Cebu City Tour Itinerary

Magellan's Cross
Backpacking | Cebu City Tour (first-timer essentials)
Cebu City, Cebu (Central Visayas)
Hours from Manila: 1.5 hours by air, 24 hours by sea, 2+ days by land
Specs: historical landmarks, museums, food, shopping.


Only in Cebu have I seen the most buffet restaurants with affordable prices. Take your pick from the list below (contact me if you have any comment about this list):

. Joven's Grill (Jones St. & AS Fortuna St.) - P150++
. Royal Concourse (Gorordo) - P168++
. Tongs Eat All You Can (Mabolo or Mactan Marina Mall) - P175++
. Harbor Dimsum / Ding qua qua, JY Square Mall (Lahug) - P188++
. The Port Seafood Restaurant, Waterfront Hotel (Lahug) - Lunch P199++; Dinner P299++
. Korean eat all u can (beside NASA across BRAVIO) - Lunch P250++; Dinner P290++
. Barrio Fiesta (SM City Cebu) - Merienda P100++; Lunch/Dinner P300++
. Family's Choice (Gorordo or Gaisano Country Mall, Banilad) - P300++
. Krua Thai (SM City) - P300++
. Club Ultima's Wang Shan Lo Chinese Restaurant - Lunch P350++
. Mikado buffet (Archbishop Reyes Ave. or SM City) - P399++
. Grand Majestic (Archbishop Reyes Ave.) - Lunch P450++; Dinner P500++
. Cafe Uno, Waterfront Hotel (Lahug) - P550++
. Manuel's, Parklane Hotel - Lunch P549++; Dinner P671++
. Marriott Hotel (Cardinal Rosales Ave.) - P700++
. Cafe Marco Restaurants in Marco Polo Hotel (Nivel Hills, Lahug) - Lunch P796.80++; Dinner P983.65++
. Tides, Shangri-La Hotel (Mactan) - P1500++
. Others:
Patio Isabel
Rice Café, Microtel (Mactan)
Vanilla Beach Café, Hilton Hotel
Aqua, Shangri-La Hotel

*note that prices might not be exact, hence the ++ sign; some of the rates do not include drinks

· This itinerary is ideal for first-time Cebu City visitors who want to visit Cebu’s ‘essential’ tourist landmarks.
. Don’t forget to pick up a free Cebu city map from the tourism booth in Mactan airport!
. Taxi rates in Cebu are the same as in Metro Manila. Up to 4 passengers may sit comfortably inside a taxi cab.
. If you can, ask your taxi driver to drive by Fuente Osmena (circle) on your way to Tabo-an/Carbon Markets, so you get to see the fountain landmark.
. Casa Gorordo entrance fee is P40 for adults, P15 for college students and P10 for elementary and high school students.
. Entrance fee in Fort San Pedro (Fuerza de San Pedro) is P15 per person.
. The Santo Nino museum in Basilica Minore del Santo Nino is open Mondays-Sundays; Entrance fee is P10.
. Entrance fee to Tops is P100 regardless of how long you will stay there. You will need to hire a taxi (expensive!) or ride a jeep (take the jeep to JY Lahug, get off at JY square mall and hire a Habal-habal* for about P50 per person). You may take it out of the itinerary and just go and visit Marco Polo Hotel (it’s on a slightly elevated part of the mountain, on the way to Tops). Take the elevator in Marco Polo Hotel and go to the highest floor (roof deck café). You will have a pretty good view of Cebu City there, a cheaper trick!
. When in Tabo-an Market or Carbon Market, don’t forget to haggle, haggle, haggle!
. When pasalubong shopping, don’t forget to buy yourself a really good Cebu T-shirt (not the cheap ones from the street). Go to Island Souvenirs.
. Most locals recommend shopping for pasalubongs* like dried mangoes and otap in SM City or Metro Gaisano (instead of souvenir shops) because prices there are more consistent. There is a Metro Gaisano mall in Ayala.
. If you have time, drop by CnT Lechon for dinner (in front of SM City or in Ayala Food Choices) to taste what everybody says is the best lechon in Cebu.
. If you are not into lechon, another best place to check out is the SuTuKil/SuToKil/Su-To-Kil (Sugba-Tola-Kilaw) place near SM City.

