Things to Do in Cebu

24 Best Things to Do in Cebu

Visiting Cebu? This travel guide highlights the best things to do in Cebu!

I once saw a YouTube street interview where a female European tourist was asked what she was going to do in Cebu. And she nochalantly said she had just arrived in Cebu and was off to Siargao because “there’s nothing to do in Cebu.”

No matter how I wrapped my head around that interview, the only conclusion I could draw was that the statement was said out of pure ignorance. And I think it’s a rookie mistake!

Visiting a foreign country without using Google beforehand is a huge oversight. And saying such a blanket statement while sipping a cup of coffee in the middle of IT Park just does not make sense at all. Suffice it to say, do your research and go out!

So for people like her, this travel guide is made just for you. Let me introduce Cebu to you–with love.

Why You Should Visit Cebu

Travel+Leisure named Cebu one of the world’s best islands, and it is a much-deserved praise you will comprehend if you visit the place. Over 168 islands and islets make up the province of Cebu. That means a slew of white sand beaches, dive sites, mountains, cave pools, waterfalls, and more!

That’s why I always say Cebu is the Philippines’ Nature Adventure Capital, and it’s not without reason. From underwater experiences to sky adventures, Cebu has it all!

Cebu is ready to serve adventures no matter what month you visit. If you are wondering what worthwhile activities you can do here, this travel guide highlights the 24 Best Things to Do in Cebu based on my experience. Here are my top picks:

1. Canyoneering in Badian

Badian Cebu Canyoneering
Canyoneering in Badian, Cebu is one of the top things to do in the Philippines.

The towns of Badian and Alegria are known for canyoneering adventures, one of the most popular and fun activities in the Philippines. Climb, jump, and swim in the coral-blue waters of the canyons, stretching 4 kilometers from Kanlaob River in Alegria to the endpoint at Kawasan Falls in Badian.
  • Cost: From 2,100 PHP (~36 USD) for tour guide
  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Location: Badian (depending on your guide’s office)
  • Best time to visit: January to April
  • Nearby attractions: Kawasan Falls, Lambug Beach, Eskapo Verde Eco-Tourism

Check out this Cebu Canyoneering Guide for more details!

2. Sardine Run in Moalboal

Moalboal Sardine Run
Swimming into a bait ball of sardines in Moalboal is one of the top things to do in Cebu.

Moalboal‘s sardine run is one of the unique things to do in Cebu and the Philippines. Swim with millions of sardines in breathtakingly synchronized movement just 30 meters off the coast of Panagsama Beach, whether you want to snorkel, free dive, or scuba dive.
  • Cost: From 400 PHP (~18 USD) for tour guide and environmental fee
  • Duration: 1.5 hours
  • Location: Panagsama Beach, Moalboal
  • Best time to visit: November to May
  • Nearby attractions: White Beach, Pescador Island, Lambug Beach

Read this Moalboal Sardine Run Guide for more information!

3. Swimming with Whale Sharks in Oslob

Oslob Whale Shark Watching
Swimming with gigantic whale sharks in Oslob is one of the top things to do in Cebu.

Whale sharks are the largest sharks and the biggest fish alive. There are a few places you can see them in the Philippines, but the most popular is in Cebu. This activity allows you to get close to whale sharks in Oslob. But don’t touch them! A total of 208 friendly whale sharks have been spotted in town—9 of them have made residency here.
  • Cost: 300 PHP (~5 USD) for local tourists, 500 PHP (~8.5 USD) for foreign tourists
  • Duration: 30 minutes
  • Location: Barangay Tan-awan, Oslob
  • Best time to visit: March to May
  • Nearby attractions: Tumalog Waterfalls, Cuartel Ruins (Museo Oslob), Sumilon Island

Check out this Oslob Whale Shark Watching Guide for details!

4. Diving with Thresher Sharks in Malapascua Island

Thresher Shark Diving in Malapascua Cebu Philippines5
Thresher shark diving is an activity unique to Malapascua Island in Cebu where they appear 365 days a year.

