Cebu is the oldest town in the Philippines. Enjoy a cultural trip to discover the history of the city and combine this with very nice beaches. You can also live an incredible diving adventure a few hours from Cebu and meet whale sharks…
It’s a good destination for backpackers, families or people looking for a luxury stay as you can find accommodation and activities in all ranges of price. If you are neither interested in the City nor the diving, you can always stay in one of the large resorts close to the airport and enjoy the facilities and the beach.
How accessible is it from Singapore?
Cebu is not that close from Singapore (4 hour flight) so you will need a minimum of 3 days to enjoy the region and activities. You cannot visit Cebu from Singapore on a regular weekend (well, you could but you’ll feel it is really too short). The door to door journey to reach Cebu will take you 5 hours and 50 minutes.
How much is this going to cost us?
The total transport cost (return) for 2 people from Singapore to Cebu City will be from SGD 630. You can find a wide range of accommodation options in Cebu so your accommodation budget will largely vary depending on the type of hotel or resort you pick.
What about the kids?
You can take your baby(ies) and child(ren) to Cebu City. For babies, a baby carrier may be more convenient than a stroller. Diving is not an option for younger children.
How remote and risky is it?
There is a relatively decent medical infrastructure in Cebu City so you will find support if you need.
When should we go?
Connections from Cebu
You can combine this trip with a visit to Bohol (on a one day trip or for a longer stay).
Getting from Singapore to Cebu
Tigerair operates direct flights from Singapore (SIN) to Cebu (CEB). They do not fly everyday so it’s best to fly on Saturday morning and come back on Monday evening (taking your Monday off).
Getting there: Tigerair – Singapore to Mactan-Cebu 8 AM – 11.40 AM (3h40 flight)
Coming back: Tigerair – Mactan-Cebu to Singapore 6:20 PM – 10.00 PM (3h40 flight)
Return ticket from SG 280.
Get your ticket NOW to enjoy the best fares.
Getting from Cebu airport to Cebu City Center
The airport is on Mactan Island in Lapu-Lapu city.
From the airport, it takes around 20-30 min to get to the actual city of Cebu. The easiest way to go to the city center is to hire a taxi (PHP 150-200) or arranging pick-up with your hotel.
Where to stay in Cebu?
You will easily find hotels and guesthouses in Cebu. Depending on your plans, you can stay in a resort and enjoy the beach or choose a hotel in the city to enjoy proximity with various touristic attractions.
Or book your hotel with
To see & to do in Cebu
Cebu is the first Spanish settlement in the Philippines. You can find a lot of interesting facts and activities in Cebu on the official Philippines Tourism website It’s more fun in the Philippines
Cebu City Tour
The below Cebu City tour is based on their recommendation and will take you to the main attractions of the city. It’s a great way to explore the city on foot.
- Start with Magellan’s Cross (yep, from the name of Mr Ferdinand Magellan who planted a cross on Cebu’s soil to mark converting its locals to Christianity)
- Visit the Basilica del Santo Niño (one of the country’s oldest religious relics).
- Fort San Pedro and see the Casa Gorordo and Yap-San Diego Ancestral House to get a flavor of the life under the Spanish era.
- If you want more history, head to the Museo Sugbo.
- Walk down Colon Street, the oldest street in the Philippines.
- Take a taxi or ride a bike up to the hills to Tops (observation deck)
- Another option to get an overview of the city is to ride the Edge Coaster (more than 130 meters high) or try the Sky Walk at the Crown Regency Cebu. Impressive view and great sunset!
Of course, you can try local food (that is, if you are not on a diet ;)) and enjoy the nightlife of Cebu.
For shopping addicts, Cebu’s shopping areas are Ayala Center and SM City.
Oslob Tour – Whale shark watching / snorkeling / diving
You can plan a half a day tour to Oslob and meet whale sharks. Several packages are available and some institutions can organize a round trip from Cebu to Oslob. Prices will change depending on the number of people and the level of proximity you want to enjoy with the fabulous beasts.
You can simply watch whale sharks from the boat or swim with them (snorkeling or scuba diving). They are totally harmful (well, so far) but you must respect distance and security rules. The experience is amazing for sure! If you want to use an agency to get your tour arranged, you can contact these guys
You can also combine the trip with a tour to the Sumilon Island (snorkeling, trekking, kayak…).
Day Tour to Bohol
The most convenient way to get to Bohol from Cebu is by fast ferry (2hours, about PHP 550 per pax per way, varies for each company) to Tagbilaran. Many ferries are departing from Cebu pier all day long. Check the ferry schedule directly at the pier or on this website
In Bohol, you can find day tours directly when arriving at the pier or you can schedule your own itinerary and stay (see our post on this)
More info to prepare your trip
Internet access is available in most restaurants, guesthouses and hotels.
What to pack for Philippines
Your main bag
That’s the one you leave at the hotel. Ideally you want to avoid checking in your luggage when flying. So check the weight and dimensions for hand carry luggage with your airlines (some airlines will allow only 7kg, some will allow up to 10kg). From head to toes.
- Short sleeves tops: your main outfit. Everybody will see them on all your pictures. You really want to take that old Mickey Mouse T-shirt? Be mindful that you will be in a different environment so it might be a good idea to adjust your wardrobe.
- Long sleeves tops: to protect yourself from the sun (if you’ve stayed for 5 hours on a motorbike with short sleeves you know what I mean) or to enter religious buildings or to protect yourself from mosquitoes in the evening.
- Pullover. Yes I know, you’re going to a country where the temperature never goes down below 25 degrees and you need to pack a pullover? You will thank us when you’re back. Remember that flight during which you were freezing? Or this museum where the aircon is set to the “polar bear” temperature?
- Short/skirt (you should be able to chose the appropriate one by yourself).