. Best use this itinerary as a filler to your even better Cebu beach itinerary (Bantayan, Malapascua, Moalboal, Camotes, etc.).
. If have another day to spare, I suggest doing the Mactan-Olango Islands itinerary.
. Other airlines aside from Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific fly to Cebu City, like Zest Air, Sea Air, Airphil Express. Check their websites to see their flight schedules.
. The flight schedules sampled above may change in time. I suggest that you check their websites and adjust the itinerary to fit your schedule.
. There are plenty of hotels, inns and travel lodges to stay at in the City, but nothing beats staying at a friend’s/relative’s house!
. You may take some things off of the itinerary if you feel like you don’t have enough time or money. Take for example the Tops vs. Marco Polo option above and the Tabo-an vs. Carbon Market option. Just consult your map to see where it is most convenient for you to go.
. Not included on this itinerary is the Magellan’s monument and Lapu-Lapu shrine in Mactan. I suggest you visit the place on your way to the airport (before leaving Cebu). Just ask your taxi driver to take you there and wait before dropping you off at the airport. You may do some last minute souvenir shopping at the shell craft store there.
. Biking in Cebu is popular, you can grab a copy of Cycling Philippines for a detailed guide on bike routes and trails in Cebu or visit for info on bike events and bike rentals.
. The best time to visit Cebu is during the third week of January. There is a big celebration of the town’s festival, the “Sinulog”, every 3rd Sunday of January in honor of their patron Saint, the Santo Niño (the Child Jesus).

Budget: around P780 per pax (excluding airfare buffet lunch and hotel/inn accommodation)
Budget estimate for 4 people:
average round trip airfare from Manila is P1700 per person (promo fare around P500-P1900; regular fare around P2500-P3100)
---- hotel accommodation
900 taxi fares (maximum estimate, may be lower if you take a jeep)
--- buffet lunch
620 entrance fees
1400 food share (breakfast, snacks and dinner)
200 misc (tips, restroom fees)

*pasalubongs - gifts to take home for your family and friends
*Habal-habal – passenger motorcycle where you sit behind the rider

Mandaue-Mactan Bridge

Fort San Pedro / Fuerza de San Pedro

Taoist Temple in Beverly Hills

Dried Fish, Squid, and other finds in Tabo-an Market

Itinerary and expenses recorded on Jan 26, 2009.
Updated in June 2010.


  1. had a great time in cebu! still a great destination despite the rapid urbanization. too bad we weren't able to visit the other tourist spots.

  2. Wow, that's great! There's so much to visit in Cebu, I feel like I need to see them all!

  3. wow!! papunta ako ng cebu sa july. malaking tulong to. thanks. :D

  4. You are welcome! Enjoy sa byahe! :)

  5. very comprehensive IT, thanks for the guide =D

  6. You are welcome! Glad to hear this IT was helpful :)

  7. hi i really find this article very helful, however can you help me more. we will be staying in cebu for three days this end of the month

  8. Hi nixie, how can I be of help? Do you need additional info?

    thanks for visiting!

  9. Hi! thanks for the info. i will be visiting cebu next week and will be staying there for 3days..since its my first time what other places should i visit? thanks! --brenda

  10. Hi brenda,
    This IT is great for first timers in the city, if you want to visit beaches, be sure to check out my bantayan island or kawasan falls itinerary. Other good places to visit are moalboal and malapascua (IT not yet available).

  11. Thank you for posting this. We're going to Cebu-Bohol tomorrow for a 4-day vacation. This really helps!

  12. Hi,
    Glad to hear this blog is helpful! Please feel free to comment on the itinerary.

  13. galing! soooo helpful! SUPER THANKS! :)


  15. Enjoy your Cebu Trip! Let me know how it goes :)

  16. hi there, we'll be in cebu on sunday...
    it's just a connecting trip so we have limited time. like 6-9pm only...
    can u suggest any restaurant in cebu city downtown area or near the airport that offer dinner buffet. thanks

  17. Hi, there is a Waterfront Hotel right beside the airport (you won't miss it, it's right outside!). You can check out Uno buffet there.
    I haven't tried it, but it's an international buffet, so it should be good.

