The beautiful city of Cebu is easily competing with the Philippines’ capital of Manila, as a thriving metropolitan center, and a growing hubbub of commercial complexes and businesses. Fast becoming modern with less of the pollution normally encountered in busy cities, Cebu has become a favorite tourist destination spot for foreigners, both businessmen and visitors alike.
To have a better idea of how to get to Cebu and how to explore it’s growing and fascinating lifestyle and culture, it is always a good idea to learn how to commute in and out of the city, as well as know how to explore using the host of public and private transportation available.
For starters, the best way to reach the island of Cebu is via air. Most airlines including Phililppine Airlines, and Cebu Pacific offer daily flights to Cebu, although foreigners can skip Manila and fly directly to the city with some airlines, although going through Manila is always the fastest, although sometimes the noisiest, route. Going by sea, and taking a passenger ferry is also another option. Cebu also has several ferries making daily rounds from other cities to Cebu and back. Larger ferries with 2,000 upwards of 4,000 passengers tend to travel longer routes, while small boats concentrate on ferrying people from nearby islands.
To date, a universal metro railway system has yet to be implemented, mainly in part because of the high costs such a system will be on the current budget, though plans to set one up may be forthcoming in the future. To date, traveling around Cebu consists mainly of buses. A metro bus system has been created called the Bus System Transit (or BST), allowing for both residents and visitors an easier option of exploring the city without spending too much on travel. Simpler, faster, and more effective, these buses will follow set routes at appointed hours, making waiting for the bus a much more pleasant experience. These buses are also carefully tracked by a monitoring system to ensure that they do not fall off schedule, making rushing for appointments or meetings all the more easier, and cost-effective for the city as a whole.
Taxis are another easier albeit more expensive option, allowing you to travel in and around the city and go almost anywhere. The only downside to this is that you can be charged from anywhere as low as P60 or P70 to ashigh as P130. Regardless, most taxi drivers are fairly knowledgeable about the area, and, like most Filipinos, are best known for their hospitality. Most will be more than willing to point out the best sights around Cebu for no extra charge and may even engage you in friendly conversation as they drive. Most tend to charge higher if they are aware that you are a tourist though, so always keep an eye on the taxi meter and pay only what you owe.
Perhaps the best and most aesthetic public utility found not only in Cebu, but in almost all parts of the Philippines, are jeepneys. Beginning as an American means of military transport during the World War, most jeepneys today now sport colorful aesthetic designs and are also one of the most popular means of transport. Most jeepneys typically go through important routes from the South Bus Terminal to Colon, or Lahug or Ayala to Gudalupe, and can cost as low as P6 a ride. Taking jeepneys can become confusing however, particularly because street names can sometimes change, although jeepney drivers are aware of both old and new names. It is always a safe bet to familiarize yourself with where you want to go and plan the route before actually taking a jeepney, or bring along a friend or guide with more experience.
You can also make use of the more specialized pedi-cabs – bicycles or motorcycles with a covered passenger seat. These pedicabs do not always go as far as a typical jeepney would, but they tend to go through small routes that jeepneys normally wouldn’t, and charges roughly the same as a jeepney ride.
Cebus is always an excellent place to spend your holidays, or even take up residence, but it is important to consider ways by which you can travel around and enjoy the sights, to maximize your sightseeing pleasure.