CEBU: QUEEN CITY OF THE SOUTH


Oh how I missed Cebu City! It has been almost three years since I last set foot in this beautiful place. I could literally consider this as my 2nd home for I stayed and worked here for more than three years. This is where I learned how to be independent and ultimately, made great friends whom I now consider family.

So I finally got the chance to visit Cebu again and I couldn't be more excited about it. For three years that I've stayed here, I just realized that I haven't really explored the place. Despite the limited time that I have, I looked at visiting the spots that I haven't been at and I am very thrilled that I can share it with you guys!

SMEAG Global Education - Classic Campus
First of all, I want to say a big thank you to my SMEAG Global Education family for welcoming me with open arms during my entire stay in Cebu. It was such a blissful nostalgia. To Hwang family most especially, I am eternally grateful!

SMEAG is the largest English learning institution here in the Philippines. They offer a wide array of courses like ESL, IELTS, TOEIC, TOEFL and Cambridge. For more information about this premier institution, you may visit their website at www.smenglish.com.

Now, on to the travel post!

FOOD TO TRY

As an advocate of budget travel, I always want to have the best of things without hurting Mr. Pockets that much. Especially when it comes to food, it is also one way for you to experience the local way of life.


Pungko-pungko as what the locals call it. It refers to cheap eateries that are mostly found on the sidewalks of Cebu. This is where you'll find various types of fried street food like chorizo, lumpiang ngohiong, Cebu-style siomai and many more! You'll usually have to sit down closely with other diners while eating with your hands. Don't worry, even if utensils are not available, plastic hand bags/gloves are provided by the eateries.

This definitely gives you the Cebuano experience! Not only that the food tastes great but it is ridiculously affordable as well!  The cost of their viands starts from as low as PHP 5.00 per piece.  You need to be cautious though. As we all know, just like in any other places, street food has always been associated with sanitary issues.  Hence, you need to be careful in choosing the pungko-pungko eatery where you'll be dining.  Just a tip, the cleaner ones are usually found nearby schools.

Matias Barbecue - A.S. Fortuna Street, Mandaue City, Cebu
Sugba (Grilled)! Cebuanos have always been fond of grilled food. Depending on the food, the prices would play around PHP 5.00 to PHP 30.00 per stick (serving).

Puso (Hanging Rice)
Your pungko-pungko experience won't be complete without having puso (hanging rice) to match with your viand. Each puso costs PHP 2.50 or  PHP 3.00.

Bucket Shrimps - Salinas Drive, Lahug, Cebu City
If you want to try out something other than what's found on the streets, Bucket Shrimps is definitely a must-visit!


Their super good! And yes, you got it right again, you'll eat with your hands. How homey is that?! The price on their menu plays from PHP 100.00 to PHP 350.00 and most of their servings are for sharing so you get to go dutch with your people here.

La Vie Parisienne - 371 Gorordo Avenue, Lahug, Cebu City
If you want to have a dash of sophistication while catching up with your family and friends, you may want to consider visiting La Vie Parisienne in Lahug. Don't get too intimidated with the place. Yes, the place is beautiful and the ambiance is classy but the prices here are very affordable.


You can get a bottle of their quality wines which of course, you can share with your friends at a low price. The price roughly starts at around PHP 200.00. Génial!


Breads and pastries are sold as well to match with the wine that you're having. The price of their baked goodies would play around PHP 30.00 per piece.

Zubu Chon - Cebu I.T. Park
And of course, your Cebuano food adventure won't be complete without having their ever famous lechon! The time of my flight back to Manila was super early at 5:00 AM so I was having this dilemma as to how I can bring home some lechon for my family.  I'm worried that if I buy some the night before my flight, the lechon might get spoiled by the time I reach home.

I'm glad to have learned from a friend of mine that Zubu Chon offers frozen lechon! It felt like such a sweet victory for me! Finally, I'll be able to bring home some for my loved ones! Each kilo of frozen lechon costs PHP 570.00. It's a bit pricey compared to other stores but hey, I think this is definitely a better option other than buying the freshly cooked ones then see yourself stressing out, worried to death that it might spoil in a few hours.


