Jesse McLaughlan

Travelled to 14 countries / regions

Written 48 briefs
Visited Cebu while in Philippines in 2019



Asia > Philippines > Cebu City > Useful Info
Updated on Oct 24, 2019 Useful Info

Best ways to get around Cebu, Philippines (both Cebu City and the island)

  • Cebu is a fairly large island in southern Philippines. Cebu City is the main city on the island and its transportation node, and is a fairly large city of 1 million people. I visited the island for 3 weeks in the summer of 2019 and went all over the island.
  • Overall I think Grab is the best way to get around Cebu City, and coach buses are the best option for outside of Cebu City.
  • Below are my details thoughts on the best ways to get around both the Cebu City as well as other parts of the island

How to get around Cebu City

  • Walking (best for downtown): if you're staying in the city centre (Santo Niño and surrounding area), where many hotels and major points of interest are located, walking may be your best way to get around. Most places of interest within this area are reachable in less than 15 minutes on foot, and sidewalks are in pretty decent condition unlike many Southeast Asian cities I've been to. However, given that Cebu is very hot, be sure to stay well hydrated and put on enough sun screensUser submitted photo of Cebu

  • Grab (overall best option): if you don't know Grab, you will love it by the end of your trip. Grab is basically the Uber of Southeast Asia. It actually bought out Uber's Southeast Asian business back in 2018. To use the app, you simply download the app to your phone, set it up (you need to set it up where you have access to SMS as the app will text you a confirmation code), link your credit card (you can also pay cash to the driver too), then when you're in Cebu simply open up the app and call a car. Of course you'll need to be connected to wifi or if you have a local SIM card. The app works exactly like Uber, where you can track the car's progress on a live map in the app. Prices: you can get around central Cebu City for $1.5-$3USD per ride; you can pretty much get around anywhere in Cebu City for less than $5USD per ride. Download from https://www.grab.com. I recommend it as the best option because it's very convenient and the price is fixed with no chance of getting scammedUser submitted photo of Cebu

  • Tricycles (most popular option): tricycles, also called "trikes" by locals, is the Filipino name for tuk tuks that you're probably familiar with. They are everywhere in Cebu City. You'll frequently see them parked in groups on street corners, around hotels and tourist sites, or zooming through the streets. To get one simply approach a parked one or raise your hand to hail a moving one. Prices: you can get to pretty much anywhere in Cebu City for less than 50-70 pesos ($1-$1.4USD). They are not metered so you'll have to agree on a rate with the driver. You can certainly haggle as much as you want with them. Most tricycles seat 3 people, but there are some versions that can seat 5-6 peopleUser submitted photo of Cebu

  • Jeepney (cheapest option): to be honest I've not actually taken it when I was in Cebu, although I did take a Jeepney in Manila. Jeepneys are shared mini buses that carry 10-12 passengers. I only recommend them if you're going to and from major landmarks (like Ayala Mall), since they run in fixed routes and it's very hard to know which Jeepney is going where. All the Jeepneys in Cebu City have route numbers displayed on top of them (in alphanumeric characters like 04C, 03B, 08G, etc.), the trick is to tell a local (or your hotel) where you're going to and ask them to tell you which Jeepney route to take, them simply look for the Jeepneys with those numbers on top. The benefit of using Jeepneys is that they're dirt cheap. Prices: they cost less than 15-25 pesos ($0.3-$0.5USD) per person to rideUser submitted photo of Cebu

  • Habal-habal (great if you're looking for a cheap local experience): habal-habals are literally motorcycle taxis. You will find them all over the city parked on the side of the streets, especially around malls, schools, markets, churches, or any other landmarks. Basically, if you see any parked motorcycles with someone sitting on it on the side of a road, they're probably habal-habals waiting for passengers. Prices: 25-50 ($0.5-$1USD) pesos for most rides in the city. For your own safety, make sure you get a helmet. It's a standard practice for passengers to be issued a helmet, and if they don't give you one, don't ride itUser submitted photo of Cebu

  • Taxi (meh): only use them to get in from the airport or if you don't have Grab. It costs the same as Grab, so $1.5-$5USD per ride in Cebu City. You can hail them on the streets or have your hotel call one for you. Either way, make sure the meter is turned onUser submitted photo of Cebu

How to get to places outside of Cebu City on the island

  • Coach buses (best long distance travel option): for long distance travels on Cebu, the most common way to get around is to take one of the many coach buses that traverse the island.
  • The coach buses all depart from one of the two bus terminals in Cebu City:
  1. South Bus Terminal (located here): serve buses that go to the southern part of Cebu island, including Argao, Moalboal, Oslob, Barili, Bato etc. Check schedule here
  2. North Bus Terminal (located here): serve buses that go to the north of the island, including Bogo, Daanbantayan, Medellin, etc. I can't seem to find any schedules of the bus departures, but there should always be a bus every 30 minutes or so leaving for the northern tip of the island
  • Major coach bus companies: Ceres Liner, Sunrays, Metrolink, and JRK. There are also a handful of other smaller bus companies. Ceres Liner is by far the biggest one, with their iconic yellow buses seen everywhere in Cebu
  • Coach bus prices: They're fairly cheap to take. Most of these buses cost 150-200 pesos ($3-$4USD) to take all the way to either the northern tip or the southern tip of the islandUser submitted photo of Cebu

  • Ferries (to get to nearby islands): to get to nearby islands, including Tagbilaran (on Bohol island), Ormoc (on Leyte island), Cagayan de Oro (on Davao island), you will need to take a ferry service.
  • Prices: most ferries to nearby islands cost 300-500 pesos ($6-$10USD) per person for one-way economy class ticket
  • Major ferry companies: OceanJet, 2Go, Lite Ferries, Weesam Express, SuperCat, MV Starcraft. Check their websites for more details
  • How to book: because there are so many different ferry companies, I recommend using transportation ticket aggregator/search engine sites like 12Go and PHBus to look to find the current schedules and book tickets. The benefit is that it searches across all ferry companies so you don't have to go to individual websiteUser submitted photo of Cebu

  • Private drivers (expensive but hassle free long distance travel option):
  • If you don't want to take a coach bus, the only other way to travel is to charter a private car. They charge you by the day for the entire car, regardless of how many people you have in your group. You can choose what size of car you need. Obviously the biggest advantage of using this option is that they pick you up from your hotel and drop you off at your destination, no transfer required
  • Prices: expect to pay $50-$100USD per day for a private driver
  • Where to book: I suggest using Klook and Viator to book these cars. Both of them are reputable international sites (Viator is owned by Tripadvisor; Klook is based in Hong Kong) and they accept credit card for booking. Simply put in "Cebu" on these sites, and then choose "Transport" category to see the list of private drivers. Many of these are also for specific routes, like Cebu City to Oslob