Cebu is one of the top dive destinations in the Philippines. An island in Cebu that’s always on top of mind among recreational divers all over the world is Malapascua Island. It’s one the few places to see pelagic thresher sharks and the only one known to spot them consistently throughout the year.
  • Cost: From 2,500 PHP (~40 USD) for fun dives
  • Duration: 3-5 hours
  • Location: Monad Shoal, Malapascua Island
  • Best time to visit: December to May
  • Nearby attractions: Bounty Beach, North Beach, Gato Island

Check out this Malapascua Island Thresher Shark Diving Guide for details!

5. Island Hopping in Bantayan Island

Virgin Island Cebu Santa Fe Cebu North Cebu Tourist Spot
An aerial view of Virgin Island (Photo courtesy of Elocin Gijocco)

Bantayan Island is actually a group of islands where you can do island hopping activities. The most common stops include Baigad Lagoon (where you can chill and enjoy the white sand beach) and Hilantagaan Island (where you can snorkel). But the star of the activity is Virgin Island, which is home to a beautiful crystal-clear, white sand beach.
  • Cost: 1,600 PHP (~27 USD) for boat, docking, and environmental fees
  • Location: Santa Fe, Bantayan Island
  • Best time to visit: December to May
  • Nearby attractions: Kota Beach, Balidbid Lagoon, Hilantagaan Island

Read this Bantayan Island Hopping Guide for details!

6. Spend Romantic Getaway in Sumilon Island

sumilon island - best islands in cebu
Sumilon Island in Oslob, Cebu from different perspectives

Located off the coast of Oslob, Sumilon Island is one of the must-visit islands in Cebu known for its idyllic natural landscapes. It’s home to four-star Filipino resort Bluewater Sumilon Island Resort, a popular location for weddings, honeymoon, and photoshoots. Even if you don’t stay here, a day trip to Sumilon is already worth it with its shifting white sandbar, incredible marine life, and some fun outdoor activities.
  • Cost: 1,600 PHP (~27 USD) for day use (Get your day pass here!)
  • Duration:
  • Location: Sumilon Island
  • Best time to visit: December to May
  • Nearby attractions: Oslob whale sharks, Tumalog Falls, Museo Oslob

Check out this Sumilon Island Guide!

7. Experience Luxury Living in Cebu

Best Resorts in Mactan
Crimson Resort and Space (top-left), Movenpick Hotel Mactan (top-right), Costabella Tropical Beach Hotel (bottom-left), Dusit Thani Mactan (bottom-right)

Cebu is not just about culture and nature. It’s also known for luxury getaways. So why not try spending a restful day or two at one of the luxury resorts?

Some of the most popular hotel brands you can find here include Shangri-La, Sheraton, Dusit Thani, and my personal favorite Crimson Resort and Spa! If you’re looking for something with a full-fledged outdoor waterpark, there’s JPark Island Resort and Waterpark. For truly remote island resort getaways, consider Bluewater Sumilon Island Resort or Badian Island Wellness Resort.

Check out the Best Luxury Resorts in Cebu!

8. Scuba Diving in Cebu

Scuba Diving - Top Things to Do in Cebu
Moalboal’s Pescador Island has one of the most lively reefs in Cebu, popular for scuba diving.

As I said, Cebu is one of the country’s top dive destinations. From North Cebu to South Cebu, you have a bunch of reefs and underwater caves that you can scuba dive.

In Moalboal, there’s Pescador Island on top of Panagsama Beach, where millions of sardines are. In Malapascua Island, you have Gato Island and Lighthouse Reef, among others, besides Monad Shoal, where the thresher sharks are. In Mactan, there are Shangri-La Marine Sanctuary, Hilutungan Island Marine Sanctuary, and Nalusuan Island Marine Sanctuary.

9. Swim in Cave Pools in Camotes Island

Bukilat Cave - Caves in Camotes Island
The view inside Bukilat Cave in Camotes Island, Cebu

There’s probably only one place in the Philippines where several caves have pools inside that you can swim in–that’s Camotes Island. Bukilat Cave, located in Poro, is the largest and most popular cave in Camotes. It’s picturesque rock formations will impress you, filled by clear blue water that is lit from the open roof upon from above. You can take a dip in the waist-deep cave pool to cool down.

