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Jesse McLaughlan

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Flew to Cebu while in Philippines in 2019

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Asia > Philippines > Cebu City > Mactan–Cebu International Airport > Useful Info
Submitted on Oct 23, 2019 Useful Info

How to get a SIM card at Cebu International Airport

  • Mactan-Cebu Interantional Airport is Cebu island's main primary airport, located in Cebu City. There are 2 terminal there: Terminal 1 has domestic flights only, and Terminal 2 serves both international and domestic flights
  • Prepaid tourist SIM cards can be purchased at the international arrival hall in Terminal 2 from the booths of telecom providers. Both Globe and Smart (the two largest telecom providers in Philippines) have booths in the arrival area. I'll go into a more details below about where to find them and which one to buy from
  • Ensure that your phone is unlocked. Before you leave your country, you might want to speak with your own telecom provider back home (in my case I spoke to Telstra in Sydney) to double check that your phone is unlocked
  • Where the telecom booths are located in the airport:
  1. After you've picked up your baggage, gone through the customs and exit the terminal building into the arrival hall, turn left:User submitted photo of Mactan–Cebu International Airport
  2. Continue to walk for 20 meters or so past all the people waiting for arriving passengers until you reach big store on your left hand side (when I went in 2019 the store was Camden Food Co.)User submitted photo of Mactan–Cebu International Airport
  3. When you get to the front of the store, turn rightUser submitted photo of Mactan–Cebu International Airport
  4. After you've turned right, walk into the hallway in front of you that leads to all the taxis and buses. Notice the booths in the middle of the hallway. Smart and Globe are among these boothsUser submitted photo of Mactan–Cebu International Airport
  5. In the hallway, look for booths with logos of the two telecom companies:User submitted photo of Mactan–Cebu International AirportUser submitted photo of Mactan–Cebu International Airport


  • If you're still confused, watch this video which shows you exactly how to get from the baggage claim all the way to these booths:
  • Booth business hours: they open at around 7am and close around 9pm
  • SIM card prices:
  • For Globe, you get the SIM card itself for free with or very low price (40PHP or 75 cents USD) with your passport. This will come with nominal amounts of data, like 40MB. After that, you will need to buy credits to load up. The loading options change all the time. Currently Globe's website indicates that the price is 350 pesos (~$6.7USD) for 4GB of data, and 700 pesos (~$13.5 USD) for 8GB of data
  • For Smart, you purchase what's called "all-in-one" packages, which essentially means you buy both the SIM card itself and any data packages. Based on what's on Smart's website, the prices are actually very similar to Globe. You can get 4GB for 349 pesos (~$6.7USD), 8GB for 699 pesos (~$13.5USD), and 12GB for 999 pesos (~$19.1USD)
  • Treat these prices as rough references. The actual prices will change every other week because they run promotions all the time. The website never shows you the actual price you pay but it'll be very close
  • In terms of payment method, it's cash pesos only. You will want to convert some cash in the terminal building if you don't already have some pesos
  • Should you pick Globe or Smart for your SIM card in Cebu:
  • You can't go wrong with either. Both are large national telecoms and have great coverage across the country. Globe has slightly better 4G+ coverages outside of Manila, so you may notice some difference in Cebu with them
  • Prices are pretty much the same, so unless you notice very big difference at the booths, this should not be a decision factor
  • Here's Globe's coverage maps (top one is all Philippines and bottom one is Cebu and surrounding islands):User submitted photo of Mactan–Cebu International AirportUser submitted photo of Mactan–Cebu International Airport
  • Here's Smart's coverage map (top one is all Philippines and bottom one is Cebu and surrounding islands):User submitted photo of Mactan–Cebu International AirportUser submitted photo of Mactan–Cebu International Airport
  • Coverage map source: https://www.nperf.com/en/