Walking around Cebu

The great thing about traveling with friends is that you have more energy and motivation to go out and explore. I remember the first time I went to Cebu. It was my first solo travel, and I was exhausted and I found the heat intolerable. I didn’t have the energy to explore Cebu, checking out only one or two landmarks. This time though, with two avid travelers as my companion, I was determined to see the places I missed the first time I was in Cebu.

Cebu Taoist Temple
Three icons of the Chinese culture: the 8-sided pagoda, the lion and the dragon

First in the itinerary was the Taoist Temple. There’s a huge population of Chinese and Chinese-Filipinos in Cebu, and the influence of the culture can be seen where ever you go. The temple is not easily accessible — located inside the posh Beverly Hills subdivision, you’d have to take a taxi to go there. From the area of the Fuente-Osmeña Circle, the fare is around Php 80. The Cebu Taoist Temple is best visited early on in the day or in the late afternoon, when the sun is not too hot. There are 99 steps to climb to reach the main temple, and from there you are rewarded with stunning views of the city below, as well as the islands of Mactan and Bohol.

Cebu Cathedral
The Cebu Cathedral

From the Taoist Temple, we took another taxi to the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral. Since it was a Sunday, the cathedral was packed with people hearing mass. We only took some outdoor shots and made our way to the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebu. The two churches are within comfortable distance from each other. Like the Cebu Cathedral, the Basilica was likewise packed. The church was located in a main thoroughfare, so most public utility vehicles are driving by. There are tons of street vendors outside the church, selling clothes, flowers, balloons, and even prayers.

Cebu Basilica de Sto. Nino
Burning candles outside the Sto. Niño Basilica

Right beside the Basilica of the Sto. Niño is the Magellan’s Cross. The shrine is filled with tour groups filing in and out at intervals. There are ladies milling around the shrine. For a fee, they will perform the traditional Sinulog — a prayer done while dancing and waving a bunch of candles.

Cebu Oriente Colonnade Mall
The Oriente at Colon Street

From the Basilica, we made our way down the road to Colon street, the oldest street in the Philippines. I was getting pretty tired and hungry at this time, and I just wanted to breeze through Colon. It turns out that there is plenty to see in Colon. Like the rest of Cebu, there are plenty of beautiful architecture that’s just begging to be photographed and restored to its full glory. Unfortunately, the traffic, the banderitas and the powerlines made for an annoying photoshoot, so we cut it short and hopped on a SM-bound jeep.

Cebu Lecon
Cebu’s CNT Lechon

SM wasn’t really our destination — it’s what’s across SM that we’re after. CNT Lechon’s restaurant across SM was our target. It was already 1pm, yet the restaurant was still packed. This is not a fancy restaurant, mind you. The place was not airconditioned, and it’s like a glorified turo-turo wherein you go up to the counter and point at the dishes you want to order. A trip to Cebu isn’t complete without a taste of the local lechon, and CNT delivers with the cripy skin and flavorful meat that doesn’t have you reaching for that bottle of Mang Tomas.

Cebu Guitar
Guitar from Guitar Master

Our Cebu lechon craving satisfied, we headed out to Mactan, to look for a Cebu guitar factory or store. We ended up at Guitar Master, and after a passionate sales talk from Mr. Ronie, we headed back into Cebu to look for danggit. Tabo’an Market is the place to go for anything dried: they have danggit (rabbitfish), dilis (anchovy), pusit (squid), and every variation of daing (dried fish).

Cebu Tabo'an Market
Daing at Tabo’an Market

We were welcomed with mini mountains of every variety of dried seafood. After a round of photos, it was down to serious pasalubong shopping. While everyone is busy buying danggit, I opted to buy some Cebu chorizo, something I just discovered and tried the night before. A kilo of danggit goes for Php 400+, while the chorizo goes for Php 190 per kilo. Apart from the chorizo, I also bought some packets of Guadalupe brand dried mango strips, a brand I read about in other blogs, and something I am longing to find in Manila because it’s so good.

Cebu University of San Carlos
University of San Carlos

With our plastic bags tightly sealed (the dried fish tastes good, but it has that strong smell when uncooked), we jump into a taxi and headed back to the hotel to freshen up before meeting the Cebu bloggers. By the time we changed our clothes and headed out, the sun was almost setting, casting a fine soft light on our hotel’s neighboring building, the University of San Carlos.

RELATED:   What's your best travel photo?

Meeting the Cebu-based bloggers was an experience. It was great seeing and meeting new faces. Fresh new faces at that… they were all so young! To Arnold, McBilly, Jorich, Wilhelmina, Aileen, Empress, Xerxes, Kevin, Rodel, Sinjin, Maibe, Winston and Mark, thank you for meeting with this weird group of Manila travel bloggers :D

Great hotel deals in Cebu via Agoda

Article by Nina Fuentes

Nina doesn't aim to travel to every country in the world -- she just wants to travel to the places that means the most to her. She started traveling in 2006, and hopes to travel for as long as she can. Her travel blog, Just Wandering won the Best Travel Blog in the 2010 Philippine Blog Awards and in the 2011 Nuffnang Asia Pacific Blog Awards.

