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.

64 Responses

  1. 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 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 pi addicts forum 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 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 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. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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 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 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.

  15. Roger says:

    There is a pretty new night club called Octagon close to Mabolo and SM City. Went there on recommendation from a girl I knew before. I’m not into night clubs that much but a fresh, cool place. Lots of working girls and the male visitors are 99 percent Koreans and mostly students.

    Mango is dead, before they had several night clubs but now it looks like it’s only one open.

    By the way, GE Home is not to recommend. Old apartment and the WiFi sucked. Pretty good location though, close to both Ayala and SM and not long way from Mango. A safety box in the room is good. But no cleaning or change of bedlinen. I had to pay for everything. The twenty K I paid should be maximum 15.

    • Roger says:

      Will move to Lapu Lapu August 24. Less traffic and a bit less polluted anyway. Seems like renting is a bit less expensive there if you don’t stay in the exclusive resorts. The traffic is really bad in Cebu City centre.

      I had my share of flakey ladies, almost unbelievable. I have one reliable girl that visits me like every third day. Better than in my home country anyway. Good luck with the ladies

  16. Mikey Johnson says:

    Jesus Christ! Roger is right. I’m not even in Cebu yet and I already feel the flakiness and bitchiness. Any tips? I’m already spending an insane amount of money relocating but now I’m having some 2nd thoughts.

    • jspill says:

      Go to Angeles even if you don’t like p4p, Pampanga girls are really chill and non-bitchy ime and plenty work in normal jobs (restos / cafes etc.) Then inevitably you will p4p too (everyone says they won’t, then that changes once they get here) and conveniently you’ll be in Angeles already. And it’s the same distance from the beach as you would be living in Cebu City.

    • NormalNomad says:

      Some tips:

      If you’re in SEA, you’re value is 2-3x higher than what it was back home, period. You’re better looking, taller AND richer. Seriously, you are. Everything is relative and here, those things are relatively higher. Keep that in mind in ANY interaction with a girl.

      With that in mind, stop putting up with flakiness, bullshit, and games. You simply don’t have ANY reason to put up with it. Why? For pussy? Pussy is free here, it’s easy to come by. There’s 0 reason to put up with the crap you describe. For every girl who thinks she’s a princess, there are 3 more who would LOVE to cook, clean, and ride you. The more of us who call girls out on their shit and stop giving them attention, the fewer flakes and time wasters there will be.

      • Mikey Johnson says:

        I have to say after spending a little over a week here, I hate this city and country so much. I actually miss the US.

        Scummy flakey low-IQ girls that appear to be mainly semipros
        Locals who disrespect you and gather around you while you are eating
        Dickhead expat types

        I cannot find a single decent girl here to be with. I fucked up now because I signed a lease and now I have to see if I can get out of it. I should have done more research, like extensively. I’m hitting the dating sites as hard as I can and it’s easy to set up dates, but these bitches aren’t reliable in the least,.

        I’m feeling burned out, but I really see what Spiritmaze was talking about. I thought he was full of hot air. The older expats love it because they are shameless mongers, but I;m simply just looking for a gf so I can get work done online. A lot of scummy destitute types.

        I’d really like some actionable advice, so Cebu experts please help.

        • NormalNomad says:

          You’re right its a shithole, the girls here suck, leave while you can!

        • NormalNomad says:

          The one thing I can tell you is this:

          No matter WHERE you are in the Philippines, ASK A GIRL WHAT HER JOB IS!

          If she says anything other than an actual job OR that she’s completing her degree, RUN!

          Girls that don’t have jobs are either semi-pros, pros, or are just plain interested in partying with YOUR money. Guarantee it.

          Same thing goes for single moms. If a single mom is on a dating site, it’s because she’s looking for a sucker. In the USA, single moms are a source of easy pussy. In the phils, they’re a source of endless headache.

      • jspill says:

        They are talking about Cebu on RVF forum right now saying similar stuff, recent posts in the Philippines thread:

        “Cebu has never really been that good. Too many horny tourists, too many hard expat cocks, and relatively small “city” environment. Lots of poor people from all over the Visayas hustling in Cebu. Lots of money thrown around by said tourists. Cebuanas are fucking awful. Good for flings occasionally but horrible for anything else. It’s Malate on an island.”

        “Astoundingly overrated place to say the least. Really shitty locals too. Girls are unimpressive and bitchy. And for some reason my age is a nonstarter for a lot of them. I cannot wait to make my exit from this shithole. Think long and hard before you book a ticket here. This is what I get for trying to be cheap. I should have stayed in Manila tbh.”

        I haven’t been for a while, J Ave was still open last time I went, seems Cebu has really gone downhill. I met some great girls there in the past.