Other must-visit cave pools in include Paraiso Cave, Amazing Island Cave, and Timubo Cave. Camotes Island is not just about cave pools as it has dozens of white sand beaches as well and cliff-diving spots.

Check out the Camotes Island Travel Guide!

10. Island Hopping in Mactan and Olango Island

Hilutungan Island in Olango, Mactan
Hilutungan Island is one of the stops of Mactan island hopping tours.

Many tourists would skip Mactan after landing in Cebu. But did you know? Mactan Island has smaller neighboring islands, including Olango Island, where you can find crystal-clear white sandbars.

Pandanon Island, Nalusuan Island, and Hilutungan Island are the common stops for island hopping tours–all home to white-sand beaches. Mactan island hopping tours may also include snorkeling or diving at San Vicente Marine Sanctuary and a few other spots.

11. Enjoy Water Sports in Mactan

Parasailing in Mactan, Cebu
Parasailing is one of the popular water sports activities in Mactan, Cebu.

If you are within the metro and looking for fun water sports activities, Mactan is your playground! Many resorts offer enjoyable outdoor activities, including parasailing, jet skiing, banana boating, and scuba diving.

You don’t need a dive license to experience Mactan’s rich marine ecosystem! If you have extra time, consider water sports activities in Mactan. I promise you–it’s worth it!

12. Dive into Cebu’s Rich Historical Past

Magellan's Cross - Cebu City Tourist Attractions
The structure housing Magellan’s Cross, one of the most significant landmarks in Cebu City

Dubbed the cradle of Christianity in Asia, Cebu boasts a rich historical and cultural past. It’s home to dozens of Spanish-era churches and monuments spread through the province that stand up to this day.

In Cebu City, you will find a lot of these historical and religious landmarks, including Magellan’s Cross, a historic site housing the Catholic cross planted at the exact location by Spanish explorers led by Ferdinand Magellan when they arrived in the country for the first time on April 21, 1521.  The site is declared a National Cultural Treasure of the Philippines.

Check out the Must-Visit Historical Landmarks in Cebu!

13. Skydiving in Bantayan Island

skydiving bantayan island outdoor activities in cebu
A tandem skydives 10,000 feet above the air in Santa Fe, Bantayan Island, Cebu.

If you’re looking for the most exhilarating adventure in Cebu, skydiving in Bantayan Island tops the list. Leap off a plane 10,000 feet above the air with experienced skydiving instructors and see Bantayan and neighboring islands like never before.

I have yet to try this. A friend has been bugging me to do this together, but I don’t have the balls right now. So it will remain on my bucket list for now.
  • Cost: 20,500 PHP (~370 USD) per jump
  • Location: Santa Fe, Bantayan Island
  • Contact: (+63) 9171673226 (Skydive Greater Cebu)
  • Best time to visit: December to May
  • Nearby attractions: Paradise Beach, Kota Beach, Virgin Island

Check out the Best Things to Do in Bantayan Island!

14. Beach Hopping in Cebu

Paradise Beach, Bantayan Island, Cebu
An aerial shot of Paradise Beach in Santa Fe, Bantayan Island, Cebu

One thing that Cebu never runs out of is white sand beaches. Most great beaches in Cebu are found in the north, but you can find some in the south too.

Some of my favorite beaches include North Beach in Malapascua Island, Paradise Beach in Bantayan Island, and Batson Beach in Camotes Island. Tabuelan has Maravilla Beach too, accessible within mainland Cebu. In the south, you have Basdaku in Moalboal and Lambug Beach in Badian. Sumilon Island, Virgin Island.

Check out the Best Beaches in Cebu!

15. Visit Theme and Adventure Parks

Anjo World
Anjo World Theme Park in Minglanilla, Cebu shines at night

If you are coming to Cebu with family or friends, visiting theme parks is one of the best things to do in Cebu. Some of the nicest theme and adventure parks you should check out include Cebu Ocean Park (Philippines’ biggest oceanarium), Cebu Safari and Adventure Park, and Anjo World Theme Park.

