If you’ve searched for things to do in Cebu, chances are that any other lists you would have come across would leave you wanting more – the common things to do being visiting Magellan’s Cross, Canonyeering, whale watching and the most ridiculous of them all is to visit a mall. If you’re one for true adventure and really immersing yourself in the local lifestyle and culture then we’ve prepared just the list for you. And it’s highly unlikely that you will  find any of the experiences we’ve mentioned in the list below.

1. Learn to make a Ukelele with Master Craftsmen

Since the time of the Spaniards, Cebuanos have always had a penchant for making world class guitars and ukeleles, and this tradition carries on to this day. So if you’re a ukelele enthusiast then imagine working alongside three generations of ukelele and guitar makers in the same workshop where they craft special orders from guitar maestros from all over the world. Not only do you have full access to the workshop of these masters but you’ll have made a ukelele at the end of it to call your own too. So sign up for this ukelele making class in Cebu! 🙂


2. Cooking class in a Filipino Slum

If you’ve already been to the Philippines then you will know that poverty is ubiquitous and the those in the lower strata of society have negligible social mobility. Most of the big offices and condominiums house less than 10% of the population with a majority of them living in slums/shanty towns, and it is in these slums that you will find the heart and soul of the Filipino people. Despite the tough living conditions these settlements are brimming with life. In once such settlement near the Taoist temple in Lahug lives Kuya Eddy, who runs a small carinderia (canteen) where he cooks up and serves delicious food to those living in his neighbourhood, and in the afternoon his kitchen also turns into a cooking class of Filipino food and he’s been teaching travellers from all over the world to cook signature Filipino food in Cebu like the Adobo, Lumpia and the Buco Pandan.

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3. Traditional Filipino Dance Class

If you thought Filipinos only loved to sing on Karaoke, then you don’t know them well enough. :p In addition to a national obsession to singing on Karaoke machines, Filipinos share the same passion when it comes to dancing too. In fact, Filipinos also hold the Guiness record for the worlds largest dance class with close to 2,300 participants in Cebu City. But to get a better idea of the dancing heritage of the Filipinos it’s best to take a dancing lesson from a professional and learn a few moves from the various dancing techniques like Parinosa and Pandanggo.

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4. Street Food tour of Colon and Carbon

Cebu city is the oldest city in the Philippines and also where the Spanish first landed under the leadership of Magellan – the site of Magellan’s cross in the heart of the city is testament to the city’s colonial heritage. Despite the heat, the city comes alive in the streets of Colon and Carbon where numerous markets selling everything from household appliances, live seafood to fresh vegetable produce. And you can be rest assured that any location with a high concentration of locals is bound to also have amazing street food vendors – the best way to experience this is through the only guided street food tour in Cebu. If you’re short on time and cannot decide among all the things to do in Cebu city then this tour should probably take precedence. 🙂

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5. Filipino Martial Arts: Yaw Yan

Also often called Filipino kickboxing, Yaw Yan isn’t as popular as Arnis/Eskrima, but it packs just as deadly a punch as any other martial art. And while there are a handful of gyms that teach this native marital arts, there are many who pursue to master it’s skills – particularly those in the Filipino Armed Forces and the Police Force. Master Ekin has been running his gym in Carbon for more than 10 years now and he offers anything from 2 hour trial classes to several month long masterclasses for those who are more serious about the art. If you’d like to try your hand then you too can sign up for a short Yaw Yan class in Cebu with Master Ekin.

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Backstreet Editorial Team

We're a clumsy bunch of foodies, techies and travellers. We rock out to the tunes of Rick Ross, and Flamenco on weekends for fun.