  18. Thank you very much for this post! :D
    Do you also have an available itinerary for Mactan Island? Can you help us fix our itinerary.. We are planning to have a city tour, Mactan tour and also visit Bantayan (planning to stay for 2 days) and Virgin Islands. We are staying in Cebu for 4 days. Do you also have any suggestions for accommodations and friendly boatmen? Thanks in advance. :D

  19. this is a lot of help! thanks INDIE~

  20. Hi Hazel,
    I don't have a ready-made itinerary for mactan, but I can recommend Portofino resort- Only P75-P100 day entrance fee. They have nice white sand beach cove (sand imported from Bohol hehe). Check out my Bantayan Itinerary for more tips :)

  21. Thanks everyone for the comments! Keep 'em coming :)

  22. Cebu's the best! That is why it is at the center, the heart of Philippines.

  23. hi there! me and my friends were planning to visit cebu on june 2011... this would be the first time that we're going to visit cebu. Our IT is based on 2 days and 1 night stay,, Can you pls. pls. suggest us a place to stay or where can we find cheap hotels or white sand beach resort. thanks!

  24. Hi, You can find cheap hotels in the Capitol area in Cebu City.
    There are many white sand beach resorts near Cebu, the nearest ones are in Mactan. You can check out my Portofino Beach Resort (Mactan) review here:
    Or this link here:


  25. thanks indie.. this would be a big help.. :)

  26. Cebu is worth every single time and cent that you spend. I wish I'd been as organized as you planning my visit. To be honest, I got so caught up in Ayala Terraces and SM Northwing that I never got to spend enough time at other places of interest

  27. Hi cebu food,

    The malls are also part of Cebu's attractions, too. But of course there's always another time to visit the traditional tourist destinations!
    Thanks for dropping by!


  28. Hi , I am just curious about the location of korean eat all you can beside NASA . I've been in korea for 10months and I miss the foods so much. I hope you can help me, Catlaine. thanks

  29. hi,i'm kaye fr leyte.we'l be having educ tour in cebu ds may 20-22.we want EAYC nd wr 35 in i ask royal concourse mobile num?tnx.

  30. thanks Indie, your post will be very useful to us were going there w/ my family this coming oct.2011 keep your blog working Godspeed...

  31. You're welcome, selrahc!
    Thanks for dropping by!

  32. Hi! My boyfriend and I will go to cebu on Dec 28 until Dec 29. We will be staying at the Golden Valley hotel, can you give us any tip? Thank you! :)

  33. Hi,
    I suggest doing this itinerary for day 1. From Casa Gorodo museum, you can pass by Sandiego-Yap Ancestral house and Heritage of Cebu monument.

    If you're not up for buffet lunch, you can try AA barbeque in Lahug area, before going to Taoist temple.

    For day 2, I suggest going to Mactan for a day tour. See this itinerary:
    If you have an early flight, you may take Olango Island out of the plan and just concentrate on Mactan Island.

    Thanks for visiting!

  34. where having our honeymoon w/ my husband tomorrow in cebu -bantayan for 4 days and we will stay at the regency hotel for 2n and 3 days and where planning to go to bantayan. can you give us any tip. thank you

  35. Hi,
    I have 2 Bantayan itineraries here:

  36. its been 8 years na since ive been to Cebu. pupunta ako jan sa July 14. may mga tour ba aroun the city na pwede me going there alone kasi... or can you help me san malinis, safe at affordable na lugar pwede mag stay.. at amy malapit ba na malinis at magandang beach? at lastly magkano yung sky walk? please reply asap... gumagawa kasi me itirenary..

  37. @barclavs

    You can up for tours from travel agencies. But of course that would cost more.
    If you want a place na malapit sa beach, why not try Mactan, malapit lang sa Cebu City. Other good beaches here can be found in Camotes, Moalboal, Bantayan, and towns in South Cebu.
    The Skywalk would probably cost around P900 - depende kasi sa package yun..

    Thanks for visiting :)

  38. Hi there!
    You have a very informative blog here.
    Can I ask for some sample itinerary for our Cebu trip on Jan12-17 kinda long vacation and it's our first time in Cebu. I already googled good tourist spots but I really can't come up with the best itinerary, we really want to maximized out stay there. It's also kinda bit confusing to me since good spots are in different city too.
    Here's our sched Jan 12 3:25Pm ETD Manila ; Jan 17 6:35PM ETD Mactan Airport. Thnak YOu so much!

  39. @Lagafhac Ct - Sorry, this response is prolly too late. Just click on the Cebu link on the sidebar, you'll find a bunch of itineraries there :)
    You should extend your stay because Sinulog is happening on 20th.

    thanks for visiting!


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