Guide: How To Enjoy Cebu City In A Day

I have always seen the Queen City of the South as “the place that has it all.” A place of great history, a church for the pilgrims, a temple for the believers, inexpensive but taste-worthy restaurants, and the place with the oldest and smallest bastion in the Philippines, just to name a few.

Though I know that Cebu has gotten quite a “not-so-good” reputation that tourists, even locals alike will balk at the idea of wandering the streets of the city.

But amidst all the chaos of the city, Cebu continues to grind and prosper. Cebu has a lot of things to offer that could cater to every interest. To knock you off your feet, here are our recommendations should you wish to explore the beauty of the Queen City of the South in a day.

If you’re looking to rent a van or arrange a tour itinerary with an agency, book now with SquadPH Tours and Travels,’s official travel agency partner.


1. Magellan’s Cross

Photo by Wikimedia
Photo by Philippine Lifestyle News

Magellan’s Cross is a Christian cross planted by the Portuguese and Spanish explorers. They were ordered to do so by Ferdinand Magellan upon arriving in Cebu City on March 15, 1521.

The cross is nestled in a chapel next to the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño and in front of the city hall and on Magallanes Street. Since Magellan’s Cross is outside the Basilica, you can visit the cross anytime of the day.

How to get there?

Tourists coming from or staying at hotels on Mactan Island will have to drive or hire a cab going to Cebu City. It takes around 20 to 30 minutes to travel from Mactan to Cebu City. The easiest way for tourists to get to Magellan’s Cross is via taxi as they would definitely know where it is located. You can also get on a jeepney with a signboard going to the City Hall or the Basilica.



Basilica (1)
Photo by CebuBoholTravelTours
Photo by Choose Philippines

(Minor Basilica of the Holy Child of Cebú) commonly known as the Santo Niño Basilica, is a minor basilica in Cebu City in the Philippines that was founded in the 1565 by Fray Andrés de Urdaneta, O.S.A. and Fray Diego de Herrera, O.S.A.

Situated infront of the Magellan’s Cross, Sto. Niño is the oldest Roman Catholic church in the Philippines.

Should you wish to attend a Eucharistic celebration, schedule is as follows:


How to get there?

The Basílica Menor del Santo Niño de Cebu Basilica Complex is located in the city, block bordered by Osmeña Boulevard, D. Jakosalem St, P. Burgos St. and the Plaza Sugbo where the Magellan’s Cross is located. From the Magellan’s Cross, you can walk your way to the Basilica.




Photo by Zomato

You don’t have to shell out much to have a sumptuous meal while you’re enjoying your tour. They serve Chinese and Filipino cuisine/s and they also sell Cebuano delicacies you can munch on.

  • Operating hours: 7:00AM to 7:00PM daily
How to get there?

La Fortuna Bakery is situated inside the Basilica. walk your way towards the exit facing the Magellan’s Cross and before leaving the vicinity, face left for the bakery’s entrance is near the exit gate.





You need not to go far to visit Intramuros because nestled in the Queen City of the South is a mini-Intramuros.

Fuerte de San Pedro is a military defense structure in Cebu, built by the Spanish under the command of Miguel López de Legazpi, first governor of the Captaincy General of the Philippines.

  • Operating hours: 7:00AM to 7:00PM daily
How to get there?

From the Basilica, facing the exit to the Magellan’s Cross or the city hall, turn left and walk. You will passby the side of the Island Souvenirs and upon reaching the highway, Fort San Pedro is situated inside the Plaza Independencia.



If you’re one of those who would love to experience the glorious past of the Parian District, this one’s for you.



Considered to be one of the oldest houses in the Philippines, Yap-San Diego Ancestral House was the house of Don Juan Yap and Donya Maria Florido in the late 17th century.

Aside from its aesthetic geatures, this house is a proof of a God-centric home. If you want to visit this house builth with faith and devotion of a Cebuano’s family, worry no more for they are open daily with a fee of ₱50 only.

  • Operating hours: 9:00AM to 6:00PM daily
  • Entrance fee: ₱50 per person
How to get there?

If you’re in Cebu City, you can ride a jeep with 01K code at SM Cebu or near Radisson Blu Hotel. Go down at Shamrock and take a short walk to the right, you’ll find the Parian Plaza. The Yap Sandiego Ancestral House is located 155-Lopez Jaena corner Mabini St., 6000 Parian, Cebu City just across Cebu’s Heritage Monument.





Museo Sugbo is located in the former Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC). It was once called “Carcel de Cebu”, the provincial jail of Cebu but, is now the Cebu Provincial Museum.

The wishing well, located near the National Museum Galleries, will complete the whole tour in the museum. It is called the Well of Wisdom, Love and Good Fortune. It was believed to be the source of water for the prison complex of the Visayas District during the Spanish period.

  • Operating hours: 9:00AM to 6:00PM daily
  • Entrance fee: ₱30 per head / ₱10 per student (Rates may vary for foreigners)
How to get there?

From Colon, take a 01K jeepney – these jeepneys pass by the Museo.




Photo by Akrosdayunibers


Before we go through the details, please remind yourselves that this is a religious shrine so we must learn to respect their beliefs.

Located within the “posh” Beverly Hills, this temple was built by the Chinese community in 1972. The temple is a towering, multi-tiered, multi-hued attraction that is accessible by three separate winding routes.

  • Wearing of shorts and sleeveless is not allowed
  • Taking pictures inside the prayer room is not allowed
  • Operating hours: 9:00AM to 5:00PM daily
  • Entrance fee: None
How to get there?

From Museo Sugbo, you can hail a cab for you to reach to the main gate of the area. Elsenot, you can take a cab going to JY Square and hail a motorbike (habal-habal) from JY Square – roughly P10 to P50.







From the downtown, let’s take you somewhere high – TOPS.

But wait, let me just tell you that if you have not hired a car, this time, I suggest you do. And unless you know your way to the top, they also offer transportation to and from Tops.

Probably one of the most overrated tourist spots in Cebu but, will never disappoint. Nestled in Brgy. Malubog, Busay, Cebu City, Busay, Tops is great for an “anytime of the day” unwind.

One of the most notable things in Tops is the big old bell – which people enjoy banging.

  • Operating hours: 7:00AM to 12:00MN daily
  • Entrance fee: ₱100 per head
How to get there?

From JY Square, you can either take a taxi (ranges from P600 to P1000) or a motorbike (P100 to P150) on your way to the top.

Another option is riding a jeepney from JY Square (04i, a fare of ₱7.00) and ask the driver to stop at Plaza Housing. From Plaza Housing, ride a motorcycle going to the top. You can negotiate the driver to get a cheaper fare around ₱50, but the fare that the drivers offer from Plaza Housing usually ranges from ₱75-₱80, for a one-way ride.






There is no better place to cap your day tour in Cebu than at the Top of Cebu Restaurant.

Top of Cebu is owned by the Pages Group of Companies that also manages Lantaw Restaurants, Mooon Cafe, Thirsty, Shaka, etc. Apart from the amazing views, Top of Cebu serves palatable all-time favorite Filipino, American and French dishes.

This is located just right across TOPS Lookout (on item #8). For more information about the restaurant, please click here.

If you’re looking to rent a van or arrange a tour itinerary with an agency, book now with SquadPH Tours and Travels,’s official travel agency partner.

I must tell you, all the sites aforementioned are all worth visiting. 8 sites plus 1 place to cap off your day will take you less than 12 hours, I tell you. Good luck on your journey!

Also read

Sarah Ladeza
Sarah Ladeza
"Cebu needs no Disneyland because it is already a wonderland."

Copywriter | Boholana

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