Cebu Island

This article has been translated from Russian language using an artificial intelligence-based translation algorithm. We apologize for any inconvenience caused by the quality of the translation. You can read the original of this article in Russian here, and ask questions on the topic of our travel forum in English here.

General information

Cebu (pronounced "Sibu") is an island and province of the same name in the central Philippines in the Central Visayas region, aka Region VII (Cebu island on the map of the Philippines). This is a long and narrow island: its length is 225 kilometers, and its width is just over 35 kilometers at its widest point. In addition to the large island of Cebu, the province also includes 167 small islets surrounding the main island. The capital of the province is Cebu City.

Cebu is one of the most popular tourist and major airports – Mactan-Cebu International Airport (Mactan–Cebu International Airport, IATA code - CEB). To be more precise, it is located on the island of Mactan (Mactan), which in turn is connected to Cebu and the main island by bridges. It is through this airport that tourists most often arrive in the Philippines from other countries, since it is very conveniently located in the center of the country, and from here it is convenient and inexpensive to get to other resorts by ferry or local airlines. Therefore, if you are looking for a convenient point to enter the country for the first time, you can choose Cebu without hesitation.

Current time in Cebu*
Разница по времени с городами:
Москва: +5 Самара: +4
Казань: +5 Нижний Новгород: +5
Екатеринбург: +3 Новосибирск: +1
Иркутск: 0 Владивосток: -2
* - если время неверно, обновите страницу Ctrl+F5:

The following resorts are located on Cebu island

  • Mactan Island, aka Lapu-Lapu (Lapu-Lapu city) – the most popular resort in Cebu, known as one of the best places for diving in the region.
  • Cebu City / Cebu city - the largest city and capital, unremarkable except for the developed urban infrastructure and several historical attractions.
  • Moalboal / Moalboal is a village and resort, the second most popular and developed on the island, after Mactan Island. This place is mainly for diving and snorkeling. The resort is composed of two beaches Panagsama Beach (panagsama Beach, suitable only for diving and sportling) and White Beach (White Beach, suitable for beach holidays).
  • Oslob town / Oslob is the only place in the world where you can see and swim with whale sharks with 100% probability.

The island and the province of Cebu also include

  • Bantayan Island is still a little popular and not very developed island resort with some of the best beaches in the Philippines.
  • Malapascua Island - an island with ideal and even unique conditions for diving.
  • Camotes Islands is a group of islands with excellent beaches and conditions for diving and snorkeling, but still a very unpopular place among tourists.

Map of Cebu with resorts

You can download ⤓ points of interest, important transport points (bus stations, airports, etc.), districts and beaches from our map in KMZ/KML format. These files can be downloaded to the navigator or smartphone for use with offline or online Google Maps applications, Organic Maps and others that support this format, and use them to navigate and explore resorts.

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View of Cebu Hills from Osmena peak

Holidays in Cebu

Often on the Internet on tourist sites and in guidebooks you can find a description of the resort and the island of Cebu, as a paradise island with beautiful beaches, lots of attractions and entertainment. But the reality is far from the beautiful advertising descriptions, and in fact, the island itself and the city of Cebu are very unfortunate places to stay. There are almost no attractions, and beautiful clean beaches can be counted on your fingers. If you want to learn more about the beaches of Cebu and where to stay, read our overview of the beaches of Cebu island here...

In fact, there are only two full-fledged tourist resorts here: Maolboal and Mactan Island. The first is a place mainly for lovers of diving and snorkeling, and is not very suitable for a long beach holiday. Mactan Island is also a great place for diving, and is more suitable for relaxing on the beaches, but there is also its own peculiarity: there are no beautiful natural beaches here, you can swim and sunbathe comfortably only on artificial hotel beaches, access to which is possible only for a fee or is completely prohibited for non-guests. Another place that is visited in Cebu is the city of Oslob, where they go to swim with whale sharks, but there are no beaches there either.

But all this does not mean that Cebu should not be chosen as a place of rest. After all, as we mentioned, this is one of the most convenient points for starting a trip to the Philippines. Usually travelers arrive at Cebu Airport and then continue by ferry or plane to other resort islands, such as Bantayan, Malapascua, Bohl, Panglao, Siquijor, Negros, and others. Even before the famous Boracay from Cebu Airport is less than an hour of summer, and a round-trip flight will cost about $ 50 USD.

White Beach in Moalboal

When you decide on a place to stay in Cebu, you can book hotels or apartments on these trusted sites:

Weather in Cebu, tourist seasons

Cebu is a year-round resort, it is always warm, but the rainy season stands out. In addition, due to its large extent, the climate in the North and South is quite different.

