Cebu

The country's second largest city, Cebu is a sunny, charming island replete with white-sand beaches, luxury resorts, and a verdant landscape of rolling hills and mountain ranges that top off at over 3,000 feet. A smattering of islands and sand bars make it a popular beach destination, though the city, with its small-town, island vibe, has its own draw. To the south, one can find seaside towns, waterfalls and whalesharks, and to the north are pristine islands, old churches and rare thresher sharks.

Cebu City is the oldest city founded in the Philippines, (seven years senior to Manila) and vestiges of Spanish colonial times still remain in its local language, food and culture. It began as a small fishing village in the central Visayan region, later becoming a bustling trading port by 1521 because of its strategic location in the heart of the Philippines. By 1898 the Spanish were pushed out by American intervention, prompting a revolution for the entire country, and in 1937 the city of Cebu was officially named.

Today, the city is booming and is fast becoming a major economic hub of the Philippines, next to Manila. Cebu thrives on it history as a focal point for the major tourism that comes through the city and its islands. The famous Sinulog festival happens every year to commemorate their devotion to the Santo Nino, and to showcase the rich cultural significance of their native dance of the same name. Historically, the native dance predated Magellan's colonization but would later be enveloped within the Christian conversion. Today, the annual Sinulog festival is one of the largest in the country, bringing in visitors from all over the country.

The country's second largest city, Cebu is a sunny, charming island replete with white-sand beaches, luxury resorts, and a verdant landscape of rolling hills and mountain ranges that top off at over 3,000 feet. A smattering of islands and sand bars make it a popular beach destination, though the city, with its small-town, island vibe, has its own draw. To the south, one can find seaside towns, waterfalls and whalesharks, and to the north are pristine islands, old churches and rare thresher sharks.

Cebu City is the oldest city founded in the Philippines, (seven years senior to Manila) and vestiges of Spanish colonial times still remain in its local language, food and culture. It began as a small fishing village in the central Visayan region, later becoming a bustling trading port by 1521 because of its strategic location in the heart of the Philippines. By 1898 the Spanish were pushed out by American intervention, prompting a revolution for the entire country, and in 1937 the city of Cebu was officially named.

Today, the city is booming and is fast becoming a major economic hub of the Philippines, next to Manila. Cebu thrives on it history as a focal point for the major tourism that comes through the city and its islands. The famous Sinulog festival happens every year to commemorate their devotion to the Santo Nino, and to showcase the rich cultural significance of their native dance of the same name. Historically, the native dance predated Magellan's colonization but would later be enveloped within the Christian conversion. Today, the annual Sinulog festival is one of the largest in the country, bringing in visitors from all over the country.

Experiences

Colonial Houses

Visit Casa Gorordo Museum, which showcases household items dating back to the late 1800s. The San Diego Ancestral House in the oldest part of the city is a well-preserved home full of antiques and and traditional furniture.

Island Hopping

Explore the islands and sandbars surrounding Mactan Island on a private outrigger fitted with beanbags, an iPod dock, WiFi and a cooler full of drinks. Cruise the calm seas around Cebu and snorkel or dive in one of two marine reserves. For lunch, dock at a stilted restaurant over the water and order seafood still swimming in the cages beneath the water.

Local Cuisine

Cebu is a fantastic foodie destination. It is best known for lechon, a succulent, spit-roasted pig stuffed with herbs and done to crispy perfection. Grilled seafood, roasted chicken and Spanish-influenced desserts are also quite popular.

Old City Tour

Head into the old part of the city for a guided cultural tour. Cebu City is the oldest city in the Philippines: its most significant landmark, the 16th century St. Niño Church, houses the cross that Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan planted on the shores of Cebu when he arrived in 1521. Nearby is Fort San Pedro, an old Spanish fort erected in 1565.

Shopping & Markets

Shopping malls abound in the city, but to get a sense of local color, head to the street markets of Colon, where dried fish, tropical fruit, locally made guitars and shell handicrafts are sold. For higher quality merchandise, shop at locally owned boutiques selling home goods and furniture made from local materials, as well as packaged delicacies.

Sunrise over the City

An hour before the sun sets, head to the mountains. Tops is a large stone terrace that is a 40-minute drive from the city center. At 2000 feet above sea level, it offers a breathtaking view of Cebu and the islands surrounding it. Alternatively, sunset is also spectacular here, but it tends to get crowded.

PHILIPPINES Regions

Explore in-depth information, experiences and highlights by navigating to specific regions using the links below on the right.

Why Remote Lands?

Exclusively Asia

With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.

With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, in the continent that our north American founders Catherine and Jay have adored and explored for decades, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.

Multi-Country Specialists

philippines Goes Well With

Remote Lands

Explore 400+ Journeys in
33 Countries Across Asia

Choose somewhere you’d like to visit, something you’re interested in, and when you’re planning to travel and we’ll suggest sample itineraries to inspire your bespoke journey.

Where to go

Choose Your Destination

What to do

Choose Your Interest

When to go

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Filter to Select Your Itinerary

Travelogues

What Others Say

Here is a small selection of the kind words our guests have said about us, as well as features by journalists and travel writers.

More Testimonials

Aman Jet Expeditions

You are invited to Remote Lands’ signature Aman Jet Expeditions, in partnership with our friends at Aman. These are small group journeys designed for people who usually travel independently.

Stay Informed: Newsletter