travel: 5 highlights of cebu city, philippines if you have less than a day

Cebu is the place where I will probably retire after cashing on all opportunities in Manila. It has the same city-life buzz as Manila without the hassle and stress of traffic jams, pollution, high cost of living, a huge population density, and so on. Cebu is located in the Central Visayas Region of the Philippines.

It is very near my hometown, Tacloban City in the Eastern Visayas Region. From Tacloban, one can take public transport in the form of a van to Ormoc for around Php120. Then from Ormoc, the ferry to Cebu is(economy fare, non-airconditioned) Php 410 for ordinary passengers and Php 328 (20%) for PWDs, Senior Citizens, and students (just remember to bring a valid ID! Also note that the ferry companies very particular with validity date). Since we went as a big family (headcount: 13 people), we decided to take our own Starex to Ormoc, then park it there for the days that we will be in Cebu. Per day parking is Php 100 (not bad!).


The trip was, although not luxurious, was tolerable, even without air-conditioning as the ocean breeze provided cool air all throughout the night. Just remember to bring blankets with you as it could get cold at night and blankets are exclusive of the fare.

So while the main event of going to Cebu was actually to watch whale sharks in Oslob, who why would we ever pass the chance to also tour the main city, Cebu City?

We had little time and only less than a day to tour the city.

Here are 5 things you could do in Cebu City when you’re rushed for time:

1. Visit San Fernando Church


The Church is known for housing the first ever Roman Catholic relic brought by the first few Spaniards who stumbled upon the Philippines in trying to sail across the Pacific. This is the century-old image of the Sto. Nino. And this was probably also the reason the Sto. Nino became the patron Saint of Cebu. To this day, people line up in that grotto to pray and kiss the Sto. Nino.

2. Cross Magellan’s Cross


This is probably one of the most popular landmarks of Cebu and has become a crowd favourite in IG, fb, and twitter posts. Cebu is Magellan’s Cross. Cebu was the very first City in the Philippines, even before Manila. It was said that Magellan marked the ci

In the 1500s, the Portuguese-born Ferdinand Magellan lead one of the first expeditions (under the Queen of Spain) to try to traverse the East to reach the West and proving that the Earth is round instead of flat. And so they found Cebu.

Unfortunately Magellan was claimed to be killed by a native by the name of Lapu-Lapu, who is considered one of the great Filipino heroes. Some historians claim that it is just some ordinary fighter who killed Magellan, but since Lapu-Lapu was the leader, the conquest was to his name.

3. Hear mass and miracles in Simala


Simala is a living proof of how people would go through measures to experience a miracle. Simala has an impressive structure which somehow made me think again about religion (but that’s another post).


4. Have lunch in Lantaw Native Restaurant on top of a hill!

The best thing about Lantaw in Busay is that it is waaaaay up. Go to Lantaw for the view. I emphasise, for the view. Not for the customer service (which is sucky to be honest). Not for the food (which is similar to other Filipino native restaurants). FOR. THE. VIEW.


Need I say more?

5. Marvel at the grandeur of the Temple of Leah


This new tourist spot was built by some business tycoon in Cebu in honour of his deceased wife, Leah Adarna. The architecture resembles that of Greece’s. The purpose for choosing this theme is questionable to me for my own personal reasons (which I might delve into in another post).



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