For child-friendly indoor fun, look up the Museum of Emotions, PlayLab, and Pororo Park. If you’re down for some exciting outdoor activities, check out Danasan Eco Adventure Park and Badian Zipline Adventure.

Read my top picks for the Best Adventure Parks in Cebu!

16. Explore Cebu City’s Mountainside

Sirao Garden in Cebu City
Little Amsterdam inside Sirao Garden in Busay, Cebu City

If you have some time to spare in the city, consider visiting the tourist attractions in Cebu City‘s mountainside. The most accessible would be Tops, a popular viewing spot in Busay where you can also find a wide selection of restaurants. Just take a 20-minute ride on their bus at IT Park Terminal. For 200 PHP (~3.5 USD), you have a two-way ride and an entrance fee.

Other attractions to consider visiting include the Temple of Leah, Terrazas de Flores Botanical Garden, and Sirao Garden. Near the borders of Cebu City, in the town of Balamban, there are also places worth visiting while you are there, such as Buwakan ni Alejandra and West 35 Eco Mountain Resort.

Check out Cebu City’s Top Tourist Attractions!

17. Chase Waterfalls in South Cebu

Aguinid Falls in Oslob Cebu Waterfalls in Cebu
The cascading Aguinid Falls in Samboan, Cebu

The island is abundant with falls, but many of the best waterfalls in Cebu are found in the south. Badian (where Kawasan Falls is) and the next four towns–Alegria, Malabuyoc, Ginatilan, and Samboan–are home to dozens of waterfalls. The common theme? Stunning coral-blue water!

Besides Kawasan Falls, other waterfalls that can be found in these towns include Kabutongan Falls (in Malabuyoc), Inambakan Falls (in Ginatilan), and Aguinid Falls and Dao Falls (both Samboan). You may also include Barili’s Mantayupan Falls (the tallest in Cebu) and Oslob’s Tumalog Falls.

Check out this sample South Cebu Itinerary!

18. Camp ala Survivor Castaway at Capitancillo Islet

Capitancillo Islet
Overnight camping, snorkeling, and diving are some things you can do on Capitancillo Islet in Bogo City.

If you’re looking for off-the-beaten things to do in Cebu, go camp on Capitancillo Islet. This uninhabited islet has a beautiful white sand beach. And live corals and marine life surround its waters, making it a good spot for snorkeling and scuba diving.

While it’s just off the coast of Bogo City, this islet remains under the radar since getting there costs a fortune. Nevertheless, it’s worth visiting if you want to do something different in Cebu.

Check out the Top Tourist Spots in North Cebu!

19. Taste Cebu’s Budding Food Scene

Sugbo Mercado - Things to Do in Cebu
Pork Barrel is one of my go-to stallfs at Sugbo Mercado in Cebu IT Park, Cebu City. (Photo by Mario Manlupig / CEBU INSIDER)

We may not be as known as our neighbors Vietnam and Thailand when it comes to food. I think our local dishes deserve a chance to be appreciated too.

In Cebu, you can a bunch of popular authentic Filipino cuisine, including lechon (roasted pork), halo-halo (shaved ice dessert), and mango float, among many others. Some places you need to visit if you are down for some authentic local flavors, such as Sugbo Mercado IT Park and Carbon Night Market in Cebu City and Carcar Public Market in Carcar City if you want to try the best lechon.

20. Experience Cebu’s Bustling Nightlife

Agwa - Cebu Nightlife Guide
Agwa is located within Waterfront Hotel and Casino in Cebu City.

Cebu City nightlife may not be as diverse as Metro Manila’s, but it’s definitely worth trying if you want to dance the night away or just chill while having a few drinks. From nightclubs to live music bars to pubs to karaoke lounges, you still have varied options.

