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6 Things You Can Only Do in Cebu

by Gretchen Filart

When you've got a province that's called “The Gateway to a Thousand Journeys”, you know you're in for some serious fun.

INSTAGRAM: @baby_ewol

And that is what you'll find in Cebu. As the premier gateway to Central Visayas, Cebu is where travelers can get easy access to other provinces in the region. Not to mention, plenty of natural, historic, and gastronomic adventures!

We count down six of the best ones.


1. Go on a lechon hunt.

INSTAGRAM: @janeasison

A trip to Cebu isn't complete without sampling its signature delicacy: lechon. Even Anthony Bourdain declared lechon “the best pig ever”. It is often paired with puso, or rice in a heart-shaped woven coconut leaf.

INSTAGRAM: @zubuchon

Stalls and restaurants selling this slow-roasted pork dish is a ubiquitous sight in the province. In Mactan, the more popular ones are Rico's Lechon and Zubuchon.

Carcar City Public Market.  INSTAGRAM: @jackiesantos7107

Cebu City also has CnT, which has branches Rama Avenue, SM Cebu, and Ayala Center. If you're headed to south Cebu, don't miss lechon stalls in Carcar. They're among Cebu's best!


2. Cross the seas to Bohol.

Alona Beach, Panglao, Bohol.  INSTAGRAM: @catriona_gray

From Cebu City pier, you can easily access other provinces in Central Visayas, including Bohol by ferry. A fast craft can take you to Tagbilaran in Bohol in just two hours. From there, you can take a van bound to nearby destinations like Chocolate Hills and Panglao Island.

Dumaluan beach.  INSTAGRAM: @karolina_carola

Perhaps the most popular of Bohol's islands, Panglao is dotted with pockets of white sand beaches, ranging from luxury resorts in Dumaluan to tranquil public beaches like Doljo Beach.

Bohol Port.  INSTAGRAM: @alaicredotubo

TIP: If you prefer something that is not often on the tourist map, take a one-hour ferry ride to Tubigon from Cebu City. This coastal municipality boasts several sandbars and coral reefs that are home to various fish species and anemones.

If you're visiting Bohol soon, check out our Travel Guide for a list of things to See, Eat, and Do in Bohol! Stay at one of our exclusive partner resorts in Bohol.


3. Dine in Abaca.

INSTAGRAM: @justmissestrada

A famous food stop in Cebu is Abaca Baking Company (ABC), or simply Abaca. It is especially popular among young professionals.

INSTAGRAM: @ernestpracale

This boutique coffeehouse and bakery serves freshly brewed local coffee and handmade pastries, including cookies, tarts, croissants, and sandwiches. Don't miss Abaca's best-selling soups and Eggs Benedict too!

INSTAGRAM: @josephalbotra

Relying only on word-of-mouth, Abaca's first branch in Crossroads in Banilad quickly expanded to eight more branches across Cebu City. It's a living testament to how delicious their offerings are.


4. Go an island hopping adventure in Mactan.

IMAGE: John Merin

Many go straight to Cebu City from Mactan International Airport, but if you want to make the best of your Cebu trip, board a boat upon arrival at Mactan and snorkel in three stunning islands.

Hilutungan Island.  IMAGE: John Merin

Island hopping usually starts in Hilutungan Island, a marine sanctuary located only 30 minutes away from the mainland.

Caohagan Island.  IMAGE: John Merin

You will also stop by Caohagan Island, a forested island in the Olango Island chain, which is a popular birdwatching site. Swim in a sparkling lagoon or snorkel with fishes.

Nalusuan Island.  IMAGE: John Merin

Lunch is often served at Nalusuan Island, a man-made resort that is also part of Olango Island. Situated along Cebu Strait, Nalusuan is famous for its white sand beach and vibrant corals that attract both snorkeling and diving enthusiasts.


5. Hike Osmeña Peak.

INSTAGRAM: @mariawentoutoftown

About two hours away from Mactan, you'll find Cebu's highest peak. Osmeña Peak is part of the Mantalongon mountain range in Dalaguete, which is known for its spire-shaped hills.

INSTAGRAM: @vnguyen87

The peak only takes 20 to 45 minutes to complete via an easy trail that passes through local communities and gentle slopes. At the summit, you will be rewarded with a panoramic view of Cebu's southern coast, as well as Negros Oriental.


6. Swim in Santander Beach.

INSTAGRAM: @realbryanlee

Also in South Cebu is the lesser-known pebble beach of Santander. The tranquil strip is a great escape for those who want to lounge by the beach without the crowds.

INSTAGRAM: @s_g_e_k_z

Santander is located at Cebu's southernmost tip, near Siquijor and Negros Oriental. It's where you'll enjoy a fantastic view of these two provinces from the beach.

What are some of your favorite must-dos in Cebu? Let us know in the comments section below!

Still itching for more adventure? Get some inspiration from our Travel Guide for a list of things to See, Eat, and Do in Cebu! Check out our exclusive partner resorts in Cebu.

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About Gretchen
Gretchen is a mother and freelance editor and travel writer by day and a secret poet by night. She weaves travel stories on her blog, filipinaexplorer.com. Her work also regularly appears in print and digital publications.

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