Living in Cebu – Pros & Cons

Living in CebuMy first time in Cebu I absolutely hated it.  I just had an unlucky first week and it made me hate the city.  I had come from Angeles City and thought the traffic in Cebu was terrible.

I thought everything was too far apart and you wasted to much time getting from one place to another.  Just everything went wrong and I vowed to never come back.

I’m glad I broke that vow because now it is one of my favorite cities in the world.  The traffic is nowhere near as bad as I thought, could get around on a scooter if I wanted to, and things really aren’t that far apart.

All I needed to do was go clear my head and come back with an open mind, and then I found out I really liked it.

It just felt a lot different to Angeles where I could get around by walking.

Pros of Living in Cebu

My favorite part of Cebu has to be the Ayala Center Mall and IT Park.  These are as nice of places as anywhere I have been in Asia.  Sure you could say that parts of Makati and Greenbelt are just as nice, but they are so overcrowded that it takes them down a notch.  When you are in Ayala or IT park you feel like you are back in the western world.

There are lots of good restaurants to choose from in both and they just have a great ambiance.  I am not a big fan of hanging out in public places but both of them are nice places to chill.

possible 7.5/10? Overlooking Ayala Mall #Cebu

A photo posted by Dante (@kick2dante) on

Cebu is actually very easy to navigate once you get the hang of it.  It didn’t take me long to learn most of the jeepney routes and you can get all around the city for so cheap.  Taxis are pretty cheap too but jeeps are almost free.  Good luck being in Manila and asking a girl to take a jeepney to your place, if she isn’t from that area she will have no clue how to get there.  But living in Cebu you can give her simple and easy directions that she can follow to get to you.

It is just a very laid back city despite its big size.  Certain places have some hustle and bustle to them but overall it has a very laid back feel and that is what I like.  The people are very friendly and it is not hard at all to make new friends.  There are some tourists here but not nearly as many as you will find in some other major Asian cities.

Because of the lack of westerners the girls who like them are starved for attention, so they all go online to the dating sites. I’ve had more success on dating sites like in Cebu than any other city.

Cons of living in Cebu

The worst part about Cebu is probably that the internet is awful.  Don’t show up at a hotel here expecting to use their wifi to do anything important, odds are that isn’t gonna happen.  Also don’t expect to use any 3g or 4g unless you somehow luck your way into being in the right area.  This makes it a hard place for a digital nomad to enjoy, but when there is a will there is a way.

It is pretty amazing that the city can be located on the water yet there is no good beach anywhere close.  I really don’t even understand how that is possible, but I guess it is the same way in Manila.  It seems that you have to travel at least a couple hours to find any semblance of a good beach, and who wants to travel two hours there and two hours back just for a day?

Bohol is near enough for a weekend trip I suppose, and so is Camotes, but I am not the type of person that wants to put in long hours of travel just for a weekend.

As much as I like the Ayala Center and IT Park outside of those two places there really isn’t much character to this city.  There are some things to do like adventure parks and Mango Square for nightlife, but it just seems like there should be more here.  And it seems like 90% of the good restaurants in the city are at Ayala Center and IT park.  I get almost all of my meals from them.

The last one is more of a Philippines thing then a Cebu thing but the price for apartments and hotels is way too high, particularly if you want to be near the center of the city.  You would get twice the value anywhere in Thailand as you will get in Cebu or most anywhere in Phils.

Overall Cebu is great place, but I think it is a much better place to live then it is to take a vacation to.  I know many people who have come for a week and not really liked it, but I bet if they moved here after a month they would love living in Cebu. Question is will they ever come back?

There’s an entire forum devoted to living in Cebu, check it out here. For pubs and clubs info I’m not the best person to ask but checkout this Philippines Nightlife forum I post on.

21 Responses

  1. jspill jspill says:

    try a fixed PLDT broadband line when u were there?

    • james says:

      Avoid Cebu at all costs. I stayed at The Shangri La, which is a great hotel but every evening that I went in to town I got the distinct impression that it was closed. You have absolutely no chance of finding a girl there. I returned to Manila as soon as I had tried most of the treatments at the spa in my hotel. Do yourself a favour guys. Greenbelt, Makati or the Hard Rock are the only places worth going to now that the excellent Embassy Club is no more.

      • kick2dante kick2dante says:

        did you know where to go? cuz mango never looks closed

        as ive said many times cebu isnt a good place for a vacation, go to and check out their cebu threads, 80% (or more) of the people who take a vacation to cebu dont like it, and i hated it my first time

        but im glad i gave it another shot because its a great place to live and i cant wait to go back

  2. Skins says:

    Thanks for the info. A lot of people say Cebu is the best city to live in the Philippines and I’ll definitely be visiting. Is there any city similar to Cebu but has a beach? I’d like to be close to the beach but be around some action as well.

    • kick2dante kick2dante says:

      nope, cebu and manila are the “action” cities, big cities in phils have no beaches…… boracay has a lot of action as far as the p4p variety goes but its a tiny island

      • Skins says:

        Thanks for the fast response! I’ve heard good things about Puerto Galera, Subic Bay and Davao. Ever visit those places?

