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Destination Guide: Cebu

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Close your eyes and imagine the beach of your dreams. What you see — clear turquoise water, white sand, gently swaying palms — can be found in Cebu.

The province of Cebu, in the heart of the Philippines, includes one long, densely populated island and 167 smaller islands. It’s a popular destination for tourists, not only for its lovely beaches but also for its waterfalls, wildlife, jungles and bustling capital city. Planning a trip to Cebu? We’ll help you figure out where to stay, what to do and how to buy the right travel insurance.

3 Reasons to Buy Travel Insurance for the Philippines 

  1. Travel insurance can help ensure you receive appropriate medical care in a covered emergency. In the Philippines, most hospitals require cash payment up front when you’re admitted. “In some cases, public and private hospitals have withheld lifesaving medicines and treatments for non-payment of bills,” the U.S. Department of State says. And if you require hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States, it can cost tens of thousands of dollars.i That’s why travel insurance with emergency medical and dental benefits and emergency transportation benefits is crucial.
  2. Travel insurance can help you in an emergency. The U.S. Department of State advises American travelers to be cautious in the Philippines. Be aware of the risk of robbery, pick-pocketing and scams, and “consider your security when visiting public places, especially hotels, restaurants, beaches, entertainment venues, and recreation sites.”ii If you’re the victim of theft, or if you lose your passport, our 24-Hour Hotline Assistance can help.
  3. Travel insurance can protect your vacation investment. While its resorts are reasonably priced, tickets to Cebu from the U.S. aren’t cheap. Travel insurance with trip cancellation benefits can reimburse you for your prepaid, non-refundable trip costs if you must cancel the trip for a covered reason.

One of the best travel insurance options when traveling to the Philippines is the OneTrip Prime Plan, which includes essential benefits for international travel. Plus, kids 17 and under are covered for free when traveling with a parent or grandparent.

Travel insurance to protect your trip to the Philippines may be more affordable than you think. Get a quote for your next trip .

Fun Things to Do in Cebu

  1. Spend some serious time on the beach. Gorgeous beaches are everywhere in Cebu, both on the main island and the smaller ones that surround it. It’s easy to find beaches that are uncrowded and offer terrific snorkeling in places like Sumilon Island and Bantayan Island.iii
  2. Take a hike. Cebu’s mountainous interior is home to many stunning hikes that offer panoramic views and lovely waterfalls. One popular area is Bohol, known for its undulating Chocolate Hills and the sanctuary for tarsiers, the Philippines’ pocket-sized, big-eyed primate.
  3. Go sightseeing in Cebu City. Even if you came to Cebu for the sun and sand, you should spend a day touring the oldest city in the Philippines. See the revered (some say miraculous) statue of the baby Jesus at the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño; browse the markets on Colon Street; and sample some street food, like kwek-kwek (battered and deep-fried quail egg) or ginabot (crispy pork intestines).iv

Best Cebu Beach Resorts

High-end luxury resorts are surprisingly affordable in Cebu, with many offering nightly rates below $200 USD. The Abacá Boutique Resort on Mactan Island is one of the best for pampering and seclusion. Stay in a private villa or spacious suite, enjoy the services of an attentive butler, and savor dinner at the Mediterranean-inspired restaurant.

For budget-minded travelers, the best Cebu beach resort may be the Ocean Vida Beach and Dive Resort on Malapascua Island. Guests praise the comfortable rooms, beach views and easy diving access.

Best Restaurants in Cebu City

Filipino cuisine is incredibly diverse, informed by the traditions of 144 distinct ethnic groups and influenced by Spanish, Chinese, Malay, American and Indian cultures.v Great Filipino food abounds in Cebu City, so where should you eat? A local favorite is the family-owned Café Laguna, with two locations in the city. Signature dishes include kare-kare with bagoong (oxtail and peanut stew) and crispy tadyang (beef ribs).

Another destination for classic Filipino cooking is the Golden Cowrie, a down-home spot that serves dishes on banana leaves instead of plates. Diners love the crispy pata (pork leg) and lechon (roast suckling pig), but vegetarian travelers will find a ton of options here as well.

One of the best restaurants in Cebu for fine dining is Circa 1900, a colonial-era house that has been transformed into a restaurant and piano bar. The menu features inventive takes on Filipino staples: ravioli filled with shredded pork lechon and apple, for instance, or seared duck braised with ponkan and tamarind.

Ready to taste all that Cebu has to offer? Once you’ve booked your trip, protect it with travel insurance. Get a quote.

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