Sugbo Chinese Heritage Musem - Best Museums in Cebu

10 Best Museums in Cebu

If you want to learn more about Cebu, one of the perfect activities is to visit museums. Whether you are looking for an art museum or a historical museum, this list highlights the best museums in Cebu!
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If you want to learn more about the place you are visiting, one of the perfect activities is to visit museums. In Cebu, there are a bunch of them. Whether you are looking for an art museum in Cebu or a historical museum in Cebu, this is the only list you need.

Cebu is a place steeped in history. You know it as where the first group of Spaniards landed, defining Philippine history forever. This province also bore witness to historic events such as the Second World War and the Japanese occupation.

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Hence, one of the best things to do in Cebu if you want to connect with its rich history is to hop from museum to museum. From museums that champion history and heritage to those that showcase science, Cebu has it all. Here are 10 of the best museums in Cebu:

1. National Museum of the Philippines Cebu

National Museum of the Philippines Cebu - Best Museums in Cebu
The National Museum of the Philippines Cebu features five art galleries.

If you are familiar with the National Museum in Manila, its operations have just reached Cebu in the form of the National Museum of the Philippines Cebu. Located along A. Pigafetta Street, this free museum in Cebu only opened in August 2023.

The National Museum of the Philippines Cebu showcases five art galleries:

  • Kinaiyahan: Cebu’s Natural Wonders (features the geological features, flora, and fauna endemic to Cebu)
  • Ang Karaang Sugbo ug ang mga Kabiling Bahandi (contains archaeological finds that will educate visitors about Cebu’s rich history)
  • Paglawig: Cultural Movement Across the Seas (highlights ethnographic traditions in maritime history and industry)
  • A gallery that showcases “The Philippine Center New York Core Collection of 1974”
  • Ang Kamamugnaon ug Kinaadman ni Maestro Tinong (focuses on the works of Martino “Tinong” Abellano, regarded as “the Dean of Cebuano Painters”)

Admission to the National Museum of the Philippines Cebu is free.

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2. Museo de Parian

Museo de Parian - Best Museums in Cebu
The Museo de Parian or 1730 Jesuit House Museum is a house-turned-museum built in the 18th century.

This historical museum in Cebu may look unattractive at first glance since you will find a warehouse before you reach it. But what lies ahead is impressive. 

The Museo de Parian is situated in Cebu City’s Parian district along Zulueta Street. This museum was built during the 18th century as a house, making it one of the oldest in the Philippines, hence its other name, the 1730 Jesuit House Museum. Among its features is the second building believed to have been an azotea or balcony where Jesuit priests prayed in solitude or conducted community gatherings.

Admission to Museo de Parian is 30 PHP (~1 USD).

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3. Cebu City Museum

Another worth-visiting historical museum in Cebu is the Cebu City Museum located on the second floor of a bigger museum along Osmeña Boulevard. Many of the exhibits at the museum are temporary ones and are on display for a limited time only. 

Some of the exhibits at the Cebu City Museum include Pierre Famador II’s Lipay Exhibit showcasing life’s positivity and the Dung’aw Exhibit showcasing the vibrance of Cebuano talents.

The museum also plays host to various activities like initiatives for the poor, live sketching, and painting and photography contests.

Entrance to Cebu City Museum is free.

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4. Sugbu Chinese Heritage Museum

Sugbo Chinese Heritage Musem - Best Museums in Cebu
The Sugbo Chinese Heritage Museum in Cebu City marks the centuries of partnership between Cebuanos and Chinese traders.

The Sugbu Chinese Heritage Museum celebrates the centuries of partnership between the Chinese and Filipino people. Even before the arrival of Spanish colonizers in the 1500s, Cebu had already established strong trading relations between China and Southeast Asian countries. You will learn about this part of Cebu’s history as you visit this museum.

Sugbu Chinese Heritage Museum displays Chinese trade potteries such as porcelain from the Tang and Song dynasties, proofs of the earlier relationship of Cebu with China. The museum is located within the Gotiaoco Building.

The regular entrance fee rate is 120 PHP (~2.5 USD), and 90 PHP (~2 USD) for senior citizens, students, and persons with disabilities.

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5. Museo Sugbo

Museo Sugbo - Historical Museum in Cebu
Museo Sugbo used to house the provincial jail of Cebu.

Interestingly enough, the building where Museo Sugbo stands today was once the home of Cárcel de Cebú, the provincial jail of Cebu during the Spanish period. Now, it is a museum consisting of four galleries.

