Passing through Cebu? Find something to love — whether you’re in town for a few hours or an overnight stay — with these 5 inspiring ideas for a stopover in Cebu.
1. Go heritage tripping
The fascinating 1730 Jesuit House is a rare (and difficult!) find, but SO worth the effort. There are some ancestral houses in the old town, but for a more human perspective, look into the Casa Gorordo Museum. If you have time, Fort San Pedro, Basilica Minore del Santo Nino and Magellan’s Cross still echo Imperial Spain’s influence on the islands.
2. See cool new Cebu
The pop-art themed Henry Hotel is the perfect base for exploring the up-and-coming side of the Queen City. Shop and stroll around Ayala Terraces — an open-air mall inspired by the rice terraces of Luzon. After dark, watch an acoustic performance at Ilaputi, grab a drink at Gilt, or head up the hill for cocktails with a view at Ananzi.
3. Treat your tastebuds
Up for a foodie adventure in bustling Cebu? Not sure what’s worth your time? Try Zubuchon for the pork version of Cebu’s famous lechon, or a roadside stall for juicy lechon manok with a squeeze of calamansi. Mexican-themed Maya is a popular choice for a classy dinner out, but local favorite Golden Cowrie is our pick for authentic Filipino dishes (see if you can make it to the restaurant on the water in Mactan.)
4. Get out of town
Cebu’s best assets are outside the city limits. Slip on your shades and go for a bike ride around the island’s windswept southern coast. Expect frothy turquoise waves, fat pigs lolling the sun, and one tidy fishing village after the other. More time equals more options: Have a moment with the whalesharks of Oslob, go bird-watching on Olango Island, cool off in Kawasan Falls, or make a diving detour to Pescador Island and Moalboal.
5. Score a five-star stay on Mactan
Mactan — the island where the airport is located — has become a playground of luxury villas, spas and free-form pools. If you only have a few hours, you can buy a day pass that includes use of the pool and facilities, and sometimes dinner as well. If you have a night (and a couple hundred dollars) to spare, spoil yourself at the exclusive Abaca Resort. Bliss!