        You’ve only been there a week though, give it some more time. The Philippines seems like a shithole as soon as you arrive, many say that, then it grows on you.

  17. Mikey Johnson says:

    I got laid in Saigon my first night lol. And the women there like younger guys and don’t ask for anything. Cebuanas are good for nothing.

    • NormalNomad says:

      Damn right. Cebuanas, who needs them?

      • Mikey Johnson says:

        I’m just venting haha.

        • NormalNomad says:

          There are a lot of pros on certain sites…..

          But if you screen for the ones with jobs, avoid single moms, and avoid any girl who talks about how hard her life is and how she needs “help” or has trouble “paying tuition”, you’ll avoid 90% of them.

          Some will still slip through the cracks, but by then you’ll know what signs to look for to avoid them.

          • Mikey Johnson says:

            What’s the best site to use for Cebu for normal girls, NormalNomad? I’m currently using Asiandating and Tinder. I recently canned DIA bc of the pro problem.

            • NormalNomad says:

              Never even heard of AsianDating. Is it any good?

              Best advice on that I can offer is STAY AWAY from PinaLove. It’s about 50% pros at least.

              DIA I never had problems with. Only met one girl who was a pro from there, DIA is pretty good about banning anyone who violates their rules and they prohibit pros and begging, etc. That’s not to say there aren’t pros there, just that they don’t last long if they are reported. DIA is super hardcore about their rules….PinaLove doesn’t give a shit about anything. The only advantage PinaLove has is that you can block Ladyboys categorically, instead of individually.

              Tinder I never cared for because the girls on it tend to be a lot more materialistic. They think they’re “rich” (LOL!) so they don’t need a foreign man. That’s fine and well but I could do without the attitude. If anyone else has a different experience with Tinder girls I’m open to hearing it, but my experience is that they tend to REALLY enjoy “traveling”, 99.99% of the time on someone elses money…..

              Easy fix: Don’t travel with girls, not even on vacation, no matter how short your trip, unless she pays her own expenses. Too many stupid guys throwing money around spoils the women like feeding zoo animals people food—suddenly their normal diet is no longer eaten and they starve themselves until they get their next hit of sugar.

              • Mikey Johnson says:

                Great advice. Thanks.

                DIA had quite a few pros that I had to delete my account. I actually met this one chick and fucked her and I thought she liked me lol. Then she started moaning about how she needed medicine for her sore pussy and ass lol. Seemed like a semipro. I might reactivate it and give it another spin.

                AsianDating has been my staple, but the volume is weak and its a mixed bag. Quite a few cute girls but you really have to weed and screen timewasters. I do not have FC yet. I have this hot girl from the province that came over but she is waaay too conservative. I might cut her loose.

                Tinder and OKC have been better (minus the ladyboys). Much more professional type girls.

                But I agree with you. PL is garbage. I do not have FC yet. But I have several dates which is like water here. If you are available, are you open to meeting up for drinks or something?

                • NormalNomad says:

                  I didn’t care for OKC at ALL. More of the “rich” girls who think they’re above online dating. Reminded me of online dating in the USA TBH. Chicks were time-wasters, collecting likes and messages, ho-humm about meeting up, etc. My time spent there was just wayy to high per date. Not worth it IMHO. Again, if anyone has a different perspective, I’m open to it.

                  To me, there’s just no point in dating a less-attractive pinay who’s “rich” (LOL!) with an Americanized attitude. Why not just date American broads? Obv there are some advantages but when there are so many other options I just don’t have time to waste with girls who highly over-estimate their SMV here.

                  AsianDating costs money for girls to read your messages, no? They’re run by the Cupid company, same people who run ThaiCupid, FilipinaCupid, etc.

                  I’d be open to a meetup. Contact Jspill for my email, I don’t want to leave any personal details in a public space like this.

                • Jobo says:

                  Facebook is best place to meet normal girls. Pinays are all addicted to Facebook and many don’t even understand that there is a internet outside of Facebook. Just make friends with them, ask them out friend their friends. If you see a stunner and she turns you down don’t worry about it just ask her if she has a cute sister or cousin, she probably does and will hook you up with her. I don’t mind giving them money at first, it shows them you have money and are generous, after they move in I just buy them food and clothes, not expensive at all.

  18. Guy says:

    Facebook is also free on Globe, which has to be a huge factor.

    • Jobo says:

      Every guy in a marriage or girlfriend situation is in a long term prostitute situation. The sooner you realize that, the easier your life will be.

      • NormalNomad says:

        No, it isn’t.

        Prostitution is a plain and simple transaction. The girl will fuck anyone who pays, there are no feelings involved. It’s a simple financial transaction, like going to SM and buying shoes.

