                                              Virgin Island

                                                               

                                                              Hopping around the Bantayan Islands makes you see awesome beach after awesome beach. This area of Cebu is truly a place you shouldn’t miss out on.

                                                               

                                                              45. Mulao River. It’s the river that borders the towns of Compostela and Liloan. To reach the river, you will first have to go through a field full of coconut trees. They are prevalent in Cebu as they naturally grow with the soil and climate. It has many uses for locals - from the fresh juice, the content of the fruit, lumber, coconut oil and even wine. Coconuts provide shade from the heat of the sun and their natural beauty provides a unique aesthetic to photos.

                                                                 

                                                                When going to the river, you will need help from the locals to guide you through the trek. They are familiar with the terrain and they will tell you some legends and myths about the place. It will make for a safer, faster and livelier trip. Plus, you get to help the local economy.

                                                                 

                                                                As you go near the river, you might also bump into some water buffalos. They are a huge help to the farmers in the area. Take a buffalo selfie if you don’t have one yet. They’re used to having people around them.

                                                                 

                                                                When you get to the river, expect to step on some mud and tiny rocks. It’s best to be wearing sports or hiking shoes during your visit. As you go upriver, you’ll notice the size of rocks getting bigger and bigger until they become full-on boulders.

                                                                 

                                                                Mulao River

                                                                 

                                                                This is the beauty of Mulao River: huge rock formations that have been refined by the flowing water and natural erosion for thousands of years. At some points, there are water basins made of rocks. It’s like an open gallery where you’ll find nature’s works of art all over the place. While the river seems easy to trek, there are parts that are not for the faint of heart. There are instances where the best way forward is to skirt the side of a boulder. The only thing the keeps you from falling off is a narrow ledge that’s wide enough to fit most of your feet. This is why it’s essential to have a local to guide you through. Going through the unpredictable terrain of the river adds an extra thrill to your trip.

                                                                 

                                                                Be careful when climbing boulders for photos. Make sure it has a solid base that can handle your weight.

                                                                 

                                                                46. Mactan Shrine. According to historical text in Museo Sugbo, Mactan was previously known as Opong Island. Due to Lapu-Lapu who turned from a settler and into a pirate, the island got named Mactan. That name was taken from the word ‘mangatang’ which meant ‘to wait and ambush.’ There is now currently a place within Mactan that is called Opon based on the old name of the island.

                                                                   

                                                                  The Mactan Shrine marks the spot where the Battle of Mactan was held. It was built to commemorate the defeat of Magellan and his troops in the hands of Lapu-Lapu and his forces.

                                                                   Mactan Shrine

                                                                   

                                                                  47. Lapu-Lapu Monument. It was built to honor the hero of the Battle of Mactan. Lapu-Lapu leads his troops in order to give the invading Spanish forces their first taste of defeat in the archipelago. For his rival, Raja Humabon, Lapu-Lapu is a pirate. However, he is now remembered as a hero due to his act of defiance against unwelcome aliens.

                                                                     Lapu-Lapu Monument

                                                                     

                                                                    48. Alegre Guitar Factory. Guitar making is a decades-old industry in Cebu. Visit one of the best makers of Guitars and observe masters practicing their craft. You’ll also get to examine some of the finished products. Who knows, you might want to bring one home with you.

                                                                     

                                                                    Alegre Guitar Factory

                                                                     

                                                                    49. 10,000 Roses Cafe. This is one of Cebu’s newer attractions. It has an open field full of white LED roses. At night, you’ll see the glow of the roses in full display. The case is a good place to get a break. It is located right on the edge of Mactan Island so you’ll get a good view of the Cebu City skyline on the other side of the Mactan Channel.

                                                                       10000 Roses

                                                                       

                                                                      50. San Vicente, Caohagan and Sulpa Island. This group of islands can be found near Mactan Island. San Vicente is close to deep sea level and has bigger fish all around it. Being a sanctuary, the fish feel very comfortable swimming near guests as they are fed with bread and biscuits.

                                                                        

                                                                      San Vicente Island hopping tour

                                                                       

                                                                      Caohagan is rich with white sand. It’s perfect for taking a walk with your bare foot. For other people, it’s an ideal spot to stop by and grab some lunch with their families and friends.

                                                                       

                                                                      The coast of Sulpa is more on the shallow side. Here you’ll find marine fauna that is common all throughout Cebu. The fishes are smaller but if you’re lucky you might come across the house of a clown fish. There will be sea urchins here so be sure to put on some footwear and watch where you step. You can get a boat to visit all three islands in a single day.

                                                                       

                                                                       

                                                                      As you can see, there are so many options in Cebu. To get started, you can book a Whale Shark with Aguinid and Kawasan Falls tour

                                                                       

                                                                      Which spot would you like to visit the most? Let us know in the comments below.




                                                                      Kim Jay Vinas
                                                                      Kim Jay Vinas

                                                                      Author

                                                                      Kim has traveled extensively around the Philippines and Asia. He currently manages Tour Sidekicks. You can find him on Instagram @kimdlacreme.



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