These include the political history gallery, the presidential gallery displaying portraits and signatures of the Philippine presidents engraved in a 24-karat gold plated metal, a gallery that contains archeological artifacts such as gold and ceramics from the famous San Diego shipwreck of 1600, and a wishing well.

PUBLIC ADVISORY: Museo Sugbo is temporarily closed until further notice.

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6. Archdiocesan Museum of Cebu

Archdiocesan Museum of Cebu - Best Museums in Cebu
The Archdiocesan Museum of Cebu is a tribute to the Catholic faith.

Situated along P. Burgos Street, the Archdiocesan Museum is also known as the Cathedral Museum as it stands right across from the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral.

Looking at its façade, you will think that it was pulled out straight from the ancestral houses in Vigan. The museum is housed in one of the oldest structures in downtown Cebu. 

The Archdiocesan Museum has a collection of exhibits showcasing the Roman Catholic faith, giving visitors a trip down memory lane as they learn how the religion shaped not just the province’s but the country’s culture and people today.

Admission to the Archdiocesan Museum is 50 PHP (~1 USD).

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7. Rizal Memorial Library and Museum

Rizal Memorial Library and Museum - Free Museum in Cebu
The Rizal Memorial Library and Museum celebrates the country’s national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal.

You will easily spot the Rizal Memorial Library and Museum from the rest of the structures along Osmeña Boulevard. It is conspicuous amid the boulevard’s modern urban landscape with its pre-World War II Neoclassical design. 

This three-story, pre-war heritage site and landmark in Cebu City was designed by Filipino architect Juan M. Arellano and dedicated to the country’s national hero, Jose Rizal. Arellano also designed the Cebu Provincial Capitol building.

Fronting the building is Rizal’s statue with a book spread over his lap as he reads with two children. You will love it here as it is open to the public 24/7.

Admission to Rizal Memorial Library and Musem is free.

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8. University of San Carlos Museum

University of San Carlos Museum - Best Museums in Cebu
One of the miniature relics found at the University of San Carlos Museum

One of the things that make the University of San Carlos popular is that it is the alma mater of notable alumni such as former president Sergio Osmeña Sr., former Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr., former senator Vincente Sotto, PBA player Ramon Fernandez, and former National Economic and Development Authority secretary Ernesto Pernia, among others.

Its museum, the University of San Carlos Museum, was formally inaugurated in 1967 with then First Lady Imelda Marcos a few moments before former president Ferdinand Marcos delivered the commencement address to the graduating class. The museum has five indoor galleries, one open gallery, and one hallway exhibit area. 

The regular admission rate is 75 PHP (~1.5 USD). Kids aged 12 and below, senior citizens, persons with disabilities, local high school students, undergraduate students, teachers, and museum workers are entitled to discounts.

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9. Qube Gallery

Qube Gallery - Art Museum in Cebu
Qube Gallery is a contemporary and progressive art museum in Cebu

Qube Gallery is a contemporary and progressive art museum in Cebu located inside the commercial district Crossroads. Guests are greeted with a massive array of contemporary art collections, including paintings, sculptures, mixed media artworks, and installations. Occasionally, they also host art talks and provide art consultations. 

Since 2013, the museum has participated in international art fairs including the Tokyo International Art Fair in Japan, Art Central in Hong Kong, Art Kaohsiung and Art Tainan in Taiwan, and Art Apart in Singapore.

Admission to the museum is free, but it is advised that you call ahead to set up an appointment.

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10. Museum of Emotions

Museum of Emotions - Best Museums in Cebu
The Museum of Emotions is a science museum designed to help you understand emotions.

Located on the fourth floor of Ayala Center Cebu, one of Cebu’s newest attractions is the Museum of Emotions ideal hangout place for anybody who wants to understand how their emotions work. 

The Museum of Emotions is an interactive attraction spanning 3,000 square meters and promoting the understanding of emotions through its colorful art displays You may also play around the inflatables, do some arts and crafts, or relax in its ball-themed rooms. 

The regular admission rate, or their Emo Pass, is 499 PHP (~10 USD). Groups of four only pay 350 PHP (~7 USD) per person.

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Your Complete Guide to Cebu

Some travelers hesitate to include museums on their itineraries as they fly to Cebu City because these places are “too geeky” or “uninteresting.” Cebu is known for its beaches and nature adventures, but you will connect to Cebu on a deeper level if you visit these museums.

If you are still preparing for your trip to Cebu, check out our range of travel guides:

If you have questions about your trip to Cebu, let me know in the comments. We’ll get back to you ASAP.

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Cebu Insider Team
Cebu Insider Team

Cebu Insider aims to deliver accurate and up-to-date Philippine travel guides to digital nomads, expats, full-time travelers, and remote workers.

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