.html xmlns:v="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:vml" xmlns:o="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/TR/REC.html40"> Cebu City Tour

Big Jim's Philippines Experience




Metro Cebu Tour




For my walking tour of DownTown Cebu City,

go to the bottom of the page




For ideas on what to see on a tour of Metro Cebu, watch my Cebu City tour video, on Youtube.




There is a Cebu City, A Cebu island, A Cebu Province and a Metro Cebu.

The province of Cebu consists of 168 islands.

The main island in the province being the island of Cebu, which is approximately 225 kilometres long and consists of many towns and cities.

Some other prominent islands in the province being The Camotes Islands, Malapascua Island, Bantayan Island and Mactan Island, the location of the Mactan Cebu International Airport.

Cebu City is the provincial capitol of the Province of Cebu and is located on the main island of Cebu.

Metro Cebu consists of 4 main cities. The main cities in Metro Cebu are Lapu Lapu City which is on Mactan Island. Plus 3 cities situated next to each other on the main island of Cebu. They are, from North to South, Mandaue City, Cebu City and Talisay City. Usually, the only way you can tell you have moved from one city to another is a change in street signs.

This tour refers to Metro Cebu

On the tour, you could visit a casino or a a duty free shop. So, before you leave home, you should make sure you have everything you need such as camera and passport and are appropriately dressed for the places you want to visit. That is, if you are male, you will need to be wearing long pants and shoes to enter the casino. You will need your passport for duty free purchases and as it is likely to be hot, have shorts to change into. Not many public toilets have toilet paper, so it is a good idea to bring some of your own. Also, it is a good idea to bring water to keep you hydrated.

A good place to start a Cebu City tour is Casa Gorordo, a historical home in downtown Cebu City.


Casa Gorordo is the home of the first Filipino bishop. It is set up as it would have been in the late nineteenth century. You will see many interesting artefacts there including furniture from the period and Filipino art. Unfortunately, they do not allow photos. Casa Gorordo has toilets and a small admission fee. For a small extra fee, usually you can have a guided tour of the casa.

The pier area is close to Casa Gorordo. So, after Casa Gorordo,  pass through the pier area. There is a road along the waterfront. To get onto the road, go to pier one. From pier one, drive along to pier three. Along this road, you will see many different and interest types of boats and ships. 

After checking out the shipping, head back to near Pier 1. That is where you will find Fort San Pedro.

Fort San Pedro is the first site of Spanish/Western occupation in the Philippines. Originally the fort was made of wood but was converted to stone some years later. Laying around the fort you will see old cannons. The fort also contains a museum with historical Spanish and Filipino artefacts. One room has a model of the San Diego which sunk in 1600 plus pieces recovered from the San Diego. There is no filming in the museum but you can film the rest of the fort. There are postcards and souvenirs for sale. The fort has public toilets and a small admission fee.


In front of Fort San Pedro is the Plaza Independencia. Most of the time it is relatively empty. On Sundays, many people on their day off will hang out there. It has a tunnel running underneath that completes the coastal road connection from Talisay City to Cebu City via the SRP (South Road Properties). Next to Plaza Independencia is Malacañang of the South

From Malacañang of the South, you can walk or ride to the Cebu City Hall. Near this spot are located the Magellan's cross, The Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño (locally called Sto. Niño Basilica) and the Sto. Niño Basilica museum.


Magellan's Cross was originally planted by Ferdinand Magellan on 21st April 1521. Because of it's delicate nature, it is now encased in tindalo wood. The building housing the cross has a mural painted on the ceiling depicting the planting of the cross. For those history buffs with an eye for detail, you will notice that the cross in the mural is lashed together while a painting housed in Fort San Pedro depicting the same scene has the cross nailed together. There is no entrance fee to see the cross however there is a donation box and expect to be accosted by numerous vendors trying to sell belts, candles, guitars and more.

The Sto. Niño Basilica has no entrance fee. There is a donation box as you enter and there is a donation box if you want to use their candles. The candles available from the basilica are designed for use with the candle holders. Don't bother with the candles for sale by the touts as they look silly burning away beside the rest. The inside of the church has many interesting artworks, statues and decorations to see. It also houses the Sto. Niño, a doll of the baby Jesus. Expect a long line up to view the doll and touch or wipe the glass casing housing it. Many Filipinos will spend a short time in front of it praying. Filming inside the Basilica is up to your conscience. I personally would not film inside the basilica. There are public toilets available and a shop for buying all your Catholic necessities. The attached Museum contains many Filipino historical artefacts including clothing for the Sto. Niño doll from hundreds of years past plus some artwork. The museum has a small entrance fee but no filming is allowed. If you are not religious, stay away from here at special religious times such as Easter, Christmas and Sinulog on the third Sunday in January. The crowds are absolutely massive and you will wait in huge lines just to get inside and then maybe not see anything.

