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Nestled in the heart of the Philippines, the island of Cebu beckons with its vibrant culture, pristine beaches, and rich history. Over the years, the island has attracted local and international visitors in the millions, making it one of the country’s top destinations with over 2.7 million arrivals in 2022 alone. 

With a unique combination of rural and urban attractions, Cebu offers something for every type of traveler: nature-seekers, history buffs, shoppers, foodies, and more. That’s why it’s no surprise that visitors flock to the island and its city every time a long weekend is spotted on the calendar. 

There are so many activities for you to try on your next vacation. Let’s narrow down that list to help you decide where to best spend your time in Cebu on a long weekend. 

Tour Historical Cebu Landmarks 

If you’re a history buff and this is your first time in Cebu, a visit to Magellan’s Cross is a must. The shrine is a small pavilion with the large Magellan’s cross at the center; housed inside the hollow wooden cross is said to be the original cross of Magellan. Across this landmark, you can walk straight to the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño, which is known as the oldest Roman Catholic church in Cebu. Then, walk a few blocks and you’ll arrive at Fort San Pedro, the oldest triangular bastion fort in the Philippines. There, you can walk around the gardens and marvel at the canons that stood witness to brutal battles of the past. 

Try Your Luck at Cebu’s Most Luxurious Casino 

As the sun sets, Cebu transforms into a hub of excitement and entertainment. Indulge in a touch of luxury by visiting the new 5 star resort in Cebu: NUSTAR Resort and Casino. This 9-hectare commercial and entertainment complex includes the finest restaurants, breath-taking outdoor parks, premium shops, and elegant venues. What’s more, you can live your fantasy and try your hand at their blackjack and poker tables. Best of all, you can stay at Fili, a 5-star hotel within the NUSTAR complex that embodies everything beautiful about the Filipino culture including our world-famous hospitality. 

Visit Cebu’s Gardens 

Switch gears and immerse yourself in the tranquility of Cebu’s gardens. To start, visit Terrazas de Flores, a hilltop haven adorned with a myriad of blooming flowers. It offers a mesmerizing visual treat and a plethora of Instagram-worthy backdrops. Another must-visit for plant and flower lovers is the Sirao Flower Garden, also called the Little Amsterdam of Cebu. The garden features neatly planted celosia plants along with other tropical botanicals with colorful leaves. With interesting art installations dotting the gardens, you’ll never run out of photo opportunities. 

Go on a Canyoneering Adventure 

If adventure is what your heart desires, Cebu has you covered. Brace yourself for a heart-pounding canyoneering adventure through the mesmerizing Kawasan Falls. At the start of your journey to the falls, you’re greeted with two options: zipline or trail hike. Whichever you choose, you’re definitely going to have a thrilling time. 

To ensure your safety, expert guides provide clear directions of where or how to jump. In addition, each adventurer is provided with a hard hat and life vest. 

Swim with the Whale Sharks 

Few experiences compare to the ethereal encounter with gentle giants in the waters of Oslob. While responsibly interacting with whale sharks, the world’s largest fish, you’ll find yourself in awe as you glide alongside these magnificent creatures. Remember, choosing an ethical operator ensures that your encounter contributes to the conservation of these ocean wonders. 

Island Hop to Popular Islands 

Besides the mainland of Cebu, you can also explore its smaller but still magnificent islands. Case in point, on the northernmost tip of Cebu lies Bantayan. While it would take at least a 4-hour bus ride and a ferry to get to the island, its tranquil white beaches and mystical mangrove forests make them worth the long journey. For a great diving destination, Malapascua is where you should be headed. Known for its thresher sharks, the island offers a rich and diverse marine life that divers would travel for. Meanwhile, to the east of Cebu, you’ll find the Camotes Islands. This group of islands come with pristine white sand and a spectacular sunset that rivals Boracay. 

Hike to Osmena Peak 

For nature enthusiasts and hikers, Osmena Peak stands as a rewarding challenge. Ascend to the highest point in Cebu and be rewarded with sweeping panoramic views of verdant landscapes and rolling hills. The journey itself is an experience to cherish, as you navigate through picturesque trails to reach the summit. 

Experience the Local Markets and Street Food 

Cebu is one of the Philippines’ greatest food destinations. Famous for its lechon and unique street food, Cebu City will not let you leave hungry. Try their tuslob buwa, made from pork brains and liver. Although it sounds unappetizing, you shouldn’t knock it till you’ve tried it. What’s more, find out what sutukil is all about and why it doesn’t mean what you think it means. After a gastronomic exploration, head over to Carbon Market and Taboan Market, where you’ll find fresh produce, handicrafts, and other local products to bring home. 

 

As your long weekend in Cebu draws to a close, the memories you’ve made will linger as a testament to the island’s diverse charm. While you can’t possibly experience everything the island has to offer in just a few days, it’s best to leave with something to look forward to on your next long weekend vacation.