Cebu might look small on the map but it composes of 9 cities, 44 municipalities and has total population of over 2.6 million. Each of these cities and municipalities have their own delicacies and specialty restaurants. These are the nine cities in Cebu island, three of which are independent cities (Cebu City, Mandaue City and Lapu-lapu City):
1. Bogo City
It became officially a city in 2007 with a total population of 82, 327 and 18, 295 households. A good 4-hour bus ride from Cebu City to the north of Cebu will take you to this peaceful, corn field surrounded city. Pintos is the town’s delicacy, made from ground corn and wrapped in corn husk. This food is being peddled in bus stops but best if you get it in the city itself. The town’s festival is also called after this food.
Though Bogo is a city but it is still trying to prove its way to stardom. Aside from the resorts around the city that offers food in their restaurant and cafe, you can also find considerably great food around the area. The strongest fastfood restaurant in the Philippines, Jollibee, has a branch here. Seaside barbecue is really something to check out when visiting this city. Tambayan Restaurant where the expats normally hang out, and might want to prove your singing prowess in Yanie KTV and Restaurant. Craving for pizza? Check out Alberto’s Pizza and more grilled food in Mang Inasal.
2. Carcar City
Founded in 1599 and became city in 2007, Carcar City is the home of ‘chicharon’ or crispy pork skin and ampaw ‘rice crispy’. It is also famous for its shoe maker shops, where you can find the largest shoe in the country. Not to mention the old houses around the city.
Carcar is also the best place to get some grub when traveling south of Cebu. Though there are not quite a lot of fancy restaurants but there are some good small local restaurants around like the Acacia Grill & Restaurant. Or, you might want to swing by Jollibee or Chowking in their Gaisano Shopping Mall.
3. Naga City
Their modern-style baywalk park and old church is something should not miss. This six-year old city is home to a large power station and other industries. Informally called itself as the ‘Industrial City’.
Food-hunters and food-trippers would definitely love this city. The makeshift grill restaurants at the baywalk is worth a try at night while enjoying the music somewhere around the corner. Need a wifi for quick Facebook update? You might want to check Red Platter’s Laing and Kare-kare Restaurant. Or, have the appetite for deep fried? Try Bob Marlin’s Crispy Pata restaurant.
4. Toledo City
With 38 barangays (villages) and one of the oldest city in Cebu, this third class city is home for centuries old pueblos and baluarte (bulwark). The most recent canonization of the Cebuano saint, the hilltop parish in Cantabacao village became the first shrine and church of Saint Pedro Calungsod.
Aside from the fast food restaurants like Jollibee, Mang Inasal and Albertos Pizza, you can get decent food in Kawayan Grill Restobar or at the Hilltop Restaurant, which is actually very refreshing especially at night. The Ranch Resort offers varieties of food from breakfast to midnight snack at their restaurant.
5. Danao City
An hour trip to the leader of gun industry in the country is quite relaxing because you will traverse the beaches up north. Home of the Japanese electronic manufacturing company, Mitsumi, and an easy pick for the adventurers, Danasan Eco-Adventure Park.
At night, the park and the baywalk is packed with barbecue sellers and ready-to-eat food at very affordable price. But if you have some more spare pesos, you might want to check out the resorts like Danao Coco Palms, Intosan Resort and many others for their voluptuous food at their restaurant. Oh, World.net & Restaurant offers great food too!
6. Mandaue City
A highly urbanized city in the island and known for its manufacturing industries. Mandaue and Mactan are connected through Mactan-Mandaue Bridge and Marcelo Fernan Bridge. I always connect Mandaue with San Miguel (Beer). It is where their Cebu plant is located.
The best and original ‘bingka’, steamed rice cake with coconut and sometimes egg, is the city’s delicacy. Mandaue is favorite destination for bar hoppers and disco lovers. Overtime, restaurants started sprouting in this city. You can find different cuisines from Filipino, American, Japanese, Korean, etc. The all time favorite Filipino grill restaurant, Matias and Japanese restaurant, Nonki, are found in Mandaue. It is also home for the Cebu Boneless Lechon Belly, roasted pork. Hmm!
7. Lapu-lapu City
This is the first city you will step on once you get out of the plane. The city that is surrounded with beautiful white beaches, and the hometown of Cebuano hero, Lapu-lapu. It is where the Cebu international airport located and hundred of beach resorts.
As expected, this city offers quite a lot of seafood restaurants but the best is the Sutukil Seafood Market Restaurant. The top class resorts such as Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa, Plantation Bay Resort and Spa, Mövenpick Hotel and Resort and a lot more offer exceptionally great food in their restaurants.
8. Talisay City
This city is always coined with ‘lechon’, roasted pork. Though many tries to steal the title from them but undeniably, this city has the best lechon in the country. Inasal Festival or lechon festival is held every 15th of October.
Oddly enough, this second class city does not have a lot of options in dining. Aside from the fast food restaurants and lechon stalls, this city is just less than hour away from Cebu City, where you can find great food in different restaurants.
9. Cebu City
The capital city of the Metro Cebu and the second largest city in the country. The home of about 80% domestic shipping companies. The oldest city in the Philippines, and obviously, the haven of food-lovers and beach bummers alike.
Name the food you want and this city has it. Restaurants are just within your reach or a simple tap of your finger, the food from your favorite restaurant is just right at your doorstep. Before leaving town, you might want to take with you a box of dried mangoes and Otap, oval-shaped puff pastry. Lami!