Hailed as the ‘Queen City of the South’, Cebu is an island province in Central Visayas which is highly urbanised, next to Manila. Comprised of 6 cities and 47 small towns, the capital also called Cebu city is the centre of trade, commerce, education and tourism not only of the province but the whole Visayas region. Cebu’s early rise to prominence is deeply entrenched in a glorious past characterised by important events in the history of the Philippines. As the oldest city, Cebu once served as the first capital of the Philippines and was already a bustling trading post owing to its strategic location. Christianity was introduced here by Spanish missionaries in the 16th century symbolised by a wooden cross (Magellan Cross) reputedly planted by the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan in 1521. Today, the original cross still stands and is considered as the most famous landmark of Cebu. Not far from the cross is the Basilica Minore del Santo Nino (Church of the Holy Child), the oldest Roman Catholic church and home to the oldest relic, an image of Santo Nino (Holy Child). It is believed that the image was presented by the Spaniards to Queen Juana (then the Queen of Cebu), as a symbol of peace and friendship. The great devotion to the Holy Child has grown to become the centre of Cebu’s most important and largest annual event, the Sinulog Festival. It is a combination of cultural and religious celebration with revellers lining up the streets in colourful costumes dancing all in one rhythm and shouting Viva Pit Senor!, all in honour of the beloved child.
The city’s rapid economic development is hard to ignore especially when the metropolis is dotted with all the trimmings of prosperity. The Ayala Triangle houses premier shops, offices, restaurants, recreational facilities whilst renowned hotels as Shangri-la, Marriott, Marco Polo are gracious hosts to locals and international visitors. But, more than the heritage sites, history and the urban comforts inherent in this island, it is the white-sandy beaches and spectacular diving that continuously draw in visitors. Malapascua at the northern tip is a quiet piece of haven offering an idyllic, unhurried pace of life. Moalboal, off the south coast is yet another paradise for divers and beach-comber alike.
And lest you forget, Cebu rightfully claims to have the best lechon (whole roast pork) in the country. Pair it off with ‘puso’ (hanging rice) and slices of fresh mango for dessert, it is a taste of Cebu at its best!
Main carriers fly direct into Mactan International Airport from major cities in Philippines and Asia. From UK, several international flights also service the Cebu route direct from their own respective hubs.
*Sinulog Festival culminates on the third Sunday of January and attracts millions of visitors from around the country.
*Cross over to Bohol by ferry. Travel takes approximately 2hrs.
What else to see?
Oldest street in the Philippines marked by an obelisk detailing its historical significance.
University of San Carlos
The oldest school in the country established in 1565.
The pristine and unadulterated beach in this island make it the most attractive destination in the country. Bask in the glorious sunsets to this tropical paradise.
Known for clear blue lagoons with beautiful coral reefs.