Cebu Philippines. Travel And Things To Do.

Cebu is the main city on Cebu Island in the Philippines and is known as the Queen City of the South. It is the capital of Cebu Province, a transport hub, and a popular tourist destination in its own right.

Cebu is part of the country’s second largest large urban area, Metro Cebu, whose other main components are the cities of Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu. This is a booming metropolitan area with all the conveniences of a modern city, as well as many of the problems of squalor, traffic, noise and pollution. Cebu City is clearly the center of the urban region, though the other towns are far from insignificant.

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The area has excellent transport links and is the main hub for travel in the central and southern Philippines either by sea or by air. Cebu City has the busiest seaport in the Philippines. Lapu-Lapu has the Mactan-Cebu International Airport with direct international flights and many domestic flghts. It is far cleaner and more traveller-friendly than the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Metro Manila.

  1. Tops Lookout. This sits at the top of the Mt Busay and has an unobstructed view of the entire city at night. A few shops and restaurants stand along the way for a short stop. Taxi drivers may want as much as ₱1000 for a trip to Tops, so the best way to get there is by mountain bike. This is a world class climb and on any given day, Cebu’s bikers are humping the 45-minute to 1-hr trek filled with switchbacks and views better than you see actually at the very top. Ask your hotel where you can rent a mountain bike. They may have to ask around a bit, but it’s worth it.
  2. Ride a tartanilla – Head to Cebu’s old quarters in Carlock St and try riding a horse drawn carriage called a tartanilla. Remember to negotiate with the driver before taking a ride.
  3. See the scenic view of Cebu City’s skyline – The Marcelo Fernan Bridge or Second Mactan Bridge offers some interesting views of the city at night, and is even picturesque from below. Arrange for a taxi to take you there.
  4. Sky Experience Adventure (Xtreme Rides) (Adjacent Robinson’s Mall in the Crown Regency Cebu). The tallest building in the city. Adventure seekers may head to the top floor to experience a breathtaking view of this modern city and its environs. You may also opt to join in the Xtreme Rides that puts you on the edge of the city, or you may walk around the edge of the building (don’t worry, safety cables are attached) to experience this for a fee.
  5. Backstreet Academy (Backstreet Academy), Capitol Site, Cebu City, Philippines. An alternative tour experiences platform, they enable locals to offer authentic and unique activities to tourists such as street food tours, weaving workshops, landscape painting classes, Lechon feasts with locals and various types of Filipino Martial Art lessons with masters. A social enterprise, they work with many underprivileged people who either serve as hosts or facilitators. The facilitators will be your medium of communication with the local hosts.
  6. Abellana Cebu Sports Center & Public Swimming pool. Full-size outdoor swimming pool 50 m by 25 m. Has ten lanes.

This festival honouring Santo Niño, the Holy Child, is held annually on the third Sunday of January. It is centered on the Basilica in Cebu City but is celebrated throughout Cebu Province and to some extent even in nearby provinces; it attracts large numbers of both tourists and pilgrims. Festivities last for about a week leading up to the Sunday climax.

There are colorful parades in many towns. Main thoroughfares around the city are blocked for an all-day and all-night loud and colourful street party. Don’t forget your dancing shoes!

On one hand, Sinulog can be one of the most interesting times to visit Cebu. On the other, hotels tend to sell out, streets and restaurants are crowded, and traffic may be horribly jammed so some consider it a time to avoid.

The city was well established as a trade center and regional capital even before the first Europeans, under Magellan, arrived in the 1520s. When the Spanish returned to colonize in 1565, Cebu became the first Spanish city in the country and (briefly) the capital. Many of today’s tourist sites go back to the period of Spanish rule which lasted until the Americans took over in 1898.