        • james says:

          Davao is so quiet it makes the ghost city of Cebu seem exciting. If you’re planning to go to Boracay, take a girl with you as you won’t find any there. Biggest problem with hot girls in Manila is that they invariably have a young child to look after. I formerly went dancing with three local babes at Havana, in Makati. Much later I found out that all three had kids, even the youngest one who was 16. I behaved impeccably and we all remain friends to this day,

  3. kick2dante kick2dante says:

    sorry for late reply i never saw this, i have heard good things about puerto galera but never been, subic kind of sucks but its only an hour from angeles so maybe worth checking out, i have not been to davao yet

    if you are just on a vacation (and wanting girls) i would spend most of your time in angeles, i love cebu after a month, but my first week there is always tough, its not as user friendly as angeles

  4. John says:

    I have been looking through all girls with photos on pinalove that live in cebu who have logged in up to 6 months ago… only found 2 girls that I think are maybe “somewhat beautiful” (aka decent/normal).. but still lack personality. I will take a look tomorrow at girls in manila but this was a really big let down seeing what the girls in cebu look like.

  5. kick2dante kick2dante says:

    are you expecting 10s and 9s?

    there are plenty of 7s and a few 8s on pinalove……. 9s are pretty much impossible to find anywhere in phils

  6. John says:

    I don’t use numbers to rate how beautiful someone is but for example the top pic in this blog post of the girl in yellow clothes.. not beautiful imho. Her cheeks are too big/round and flat nose and her eyes are a bit too extremely 3rd world asian type.. If you look in thaifriendly, for pretty much any city, there’s almost always at least one really beautiful girl in the first 2 pages but often more than that. and then lots of girls that might not be rated as “10s” but their personality(you can get a feeling for their personality from looking at their pictures) makes them compete with the girls who are more beautiful. But not even one girl in cebu has an interesting personality.. they all seemed so normal, mundane, as if they lived with their parents their whole life and never met other people or done any partying.

    • torres says:

      LOL the reason a lot of “girls” on thai dating sites look hot is because, well, they aren’t actually girls, they are heavily made up ladyboys who now how to take a good photo.

  7. kick2dante kick2dante says:

    everybody has different tastes in women, i find the pinays just as cute if not cuter than thais who i dont feel are that attractive

  8. jspill jspill says:

    I argue with Dante a bunch about this over email lol. I agree Thais are hotter, from what I read 90% of people feel the same. It’s the Chinese genetics giving them much better facial symmetry. Filipinas drew the short straw genetically vs to the rest of Asia. But I think they’re the best in bed, have quite playful personalities (you can’t tell that from a pic), and speak English of course. So I don’t mind them not being particularly pretty to look at.

  9. kick2dante kick2dante says:

    i’m more of a body person than a face person, filipinas have softer/curvier bodies

    i also dont really find thais faces that attractive……. but again every guy is different

  10. Skins says:

    Thai girls are beautiful but they need to chill out with the plastic surgery. I see so many girls on my line have changed their nose and I don’t like shit….

    I find Pinay girls very attractive but I recognize their aren’t that beautiful in the “classic” sense. You know, most guys like slim girls with long legs.

    I’m not that picky. I fuck A LOT of very average girls from the dating sites and I enjoy every minute of it.

  11. kick2dante kick2dante says:

    well a bunch of average girls means phils is right up your alley

    basically never see plastic surgery in phils outside of a few ladyboys

  12. Skins says:

    So does every place in the Phils suck? Based on my research

    Manila = Polluted shit hole
    Cebu = Becoming more like Manila with crime beggars etc.
    Angeles = Dump full of hookers
    Davao = Boring and you might get kidnapped
    Boracay = Over priced, no girls?

    Hard to zero in the “the place” to be out there. I guess Cebu is the best place to start?

  13. kick2dante kick2dante says:

    i never saw the cebu becoming like manila comparison at all, crime and beggars are no more of an issue there than any other third world city

    angeles is underrated

  14. Mickey says:

    Mango is shit…J Ave is definitely closed the rest looked crap. only went into ultra stayed 3 mins terrible went upstairs try another place don’t know the name but it looked just as bad so didn’t enter…went home.
    The clubs here like octagon is shit full of Koreans girl wouldn’t hardly talk to me and I’m a decent looking 35 year old I can only assume because I wasn’t Jap n Korean…..had great luck in Manila and AC getting quite a few freebies from hooker bars like LA Cafe n Hiso.
    Liv super club full of LB annoying I don’t have problem with them but they keep stalking you how can you talk to normal girls. few FL up the back but gave nothing why try hard to pick up hookers? I don’t understand.
    Pinalove so flakey but probably 1 I wasn’t staying that long here so hard to set up dates and 2 they seem chat with you and when you suggest meet the say sure but never do lol
    going to try some bikini bars tonight.
    I meet girl on tinder ask to meet her she was a Ayala mall so went there to TGI Fridays she looked like her photos and was super upfront and honest about loving sex blah blah asked for 3000 I thought she said 2 so I said ok deal 2000 and if you’re as good as you say I’d give you tip she said no 3000 normally I asked 5000 but cos you’re “hansum” I give you discount at this point I was over it and I had good feeling she’d be good and she was so I gave her 4000 as stayed the night and she let me raw dog here which she wasn’t keen on. lol
    # skins. I have just been to all those places and agree fully with you.
    I wouldn’t come back to Phils for mongering only Thailand is way better in IMO and all the factors of food and Accommodation I think the prices end up being the same only difference is the quality of everything in Thailand is better.

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