Is Cebu really one of the Best Islands in Asia?
INVESTING ON THE GO - Iggy Go (The Freeman) - October 22, 2019 - 12:00am

International travel magazine, Condé Nast Traveler, hailed Cebu as the second best island in Asia in their 2019 Readers’ Choice Awards survey and emerged as the 7th Best Island in Asia, according to a recent survey of Travel + Leisure.

The typical criteria for this is usually in terms of travel experiences around the globe — according to their activities and sights, natural attractions and beaches, food, friendliness and overall value. So let’s try to contextualize this from my own biased perspective.


Located in the center of the Philippines, it is a perfect combination of urban and island-feel kind-of-living. Being at the center means that it is a HUB for almost everything in the region. This makes Cebu as the most desirable place to live, work and play even for Filipinos from other provinces, as access to all forms of transportation, trade, investments, education, hospitals, travel-spots, are easily within reach.


This is a bit tricky as different cities and towns will definitely have different costs-of-living as well as one’s chosen “lifestyle”. Overall, based from Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ inflation data as of July 2019, the region 7 (where Cebu is situated) has the LOWEST inflation per region at 1.1% compared to the national average of 2.4%.

Travel & Leisure

Cebu draws an average of 2 million travelers annually both local and foreign visitors. Tourism also boosts the real estate activities, which keeps property & rent prices competitive. More and more hotels and resorts are also emerging not just in the Metro area but also outside of it.

Cebu has the reputation of being one of the long time travel favorites, thanks to top-notch reef and wreck diving, white-sand beaches, hiking trails with waterfalls, caving, rock climbing and welcoming locals. You also have the option to go the culture and historical route wherein Cebu also boasts of various heritage sites (Spanish, Chinese and Filipino heritage).

There’s plenty of options for island hopping too from Bantayan island, to Malapascua, Carnaza, Capitancillo, Pescador, Camotes, Sumilon, and Mactan Island each with their own travel destinations and activities.

Low-key retirement spot

Reasons for retiring in a certain location may vary from person-to-person. This is based on what I noticed from travelling to these areas. To the south, there’s Alcoy, Argao, Badian, Balamban and Moalboal while to the north are Bogo, Carmen and San Remigio.

Is it the cheapest retirement location? No, I think Dumaguete or Bohol is cheaper. What makes Cebu a bit expensive compared to other retirement destinations in the country is the option of diverse lifestyle preferences for retirees. For expats living and working in Metro Cebu, some of them are involved in local businesses and contributing to the growing start-up community.

Work + Business

Some travelers linger a little bit longer here as they found either local work or start their business here. With the abundance of hungry and talented workforce, small-medium outsourcing companies continue to appear as well as brick-and-mortar restos/bars (Korean, Japanese, European..etc..).

Although there’s the undeniable traffic hell, water/power crisis and the rainy season flooding in the city, there’s no stopping these economic growth from happening due to the potential market opportunities seen by both locals and expats in both traditional and emerging industries.

Is Cebu really one of the Best Islands in Asia?

I leave that answer to you. It really depends on one’s perspective. :)

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