First time in Cebu? A ‘survival’ guide to urban safety, fun

First time in Cebu? A ‘survival’ guide to urban safety, fun

Tyrashelvy Villamil, Silliman University Intern / Writer

Holding the title of the oldest city and the first capital of the Philippines, Cebu City has grown exponentially — comparing closely to the urbanness of Manila. The streets of Cebu, the maze-like roads and the buildings that tower over you like gentle giants; these elements all mixed together can be a daunting experience for a person who’s lived in the more rural areas of the country.

As Cebu welcomes its dear, gentle travelers, a guide is a must to ensure safety and survival amid the wonders the island has to offer.

Safety and survival

Clutch your pearls: One of the most common warnings native Cebuanos say to the young ones is to “hide your jewelry!” While many view the Queen City of the South as a place where dreams are made, danger is still inevitable. With spark comes fire — so with big cities, danger sure does lurk in corners. And thieves! So make sure to hide those sparkly things when commuting so you don’t put a glistening target on your forehead.

Crosswalks are not (always) your friend: With the influx of private vehicles and public transportation, coupled with a rising population, speeding vehicles is something you should look out for. While crosswalks are designed for safe civilian hikes across wide roads, it is best to keep an eye out for incoming vehicles.

Always have backups: Backup routes on the way home, backup contacts with friends or loved ones in case of emergency or even backup supplies (things that can fit in your bag when going out). Having backups is essential to survive outside of your home or hotel, especially if it’s your first time in a big city.

Learn how to budget: Studded with places to eat, spend and enjoy, Cebu will surely drain your wallet (if not spent correctly). Learn to eat in carinderias, take public transportation and sort your money smartly.

A map will come in handy: Call yourself Dora from now on because online maps will be your saving grace! For a novice, Cebu can be quite a maze. To keep yourself aware of where you are, always keep your phone charged, buy yourself some data and make sure that Google maps is installed.

Fun things to do

Visit the malls: There are more or less 20 malls and shopping centers in Cebu City. Boasting its own selection of notable malls from SM City Cebu to AyalaMalls Central Bloc, it almost becomes impossible to feel boredom in this city!

Be one with nature: The malls and skyscrapers aren’t the only good things in Cebu. With one good look around SM Seaside City Cebu, you’ll see the gorgeous mountains on one side, and the glistening sea on the other. To witness the scenic beauty of the Cebuano mountains and dive in its crystal waters is a peak Cebuano experience.

Explore the markets: There is no shortage of markets in Cebu. From night markets like Carbon, to thrifting in ukay-ukay shops, everyone has a place they can enjoy. With a rich and diverse mix of individuals, everyone can find their own little community.

Dare to explore: Cebu is indeed a scary place. But the only way for growth is to not be afraid and dare to explore what the city has to offer. By letting go of your fears, then can you truly feel the exhilaration of being alive.

Cebu is no different from every other city in the world. Every big city is overwhelming, and larger cities also exist; a haven of better opportunities, dreams more within arms length through the towering skyscrapers that stand proudly.

Through the timeless words of our elders, “amping kanunay” must be ingrained in each person as they travel through the Queen City of the South. To be informed is power, and the knowledge to keep oneself safe through the wonders of it all is a force that must be protected.


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