Living In Cebu Philippines

Cebu may be the best place to choose if one is thinking of living in the Philippines,  you consider living in Cebu.

Cebu City has a large expat community because living in Cebu is a good choice. Cebu offers many of the modern conveniences of Manila with a reduction in the problems associated with Manila. Cebu also provides some of the nicest beaches and resorts in all of the Philippines.

Living In Cebu

Living in Cebu — Area in Red Indicates Location of Cebu

Cebu City has one of the largest malls in the world.  SM Mall is massive and will provide you with a huge array of shopping needs. There are other smaller malls such as Robinson’s and Ayala. Ayala caters to the upscale and to foreigners living in Cebu.

I still prefer the smaller shops myself. Malls are expensive and that holds true for those of us living in Cebu. I remember the first time I went there, I kept saying “Isn’t there someplace cheaper we can go?” But SM mall is very nice, posh in areas and you can buy most anything there. They also have ten movie theaters and a modern bowling ally. For the kids, there is an assortment of toy stores but the big attraction for this kids the mini amusement park hey have built within the mall. It includes a variety of kiddie rides including bumper cars.

SM Mall also includes many of the Western fast food shops that you might be missing.  Those include Star Bucks, Pizza Hut, McDonald’s and even Kentucky Friend Chicken.

Cost Of Living In Cebu

The cost of living in Cebu is substantially less than that of Manila. Rents are where you’ll save the most but also if you hire a maid you will save. The cost of transportation is also less for those who live in Cebu. Traffic can be bad in Cebu, especially just north of the city proper. Mandaue often presents horrid traffic, especially during rush hour. The long waits in traffic can be hot if you’re in a jeepney and the delays can drive up taxi rates which is the most likely way for an expat living in Cebu to travel.

Food will be a bit less expensive for those living in Cebu as opposed to Manila but that will not be a major factor. If you eat at home or choose the Filipino restaurants you will save a bundle. Though you’ll spend more if you also buy your groceries in the malls. I’ve seen some prices for chicken for example that are four times what I pay.  However, I don’t live in Cebu City. I’m living in Cebu but I’m 80 miles from Cebu City.

Pollution in Cebu

Cebu City is polluted but nothing like that of Manila. Still, it is significant. There is an obvious haze over the city. Even outside the city one can see the haze of pollution if you look to the mountains.

Still Cebu City is a beautiful place to me. Look past the poverty, look how it is nestled in by the mountains to the west of the city and the sea to the east. From the air, Cebu City is stunning to look at.

Things to Do In Cebu

Those of us living in Cebu have no shortage of things to do.  The list of things to do is simply too long to include them all.  Here are a few:

  • Take Diving Lesson — several places to do that, including in Metro Cebu City.
  • Learn to Fly — and do it for a lot less than you can in the West. Flight lessons can be found in Metro Cebu City
  • Basilica del Santo — Historic church in the heart of Cebu City
  • Magellan’s Cross — There is a shrine said to hold Magellan’s sword within a cross in Cebu City
  • Fort San Pedro — Oldest fort in the Philippines
  • Colon Street — Oldest Street in the Philippines.  Be careful of picket pockets here.
  • Cebu Taoist Temple — Taoist temple atop a mountain in Cebu City
  • Crocolandia — In Talisay City
  • Tops in Busay, Cebu — Grand view of Cebu City and even into Bohol Province
  • Skywalk and Edge Coaster — Get a thrill on top of a Cebu City skyscraper
  • Bantayan Island — So far my favorite place on earth.
  • Waterfalls in Cebu — Visit waterfalls out in the province of Cebu.
  • Sinulog — Said to be the mother of all parties.

Some of these things I’ve seen. Some  I have not yet had the pleasure of seeing in person.  Those are on my to do list. The downside of living out in the province is the major attractions of Cebu City itself are a 2 and a half hour bus ride for me. Check out this updated list of things to do in Cebu.

Living in Cebu And Medical Providers

Cebu City has some of the best medical facilities in the Philippines. There is the low cost public hospital but there are also two highly regarded private hospitals for those that live in Cebu City.  Chong Hu and Cebu Doctors University Hospital. It is true, that Manila has even more choices but Cebu will have more than other major locations such as Davao City in Mindanao.

Crime In Cebu

Yes, there is crime in Cebu but there was far more crime in Memphis, Tn or even Jackson, Ms. The crime rate in Manila is significantly higher as is the threat of terrorism. Cebu has fewer terrorist incidents that many places in the Philippines. Safety is an important factor as to why there are so many expats living in Cebu.

Living in Cebu does not provide all the opportunities that living in the Manila area does but it providesCebu less pollution and less traffic too.  Cebu does this while also providing a lower cost of living than you will find in many areas of the Philippines.  One advantage of Davao is that the cost of living is generally even lower there but you’ll loose a few modern conveniences.  Those of us living in Cebu have more options for air travel, more direct flights to other parts of Cebu as well as international destinations.

If you’re thinking about living in Cebu or other parts of the Philippines you may find the Basic Expat Training Manual to be of value.

For an updated list of things to see in Cebu check out this post. It contains links to articles about the places that I have visited too.

There are other good places for expats to settle in the Philippines but living in Cebu does warrant serious consideration.