Who wouldn’t love to visit these places and live the life of a wanderlust? Whether it’s the gigantic Dutch windmills in Netherlands, the highly structured Greek architecture, or the festive Chinese dragon figures that you’re after, Cebu has your back! (I don’t want to state the obvious here but..) Cebu, one of the 7,641 islands in the Philippines, is known for its beaches, diving spots, and mountain ranges but it’s not only that! With the selection of tourists spots around Cebu City (some of them just recently opened), anyone can also enjoy even without going far from the heart of the city.
You might (or might not) heard of them yet but you can also find a taste of Amsterdam, Greece, and China here. So if you happen to be in Cebu for a day or two, ditch your passports for now and brace yourself for a multi-national tour without leaving Cebu.
Disclaimer: Sharing this experience during my a friend’s visit in Cebu last August. We had the tour on August 22, 2017, and the prices that I’m about to mention are based on how much was asked of us. Not sure if this is the cheapest since I also didn’t try to haggle. So as a piece of advice, try to read other blogs and compare the prices so you’ll have an estimate for your trip. 🙂
Starting point: JY Square Mall
Located in Salinas Drive, Cebu City, this is where most people start whether they want to go trekking in Mt. Kan-Irag or find various activities to escape the hustle of the city life.
How to get there?
The easiest and most convenient option is to take an Uber/Grab from wherever you are staying. But as we all know, it’s not that pocket-friendly so here’s a guide for those who want to take a jeepney.
Then from JY Square, you will easily find motorcycle drivers who are willing to take you to your destination. However, be careful since some of them will overprice so be sure that you have an idea how much people usually pay for a ride. If it’s twice or more than the expected rate, consider other drivers. Try haggling too! We paid ₱800 in total for the three stops. Entrance fees not yet included though.
Little Amsterdam – Sirao Flower Garden
The driver told us that a ride from JY Square to Sirao Garden usually costs 100 pesos (one way).
So somewhere in the vast fields of Sirao, a replica of one of the popular tourist attractions in Europe is located. The hype is over for this beautiful garden but many tourists (most especially from other provinces) are still visiting Sirao Flower Garden. You can find windmills, clogs, and several flowers inside. At the far end of the garden is a cafe where you can choose to relax and enjoy the “Amsterdam vibes” of the place.
When is the perfect time to go?
Weekends and holidays are expected to be packed with tourists and visitors. We intentionally went there on a weekday (when people are busy at work or cramming in school.. HAHA!) to avoid photo bombers and we successfully took decent shots in the garden. YEY! I believe we were also a bit early (around 1 pm) because when we left at around 2, a bunch of people started to arrive.
There is also a perfect season to visit the garden where you can enjoy the blooming flowers. In our case, the flowers were already harvested (according to our driver) so the place is a bit empty.
How much is the entrance fee? ₱30.00
They also have Dutch costumes for rent if you want to make the most out of your faux Dutch experience in Sirao Garden. Dimitar and I didn’t try it though.
The awkward part is that I took my guest, who is currently living and studying in The Netherlands, to Cebu’s Little Amsterdam. HAHA! I didn’t tell him beforehand because I’m not sure what his reaction will be. Hopefully it gave him a taste of home.
Little Greece – Temple of Leah
Construction is still ongoing for this fancy attraction but a lot of tourists/visitors are already visiting it because.. why not? I guess people just can’t keep their hands (and eyes) off the intricate columns and ornaments in this new tourist attraction in Cebu. More to that, a lot of people are also in awe of the reason why this temple was constructed in the first place. So what ya say hopeless romantics?
Note: This is already my second time in Temple of Leah and there were already a lot of improvements from the first time I was here.
When is the perfect time to go?
Same advice. Same obvious advice, rather. Avoid weekends and holidays as much as possible. Even on a weekday, there were also a lot of people visiting Temple of Leah but unlike weekends, it still leaves a spacious room for breathing and of course, an instagrammable shot!
How much is the entrance fee? ₱ 50.00
Chinatown – Cebu Taoist Temple
This one is not a replica or an attempt to recreate a Chinese-inspired tourist spot. Cebu Taoist Temple is actually a place of worship for Taoists and even hailed as the center of Taoism in Cebu. Knowing the size of the Chinese community in Cebu, this is no longer a surprise. On the other hand, this is also one of the most popular tourist attractions since the Taoist Temple welcomes the public too! In return, visitors are expected to follow and respect the rules of the temple such as not taking photos of the altars.
When is the perfect time to go?
I cannot compare between weekends and weekdays since the last time that I’ve been here was when I was still in grade school. (Yes! During one of those school field trips as far as I can remember) But when we went there, there were a lot of people and most of them are Chinese (obviously) that I started to doubt if non-Taoists can really visit. When we went in, I saw some tourists looking around and a group of people conducting a photoshoot.
How much is the entrance fee? It’s for FREE!
Yes! It is for free so make sure that when you visit, you maintain the peace and order of the place. Tourists are allowed to take as much pictures as they can as long as they avoid the altars.
So there you have it, folks! We finished all three locations before 4:30pm. The motorcycle driver offered to take us to West35 in Balamban (which is just a 45-minute ride from Sirao Garden, according to him) for an additional price but we declined. Not only our pockets were ambushed from this offer but our bodies and #OOTDs as well. And to be honest, a long motorcycle ride is not that convenient most especially under the heat of the sun.
So what’s the verdict?
This is a nice idea if you want to take pictures, spend the day like a tourist and simply enjoy the view. But if you are expecting to do lots of activities and adventures, this might bore you out and can probably be a waste of money. #TBH
So.. how much did we spend all in all?
₱ 400.00 – Motorcycle ride package (Sirao Garden, Temple of Leah, and Taoist Temple)
₱ 30.00 – Sirao Garden entrance fee
₱ 50.00 – Temple of Leah entrance fee
₱ 480.00 – Total (per pax)
Have you been to any of these locations? How was your experience?