Not all people love to frolic on the beach or camp out in the wilderness. Some would prefer to roam around the malls and shop to their heart’s content. If you belong to the latter, then you’re in luck because Cebu has numerous shopping malls that you can check out. Let’s discover the amazing malls that you should visit during your vacation in the Queen City of the South.
Metro Colon and Super Metro Colon
A few decades ago, before there were gigantic malls, people would go to downtown Cebu to do their shopping. Colon Street would be bustling with vendors and shoppers, especially during weekends and holidays. While there are several shopping centers in Colon, there’s only one iconic department store that has stood the test of time – Metro Colon. It sits in a prime location at the center of a busy intersection and it’s considered a major landmark in the downtown area. A few blocks from Metro Colon, you’ll find its sister department store: Super Metro Colon which opened a few years ago. You can check out these establishments after you’re done exploring the different heritage sites around downtown Cebu.
SM City Cebu
When it comes to size, SM City Cebu can hold its own. It is considered one of the oldest shopping malls in Cebu and it’s conveniently located near the Pier area. SM City offers a wide variety of local and international brands which makes it a shopaholic’s paradise. The huge shopping complex also features several restaurants, cafes, shops, cinemas, arcades, bowling alleys, and entertainment venues. So, bring a lot of cash because you’ll be tempted to shop until you drop when you enter this huge mall.
This charming mall is located in Mandaue City and it offers an eco-centric experience to its loyal shoppers. What makes Parkmall different from the rest is that it’s an intriguing combination of a modern mall and a park. You’ll find yourself surrounded by lots of plants and trees once you step within its vicinity. Not to mention, it’s the first local mall to welcome pets inside a shopping area. It’s a great option if you’re traveling with your family or friends since it has numerous shops, restaurants, cafes, entertainment establishments, and an indoor playground.
Ayala Center Cebu
Ayala Center Cebu (ACC) is located at the heart of Cebu Business Park and it’s also one of the most famous shopping hubs in the region. It has four main floors and each has its own variety of shops, cafes, food and beverage stalls, and kiosks. You can also watch the latest local and modern films since this mall also features cinemas. ACC has a modern aesthetic and its well-designed outdoor area is a perfect place to unwind after a day of shopping.
Ayala Central Bloc
A second Ayala mall was opened last December 2019 in Cebu IT Park. Similar to other Ayala shopping centers, Ayala Central Bloc also features various affordable and upscale clothing and dining options. Do check out this amazing mall when you’re out and about in the bustling area of IT Park.
Robinsons Galleria Cebu
Robinsons Galleria Cebu or Galleria is a huge upscale mall that’s also located near the port area. It features different shops selling international high street and local brands so make sure to do some retail therapy in this mall. There’s also a wide variety of coffee shops, restaurants, food/ beverage carts, and a well maintained food court. Galleria has its own cinemas that feature the latest films. You can also roam around the outdoor park or sit on the benches so you can recharge and rest.
Robinsons Place and Cybergate
Uptown Cebu has two shopping centers that are also worth visiting: Robinsons Place and Robinsons Cybergate. These two establishments are located just a few blocks from each other and both are near Fuente Circle – a famous uptown landmark.
The two malls may not be as huge as other establishments but their prime location offers convenience to shoppers. Make sure to sample some local delicacies from the different food stalls and indulge in local cuisine available at the food court.
SM Seaside City Cebu
The SM Seaside City Cebu or Seaside for short is currently the biggest mall in the Visayas and Mindanao region. It’s also the third biggest mall in the entire country with a gross floor area of 430,000 square meters making it larger than SM Mall of Asia which clocks in at 407,000 square meters. Seaside has over 400 shops and restaurants, as well as arcades, entertainment hubs, cinemas, an IMAX theater, a food court, an ice skating rink, and a bowling alley. It also features an outdoor park where visitors can enjoy a breathtaking view of the sea and the stunning CCLEX bridge. It also has very colorful staircases and elegant wooden design elements that would inspire anyone to take numerous IG-worthy selfies.
Low Key Shopping Experiences
Low-key shopping experiences in Cebu might include visiting markets known for their fresh produce, local crafts, and traditional goods. These markets provide an opportunity to engage with local vendors, learn about the region’s culture, and support local artisans. Additionally, shopping at smaller, independently owned stores and boutiques can offer a more personalized shopping experience, where you can find one-of-a-kind items that reflect the local style and craftsmanship.
Tabo sa Banay
Cebuanos love a good bargain and those in the know regularly shop in the famous Tabo sa Banay in downtown Cebu. Tabo is a Cebuano term that means gathering or the verb to gather or to meet. While the word banay means race or family. So, tabo sa banay refers to a gathering of a community where selling and buying take place at budget friendly prices. This “flea market” style shopping center is located a few steps from Metro Colon. You can buy various clothing items here from the 50 plus vendors for much less than what you pay at the malls. Other items such as workout clothes, sporting gear, business attire, numerous footwear, and fashion accessories are also up for grabs in this bargain shopping hub. Cebuanos are also fond of haggling so prices here are not final and you can definitely get more bang for your buck.
A trip to downtown Cebu isn’t complete without a visit to Carbon Public Market. This iconic market is said to be the biggest and the oldest farmer’s market in the area. The market was named after Cebu Railroad’s coal depository that existed in the 18th century. Carbon Market’s location was the final station of the old railway – where coal was stored to power the steam engine of the trains.
Carbon, as locals love to call it, is where you’ll find different items from fresh food products to handicrafts. The market’s wet section offers a wide variety of fish, seafood, and meat products. It’s open as early as 4 AM and you’ll see tons of fresh produce being delivered to various stalls. There are also farmers who sell their own products at budget-friendly prices. So, if you want to buy fresh fruits and vegetables, then Carbon Market is your best bet.
Cebu Night Market
Cebu Night Market was reopened after two years since it was closed during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. This market is open from 6 PM to midnight from Friday to Sunday. Also, the night market is open for a limited period since it only operates from September to December. It offers a wide variety of affordable items such as toys, accessories, vintage clothing, footwear, bags, souvenirs, street food, and so much more. You can also buy numerous tech products like earphones, chargers, and phone cases at heavily discounted prices. The night market stretches from Osmeña Boulevard down to the Colon Street intersection up to Mabini Street.
Cebu has several shopping malls, souvenir shops, and flea markets, and new ones are being opened as time goes by. Anyone who visits these shopping hubs will surely enjoy them and will definitely come back for more. Remember, always be vigilant especially when shopping in crowded areas because just like in any big city, pickpockets may also take advantage of busy shoppers.