Cebu Travel Guide for First-timers – 3D3N Itinerary (North + Central Cebu)

Cebu is considered as the second major city next to Manila. It is the country’s oldest city and often called the “Queen of the South”. The city is rich in culture and home to many fun-filled activities, like there are hundreds or thousands of them. You can’t get enough of Cebu albeit being there countless times; it offers everything you need and want to experience — all in one city.


My Christmas holidays were spent in the Philippines to honor my father’s first death anniv. I was only allowed a 3-week vacation from work and I wanted to spend some other days in a local destination I’ve never been (and another set in a foreign land – my Taiwan solo vacay).

Been in Cebu twice already for a layover and my CFO seminar but I never got the chance to explore its wonders – as if the island is an alien to me. So in lieu, here’s my 3D3N itinerary during my stay in Cebu:

Day 0, Dec. 26 – Arrival in Mactan Airport from Dvo, 9PM; boarded the bus bound for Bantayan Island @ 3AM of Dec 27. (Yes! We’d waited for 4-5 hrs to board the bus. Expect a huge crowd of passengers during holidays.)

Day 1, Dec. 27Bantayan Island escapade, overnight at Yoonek Beach Resort. (Will have a separate post for Bantayan Island)

<Update: Click HERE for Bantayan Island itinerary, budget and other info.>

Day 2, Dec. 28 – Bound for Cebu City , halfday city tour:

  • Fort San Pedro
  • Plaza Independencia
  • Magellan’s Cross
  • Sto. Niño Basilica
  • La Vienne Parisienne

Day 3, Dec 29 – Another halfday tour:

  • Taoist Temple
  • Sirao Farm
  • Temple of Leah

I have to pull out some from the planned list since I’ll have my flight back to Davao at 5PM.

Will feature here my halfday city tours (Dec 28 & 29) or the two can be combined for a whole day tour instead.

Fort San Pedro


Popular to people hungry for history, Fort San Pedro was built during Spanish occupation under the command of  Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. It’s a triangular fortress that was built in 1565 which served as army garrison and a military defense structure. It is also known as the smallest and oldest fort in the Philippines.

  • Fee: Php30.


Plaza Independencia


From Plaza de Armas to Plaza Mayor, then to Plaza Maria Cristina and Plaza Libertad, it finally became Plaza Independencia. Plaza Independencia is no oridinary plaza; it’s been a witness to Cebu’s rich history and stories. It’s just across the Fort San Pedro so feel free to roam around the plaza.

  • Fee: Free.

Magellan’s Cross


Magellan’s Cross is one of the important symbols of Cebu, one of the most popular and must-see landmarks on the island. The Cross was ordered to be planted by Ferdinand Magellan in 1521 upon arriving in Cebu.

  • Fee: Free.

Minor Basilica of the Holy Child


Commonly known as Sto. Niño Basilica, the minor basilica is considered as the Cebu’s holiest catholic church. It houses the Flemish statuette of the Christ child that dates to Magellan’s arrival in Cebu. The Basilica is only adjacent to Magellan’s Cross, you can enter the church’s premises after visiting the Cross.

  • Fee: Free.


La Vienne Parisienne


Dreaming of Japan’s cherry blossoms? Or craving for French pastries? Why not visit La Vienne Parisienne in Lahug, Cebu instead?

Cebu has been one of the Philippine destinations that can boast its endless list when it comes to great food choices. La Vienne Parisienne is one on the list. It’s actually a French Bakery, deli, and has a few wine collection. The dining area outside can transport you to a magical place due to its man-made cherry trees which light up at night. Also, I was amused with the wine cellar, really. 🙂 If you wanna try how an original French pastries taste like, worry not ‘coz La Vienne Parisienne’s doughs really came from France, only baked in Cebu. 🙂

  • Fee: Free. (Or order and dine in to free yourself from guilt :D)




Taoist Temple


Located in the Beverly Hills subdivision in Cebu, Taoist Temple has an elevation of 300m ASL which surely offers a scenic view of downtown Cebu. Please be aware that Taoist saints in the premises are prohibited to be included in pictures by tourist since they are considered holy by its believers.

  • Fee: Free.



Sirao Farm


Known as Little Amsterdam of the Philippines, Sirao Farm, though being hard to reach has been attracting many tourists since it went viral for its beautiful blooming flowers. Make sure to schedule your trip from April-May or October-November; otherwise, you won’t see any because the flowers are not yet in its season to bloom.

  • Fee: Php30.



Temple of Leah


A tribute of love, Temple of Leah was built due to the immense love of a man for his late wife. As profound as his love, the temple’s walls are also massive and feels like you’re actually in Athens, facing the historic Parthenon.

  • Fee: Ph50.


So that’s it! If you are or will be in Cebu for a day, you can follow this itinerary for a one-day tour in Central Cebu.

Enjoy and have fun!


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