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2019 Travel Guide to Cebu City: Dare Reach for the Skies Edit

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Marty Arnaldo  • Contributor
Opinions expressed by Explora.ph Contributors are their own.

Cover photo by America Pink. Graphics by Noodle Donato.

At a Glance

When we think about lechon, we think about Cebu. Cebu City is synonymous with succulent roasted pigs as well as endless food trips, bar scenes, and nightlife. The birthplace of Christianity in the Philippines, Cebu City is also home to historical sites, sacred temples, and wild festival parties.

Overview

The aroma of pit-roasted pigs in the market is not just inviting but hard to resist. Lining the walls of Cebu’s marketplace, these whole pigs are roasted to golden brown, with tasty, crispy skin that will leave your mouth watering for more. Don’t worry, they last long and you can take them home too! Locally known as lechon, these roasted pigs are so delicious and savory that they have reached a cult status, making Cebu City the “Lechon Capital of the Philippines”.


Sampling Cebu’s culinary delights doesn’t end here, however. An emerging food trip destination, the city offers an array of restaurants and bars along with a booming nightlife that lasts until morning. Inventive restaurants such as The Pig and the Palm and one of the pochero masters, Abuhan, are making the city a culinary hotbed in southern Philippines. Meanwhile, bars and clubs such as The Distillery, Craft Bar, and Morals and Malice are slowly shaping Cebu as the ultimate party island.


More than what tourists put into their mouths, Cebu City is filling to the soul. When the Spanish conquistador Ferdinand Magellan sailed his way to the spice islands to convert the natives into Christianity, little did he know that he was turning the course of Cebu City’s history. Across the city, several historical and religious sites can be explored through a day tour. Some of these include the tableau The Heritage of Cebu, the beautiful Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, the regal Temple of Leah, and the Spanish era Museo de Parian.

8 Experiences To Fall in Love with in the Queen City

1. It’s not Cebu without LECHON!

Lechon is simply synonymous with Cebu. The mere mention of the city has some already salivating at the prospect of tasting this sumptuous piece of roasted pig. If you’re looking for the best mouthwatering pieces of pork you’ll ever try in your life, you can’t go wrong in Cebu as there are many local lechon houses such as CnT Lechon and House of Lechon. The favorite of most is definitely the world-renowned Rico’s Lechon. Simple, savory, and seasoned to perfection, you can’t go wrong with Rico’s.

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Photo from Rico's Lechon.

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Photo from Rico's Lechon.

2. Ode to love and harmony

Everyone loves a good love story. Dubbed as the Taj Mahal of the Philippines, the Temple of Leah is an edifice Teodorico Soriano Adarna built in honor of his late wife Leah Villa Adarna. With its distinct Greek and Romanesque structure, this regal temple is a grand tribute to love and family.


Journey from love to harmony, as you take in the colorful beauty of Cebu Taoist Temple. The central place of worship for Taoists in Cebu, the towering attraction, with its 81 steps representing the 81 chapters of the Tao Te Ching, is open to both worshipers and visitors alike.

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Temple of Leah. Photo by Jineva Azul Hernandez.

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Cebu Taoist Temple. Photo from Flaminia Realty.

3. Take in the History

Cebu holds great historical significance as the oldest city in the Philippines. Hence, a number of heritage sites can be found here. You have Fort San Pedro, a historical park and times capsule to the first Spanish settlement in the Philippines; Basilica Del Santo Niño, the oldest Roman Catholic Church in the country; and of course, the famous Magellan's Cross. The original cross is now encased in Tidalo wood, because people used to chip some, claiming they have healing effects.

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Basilica Del Santo Niño. Photo by Nathalia Mangalos.

4. Eat your heart out

If you think lechon is the only delectable dish that city has to offer, then you are dead wrong. Be sure to stop by Abaca Bakery for some of Cebu City’s finest pastries, great coffee, and amazing all-day breakfast selections. If you find yourself in the mood for some good old-fashioned barbeque, then head straight for Larsian sa Fuente and its array of hawkers selling the best char-grilled delectables that Cebu has to offer.

5. Cheers to craft beers

Looking to grab a nice cold beer to end your night? Count yourself lucky for Cebu is home to two homegrown breweries. You can grab a bottle of Cebu Brewing Co's selection of local beers. They have stock of their fine creations in the many restaurants, bars, resorts, and even the airport lounge of the city. Head over to Turning Wheels for some true-blue craft brew and take in the quaint and rustic charm of this homey bar.

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Photo from Cebu Brewing Co.

6. A different sort of club

If you’re looking to drink and chill in the city, then Asmara Urban Resort and Lifestyle Village is the place to be. The new venue for your sporting, swimming, dining and drinking needs, it features pools, a yoga studio, and tennis courts and some of the best pizzas in this side of queen city. Its resort service and amenities, killer cocktails, and beautiful interiors make for the perfect escape in the heart of the Metro.

7. Dare reach for the skies

Fly across the sky and live on the edge a bit with Sky Experience Adventure atop Crown Regency Hotel. Zip across two buildings while taking in the view of the city in the Philippines’ first urban zipline, or do some wall climbing 468 feet from the ground. You will not find yourself wanting for exciting activities to do. When you’ve had your fill of these activities, sit back and relax at either the Sky Bar or the Sky Lounge.

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Photo by Calvin Young.

8. View from the top

To get the best view of the city one must simply go to Tops Lookout at the peak of Mt. Busay. This viewdeck proves to be a great place for family picnics while you lounge about and enjoy the beautiful sunsets or the starry night sky. With its circular design, fort-like observation deck, and food stalls that serve some nice local fare, this is one of the best places to view Cebu City.

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Photo by Mark Maranga.

Where is Cebu City

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Cebu City is located at the east of Cebu Province in southern Philippines.

How to get to Cebu City

From Metro Manila or Davao, the fastest way to get to Cebu is by taking a plane to Mactan-Cebu International Airport via Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines, or Air Asia. If you want to enjoy the sea, you might prefer taking a ferry to Cebu via 2Go Travel or Sulpicio Lines. In Cebu, you can go around by jeepneys and tricycles. You may also opt to get a cab if you prefer to travel with air-conditioning. These modes of transport may also be rented out for a day’s service. If you’re heading to an island, just make sure to know the boat schedule ahead of time.


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