Guide to Living in Cebu: Exploring the Streets of Downtown Cebu

Exploring the Streets of Downtown Cebu

Cebu Downtown area is almost tantamount to inexpensive and cheap commodities to any local Cebuano. This area is brimming with commercial establishments that sell anything under the sun for very affordable prices! Because of that, it has become the busiest area in the city. Every day, around 30%-40% of foot and vehicle traffic traverse through its streets. If you are a tourist, this is a great place to visit as there are several historical sites here. And for the more adventurous travelers who are looking for an authentic experience on how it is to live like a local, exploring the shops and stops in Cebu’s Downtown Area is a definite must! Albeit its infamy for pickpockets and snatchers, it’s relatively safe so long as you practice your street smarts. If you do decide to brave the smell, the heat, and the crowd of CDA, we highly advise that you wear something light and comfortable.

No. 1 – Carbon Public Market

Farmer fresh produce on the daily

Carbon Public Market

Carbon Public Market, being the leading farmers market in the metro, is the best place to go when you are looking for fresh and inexpensive farm to table fruits and vegetables. If you are an expert hagler, you can get the best price and value for your money (just don’t overdo it). Way before dawn breaks, the place is already teeming with people — from local market-goers, vendors, delivery guys, etc. Although it’s far from what defines a posh tourist destination, this place will give you one of the most authentic local experiences.

  • Pros:You can buy inexpensive and fresh produce
  • Cons:It can get very crowded
  • Business Hours:Open 24 hours
  • Price Range:$
  • References:Wikipedia

No. 2 – Cebu Freedom Park

Experience Cebu in full bloom

Cebu Freedom Park

Cebu Freedom Park is what comes to a local Cebuano’s mind when you think of cheap and fresh flowers. This place gets really busy during special occasions that call for giving flowers to loved ones, i.e. Valentine’s Day. The area is lined with flower shops that are of good quality and is a fraction of the cost compared to commercial flower shops and boutiques. You can pick and choose your flowers and have the vendors arrange them for you for an additional fee. Aside from local blooms, you can also find cheap native and hand made local products here.

  • Pros:They sell a wide variety of flowers
  • Cons:Prices hike during peak seasons
  • Business Hours:Open 24 hours
  • Price Range:$
  • References:Freedom Park Website

No. 3 – Colonnade Supermarket

Supermarket with super budget friendly prices

Colonnade Supermarket

Colonnade Supermarket is by far, one of the most preferred supermarket by the local Cebuano masses. Owners of small businesses in the metro in the food and retail industry opt to buy their wares, ingredients and supplies here since this supermarket carries a wide selection of products at very low prices. Families also prefer to do their grocery shopping here because they get a lot of bang for their buck. Apart from their inexpensive items, this supermarket is also strategically located and is very accessible by any means of public transportation.

  • Pros:Inexpensive grocery items
  • Cons:Long check out counter queues
  • Business Hours:6:00 AM to 9:00 PM (Mondays to Sundays)
  • Price Range:$
  • References:Colonnade Facebook Page

No. 4 – La Nueva Supermarket

Wholesale goodness in the streets of Old Cebu

La Nueva Supermarket
Photo Credit:STEEMIT

La Nueva Supermarket is a wholesale/retail grocery store. They have a wide selection of items and tend to be more well-stocked and cheaper given that they target small convenience store owners and wholesale shoppers. When you are looking into buying items in bulk, La Nueva Supermarket is an ideal place to visit.

  • Pros:Bulk and wholesale prices
  • Cons:Can get busy and crowded
  • Business Hours:9:00 AM to 8:00 PM (Mondays to Sundays)
  • Price Range:$
  • References:La Nueva Supermarket Facebook Page

No. 5 – Island Souvenirs

Making your travel to Cebu unforgettable

Souvenir shops in downtown Cebu is ubiquitous, but Island Souvenirs is one of the most preferred when it comes to shopping for gifts and small trinkets to take home as presents for your friends and family, or keep as a memento of the time you spent in Cebu. They may be pricier than the ones sold by sidewalk vendors, but they are still relatively cheaper compared to those sold in malls and posh souvenir shops. You’ll find nifty items that are proudly made by Cebuanos using local and native materials. The wares range from the famous Cebu guitar, refrigerator magnets featuring beautiful tourist spots in Cebu, and shirts that will truly make you remember your visit in Cebu.

