Embarking on a solo adventure is a wonderful privilege that shouldn’t be missed! Although I have traveled independently multiple times before, my first solo domestic flight took me to Cebu, often referred to as the Queen City of the South due to its economic significance and influence in modern times. As someone who had previously researched and contributed to stories about Cebu while working for a media company in the Philippines, I was eager to explore this destination.
While traveling alone by air can be challenging and carry some additional risks, it also offers the comfort and freedom of relying solely on yourself. To make the most of your 3-day, 2-night trip to Cebu, consider the following recommendations and logistics tips:
- Transportation: In Cebu, you can conveniently use ride-hailing services like Grab, Angkas, Joyride, and Maxim. Please note that as of now, Maxim is not yet available in Metro Manila or Bulacan. However, it is a useful alternative for shipping items or transporting passengers. Having personally used Maxim twice, I found it to be an affordable option. Additionally, you are promptly assigned a rider.
- Local Cuisine: Don’t miss the opportunity to indulge in the delicious local cuisine of Cebu, such as tuslob buwa, puso, and the famous Cebu Lechon. Unlike in Manila or Bulacan, where gravy is commonly served, Cebuanos use spicy vinegar as a sauce, adding a unique flavor to their dishes.
Logistics Tips for Your Trip:
- Plan your first and last day for quick errands and travel time.
- Allocate the majority of your time on the second day for sightseeing. Cebu offers many affordable travel tours specifically designed for solo travelers. Personally, I booked a City Tour for only Php 900 (around 16–17 USD), which allowed me to visit numerous famous sites, including the Temple of Leah, Sirao Flower Garden, Magellan’s Cross, etc. These tours often provide reliable drivers and considerate tour guides who assist with navigation and even take photos for solo travelers like myself.
- For a convenient and central location, I recommend considering ANRI Pension House, located near IT Park. By staying at this accommodation, you will be at the heart of the action, making it easier to navigate and explore different places in Cebu. They offer rooms starting as low as Php 600+ per night for a single air-conditioned room.
- Plan your flights strategically. I personally scheduled my flights around lunchtime, departing from Manila to allow for travel time from the province. Similarly, when returning home, I chose a flight in the late afternoon to accommodate my check-out time at the hotel.
- Learn basic words, phrases, and greetings in the local language as a gesture of respect. While locals appreciate the effort, don’t hesitate to let them know if you only understand Tagalog or English. They will be accommodating and understanding.
- Seek recommendations from local people, as they can provide valuable insights and suggestions.
List of Places to Visit (Cebu City Tour):
- Temple of Leah: A symbol of undying love, reminiscent of India’s Taj Mahal.
- Sirao Flower Garden: Capture stunning photos at this picturesque flower farm with beautifully arranged blooms.
- Taoist Temple: Visit the center of worship for Taoism, a religion based on the teachings of ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Zi.
- Cebu Heritage Monument: Explore this monument showcasing sculptures depicting significant events in Cebu’s history, from the time of Rajah Humabon to the beatification of Pedro Calungsod, a Cebuano martyr.
- Sto. Nino Church (Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu): Discover the oldest religious relic in the Philippines, housed in this church dedicated to the Holy Child Jesus.
- Magellan’s Cross: Witness the historical significance of Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan’s arrival in 1521, marked by a large wooden cross that symbolizes Christianity and Spanish sovereignty.
- Lavie House of Wine: Enjoy the offerings of this delightful ‘French’ boulangerie, pastry shop, and wine library in Cebu City.
- 10,000 Roses: Immerse yourself in the enchanting ambiance of this café and art installation located in Cordova, Cebu.
- CCLEX Longest Bridge: Marvel at the country’s longest and tallest bridge, a remarkable engineering feat.
- Yap Sandiego Ancestral House: Gain insights into the Chinese settlements of Cebu through this museum dating back to the Spanish colonial era of the 1600s.
- UP Cebu: Explore the University of the Philippines Cebu campus, known for its academic excellence.
- Sugbo Mercado: Indulge in a wide variety of local and international cuisines while visiting this vibrant food and beverage market in Cebu.
Following these tips and exploring these fantastic destinations, your solo trip to Cebu will be an unforgettable adventure.