The energy, the people, the architecture, the food … you might want to make some travel changes if Cebu is not already in your travel plans.

As the Philippines’ hub of trade , industry, and tourism, you can only imagine that there is a lot to see and do in Cebu. You won’t be able to get enough of this South East Asian center from the historic sites where Spanish settlers first landed to spectacular underwater marine parks teeming with tropical sea life.

  1. Monument to Cebu Heritage

Cebu is a city with stories to tell, with centuries full with invasions, wars, and revolutions. For a synopsis, visit Cebu Heritage Monument.

The building, constructed of dark stone and bricks, is a tangled sculpture of ships, churches, crosses, and key historical figures that are as enigmatic as they are thought to be provocative. Consider hiring a guide before you go or taking one ‘s bid when you arrive with centuries of history and stories. You will be able to enjoy the local interaction, ask burning questions, and get some background details that you might otherwise have overlooked.

This is a perfect way to start your Cebu vacation in that you will be able to apply for the remainder of your visit in an informative sense.

  1. Street Colon

Without a stroll down Colon Lane, a trip to Cebu isn’t complete. This decaying stretch of sidewalk can look boring at a glance, but come a little closer and you will find there is a lot to see, do and taste.

This street is lined with markets that sell colorful backpacks, jewelry, clothes, and shoes, making it a perfect place to buy your souvenirs. Don’t be scared to participate with smiley vendors in some fun haggling. On Colon Lane, you can try tasty street food, mingle with the locals, and take some amazing pictures.

  1. Jesuit House of 1730

You wouldn’t expect a hardware store to start off with such a memorable experience, but it will. Stepping into the 1730 Jesuit House feels like stepping back into history 100 years ago. The 1730 Jesuit House is a local project aimed at preserving one of the historic sites of Cebu. Typhoons, earthquakes, and foreign invasions have endured this ancient home, but it still stands to tell the story.

Your tour guide will take you on an hour-long trip, along with artifacts and antiques such as cameras, carvings, furniture and even a 100-year-old cedar chest that still gives off a beautiful scent, while showing you restoration efforts.

  1. Whale Sharks Swim

The world’s largest fish is just off the coast of the Philippines. These gentle beasts are far from what you would imagine, although they are called “sharks”.

One of the most respected in the industry is Oslob Whale Sharks Tour Company. With 99 percent accuracy, they guarantee that you can experience and have the opportunity to swim beside a mighty Whale Shark.

These unique whale sharks are known to be wild, but they stay around instead of migrating to warmer waters for parts of the year as the fishermen continue to feed them. That means that no matter what time of the year you visit, this experience is available.

  1. Cebu’s SM Mall

Move into one of the most popular shopping malls in Cebu if you want to experience life as a local. SM Mall is a perfect place to take your kids for a few hours with plenty of games to get out of the heat. There is an ice skating rink, a playground for girls, and an arcade where you can rack up tickets to win all kinds of prizes. Not to mention, SM Mall is right on the coast, offering stunning, unobstructed water views, ideal for a family shot.

However, I must warn you: this mall is massive! There are 4 quadrants that will easily kill time with plenty of food , shopping, and benches.

  1. Metropolitan Cathedral of Cebu

The Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral is much more focused on the history of religion in the region, unlike many other cathedrals and churches in Cebu that give you a glimpse into Filipino culture. More precisely, this cathedral is a history lesson on how Christianity came to develop such deep roots in a nation that had deeper connections with Hinduism and Buddhism in its previous religion.

Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, as not so many tourists know about this location, is a pleasant change of pace from other tourist attractions. You can wander leisurely around the cathedral, taking in the beautiful architecture. On Sunday mass, you can also join in where you are sure to be greeted with kind ‘hello’s and smiles from Filipino locals, slightly shocked to see you.

  1. Nature Park with Mountain View

Here’s another wonderful place to come with your mates, as there is something for everyone in Mountain View Nature Park. For the girls, there is a playground for water! In the shallow pool with slides and stairs, let the children run wild. There is also a playground on land that, as it is surrounded by lush greenery, really puts the ‘jungle’ in the jungle gym.

For parents, the tropical views of rolling hills covered by undisturbed jungle life will amaze you. You can see from the viewpoints all over the park for miles and miles.

There are restaurants, shops, public toilets, and even hotel rooms. This is an awesome place to spend your day.

ayala mall cebu @ kpub
KPUB at Ayala Mall
  1. Shopping Mall at Ayala Center

Going to the shopping centers in the Philippines, beginning with the food, is a cultural experience in itself.

There is a food court that you need to try in every great shopping mall across these islands. Every bite will be better than the next, from classical Filipino dishes to their ever-popular fast food chains.

Have a stroll around to look at the clothes and shoe shops after you have your fill. They have major brands for you to shop, including H&M, and small brands. And if you’re lucky, somewhere in the vicinity, there’ll be a live band playing.

Don’t be in a hurry like this just to get out of there yet! The Shopping Mall of Ayala Center is surrounded by beautiful green landscapes that make it a nice place to relax. Get a drink from the food court and only watch people for a while. By just sitting still, you’d be shocked at what you can learn about a world.

  1. Del Santo Nino Basilica

The Philippines’ oldest Catholic Church is based right here in Cebu!

Mercy and Passion “are the values of the Basilica del Santo Nino, established in 1565, which still brings regular worship to many locals here.” A monthly mass is held by this Catholic Church where families and kids come to display their faith.

Have a stroll through the halls of the church to see ancient sculptures, elegant archways, stained glass windows, and awe-inspiring architecture in general. In the museum, you can see relics of the 17th century or visit a library packed with books covering all sorts of contemporary subjects.

Uh. 10. Jollibee-Jollibeee

In the entire world, the most beloved fast food chain is Jollibee. This location is not to be underestimated and is globally known by world-renowned chefs like Anthony Bourdain.

You may think at a glance that some of their menu items are unusual and the variations are uncommon, but just go with it. A fried egg, rice and coffee are served with fried chicken; hotdogs are topped with cheese and they sell a mayo spam sandwich.

The Halo Halo, a desert smorgasbord of red beans, cubes of jello, white coconut, shaved ice and flan, is perhaps the most popular Jollibee treat, though. Ask almost every Filipino — they love things like that.