If you've already been to the beaches of Mactan and just want to spend time in the city, then this is the list for you! Be it food or history, Cebu has a lot of culture for you to soak up. Find stops for your next summer destination among the ones suggested below.
1. CnT Lechon
Every Cebuano has his own favorite spot to get inasal for Sunday lunch with the family, but the vast majority will agree that no one does lechon quite like CnT. The best part is that they have a branch in the major malls, Ayala Center Cebu, and SM City Cebu. Just be sure to go for lunch, because it's common for them to run out of stock in the evening.
Maya is the sister of the oft-Instagrammed Abaca Baking Co. A Mexican restaurant and lounge, it's the perfect spot to cool down in the city. Its cozy interiors and dim lighting make it my go-to place to catch up with friends over mojitos and nachos. Oh, and they have a wall of painted skulls for the Instabaes out there.
3. Vault Board Game Cafe
The board game cafe wave hit Cebu last year, and it is definitely thriving. Vault offers a wide selection of games and has good food to boot. Servings are generous and the cover charge is entirely consumable, so you can munch (and play!) your entire afternoon away.
4. Busay and Rancho Cancio
Busay is probably now best known for the Temple of Leah and Tops, but locals know it's a good area for a drive if you just want to chill and enjoy the mountain air. You can even find vendors selling sweet corn, bibingka, flowers, and vegetables along the road. Go higher up to Adlaon and you'll find Rancho Cancio, a private rest house where you can connect with nature, swim in the infinity pool, take a ton of OOTDs, and zipline. It's ideal for big groups who want a place that's not the typical tourist destination.
5. Doming's Ngohiong
Deep in the residential baranggay of Guadalupe is a small house that has served ngohiong for the second half of 20th century. It's been around for so long that all our parents grew up with it, but it's hard to ascertain what year it actually first opened. Ngohiong is a Cebuano fried lumpia, filled with ubod, pork, and five-spice powder, and dipped in soy sauce, vinegar, and a special spicy sauce. Try the chicken, gizzard, and liver, too. Prito heaven! Be sure to go for lunch as they close at 1 p.m. Yes, business is ~that~ good!
6. La Fortuna Bakery
Cebu doesn't have a Chinatown, so you can find places scattered around the city where Chinese culture is mixed with local culture; La Fortuna is one of these places. My personal favorites are bilog (really dry but fragrant steamed cakes) and ampao (sweet puffed rice with a hollow center), but maci (pronounced ma-see; crushed-peanuts-and-sugar-filled mochi) is the clear IG crowd-pleaser.
7. Orange Brutus and MyJoy
If Manila has Tropical Hut, then Cebu has these two local fast food chains. Orange Brutus is known for its sizzling burger steak with egg and sizzling chicken, but I think its chori burger and palabok deserve just as much press. MyJoy, on the other hand, has a funny story behind its name. It used be McJoy, but rumor has it they had to change their name because of legal issues with McDonald's. They're known for their grilled pork belly, but I like their beef taco best.
8. Museo Sugbo
Local museums deserve attention, too! Museo Sugbo used to be a jail way back in the 1800s. Now it houses a comprehensive collection of artifacts from the colonial eras up until post-WWII. Oh, did we mention that its coral-stone architecture is the perfect backdrop for your token tourist shot?
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