Exploring Cebu City on a Shoestring Budget

Cebu, the Queen City of the South is home to numerous beaches, waterfalls, lakes and other attractions that can certainly become the highlight of your summer. But, Cebu also offers a different side wherein tourists can better appreciate the heart and soul of the city. Visiting Cebu does not always mean going broke. In fact, Cebu offers plenty of attractions that can fit any traveler’s budget.

This article will guide you on how you can get the best Cebu experience that is just within the budget.

100-200 pesos

City Walk

Ok, going around the city does not really cost a hundred pesos or so but you may want to prepare a few bucks in case you want to buy souvenirs, candles or even snacks at the Basilica de Sto. Niño de Cebu. The Basilica is the oldest Roman Catholic Church in the country and it is also the home of Cebu’s patron saint, the Sto. Niño. The church is located along Osmeña Boulevard which is actually not hard to miss. If you fancy old churches or if you like taking photos, then the Sto. Niño Church will be a good start of your Cebu trip.  You can also check out the Magellan’s Cross which just outside the church and perhaps spend a few pesos for candles. The candles are color coded depending on your intention and 1 piece usually costs 20 pesos. Plus, the vendor can do a traditional Sinulog dance for you while you offer your prayers or intentions.

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If you are still up to more walking/picture taking, then just a few meters away from the Sto. Niño Church is Fort San Pedro or Fuerza de San Pedro which is basically the same as the walled city of Intramuros. The fort’s operating hours is from 8AM to 6PM and guests will only have to pay 30 pesos (adults) or 20 pesos (students) for entrance fee. History buffs will surely appreciate the atmosphere and setup of Fort San Pedro and it is also an ideal place to relax in the fort’s gardens.

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Food Coma

If you are not a picky eater then the best way to experience Cebu’s gastronomic delights is through the “pungko-pungko” stalls that can be found near the Fuente Circle. There are plenty of these stalls at the back of Sampaguita Suites or just simply ask any Cebuano to point you to the nearest pungko-pungko basket. A typical pungko-pungko basket has all the goodies that are worth every calorie. It has spring rolls, meatballs, longganisa and the main attraction which is the “ginabot” or chicharon bulaklak. So what exactly is ginabot? If you are squeamish then you might want to skip this part. Ginabot is basically deep fried pig intestines made with love and a whole lot of calories and fats. It may not sound too appealing but once you take your first bite, you’ll know that you are hooked. Of course, you have to pair the dish with “puso” or hanging rice and wash it down with Sparkle which is a local brand of soft drinks. A typical meal at a pungko-pungko stall is around 50-100 pesos or even more if you cannot get enough of the magic of ginabot.

Pungko-pungko

200-500 pesos

To the Mountains We Go

You do not have to break a sweat climbing mountains to get a bird’s eye view of the city since you can just hire a “habal-habal” (motorcycle) driver to get you either to Tops, Mountain View, Temple of Leah or Sirao Flower Farm. Just head on to JY Square Mall where the habal-habals would usually convene. The rate would vary depending on where you want to go which is why it is very important to haggle with the driver to get the best deal. The base fare usually starts at 200 pesos per person and can go up to 500 pesos depending on the distance. The fare already covers the 2 way trip and the drivers can even double as your tour guides.

Tops is the best place at night where you can get the best view of the city lights. Entrance fee is at 100 pesos plus you might also want to shell out a few more bucks if you want to grab a bite or have a few drinks in their restos. Mountain View’s entrance fee is only 50 pesos and they offer plenty of attractions such as Videoke machines, great restaurant, swimming pool (additional entrance fee of 100 pesos) and of course, a view to die for. The mountain resort also offers cottages for rent which starts at 500 pesos to 1,500 pesos overnight.

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Temple of Leah is one of the newest tourist attraction in Cebu. Dubbed as the Taj Mahal of Cebu the temple was constructed way back 2012 by Teodorico Adarna, owner of Queensland chain of motels, as a symbol of his undying love to his wife, Leah Villa Albino-Adarna. For only 50 pesos, you will get to experience a Roman-inspired adventure.

Temple of Leah

Sirao Flower Farm is the latest attraction which is dubbed as the “Mini Amsterdam of Cebu”. The place is a feast for the eyes with its colorful Celosia flowers. If you want a thousand likes on your Instagram posts, then head up to Sirao. Entrance fee is only 30 pesos and you can also pick a bunch of Celosia flowers for only 40 pesos.

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 Exploring the sights and sound of Cebu city need not be expensive and in fact, the featured attractions can even make your vacation a lot more memorable and of course fun. So dab a bit of sunscreen and grab your cameras and have a great time in Cebu!

Images
Herbert Kikoy
Roy Delez
Zeke Balo
Christy Ocariza

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Herbert Kikoy
I am a hobbyist photographer who's making a big shift to mobile photography, a frustrated cook and a wanderlust who don't have the luxury of time.