After Sto. Niño Basilica, drive through the historic Carbon market area.

The Carbon Markets have been in existence since at least the nineteenth century and maybe hundreds of years longer. They sell all sorts of goods there from fresh food to clothing and religious items. You can also dine there very cheaply. Keep your cameras ready for the Kalesas (horse drawn carriages, also known as Tartanillas). The Kalesas are very rare elsewhere in Cebu City but are used regularly in the Carbon market are for moving passengers and goods.

After the Carbon Market area, pass by Fuente Osmeña (the circle on Osmeña Boulevarde) and the Capitol building on your way to the Taoist Temple. I don't stop at the Capitol building or Fuente Osmena but passing this way is a more scenic and more interesting than any other on the way to the Taoist temple.

The Taoist temple is located on Canon Road in Beverly Hills which is where some of the richest people in Cebu City live. Before you can get near the temple, you have to pass a gate with guard. He will take the license of the driver and hand it back as you leave.  To get the best view of the temple you start at the bottom however the temple has many steps. Special arrangements are in place for disabled guests wanting to visit the temple. You enter at what I would call the middle level of the temple complex from Third Street. On the middle level is the main temple, toilets and a shop. The upper level has more temples and some small pools with a fountain. The temple complex has no entrance fee but there are donation boxes. You can burn incense in the temples. There is no filming allowed inside each individual temple but filming from outside is ok. Also, they expect you to keep quiet as this is a religious complex.

After the Taoist temple, proceed to the Top, which is a lookout overlooking Talisay City, Cebu City, Mandaue City, Mactan Island and more. On a clear day, you can see the islands of Leyte and Bohol.  You can ring the friendship bell at the Top. Ring 3 times for everlasting friendship The Top has about P100 entrance for visitors and a smaller fee for locals. It has public toilets, tables and chairs for dining and small store for buying drinks and snacks.

From the Top, proceed to the Waterfront Hotel in Lahug. The hotel used to contain two duty free shops but the supermarket style duty free shop has now been transferred to the SM Mall North Wing. It still contains one duty free shop (the duty free shops are where you will need your passport if you want to make purchases). The Waterfront also has the US consulate and a casino which has a dress code. If you want to look inside the casino, you will need to wear long pants, shoes and a shirt with sleeves. Because it is usually hot while touring, you may want to wear shorts on the tour and carry long pants to change into. There is an entrance fee for the casino but no entrance fee otherwise. There are public toilets in the lobby of the hotel. The small picture below shows the Waterfront Hotel in Lahug, taken from the Top. It is the white building which looks like a castle.

After the Waterfront hotel, go past, or drop into the Ayala mall and/or the SM Mall. Perhaps choose one of the malls to have lunch. Ayala Mall has a new terrace section with many quality dining choices at a reasonable price. Certainly the price will be well below what you would pay for an equivalent meal in a westernised country.

These are the two biggest malls in Cebu City and are both entertainment hubs with restaurants, children's entertainment, cinemas, including an Imax theatre and usual mall shopping. The SM mall also has a 10 pin bowling alley and a fun centre with bump cars (dodgem cars). The Ayala Mall has a small food court with low cost dining options while the SM mall's food court is much larger and has many more low cost dining options.

From the malls, proceed through Mandaue City across the old bridge to Lapu-Lapu City where you can visit guitar factories. Some of the guitar factories, such as Alegre, show you how they make the guitars. After the guitars, head off to the Lapu-Lapu monument. The Lapu-Lapu monument is situated at the site where Lapu-Lapu's warriors defeated the troops of Ferdinand Magellan in a battle on 27th April 1521 in which the explorer, Ferdinand Magellan, was himself killed. You can see a depiction of the battle, a statue of Lapu-lapu erected by Filipinos and a monument to Ferdinand Magellan erected in the nineteenth century.

There is no actual fee to enter the shrine area but there are donation boxes. The shrine area has public toilets.

Near the Lapu-Lapu monument are many shell vendors selling an assortment of shell souvenirs. There are also small stores for buying snacks and drinks.

Cross over the new bridge on your way back home.

The tour should take about 8 hours with lunch.


I used to be a partner in a tourism business in Cebu City and we ran tours of Cebu, including the above Cebu City Tour. Our driver for the tours was Danny Noy. Danny is a taxi driver of many years experience and has proved himself to be very reliable. Danny has his own business now. If you would like someone to take you around on the tour, Danny would be an excellent choice. Danny's website is here.

Danny Noy's Cebu Taxi Service


Original page created for www.cebutours.com by Jim Sibbick  with assistance from Paul Petrea 




The first 7 places listed on the tour are situated in downtown Cebu City. Use this map to help you locate all of them. Click on the map to enlarge it.  