  • The dry season runs from January to May. This is the best time to visit, it rains very little, and the sun almost always shines, there is little cloud cover. But sometimes bad weather goes to January, and in general the ideal time for a trip to Cebu is March - May.
  • The rainy season lasts from June to December. It is not as pronounced as in other Southeast Asian countries. Rains are rare, there are almost no protracted ones, they just happen more often than in the dry season. At this time there is a thick cloud cover, which, however, does not interfere with sunbathing and swimming. In the north of the island there is more rain during the year than in the South.

Several times a year, typhoons or tropical storms hit the island, mainly during the rainy season and in the North. It is not possible to predict them for a long period, so just follow the forecasts before the trip, and make a decision immediately before the trip. In general, they do not greatly interfere with rest in Cebu City, but during the period of the strongest typhoons, ferry traffic is completely stopped for 1-3 days, and sometimes even evacuation is announced.

Seasons on Cebu by month, when is the best time to go

Jan Feb March Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov. Dec

* best time to visit;
acceptable time to visit;
not recommended time to visit

Средняя температура Cebu по месяцам
янв фев мар апр май июн июл авг сен окт ноя дек 26.8° 27° 27.8° 29° 29.5° 29.1° 28.4° 28.6° 28.4° 28.3° 28.2° 27.6°
Осадки Cebu по месяцам
янв фев мар апр май июн июл авг сен окт ноя дек 129.2мм 90.3мм 63мм 49.7мм 97.2мм 182.1мм 205.2мм 159.5мм 185.2мм 201.5мм 137.1мм 176мм

Current Cebu weather and forecast

How to get to Cebu

Plane to Cebu

Cebu island can be reached by plane from other countries and cities of the Philippines, by ferries from cities of the Philippines. There are also bus services from neighboring islands on single tickets, including bus and ferry travel.

There is only one airport on the island – Mactan-Cebu International Airport (Mactan-Cebu International Airport, abbreviated MCIA, IATA code-CEB, website -, airport on the map), and this is the main international entrance gate to this part of the country. Flights are operated here from a large number of countries, mainly from Southeast Asia. There are no direct flights from Russia and other countries of the former USSR to Cebu, but it is convenient to get there by flights with transfers through Singapore, Hong Kong, Seoul, Bangkok, Dubai. For sales, you can buy a ticket from Moscow in both directions from $600 (600 USD), the rest of the time the minimum price of the flight - 700 and above (700 USD). You can pick up tickets to Cebu airport or from the airport to the resorts of the Philippines using the search form:

There are several ports and marinas on the island, but the largest is in Cebu City (Cebu port on map). This is the largest seaport in the country, a huge number of ferries arrive/depart, including international cruise ships. Theoretically, from the port of Cebu directly or with transfers you can get almost anywhere in the country, it is easier to list where not to get. But travel by ferry is very long, so we recommend for long-distance destinations to use air transport, especially since it is only slightly more expensive than the sea. But in order to get to the neighboring islands Negros, Bohol, Kamots, Panay, etc., ferries are very useful.

There are at least two conditionally direct bus services that can conveniently reach Cebu island from neighboring islands: Dumaguete (About Negros) - Cebu and Bacolod Negros) - Cebu. The ticket price includes bus and ferry.

Learn more, how to get to Cebu island here...

Transport, how to move around the island

You can travel short distances on city buses (only in Cebu city and Mactan), jeepneys, taxis, tricycles, cycle rickshaws, motorcycle taxis. For long-distance trips, you can use a taxi at a counter or a contract price, intercity buses, ferries.

  • Taxi

    Cebu City Taxi

    Car taxi is found mainly in Cebu City and Mactan Island, in other resorts rarely. Official taxis are equipped with meters and have to use them, but for tourists they sometimes turn them off. Before you travel, make sure the driver will take you to the meter, or negotiate the cost for a long-distance trip and haggle.

    The cost of a trip by car is set by the state, and is 40 pesos for boarding, 13.5 pesos for 1 kilometer of travel and 2 pesos for every minute of travel, including parking or standing in traffic jams. As a result, short trips within the city will cost you:

    • Up to 2 kilometers – 70 pesos (1.25 USD, see Philippine currency and exchange rate);
    • From 2 to 5 kilometers – 70-120 pesos (2.15 USD);
    • From 5 to 10 kilometers – 120-200 pesos (3.58 USD).

    You can catch a taxi on the street near major transport hubs, beaches, at the airport. A great alternative is to order through Grab or JoyRide apps. According to them, you will immediately see the cost of the trip, and there is an online payment with a linked card.