        In marriage, there’s a lot more at play than just material gain. Also, what about marriages where the woman works? And where the woman makes more than the man? Sure, unlikely in a Western/Pinay relationship, but you said “every guy in a marriage or girlfriend situation”.

        And while we’re on the subject, as a guy who has a couple of LTR’s with Pinays and doesn’t give money or allowances, I have to disagree with the girlfriend situation assessment. I think you’re painting with broad strokes and it’s just plain inaccurate.

        Plain and simple, if you aren’t providing her with material goods or services for her company/sex, it isn’t prostitution, plain and simple.

      • jspill says:

        There’s a big grey area in between the two extremes. On one end you have brothels, fishbowls, where the girl has to accept the customer. Fairly rare.

        On the other you have girls who like recreational sex, just want to get nailed by a foreigner’s big dick for fun. They’re out there too.

        But most girls fall somewhere in the middle. Freelancers, semi pros, even bargirls, they don’t just bang anyone who pays. Quite common to get turned down.

        Then some girls we don’t pay, were hoping for a long term relationship / marriage then are disappointed when we pump and dump them. The implied material gain was in their mind.

      • Mikey Johnson says:

        I know expats here on the older side who do very well financially and always seem to be showering their girls with gifts and stuff. In a way it does seem like prostitution even if the girl does like him.

        • Anonymous says:

          My method of determining whether or not you’re engaging in p4p – can you sleep with the girl without spending your money on her? If not its just prostitution.

          Believe it or not I’ve met several girls who’ve bought ME dinner , and no they weren’t these mysterious upper class rich pinays. Regular girls working jobs like call centers. A lot of Pinays just want a more comfortable life, but there are some who genuinely seek someone to love them above comfort. How else can you explain the beautiful girls who never date foreigners? We’ve all come across them. It’s important to remember not EVERY girl is an ATM just like not every foreign guy is an idiot monger who blows money on pros. Maybe 80% of both for the bill but if you look you can quickly find exceptions.

          This is from the point of view of a guy under 30 who lives here and by western standards is just above the poverty line income wise. Obv here I make due just fine.

          Old guys might not have a choice, I don’t know because I’m not one.

          • jspill says:

            That’s a good method. Filipinas often ask for a loan a few weeks later though, for some ‘big problem’ they suddenly have. Sometimes they really need it, sometimes that was their plan all along and they ask a bunch of guys for help with their sob story. Then in their mind they’re not prostitutes, just asking for a ‘favor’ because they gave you one (sex).

            I’m reading teach yourself tagalog ebook at the moment and there’s an entire chapter called ‘can I ask a favor’ lol. And it talks about how it’s a part of the culture, ‘utang na loob’ they call it, a ‘debt of gratitude’

            I think a lot of Filipinas expect something / are working some angle when they bang guys, and are more shy about being seen as hookers than Thai girls.

            • NormalNomad says:

              Never had a pinay ask me for a loan weeks later.

              The “big problem” always seems to come up right after sex if it happens at all.

              I’ve also had girls I haven’t even met ask me for money via text or viber or sometimes on the site itself, but never after actually meeting.

            • NormalNomad says:

              Shit no I just remember a time it happened….once. Funny, it actually came from a girl I was banging regularly who had a Canadian BF. She was a total slut, in an open relationship with the loser Canadian guy, she asked to borrow 45k pesos for some family hospitalization or something, I declined lol.

            • NormalNomad says:

              Why bother to learn tagalog? I see the value in learning Thai, but why Tagalog?

              The only advantage I’ve noticed is it wets their panties that you bothered to learn, but given how easy it is anyway, I don’t really see the advantage?

              • jspill says:

                I find it boring and even mentally deteriorating chatting to most girls, so at least if I’m learning another language while I’m doing it, it keeps the mind sharp.

                • NormalNomad says:

                  I dunno man, if I was going to put in the effort to learn another language I’d make sure it least had some practical use but that’s just me. I can see Thai being useful…but only the least educated don’t speak English at least conversationally in the Phils.

                  But hey, the more languages you know the smarter you are, relatively speaking at least!

          • Anonymous says:

            30 year old guy living in the Philippines? Any 30 year old guy from a western country would be busy at home making money and being successful, with more girls then he knew what to do with.

  19. Mikey Johnson says:

    I still maintain Cebu is a shit city by all accounts. Crap quality girls with arrogant attitudes and dismissive too. Fucking retard local scum. Just all around shit…shit food…shit infrastructure with no redeeming qualities. No good nightlife. Online is meh. But somehow this is supposed to be the Queen City, the Second City of the Philippines.

    BUT you can exit using the South bus terminal and find yourself on some ok beaches and wash with some waterfalls or zipline or some shit. But that’s it.

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