Cebu, Manila’s distant cousin is the adventure capital of the Philippines. Here, you will find endless options for fun activities suitable for all ages making it the perfect family destination. If you are travelling with kids and worried that you will suddenly run out of things to do as a family, worry not. Cebu will not disappoint. There is no chance of boredom once you decide to visit the “Queen City of the South”.
It is but natural for parents to make sure that when the family goes somewhere together, everyone including the little ones will enjoy the place as much. Fortunately, Cebu has a lot to offer to keep the kids occupied while the grown-ups can have their own kind of fun. There are numerous beaches and islands to explore, waterfalls, diving and snorkelling adventures, heritage sites and museums, water parks and amusement centres. Whatever you search for, Cebu is certainly worth a visit. Here are some compelling reasons why Cebu should be on your travel list as a family.
Ease of travel to other nearby islands
Traveling in the Philippines is chaotic that’s for sure, given the fact that the whole country is one big lump of scattered islands. Since Cebu is one of the most major transport hubs, you can easily combine your travel itinerary with other nearby provinces such as Bohol and Negros. This means you are able to see more for the time that you have. For example, you can combine Cebu with Bohol’s countryside tours, including the famous Chocolate Hills in one day if you book it as part of a package deal. This is definitely great for kids as the tour involves a lot of outdoor activities without keeping you at once place for too long.
Cebu is older than Manila, thus there are numerous heritage and historical sites that the family can explore without venturing too far. You can walk along Colon Street, the oldest street in the country and you will see some bits of evidence of the city’s colourful history. There are also museums for kids to explore like the Yap Ancestral House, Cathedral Museum, and Casa Gorordo. The whole family can also check out old churches like Basílica Minore del Santo Niño and Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral.
Numerous garden options
Kids are naturally drawn to flowers and butterflies. In Cebu, there are five botanical gardens with beautiful landscape designs and numerous plants and flowers. Some of the botanical gardens worth a visit are: TIEZA, Terrazas de Flores, Sirao Flower Farm, Celestial Garden and Cebu Botanical Garden. Another must-visit place is the 10,000 Roses Café garden at night in Mactan.
Rich marine ecosystem/biodiversity
Those who love to snorkel and dive would marvel at the healthy marine life in Cebu. Just a few kilometres from the city, tourists are able to enjoy the massive underwater life off the coast of Gilutungan, Nalusuan and Olanggo Islands (fifteen to twenty minutes from Mactan). When the time is right, divers and snorkelers will be able to witness the great sardines run in Moalboal and Pescador Island. Malapascua is also a magnificent site for the elusive thresher sharks.
Just like Manila, Cebu offers a lot of accommodation options suitable for every budget. From budget-friendly to high-end hotels and resorts, families will certainly find anything they are looking for. Whichever you choose, you are sure to enjoy the kind of hospitality the Filipinos are known for.
Island and beaches
Beach-bumming is always a fun activity that every family enjoys doing together. Whether it is simply lazing around on the sand, enjoying the spectacular sunsets or building sand castles, the kids and kids at heart will surely be blown away. In addition, island-hopping is one of the most popular activities in Cebu and some of the islands to explore are Bantayan, Sumilon, Panagsama Beach, Santiago Bay, Camotes Island and Mangudlong Island.
As mentioned earlier in the post, Cebu is the adventure capital of the Philippines. As such, people of all ages can find any fun activity to do like zip lining, spelunking, water sports activities, helmet-diving, rappelling, mountain climbing, canyoneering and even chasing waterfalls. There are dozens of waterfalls in Cebu Island alone but some of the most popular are Kawasan, Tumalog, Aguinid and Barili.
Cebu is the home of lechon – roasted pork belly. This mouth-watering delicacy is the “best pig ever” according to the late international chef celebrity Anthony Bourdain. Cebu’s lechon belly is popular across the country and many local tourists flock to Cebu just to get a taste of the real thing. Other foods to try are: ginabot (crunchy and salty pork intestines paired with chili and vinegar), ngohiong (a local version of spring rolls with chorizo, hotdog, pork and chicken), and danggit (local dried fish perfect for breakfast).
Colourful Festivals and Traditions
Filipinos love celebrations and where there are feasts, there are dances and music. However, the grandest and most famous festival in the country is the one celebrated in Cebu, the Sinulog Festival. After Christmas, Cebuanos start to prepare for another week of joyful and colourful celebration. There will be colourful costumes and masks, parades showcasing beautiful pageant candidates, street parties, and no to mention, the unlimited pouring of alcohol and other drinks.
Foreign tourists can attest to the hospitality of the Filipinos and it is one of the many reasons why they keep coming to the Philippines – Filipinos are friendly and happy-go-lucky. When a foreigner gets invited into a Filipino home, you will be certain of the best hospitality and best foods offered!