This Article Has 27 Comments
  1. aileen says:

    it was great meeting you, too! :)

  2. empress says:

    hi there…i like the way you layed out your blog…nice meeting you…balik kayo dito sa cebu…

  3. nina says:

    Hey Aileen and Empress! Thank you so much for accommodating us, and sana makabalik ulit ako sa Cebu! :D

  4. Christina says:

    The Oriente is a nice piece of Art Deco architecture.

    Nice entry, Nina! Keep traveling so I can keep reading!

  5. nina says:

    There are actually a lot of gorgeous buildings around Cebu, and not as run down as the ones in Manila. I would love to go back when I’m in a better disposition (read: not hungry lol) and walk the length of Colon street.

    Thanks for motivating me to blog regularly, Christina! And don’t worry, I have a couple more trips coming up ;)

  6. Sinjin says:

    Hi Miss Nina, it was nice meeting you! Hope to see you again.

    Btw, I agree with empress, your layout is clean and cool to the eyes. Keep it up!



  7. empress says:

    hi nina, linked you up…

  8. diana says:

    nice pics! I miss cebu, also their korean food! one of the best!

  9. cayce says:

    Wow – thanks for the Cebu recap! Airasia flies directly from KL – Cebu so will definitely keep this in mind. ;) After all the last time I was in Cebu, it was during the coup d’état (in the early 90s) – our plane was detoured from the States to Manila. We spent several days holed up in a hotel, surrounded by the army. Pretty crazy. Went back to Manila via ship.

  10. nina says:

    Cayce: Oooh, AirAsia now flies direct to Cebu? NICE! So when are you coming back here, hmmmmmm?

  11. xhris says:

    hi nina,
    i read your blog, and your travel lit. this one is nice. i like ur pictures too.
    tell me if your going to shanghai.

  12. chichi says:

    Nice post nice photos, i’ll keep reading your blog articles too. Cebu guitar, its new for me, i’ll pay the factory a visit one day.

  13. jenovasy says:

    nice photos! parang out of the country!

  14. evan says:

    The beauty of Cebu is nothing if the lechon is not there.

    Try also Lechoncebu.com

    Lechoncebu.com’s lechon is very delicious. It doesn’t need any sarsa (sauce) to make it tasty. I am very much satisfied with the juicy meat & the crispy skin. It is indeed a quality lechon that every Filipinos’ crave shall be intensely satisfied.
    The experience with lechoncebu is great. Our class had lunch at their office and the taste of the lechon was very satisfying to the tummy. The owner’s too are very accommodating.

    I like your blog. Keep on posting.

  15. Cielo of UP Los Baños says:

    Hi to the wonderful people behind lechoncebu! You rock guys! I love your lechon a lot! The people are friendly & easy to get a long with! More Power! God Bless! Keep Rockin!!

  16. mike says:

    love the city, everything is close to it, the beach, nature etc.. good food too

  17. Honney says:

    Thanks for sharing this. i’m planning to take my family to a cebu-bohol trip for my son’s 3rd bday in January.

    I’m looking for a cheap Cebu day tour package. I’m not looking for a beach there since we will be doing all the swimming in Bohol the next day. I’d like to visit all the places you’ve been to as well without spending that much money. I’m also looking for an inn/hotel. Can you recommend any? Thanks much po.

  18. Mitz says:

    Hi Nina,

    I came across your site while blog-hopping. Great travel site you got here! I’ll definitely visit this regularly :) I admire your courage to start travelling, even on your own. I’ve always wanted to travel solo, but haven’t found enough courage to finally do it. I guess I’m also lucky that I always manage to get people to tag along to my trips.

    It’s nice to know that your first destination was Cebu when you decided to travel. It makes me proud because I’m from Cebu. Hope you could also check out my travel blog: http://chictraveller.blogspot.com/

    See you around :)


  19. vincent says:

    maraming salamat sa pagbabahagi nito sa mga pilipino

  20. kathangisip says:

    Ganda nung cathedral! Will go to Cebu this August, lalagay ko to sa itinerary ko..hehe
    Thanks for the nice post

  21. rusel888 says:

    wow nina … sarap ng cnt lechon…

  22. jam says:

    whew! Cebu is definitely tops when it comes to great spots and food stuffs. Cheers and more power always!

  23. freeze says:

    oh, you came and meet up with bloggers from Cebu; cool! Thanks for writing about our hometown… as every Cebuano would say, I love Cebu. :)

  24. dowell says:

    i like your blog, it was so helpful- just want to ask how much it will cost fare on a taxi for a tour in cebu if you have an idea.. thank you.

  25. shaz gepana says:

    hi:) nice trip!

    can i ask something? where did you stayed in cebu?
    they said also that there’s no regular transpo going taoist temple, so that’s why kailangan ata pahintayin yung taxi cab.. i wanna know sa case nyo po during sa trip nyo.
    thank you:)

  26. Cebu Church says:

    Great post! we believe taoist temple is the highlight in Cebu. There are many other temples in Cebu that has great site like the mormon temple.

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