As the world becomes a smaller place, it needs to also become more welcoming. In this guide today, we will talk about how you can best explore Cebu City in the Philippines while enjoying their special variety of Mosques and Halal food. We hope to bring your needs and the Philippines together in harmony!
Cebu is a great place to enjoy in the Philippines, exploring the smorgasbord of nature in the form of waterfalls, hot springs, hikes and swimming (sometimes with Sharks!). There are so many attractions in Cebu you will be spoilt for choice, deciding where to adventure. We recommend getting up early your first day and heading down to Historical Colon street.
Day 1- Welcome to the Streets and Markets of Cebu
A trip to the oldest city wouldn’t be complete without a stroll down its oldest street, Colon Street. As an added bonus, the Al-Khairiah Mosque is located close by.
The star attraction is the nearby Taboan Market. At this unassuming public market, you will find all sorts of halal food options. You can expect to score danngit (dried fish), delectable dried mangos and mouth watering otap, a coconut based cookie. You can spend the rest of the day here wandering from one food stall to the next, getting the authentic taste of the Philippines.
Day 2- The Green Mosque and Budlaan Falls
The Green Mosque on Creek street is a must visit. Join the morning prayers here for a novel experience. The way Spanish colonial styles have mixed in with local culture has shaped the Mosques built in the Philippines to be unique. This will be a treat irresistible to the history buffs travelling out there!
Now to get in touch with Nature, near Cebu City there is a cool little waterfall trek up in the hills known as Budlaan Falls. The waterfall is pretty big.
If you find yourself getting hungry after trekking the falls, two restaurants nearby are known for their Halal cuisine-Ama’s Choice Halal Restaurant and Mhat-am Khape. They serve authentic Filipino dishes prepared to Halal standards.
Day 3- Inambakan Falls
Inambakan Falls is renown for its beautiful 100-ft high foamy white waterfall that plunges into a pool of glassy blue water. Surrounded by lush natural greens and framed by orange-tinted limestone cliffs, it is a breathtaking scene. Inambakan Falls adventure also includes a truly memorable multi-level trek to different pools and waterfalls.
Inambakan Falls is a good two to three-hour journey from Cebu City. This will be a full-day trip, but definitely it’s worth it.
Day 4- Osmena Peak
Osmena peak is the highest point in Cebu located in the municipality of Ginatilan. It consists of sharp peaks and rolling green hills, once again playing into the Philippines theme of beautiful contrasts. Ginatilan is a serene town with low temperatures and wonderful pine forests. It is a remote town inhabited mostly by vegetable farmers. You will even see the delightful Filipino children eagerly helping their families in farming. Here you’ll see vines crawling through homes and gardens, hear the roosters in a way welcoming you into the warm and cosy wooden houses.
Day 5- Terrazas de Flores and Tops Lookout
Our last 2 locations are located conveniently in the city to ensure you’re on time getting back to the airport, but are no less breathtaking.
Terrazas de Flores is a flower terrace botanical garden in Malubog, near Cebu City’s IT park. A Cebuano (a native tribe of Cebu) work of art, the garden was built by local farmers, using a signature technique of interlocking stones. According to legend, Terrazas de Flores was originally created by a man to express his love for his three children. Truly a labour of love, it took 8 years for completion. In total, 127 species of beautiful tropical flora, as well as all kinds of artistic works and events, can be found here.
Also in Malubog is Tops lookout. Tops Lookout is the best-kept secrets of the locals. There is no other spot in all Cebu City for great views like Tops Lookout, known colloquially as “Tops”. Tops is a modernist, fortress-style viewing deck. Fantastic views are seen of Cebu City, Mactan Island and even the coast of Bohol.
End your trip here with the background of the setting sun, enjoying the view of the beautiful land you’ve just explored.
Universal Islamic Center President Marilou Ampuan has long been pushing for more Halal certifiers in the country. President Ampuan sits on the Tourism Congress Philippines (TCP).
There are currently six private Filipino-owned halal certifiers in the country including the Islamic Dawa Council of the Philippines, Halal Development Institute of the Philippines, Mindanao Halal Authority, Muslim Mindanao Halal Certification Board, Halal International Chamber of Commerce, and Prime.
Cebu City, the oldest city in the Philippines and the original Capital City (prior to Manila City), has a variety of restaurants and hotels certified by these bodies. Moreover, it has a number of Mosques at convenient locations. Our itinerary focuses on seeing most of Cebu along with these.
Cebu is an international destination. Flights arrive daily from Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea. Arrival is at at the Mactan International Airport. There are two ways to get from the airport to the city center. These are-
- Bus– Official buses leave the airport approximately every 20 minutes. The fare is only 25 pesos (only slightly more than $1!). It is an 11 km route but may take up to 1 hour depending on traffic.
- Taxis– Taxis in Cebu can be split into yellow and white taxis. The yellow taxis are newer but have a 70 peso minimum fare compared to the white’s 40 pesos. In total, this option will cost you between 200 to 280 pesos ($10 to $15).
Where to stay:
Cebu City’s Department of Tourism (DOT) in 2015 identified a number of hotels and resorts in Cebu for the pilot implementation of a project that aims to make tourism establishments that are halal-certified. Initiatives like this have ensured you will have ample options including the following:
- Cebu Parklane Hotel- Contact: Tel. +63 32 234 7000
2. Crimson Resort and Spa- Contact: Tel. +63 32 401 9999
3. Marco Polo Hotel- Contact: Tel. (63 32) 253-1111
Fax. (63 32) 234-8170
4. Radisson Blu Cebu- Contact: Tel. +63 32 505 1700
These are some of the best locations we’ve from the original pilot project. The Marco Polo Hotel, in particular, is popular for the Best Buffet in Cebu, with a dedicated Halal section.
I hope this article was helpful. Happy & safe traveling!