First time in Cebu? Locals share awesome things to do in 24 hours

Wyatt Ong
First time in Cebu? Locals share awesome things to do in 24 hours
Visit Cebu's famous beaches, go stargazing, eat like a king. Locals talk about what they would do if they had just 24 hours in Cebu.

CEBU CITY, Philippines – I stood with my feet planted firmly in the sand, the wind causing my things to sway gently around me, as I tried my best to hold my camera steady. A few steps away, the water was rolling peacefully, a brilliant, striking blue-green. 

It was one of Cebu’s famous sunny days, and I would spend the day talking with folks who have called this beautiful place home, learning more about where they liked to spend their time when in town. 

If one only had 24 hours to explore Cebu, I asked them, what shouldn’t they miss? 

Peter Delantar, founder, Vinyl Entertainment 

First, I spoke to entrepreneur Peter Delantar, the founder of Vinyl Entertainment, an independent concert promoter based in Cebu. Young and full of energy, Pete had been working hard on an event for that evening – the DJ Dirty South was all set to perform at Cebu’s trendly LIV Superclub.

But his suggestions for a trip to Cebu were classic activities that travelers shouldn’t miss – with a spotlight on the area’s nearby beaches and many possibilities for day trips. 


A trip to Oslob 

Sunset watching good morning  #cebu #oslob #sunset

A video posted by Marie Kristine Soria (@mariekristinesoria) on


Well known for being a popular (but also controversial) destination to view the whale sharks, Oslob is also home to many other beautiful places to visit, including Tumalog Falls.


Stop by Carcar for lechon and chicharon 

Rise early on your way to Oslob to drop by the historic city of Carcar for delectable lechon and just-cooked chicharon (pork rinds).


Check out the picture below via Instagram: 


Aside from the food, you can also explore old structures built in colonial times (click here for more). 

No. 9 restaurant 

After your Oslob day trip, chances are, you might be hungry again. Peter suggests a trip to No. 9 might be just what you need. 

The food scene in Cebu is vibrant and teeming with delectable gems waiting to be discovered by any curious traveler. A peek at No. 9’s Instagram reveals a number of original, interesting, and just plain beautiful entrees – including one that’s to be launched at Sinulog 2016. 



See the stars at Tops lookout 

During my visit, I kept hearing constantly about Tops – not just from fellow travelers, but also from the locals – and the unforgettable, striking views of the city it offers. 

I was not able to visit myself, although Peter’s suggestion is at the top of my to-do list for my next visit. These Instagram snaps from various social media users aren’t making it any easier to stay away:

Tops Lookout Cebu City #cebucity #triploqal #topslookout #travelph #sonyalpha6000 #sonyimages #sonyalpha

A photo posted by TripLoqal ( on



Breathe life and Learn to let go! #vsco #vscocam #vscophile #vscoph #vscophilippines #vscogood #vscotravel #vscogrid #topslookout

A photo posted by Fashion Designer, Bataan x MNL (@khrisy_alegado) on


Anton Aldeguer, owner, Hala! Paella

At 22, Anton Aldeguer is hard at work to make his mark on Cebu’s food scene with his first restaurant Hala! Paella, right in the popular Banilad Town Center. 

In the bustling, cozy space, surrounded by pans and pans of colorful paella, Anton talked to me about his perfect 24 hours in Cebu – a low-key day spent island-hopping, with a stop at his favorite café. 


“With Cebu being uniquely narrowly shaped, everything is pretty much 30 minutes away, so I’d start the day going to the beach, maybe going island-hopping,” he says. 

Here are just a few gorgeous destinations you can visit via an island-hopping package, as seen on Instagram.

Pandanon Island, Bohol

#pandanon #island #cebu #

A photo posted by 여정 (@ko_yj_95) on


Hilutungan Island


Nalusuan Island


Adventure Cafe in Balamban, Cebu 

“I’d end the day going to the mountains in my favorite little spot, Adventure Cafe, where they serve really great hot chocolate – and they have a zipline,” says Anton. 

Take a look at these snaps of Adventure Cafe from social media: 

Last destination yesterday.

A photo posted by Irene Flores Hontanosas (@bellopapoy) on


'10.993 km.'

A photo posted by Alex Schepers (@digital.release) on



Meg Eteve, communications director at Movenpick Cebu 

Like Anton, for Meg Eteve, a day spent in Balamban is a great way to spend time and bond with friends in Cebu. 

Fittingly, I spoke to Meg, the communications director at Cebu’s Movenpick resort, at the hotel’s swanky Ibiza loft after a scoop of their famous Movenpick ice cream. 

For the locals I spoke to, a perfect day in Cebu is about relaxing, making time to linger with laughs and good conversation, as well as the best food. 


A quick dip to power up for the day is a great way to start the day, says Meg, who also suggests a trip to the municipality of Balamban, with its majestic mountains and hiking trails. “I’d take a hike, we have beautiful mountains here, there are easy hikes. Bring a picnic, hang out, trek,” Meg suggests. 

#cebu_city #cebu #mountain #cow #balamban #nature #nofilter #instaphoto #view #nice #love

A photo posted by @kazumi_21 on


Chills near Mt. Manuggal! #tugnaw #parelax

A photo posted by bhoun (@bonito.flakes) on


Leave who you were. Love who you are. Look forward to who you will become.  #balamban #cebu #cansox

A photo posted by Sarah Rizaga (@himesara5h) on


“After which, at the close of the day, I would grab a really yummy Neapolitan pizza at La Nostra Pizzeria,” says Meg. 

Pizza done right @lanostrapizzerianapoletana. Thank you @mikecan

A photo posted by Peter Delantar (@peterdelantar) on



Jan Rodriguez, chef/owner, Ilaputi 


Another famous Cebu site, the municipality of Moalboal, is top of the list for Cebu-based Jan Rodriguez, the chef-owner of the fantastic restaurant Ilaputi.

Scanning Moalboal photos on Instagram reveals more of Cebu’s stunning marine life – especially well known for the sardine run, where fish in overwhelming numbers swim together, sometimes creating different shapes and patterns. 

 Photo by Jun Lao

“Crazy as it sounds, the sardines are found just 10 feet underwater, even snorkelers may enjoy the intense show of epic proportions,” writes diver Jun Lao in a previous Rappler story. Jun took the picture above. 


And make sure, says Jan, not to miss Tatang’s Lechon. 


And if you’d like to say hello to Jan and to many other friendly locals, drop by for tasty craft beers and burgers at his own Irie Gastropub


These are just a few of so many stunning sights promised by a trip to Cebu. What are your fondest memories of Cebu? What’s on your bucket list this year? Let us know in the comments below. –

The author traveled to Cebu as part of an Eat and Greet tour to experience Cebu’s dining scene and meet local entrepreneurs. The trip was sponsored by Carissa Villacorta Public Relations.

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