Cebu is often referred to as the Queen City of the South because it is perceived to be the gateway to Visayas. Cebu is composed of the main island Cebu and more than 150 plus smaller islands surrounding it. Cebu City, although modern and thriving, still retains the landmarks of its 16th century colonial past.
The city is popular for its very old Spanish basilica but to those not in the know, the city has so much more to offer that will delight serious travellers and casual tourists alike. So, here are the top places to go to in Cebu.
Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu
A Catholic Church which draws tourists and traveler of different denominations, the Basilica holds the oldest religious Christian image in the Philippines, which was originally given by a Portuguese explorer, Ferdinand Magellan, as a gift to Rajah Humabon and his wife during their conversion to Catholicism. The image of the child Jesus is about 12 inches tall and is believed to be originally made in Flanders, Belgium.
The Basilica has suffered extensive damage during the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in 2014 and it is now undergoing rehabilitation.
A cross planted by the Portuguese and Spanish explorers when they arrived in Cebu in 1521. It is housed in a chapel just next to Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño in Cebu City. A sign below the cross says that the original cross is encased inside to protect it from overzealous tourists who might want to chip it away for souvenirs but others believe that the original cross has been destroyed or has disappeared. Its real location and condition remains a mystery.
Built in 1872, the Cebu Taoist Temple is open to both worshippers and non-worshippers alike. Although it is more popular to grade school students on their field trips, it is still one of the must-see places when in Cebu City. The temple’s entrance is a replica of the Great Wall of China and one of the best things about the temple is the stunning view it offers of the Cebu.
Fort San Pedro
Forst San Pedro or Fuerza de San Pedro is the gateway to the city’s rich history. Construction first started in 1565 it will transport you back in time to the first Spanish settlement in the city for a fee of only Php30 or less than USD $1. Fort San Pedro is located in Plaza Independencia near the pier.
Although technically not located in Cebu City, Mactan Shrine in Mactan Island is one of the places which should not be missed. In the shrine you will seethe monument of Rajah Lapu-Lapu, widely considered as the first Filipino hero who fought and defeated the Spaniards killing Spanish conquistador Ferdinand Magellan during the Battle of Mactan in 1521.
Taboan Public Market
If your friends and family has been asking you to bring them danggit from Cebu, Taboan Public Market is the best place to get it at the cheapest prices. Danggit is sun-dried and salted rabbitfish which are abundant in the shallow waters of Cebu. Anybody who goes to cebu, whether for business or leisure are asked to buy kilos and kilos of danggit as pasalubong.
Heritage of Cebu Monument
Located just a short walk away from Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, Heritage Cebu Monument is a landmark of various sculptures showcasing the history of Cebu From the time Rajah Humabon was baptized until the recent beatification of the martyr Pedro Calungsod. Work on the monuments started in 1997 by national artist Edgardo Castillo and was inaugurated in December 2000.
Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral
Located near Fort San Pedro, the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral is another Catholic Church. It was first constructed in 1689 and completed in 1909. It was rebuilt in 1950 after almost being destroyed during the Second World War.
If you want to go shopping for popular name brands or simply want to sip your coffee while people watching, Ayala Mall is the place to go. There are various restaurants offering different cuisines to satisfy your hunger too.