Shrines and historical landmarks

  1. Basilica of Santo Niño. A large and venerable church that traces its history to the founding of the convent of the Santo Niño de Cebu in 1565. It contains a statue of the Santo Niño (Holy Child) that is regarded as the oldest religious relic in the Philippines. The statue was presented by Ferdinand Magellan to Queen Juana during the baptism of King Humabon and his wife Queen Juana on 14 April 1521. The natives of Cebu were formally Christianized by Miguel Lopez de Legaspi and Father Andres de Urdaneta on 27 April 1565. However, as they found the natives hostile, the village was set on fire. Later on, in a burnt-out house, a soldier named Juan Camus found the statue untouched. This was proclaimed a miracle. The statue, adorned with gold and precious stones, is in a glass case to the left of the altar. The church sees a constant stream of devotees praying at pews in the sanctuary and in front of statues of saints. The Basilica del Santo Niño Museum (open Tu-Su 08:00-11:45, 13:30-16:45) contains the vestments used to dress the Santo Niño and jewellery offered to the Santo Niño for use during his feast (#Sinolog) on the third Sunday of January.
  2. Magellan’s Cross, Plaza Sugbo, off Magallanes St (between the Colegio de Santo Niño (south of the Basilica of Santo Niño) and Cebu City Hall – if you approach the Basilica from Osmeña Boulevard, walk through the courtyard of the Basilica and the Colegio to reach the Plaza). An octagonal building decorated with murals containing a large wooden cross that commemorates the Portuguese conquistador Ferdinand Magellan who planted a wooden cross upon converting the original inhabitants to Christianity. A plaque states that the visible wooden cross contains the original cross, but some historians say the original cross was reduced to firewood by local inhabitants when the Magellan fleet headed elsewhere. Take time to appreciate the various candle sellers who dance around during worship and while selling the candles.
  3. Colon St. Brave the cacophonous traffic to see the oldest street in the Philippines with some nice worn-out classical buildings dating back to the American Era. At night, this street transforms into a market with good buys everywhere. Be wary of pickpockets though.
  4. Fort San Pedro (Fuerza de San Pedro). The smallest Spanish outpost in the Philippines during the colonial era. It has a small museum showcasing the wreckage and treasures from the sunken San Diego galleon from Mexico. The area is scenic with the newly renovated and open-air Plaza Independencia at the entrance.
  5. The Chinese Taoist Temple. There are many people of Chinese ancestry in Cebu, and several Chinese temples; one is the Taoist Temple. From there you can see a nice view of the city because it is located on a hill.
  6. Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral. A church built in 1565 by the first Spanish missionaries in Cebu, seat of an Archbishop who has subordinate Bishops in many cities of the Visayas. It was mostly destroyed during World War II and had been rebuilt a bit differently. Behind the church is a cemetery where several prominent churchmen including Cardinal Rosales are buried.


  • Casa Gorordo Museum. A well-preserved Spanish colonial mansion constructed largely of wood, set in a pleasant, manicured garden. The lower floor has a collection of old tools, and an A/C room that has changing displays such as art exhibitions. The more interesting upstairs level was the former living quarters of the Gorordo family. It features lovely carved wooden furniture and a wide patio. The kitchen is particularly interesting, as it contains a traditional dirt stove, a wooden food safe, and a traditional dish drying rack fitted to the outside of the window.
  • Jose R. Gullas Halad Museum. A museum that pays homage to the musical heritage of Cebu. This museum is operated under the Tipiganan sa mga Handumanan sa Kanta ug Kinaiyang Sugbuanon (Treasury of Memories) Foundation. In the old building of The Freeman Newspaper.
  • Cebu Provincial Museum (Museo Sugbo) (a short taxi ride from Fort San Pedro). The museum is housed in the former Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center, which was once the Carcel de Cebu. Its four Spanish-era buildings made of coral stone contain artifacts relating to the history of Cebu.
  • Rizal Memorial Museum, Osmena Blvd. 09:00-17:00. Paintings and sculptures by local artists and antiques donated by wealthy Cebuanos.
  • Provincial Capitol. Particularly scenic at night, is by far the largest provincial capitol building anywhere in the entire archipelago. It was built during the American Era and the design is a miniature of the White House.
  • Heritage of Cebu, Sikatuna St, (Eastern end of Colon St). A massive and particularly detailed monument showcasing the heritage of Cebu from the old Spanish to the American colonial era.
  • Cebu information from wikivoyage.

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Tours, Tickets, Activities & Things To Do Philippines

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