The map is courtesy of Ezi Maps (United Tourist Promotions) +63 45 6257708

If you would like an original Cebu City map, order one online from their website






Alternate Walking Tour

For Downtown Cebu City

Use the above map to assist you in locating all the sites.

Click on the map to enlarge it.

For your walking tour,

  • Catch a taxi or walk from your accommodation to Pier 1.
  • Start at Pier 1. Just to get a glimpse of the shipping. You will see fast ferries and roll on roll off ferries. If you walk far enough along Pier 1, sometimes you will see motor yachts docked.
  • Fort San Pedro is right next to Pier 1, so check it out next. It is the original site of Spanish occupation in the Philippines, Originally a wooden fort built in 1565, it is now made of stone. It has a museum on site. It has toilets inside. Bring your own toilet paper.
  • In front of Fort San Pedro is the Plaza Independencia. It is crowded with Filipinos on Sunday but relatively empty every other day. You won't notice it but there is a tunnel under Plaza Independencia to assist with the flow of traffic from Cebu City to Talisay City on the SRP, otherwise know as the Cebu Coast Road.
  • From there you can walk to Carbon Markets, passing Malacañang of the South on the way. Malacañang of the South is on the other side of the road to Plaza Independencia on M.C. Briones.
  •  Carbon Markets is along M.C. Briones. Shop for bargains if you want. In the Carbon markets area, you will see Calesas, otherwise known as Tartanillas (horse drawn carriages). You can pay to go for a ride.
  • Back track slightly along M.C. Briones and go along D. Jakosalem Street. Until you can see the Magellan's Cross dome to the right. The original cross was planted there in 1521 by Ferdinand Magellan, just before he popped over to Mactan island and got himself killed by Lapu Lapu. The original cross is still there but is now encased in tindalo wood to protect it.
  • After checking out the cross, move inside the adjacent Sto Niño Basilica. The original church was built in 1565 but burnt down twice. The current church building was constructed in the 18th Century. There is a huge amount of artwork to check out plus it is the location of the Sto Niño doll. The doll of the baby Jesus. There is always a long line up of Filipinos waiting to pray in front of it. If it is a while since you have been to the Basilica, you will not know that they moved all the prayer candle holders out of the open square inside the church and relocated them outside. The open square inside the church has been redeveloped with statues, seating and a fountain. There is a museum on site. There are toilets near the museum and toilets inside the church on the far side of the open square from the Sto Niño doll, at the end of the corridor where most of the painted art work is located. Bring your own toilet paper.
  • After Sto Niño Basilica, walk out the main entrance and straight along the short Zamora Street to Legaspi Street. You will then be at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral. To get inside turn right into Legaspi Street and go in the nearest entrance.
  • After Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, you can stop off at the Archdiocesan Museum next to the cathedral.
  • Continue past the Archdiocesan Museum along Mabini Street street until it becomes Sikatuna Street. This occurs on the corner of Colon and Sikatuna. At this corner, you will be able to see the Heritage of Cebu nearby.
  • The Heritage of Cebu is a huge statue in the shape of a ship's bow. With statues of historical figures on the sides.
  • From Heritage of Cebu, you will be able to see Sandiego Yap Ancestral House. It is an old wooden building on the corner. It houses a huge amount of historical artefacts.
  • After Sandiego Yap Ancestral House turn the corner into L Jaena Street. Walk about one block and you will be at the Casa Gorordo Museum. It is the former home of the Philippines first Filipino bishop, Bishop Gorordo. The house is set up as it may have been in the nineteenth century. It has toilets and a gift shop in a separate building on the grounds. Bring your own toilet paper.

It is an easy walk.

Distance to walk from Pier One to Casa Gorordo is about 2 kilometres or a bit more than a 1 mile.

How long it takes will be completely up to you! If you take the time to stop and read every sign and look at every artefact, it will take all day. If you want to just breeze past everything, you may take as little as an hour. I have personally tested the route several times. By myself and in a group. In a group, the tour was 4 hours, with a 40 minute lunch stop at Sunburst, which is a restaurant near the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral. It specialises in fried chicken but has many other cheap dining choices. If you want to go to Sunburst, turn left into Legaspi Street instead of turning right, after walking along Zamora Street. 

From Casa Gorordo, if it is inconvenient to walk back to your accommodation, walk back to Colon. There are many taxis on Colon that will use the meter. Do not walk back to Pier 1, even though you will have noticed many taxis there. The taxis at Pier 1 will not usually use the meter.

However, if you want to walk back to Pier 1, continue along  L Jaena Street to the end. Turn right into M.J. Cuenco Avenue. Walk along M.J. Cuenco Avenue to the Plaza Independencia. Turn Left into the Legaspi Extension and walk down to pier 1. The total length of this trip, from Pier 1 back to Pier 1, will be about 3 kilometres or 2 miles.


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