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Pictures courtesy PDOT

KNOWN AS the ‘Queen City of the South’, Cebu and the surrounding Visayan Islands are a fusion of rural island life, historical sites and bustling towns.

Visitors come to relax or take part in activities such as scuba diving and canyoning. Cebu is also considered a centre of culture and a hub for creativity, craftsmanship and gastronomy.

Here are five reasons to put it on your next travel hit list:


Cebu is famed for its beaches on the mainland as well as its many surrounding islands, with the main island’s west coast particularly ideal for swimming and snorkelling.

Bantayan Island is the most famous, with its white beaches and friendly locals, but a day trip to Cebu’s smaller, outlying islands is a must.

At just 3km long and 1km wide, and with a population of only 3,000 people, Malapascua Island is one of Cebu’s top island destinations and is the only place in the world where you can dive with thresher sharks.

Pescador Island off the coast of Moalboal in southern Cebu is another must-see, famous for its rich marine ecosystem, protected corals and marine life, making it one of Cebu’s top dive sites.

Canyoneering. Picture courtesy Erwin Lim


Whether you’re on a romantic getaway or a family trip, Cebu’s resort scene includes a mix of high-end properties and budget or family-friendly options.

Mactan Island is one of the premier destinations for those who are looking for a perfect resort getaway.

Over the last five years, international resort brands have opened their doors including the Mövenpick Resort and Spa with its signature ‘chocolate hour’, and the lush five-star Shangri-La Mactan, nestled within 13 hectares of manicured gardens right at the ocean’s edge.


Coral reefs virtually surround the entire perimeter of this 200-kilometre-long island, making for some of the world’s best diving experiences.

But with a mountainous interior, abundant rainforests and scenic waterways, rare wildlife and intrepid sports await those adventurous enough to seek them out.

In Cebu, you can release your inner adrenaline junkie and take a leap from waterfalls, navigate river rapids, or free float through river canyons.

A top spot to dip your toes and soak up the sights is the Mantayupan Falls (also known as the Ambakan Falls) in Barili, one of Cebu’s highest waterfalls.

Movenpick Resort AND SPA, Cebu


With a mix of Filipino, Spanish and Western influences, Cebu City is a cultural melting pot. Here, you’ll be greeted with a dynamic culinary scene, bountiful shops and fascinating historical sites.

One of the most visited sites is Fort San Pedro, the first Spanish fort established in the Philippines and the country’s oldest triangular bastion.

Serving as a military defence structure during the Spanish era, Fort San Pedro is now a museum dedicated to preserving the legacy of the era.


Around two hours from Cebu City is the town of Aloguisan, the starting point for the award-winning Bojo River Cruise and Eco-Cultural Tour.

Operated entirely by villagers, the tour gives travellers a unique opportunity to explore nature, including nipa palm forests and the opening of the Bojo River to the sea, all while learning about the community’s stories and folklore.

The engagement with the local community is not to merely just help host tours, but to be protectors of the area and help move the region forward from the overfishing and mangrove destruction of the past.