They can actually place the frozen lechon in a box and pack it in a manner that it's acceptable in the airport as either hand carry or as a check-in baggage. The best part is, in case that you're too early at the airport for your flight, Zubu Chon has a branch inside it and you can actually ask them to place your frozen lechon inside their freezer while you wait for your flight! (Just don't forget to show them your official receipt).

Heads up: The price of the frozen lechon from Zubu Chon at the airport is more expensive rather than the other branches that they have. So guys, you know what to do. 

PLACES TO VISIT 

After making my tummy happy and catching up with my Cebuano friends. I did a quick visit to some of the marked tourist spots within the city.

Basilica Minore del Santo Niño
I first paid a visit to the Philippines' oldest Roman Catholic Church, the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño (Minor Basilica of the Holy Child) or more commonly known as Santo Niño Church. As you can see on the picture above, it is currently being renovated. It was around 2 years ago when an earthquake with a 7.2 magnitude had hit the Central Visayas Region particularly in Bohol and Cebu. Such natural phenomena had greatly affected many of us but despite of it all, we have remained strong, our faith has remained intact and the Filipino bayanihan has prevailed.

If you'll be coming from places like Talamban or Cabancalan, you can ride a jeepney that displays 62-B or 62-C as they can drop you off to Santo Niño Church. From there, you can explore the place by foot and visit other tourist spots around.

The kiosk housing Magellan's Cross
Magellan's Cross is just next to Santo Niño Church. This is a huge part of our country's history as this is the exact site where Magellan had planted a Christian cross upon his arrival. It's where the dawn of the Philippine Christian faith took place.

Megallan's Cross
It is said that the original cross is encased inside the wooden cross that we are currently seeing. This is to protect it from people who take away parts of it and keep it as souvenirs or like use it as good luck charms. Some people, on the other hand, believe otherwise and said that the original cross had been destroyed or had disappeared already. Whatever it is, I'm glad that we still have something to visit as it is indeed keeping our culture and history alive.


You'll also be seeing candle dancers (or dancing prayer warriors) scattered around the area. It's refreshing to see them clad in their colorful baro at saya. They would encourage you to buy candles from them then they would dance and pray for your personal intentions. 


These petition candles that the dancing prayer warriors use are color coded which symbolize different petitions.

  • Green for prosperity and success
  • Pink for happiness and joy
  • Blue for pledge and mercy
  • Red for love, unity and hope
  • Yellow for peace and strength
  • White for purity and enlightenment
  • Violet for forgiveness
  • Orange for reconciliation of loved ones
  • Gold for health
  • Black for soul and pardon
  • Brown for spiritual vocation
  • Gray for deliverance
  • Cream for conversion


You'll also be seeing a lot of sidewalk vendors around selling flowers, religious items, delicacies and souvenirs so you won't have a hard time in buying some pasalubong (presents) for your loved ones.

The Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral - Mabini Street, Cebu City
Just about a block away of walking from Santo Niño Church and you'll reach the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral. Its structure is gorgeous and from the way I see it, it seems to be well maintained. It was recently renovated in 2009 for the 75th anniversary celebration of Cebu being elevated as an archdiocese.

The Archdiocesan Museum of Cebu - Manalili Cor., P. Gomez St., Cebu City
Next to the cathedral is the Archdiocesan Museum of Cebu. This is where you'll find the region's religious architectures, vestments, artifacts and more. They are open from Mondays to Sundays from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. The admission fees are as follows: PHP 50.00 for locals; PHP 100.00 for foreigners; PHP 25.00 for students and PHP 15.00 for elementary students.

Heritage of Cebu Monument - Along Parian District
While walking about a block away from the museum, I came across the Heritage of Cebu Monument. Finished in year 2000, the sculptures of this amazing monuments was built by a local artist named Eduardo Castrillo. It depicts the greatest events and structures that are related to Cebu's wonderful history.

Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House - 155 Mabini St., Parian, Cebu City
Walk about another block more and you'll reach the Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House.  It is believed to be built sometime during the 17th century for the family of Don Juan Yap. This humble abode is definitely one of the oldest residences that are still existing today.  This ancestral house is full of antiques from furniture to kitchen wares. You'll see lots of really old religious icons as well. It felt like everything was calm and in slow motion when I entered this house.

You can go ahead and visit the Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House for an admission fee of PHP 50.00.  They are open daily from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM.

So that was my quick walkathon in Downtown Cebu. I'd like to go a bit far this time. You've already heard of the tourist spots like Tops, Mountain View Park and Taoist Temple but there's this new must-visit spot that was built in 2012. Well, that was actually the same year that I went back home to Manila for good lol! It is my friends, the Temple of Leah!

Temple of Leah - Roosevelt St. Busay, Cebu City
If you want to feel like as if you are in the ancient Rome, then you might be interested in visiting the Temple of Leah. The construction of this temple was spearheaded by a successful businessman named Mr. Teodorico Adarna as the epitome of his undying love for his wife, Leah Villa Albino-Adarna. They are also the grandparents of Ellen Adarna, one of the rising stars in Philippine showbiz.

As you can see, the Temple of Leah has already been opened to the public although it's not yet 100% complete. Despite all that, you can definitely see its unfinished glory with matching overlooking view of the city!


If you'll be coming from let's say, Cebu I.T. Park, you'll have to take a jeepney that displays the number 04-L and kindly ask the driver to drop you off to JY Square. From there, you'll see a number of habal-habal (motorcycle) drivers who can take you not only to the Temple of Leah but in other spots like Tops and Mountain View Park as well.  I was planning to just visit the Temple of Leah since I've already visited the other spots mentioned before.


The habal-habal fare is PHP 75.00 one way going to the temple.  You can also ask the driver to wait for you while you're exploring the place making it at PHP 150.00 round trip. You may also choose to give the driver a little additional for their waiting time depending on your agreement. Don't worry though, most drivers are actually very kind (based on my experience at least).


The temple is open 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.  The entrance is used to be free before according to some of my local friends here. However, sometime in August 2015, they started charging for admission fees to help the temple defray for its expenses. Upon visiting, I saw a signage at the temple's entrance that effective October 03, 2015, they would be charging admission fees with the following updated details:

  • Pictorial for 1 to 3 hours: PHP 2,500.00
  • Pictorial for 3 to 6 hours: PHP 5,000.00
  • Pictorial for 6 to 9 hours: PHP 7,500.00
  • Entrance per person: PHP 50.00
  • Free admission for senior citizens and children 10 years of age and below

Going farther southeast from Cebu City, is one of the main entries in my Cebu bucket list. I went to Oslob, Cebu to watch and swim with the giant whale sharks locally known as "tuki" or "butanding". Little did I know that there's lot more Oslob has in store for me aside from this one. This is absolutely a must-feature on my next blog post!

Whale Shark (Butanding) Watching and Swimming - Tan-awan, Oslob, Cebu
This is just the first part of my Cebu adventure. Please do read the second part here:

THE GENTLE WONDERS OF OSLOB, CEBU

I hope you guys enjoyed reading this post. If you have visited Cebu City and you have your fair share of awesome experiences, I would love to hear it! Please do share it with me and the rest of our readers by writing it down below on the comments section.

Daghang salamat! (Thank you very much!).
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1 comments

  1. Hello there, Deks,

    I'm so glad I came across your blog while looking top bloggers on our niche. My name is Kim of Jacaranda Travels,

    I was browsing around your blog and I can't resist not to comment on this particular post. I enjoyed your visit in Cebu.

    Anyway, I was hoping if you are interested for an interview that we will post on our business travel blog at www.jacarandatravels.com
    Thank you, hoping for your positive reply.


    Kimberly-Tourist spots in the Philippines
    jacaranda travels
    jacarandatravels@gmail.com


    ReplyDelete