  • Tricycles, cycle rickshaws, motorcycle taxis

    Mactan Island tricycle

    These exotic modes of transport in Cebu City are becoming less and less, but outside it is a full-fledged alternative to taxis. Trips on them are not charged by the meter, only at the agreed price. Tricycles (trike) work as fixed-route taxis on short routes, and the rest as taxis. The price for a short trip for locals is 10 pesos, with tourists being asked at times more expensive. The main thing is to make sure that you are not demanded more than for a taxi, this also happens.

  • Jeepneys and V-hire vans

    Cebu jeepney

    Jeepneys (Jeepney) are small minibuses equipped for the transportation of passengers old Jeeps, a kind of analogue of Thai songthaew (Songthaew). Minibuses v-hire-a more comfortable option, modern air-conditioned minivan. Both of them work as well as fixed-route taxis in our country: they go along popular routes chaotically and without a schedule. Despite this, they are very useful and convenient to move, because there are a lot of them, and they are inexpensive, from 7 to 15 pesos.

    To understand their routes is completely useless, but if you want to prepare, you can find some of them on Google Maps, and even use the route between two points. There is also an unofficial enthusiast site with routes. In practice, it is much easier to just know the places of their concentration (stops and ends), and ask the locals how and where to get there.

  • Intercity buses

    Cebu intercity bus

    The main means of transportation for local residents on the island are intercity and suburban buses. They are cheap, go very often, and are perfect for tourists who want to save a little and not use a taxi for long-distance travel.

    By buses during daylight hours, you can get from anywhere on the island to another, if you leave early, and know where to make transfers. The main transport hub for them is . Cebu City, and if you need to go from North to South or vice versa, then most likely you will have to make transfers in the city, and sometimes with a change of the Cebu South Bus terminal (bus station on the map) and Cebu North Bus terminal (bus station on the map), which are located at different ends of the bus station.

    As for the schedule, most cheap buses run without a schedule to fill during the day. Only a few federal carriers with comfortable air-conditioned buses that go to the farthest destinations operate on schedule. Detailed information about the schedule and cost can be found in our sections about each of the resorts.

  • Ferries

    Mactan City ferry

    The Metroferry ferry within the island makes it convenient to travel from Mactan Island to Cebu port or vice versa. Boats depart from the small Cebu-Mactan Ferry Terminal pier (Mactan Marina on map) on Mactan to Pier 3 at Cebu City port, and it's much faster than taking a bus through traffic. Boats run every hour from 05:00 to 20:00, the journey takes 15-20 minutes, the cost is 20 pesos.

    In 2019, another city ferry service, the Topline Express, was launched. It connects Pier 3 and a small marina on Maktan next to Maktan Marina Mall. Ferries run every hour from 05:00 to 20:00, the cost is 25 pesos, the journey is 30 minutes.

Attractions, what to see

Attractions and entertainment on the island of Cebu are not many, and it is especially bad that they are all scattered at a considerable distance from each other over the vast territory of the island. Even in the capital of the island and province, Cebu City, there is not much to see, only a few historical sites and temples, nothing particularly remarkable.

However, there is one attraction for which tourists and travelers from all over the world are eager to get here. We are talking about the village of Tan Awan (Tan Awan) near the city of Oslob, known as the only place in the world where you can see whale sharks with a 100 percent probability in conditionally natural conditions. Whale sharks are visited independently or in the form of excursions from Cebu City, Mactan Island, Moalboal, Dumaguete, Bohol Island and even from other more distant resorts in the Philippines. In addition, Cebu has several beautiful waterfalls, beautiful peaks with viewing platforms, there are hot springs.

The main tourist attractions in Cebu are snorkeling and diving. That's really what is in abundance here, so it's rich underwater life diving spots and places for snorkeling, where you can see myriads of colored fish, starfish, corals, sea turtles, schools of sardines, and of course the mentioned whale sharks. The best places for diving and snorkeling are Moalboal Resort, Mactan Island, Malapascua Island. Snorkeling in these places can be done on your own right by the shore, diving centers offer diving. And if you do not have a certificate, then on the island of Mactan you can study and get it for only $ 250, and this is one of the lowest tuition prices in the world.

You can get acquainted with the sights of Cebu island yourself. The cheapest and most convenient way to do this is by renting a low-power scooter (Motobike), which will cost from 250 pesos/day. To manage, you do not even need international rights, in the Philippines, National Military Vehicles of other countries are accepted, including Russian ones, but the presence of Category "A" is mandatory, otherwise there may be problems with the police. Read more about all the questions about renting transport in the Philippines Here...

If renting is not suitable for you, then in the popular resorts of Moalboal, Mactan and Cebu City, travel agencies and hotels offer individual and group tours. You can also pick up and book them in advance online, which sometimes comes out even cheaper. See the options for excursions on the island of Cebu, their description and reviews, and if you wish, you can book on these sites:

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And here list and description of the most important attractions of Cebu ...

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