  • Pros:You can buy cool souvenir items
  • Cons:Not a lot of product variety
  • Business Hours:9:00 AM to 6:00 PM (Mondays to Sundays)
  • Price Range:$$
  • References:Island Souvenirs Website

No. 6 – Pasil Fish Market

Seafood goodness without the drowning prices

Pasil Fish Market is the largest go-to local fish market in the Visayas Region.The seafoods sold here come from fishing areas in Cebu and Bohol. Seafood aficionados will surely find visiting this market a treat. You’ll find fish of all shapes and sizes, shrimps that come in by the barrel, and other aquatic life forms that are, well, edible. In order for you to get the freshest and choicest catch, you’ll have to go there during the wee hours of the morning. If you come any later, the restaurant wholesalers and other market-goers have bought off the bulk of the catch for the day. Aside from the fact that you will find all sorts of fresh and cheap seafoods here, the experience of going here is really one for the books!

  • Pros:Fresh and cheap seafoods
  • Cons:You’ll need to wake up really early to get the good wares
  • Business Hours:$
  • Price Range:2:00 AM onwards (Mondays to Sundays)
  • References:Pasil Fish Market Facebook Page

No. 7 – Taboan Public Market

Dried seafoods that won’t leave you hanging high and dry

Taboan Public Market

Taboan Public Market is well-known as the center for all things dried fish in Cebu. Tourists from other provinces in the Philippines and foreign nationals who are more adventurous when it comes to food make this a pit-stop before heading back home. Cebu is popular for dried fish and seafood products, especially from towns in the northern part of the island. Taboan Public Market has all sorts of dried seafood but the most popular are the danggit (dried rabbitfish) and dried squid. These are sold per 100 grams and way cheaper compared to mall prices. If you don’t mind the dried fish smell you’ll bring with you (yes, it sticks to your hair, car seat cover, and clothes), and you are a fan of eating dried seafood, you’ll have to swing by.

  • Pros:Choicest dried seafoods are sold here
  • Cons:You’ll have to bring an extra change of clothes and well, perfume
  • Business Hours:$
  • Price Range:4:00 AM to 8:00 PM (Mondays to Sundays)
  • References:Trip Advisor

No. 8 – Ong Kin King

One stop baking depot

Ong Kin King is a pastry chef’s haven. You can find a wide array of baking materials and ingredients here that are budget-friendly. They have retail and wholesale options. And they give discounted rates for buying in sets or in bulk. Aside from baking essentials, they also carry with them party and catering supplies. They have several branches in Cebu, but the one in the downtown area has the cheapest prices. If you want to dip your hands in baking, this place is a must-visit!

  • Pros:A range of baking ingredients and supplies at cheap prices
  • Cons:Finding a parking spot can be quite a hassle
  • Business Hours:Hours: 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM (Mondays to Saturdays) ; 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM (Sundays and Holidays)
  • Price Range:$
  • References:Ong Kin King Facebook Page

No. 9 – Manalili Street

Tailor goddesses’ (and gods’) heaven

Manalili Street
Photo Credit:SUN STAR

Manalili Street and its surrounding areas are dotted with fabric and modiste accessories shops. These shops have comprehensive choices of textiles and sewing accessories that are incredibly affordable. From leatherettes to satins to beads to yarns and buttons, name it, they have it. This street also has shops that sell a wide array of materials for arts and crafts projects.

  • Pros:Cheap prices
  • Cons:Finding a parking spot can be quite a hassle
  • Business Hours:9:00 AM to 6:00 PM (Mondays to Saturdays) ; 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM (Sundays and Holidays)
  • Price Range:$
  • References:Sun Star

No. 10 – Visayan Educational Supply Corp

School and office supplies aplenty

Visayan Educational Supply Corp
Photo Credit:SUN STAR

Visayan Educational Supply Corp. is a school and office supplies store that sells inexpensive merchandise. Many schools, offices, students, and parents opt to go to this store because of their low prices. Usually, before the school year starts, this is the go-to place for parents in getting cheap yet high-quality school supplies for their kids.