Apex Club and Club Tipsy are two of the most popular. If you’re looking for bars with a mass appeal, check out Uptown Cebu. Otherwise, check out Barrio Bar and Lounge. For places with younger crowd, Agwa, Tagu, The Sentral, and Trademark are quite popular. Looking for Cebu City’s red-light district? Mango Avenue it is! Haven’t personally experienced it so I will leave it for you to explore.

Read this Ultimate Cebu Nightlife Guide if you are looking for the best bars and clubs in Cebu!

21. Climb Osmeña Peak in Dalaguete

Osmeña Peak in Dalaguete Cebu - Things to Do in Cebu
The view of ragged hills at Osmeña Peak in Dalaguete, Cebu

The mountains in Cebu are not the tallest, but there are several peaks perfect for a day hike and even overnight camping. In Dalaguete, you will find two of them–Osmeña Peak (Pico Osmeña) and Casino Peak.

Osmeña Peak stands 1,013 meters above sea level, making it the highest mountain in Cebu. It’s beginner-friendly, though the craggy terrain will test your determination. The hike will be worth it once you reach the peak and get a sunset or sunrise view peeking through the horizon.

Meanwhile, Casino Peak is Osmeña Peak’s sister located within the same Mantalongon mountain range as the former. Since it has just been opened to tourism, it’s less popular than Osmeña Peak. Casino Peak ultimately delivers the same breathtaking view from the top.

Check out the Best Mountains in Cebu!

22. Visit Simala Shrine in Sibonga

Simala Shrine in Sibonga - Things to Do in Cebu
Simala Shrine in Sibonga is one of the must-visit religious sites in Cebu.

Simala Shrine is officially known as the Monastery of the Holy Eucharist, a Roman Catholic pilgrimage church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Inside the complex are an array of souvenir shops selling Catholic goods, a grand church, walls covered in prayer requests, and a miraculous Virgin Mary statue. Even if you’re not a devout Catholic like me, I was able to enjoy the intricacies of the shrine’s structures.
  • Entrance Fee: Free
  • Opening hours: 8 AM – 6 PM
  • Location: Marian Hills, Sibonga, Cebu
  • Best time to visit: January to December
  • Nearby attractions: Tubong Spring Argao, Mahayahay Beach Argao, Osmeña Peak

23. Bird watching in Olango Island

Olango Marine Sanctuary - Things to Do in Mactan, Cebu
Migratory birds flying over at the Olango Island Marine Sanctuary

For bird photographers and enthusiasts, this is a must-do in Cebu! Over 40 species of migratory birds have been recorded at the Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary, one of the four RAMSAR sites or wetlands of international importance in the Philippines. The Asiatic Dowitcher and the Chinese Egret are the flagship species found here.
  • Entrance fee: 100 PHP (~2 USD) for foreign visitors, 20 PHP for locals
  • Opening hours: 9 AM – 6 PM
  • Location: San Vincente, Olango Island, Cebu
  • Best time to visit: December to February
  • Nearby attractions: San Vincente Marine Sanctuary, Pandanon Island, Hilutungan Island

24. Watch Sinulog Festival’s annual street dancing competition

Sinulog Festival - Things to Do in Cebu
Celebrating the annual Sinulog Festival is one of the fun things to do in Cebu.

The Sinulog Festival is an annual event in the city that marks the introduction of Catholicism to Filipinos in 1951. The festival’s street dancing competition, which happens on the 3rd Sunday of January, the day of the feast itself, treats spectators to extravagant parades of local street dances, flamboyant costumes, massive floats, and gigantic paper-mâché puppets.

  • Cost: Free
  • Location: SRP Cebu City
  • Best time to visit: Every 3rd Sunday of January
  • Nearby attractions: Cebu Ocean Park, SM Seaside, Nustar Resort and Casino

Related: Sinulog Festival: Everything You Need to Know

Your Ultimate Cebu Travel Guide

You see, there are so many things to do in Cebu if you just take the time to do your due diligence before coming here. From underwater to the mountains to the sky, you will never run out of activities in Cebu.

If you’re still preparing for your Cebu trip, make sure to read this selection of travel guides:

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