6 Amazing Reasons to Go Back to Cebu

The Queen City has put her crown back on, bouncing back from the pandemic with new energy, and lots of new experiences to soak up

Just in time for Cebu’s 2022 reopening, new South Road Properties developments and the opening of the Cebu–Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX), among others, have transformed the city’s “must see” list. There will always be Magellan’s Cross and sunset at Tops – but these classics have been joined by a few fun new attractions.

From coffee in the hills to courting Lady Luck, check out what new diversions are waiting for you on your next trip to Cebu.

1. Upscale Filipino cuisine at Fina

What’s Filipino food like at the top of its game? The NUSTAR Resort and Casino’s signature Filipino restaurant, Fina, offers a tantalizing taste. Sitting amid tropical plant artwork and solihiya and fabric finishes, Fina guests can sample chef Martin Rebolledo’s premium take on favorites like kinilaw na tanigue; crispy pata; kare-kare; and a selection of “silogs” with ingredients like Angus beef tapa and chorizo de Cebu.

Upscale Filipino cuisine at FINA, newly opened at NUSTAR Resort and Casino

2. The Instagrammable new CCLEX bridge

The new Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX) is more than just the newest link between Mactan Island and Cebu City. It’s Cebu’s splashiest new Instagram backdrop, with a bigger social media presence than an influencer. The bridge’s central section spans the Cebu Strait, its two 145m-tall towers creating a striking profile against the horizon. For a CCLEX-fie of your own, visit the SRP Bay Walk; remember to schedule your shoot for either sunrise or sunset to catch the best light. And if you come back in 2023, the Skydeck at the NUSTAR Resort and Casino will open up a gorgeous new viewpoint for CCLEX-watching, with 180-degree views of Mactan and Cebu.

CCLEX bridge in Cebu
The stunning new Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX) is the tallest and longest bridge in the Philippines. Photo: Canva

3. Fili Hotel, the first five-star Filipino hospitality brand

Filipino craftsmanship and care is all part of the experience when you check into Fili Hotel, a luxury hotel brand attached to the NUSTAR Resort and Casino. Pride in our culture and heritage translates to the friendliness, attentiveness and efficiency you experience from the staff. You’ll also find authentic Pinoy culture at work in the luxuriously-appointed rooms and suites, outfitted with modern Filipino décor; and the familiar favorites on the menu at the Fili Lobby Lounge and Fili Cafe.

Attached to NUSTAR Resort and Casino, Fili Hotel features Filipino accents and hospitality

4. Coffee with a view from the heights of Balamban

About an hour’s drive west from Cebu City, the town of Balamban in Cebu’s central highlands offers a cool, green contrast from the humid confines of the metro. As you ride along the TransCentral Highway that connects the city to Balamban, you’ll find a collection of quaint boutique cafes that serve up hot coffee with a side order of gorgeous mountain views. These include Charlie’s Cup, a rustic-style establishment overlooking rolling hills; and Adventure Cafe, where diners can also go ziplining, wall-climbing and rappelling on-site. Pair your Balamban trip with a visit to the area’s flower gardens, including Sirao Pictorial Garden and the Buwakan ni Alejandra.

Sirao Pictorial Garden
Sirao Pictorial Garden in Balamban, in the Cebu highlands. Photo: Canva

5. Indulgent dinner at Cebu’s first Italian steakhouse

Classy Italian-country fare is the order of the day at Il Primo, Cebu’s first and only Italian steakhouse. The ultra-premium steak cuts served here do not disappoint, whether you’re ordering the braised Angus short ribs with marble potatoes and chianti sauce; or going all out to order the Japanese wagyu. The secret is in Il Primo’s Josper grill, a specialized grill/oven hybrid that produces the best outcomes from both cooking methods. Pair your beefy dinner with a glass from the restaurant’s selection of Italian wines.

Bar and open kitchen at Il Primo, Cebu's first Italian steakhouse
The newly opened Il Primo is the first Italian steakhouse in Cebu

6. Luxury gaming at NUSTAR Resort and Casino

Feeling lucky? Then take your chances at the Philippines’ largest gaming floor outside Metro Manila. The NUSTAR Resort and Casino features over 21,000 sq.m. of gross playable area, with more than enough space for hundreds of slot machines and gaming tables for roulette, poker, baccarat, and sic bo. The casino also deploys state-of-the-art gaming cabinets with spectacular displays. If you’re in the mood to court Lady Luck, there’s something for you here, whether you’re an old-school punter or an e-gaming aficionado.

NUSTAR Resort and Casino

In partnership with UHRI

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