- Trousers for the same reasons you need to take long sleeves tops. Jeans are usually not a good option. They are heavy and keep you too warm.
- Underwear: well, you know. If you plan to walk or ride motorbikes for long hours, take something comfortable as the combination heat + friction can make you regret this sophisticated silk underwear. Cotton is good.
- Shoes: one pair of flip flap and one pair of confortable shoes. Remember that you are going to spend most of the time on your feet. Forget about high heels and leave your Westons at home.
- Swimsuit: even if you don’t plan to go to the beach, you never know. A nice river, a swimming pool, a heavy rain? Always have one with you.
- Raincoat and protection for your bag. Even if you are visiting the country during the “best season”, you never know what the sky will be like.
- Torch: take a pocket torch with you if you visit countries where the power is not reliable… Can come very handy when stuck in the dark in your room.
- Toilet bag: Shampoo, soap, toothbrush & toothpath, deodorant, sun screen, tiger balm. Ideally, all these in miniature formats.
- Sleeping bag liner (if you plan to stay in very cheap or dirty places, not required if you are staying in a 5-star hotel…)
- Your IT stuff: iPad, eBook, laptop, chargers, memory card, batteries, etc.
- Dryer sheets: they will help keep a fresh smell in your bag.
Your small bag
That’s the one you keep with you, all the time. Hence, a backpack is the best option.
- Your passport, cash, credit cards and other life saving items like your insurance card with emergency contact details. Not a bad idea to put them in a zip-lock bag in case it rains. It will keep your documents dry.
- Your driver’s licence if you plan to rent a car or a motorbike (some countries are quite particular about this so take it with you in case you are not sure, even for a motorbike rental).
- Your emergency medical kit: painkillers, mosquitoes repellent, dressing/plaster, disinfectant, anti diarrhea, eyewash
- Tissues and toilet paper (you will thank me later). Remember that in a lot of countries, you will not be provided napkins when having a meal.
- Water – plastic bottles are a good option as they are lighter than a gourd/flask.
- Biscuits (always buy some before you go when you are not sure what you will find. Always have “emergency” biscuit and water in case you cannot find food around and need to recharge batteries)
- Sunglasses: you’ll need them. Take them even if it’s raining. Weather can change very fast in the region.
- Scarf (krama, or any kind of fabric that you can use to put around your neck, put on your head to protect it from the sun, cover your shoulders in temples, dry your sweat, etc). Can come very handy in some situation. It will not stay clean for long so it’s wise to pick a dark color…
- Camera and its protection.
Remember that this one comes on top of the Regular pack (above)
- Beach towel or equivalent (pareos / sarongs are lighter)
- Snorkeling equipment: mask, scuba, (fins?)
- Shoes you can wear on the beach or in the water (to protect your feet from being cut by corals)
- Dry bag if you plan to go on a boat and want to keep your stuff dry.
Well, you will probably adjust your bag after a few trips. Remove the stuff that you have not used and add the one that you missed. Post a comment to share your tips!
Happy packing (it’s the worse part of the trip but it’s worth it…) and travelling!
- Language: Tagalog, English
- Time zone: GMT + 8 across the country, no time difference with Singapore
- Currency: Philippine Peso (PHP)
- Phone: + 63
- Electricity: 220V 60 Hz
Immigration and airport taxes on arrival
To enter the Philippines, a passport valid for a minimum of six months is required.
- Exemption: If you are Australian, British, Canadian, European or a USA citizen you will not need a visa if you are planning to stay less than 21 days.
- Visa on arrival: If you intend to stay longer than 21 days or if you are not a citizen from above you may be able to get a Visa on arrival.
Departure tax: You need to pay the airport tax in Pesos. For national flights it varies from 20 PHP to 200 PHP / pax. Children under two years and passengers in transit remaining in the airport are exempt – so keep your 1 airplane ticket if you are in transfer via Manila. For international flights from Manila it is 550 PHP / pax
National Public Holidays in the Philippines
|Thursday||January 01||New Years Day||Regular holiday|
|Friday||January 02||New Year Holiday||Additional special (non-working) day|
|Thursday||January 15||Public Holiday||Manila only. Public Sector holiday for Papal Visit.|
|Friday||January 16||Public Holiday||Manila only. Public Sector holiday for Papal Visit.|
|Monday||January 19||Public Holiday||Manila only. Public Sector holiday for Papal Visit.|
|Thursday||February 19||Chinese New Year||Special (non-working) day|
|Wednesday||February 25||EDSA People Power Revolution anniversary||A special holiday for all schools|
|Thursday||April 02||Maundy Thursday||Regular holiday|
|Friday||April 03||Good Friday||Regular holiday|
|Saturday||April 04||Black Saturday||Special Non-working day|
|Thursday||April 09||The Day of Valor||Marks the the fall of Bataan in World War II.|
|Friday||May 01||Labor Day||Regular holiday|
|Friday||June 12||Independence Day||Celebrates the Philippine Declaration of Independence|
|Friday||August 21||Ninoy Aquino Day||Special Non-working day.|
|Monday||August 31||National Heroes Day||Regular holiday. Last Monday of August|
|Sunday||November 01||All Saints Day||Special Non-working day|
|Monday||November 30||Bonifacio Day||Commemorates the birth of Andrés Bonifacio on 30 Nov 1863|
|Thursday||December 24||Christmas Eve||Special Non-working day|
|Friday||December 25||Christmas Day||Regular holiday|
|Wednesday||December 30||Rizal Day||Commemorates the execution of José Rizal|
|Thursday||December 31||New Years Eve||Special Non-working day|
* check the exact date as it varies from one year to another. When a Public Holiday falls on a Sunday, the following day will be Public Holiday. Check on this website