One of the best islands in Asia, one of the world’s most livable islands, the seventh best-island destination in the Indian Ocean-Asia region and one of the most popular holiday destinations in the Philippines is none other than the Queen City of the South, Cebu.
With its white-sand beaches, lush greeneries, sunny weather, picturesque scenery, exciting festivals and mouth-watering delicacies, Cebu represents what a tourist would expect in a tropical country. And indeed, tourism in this city has been outpacing the rest of Asia as more and more people discover what it has to offer.
If you haven’t ever been to Cebu City, here is a sneak-peek of what you’ve been missing:
1. Lapu-Lapu Shrine
A shrine dedicated to the Filipino chieftain and hero, Rajah Lapu-Lapu, for defeating and killing Magellan in 1521. This monument stands as a reminder of Filipino bravery.
The 20-meter bronze statue is situated in Mactan Shrine Park, the site of the epic Mactan battle. It depicts the hero holding a bolo in one hand and a pestle on the other. The said weapons were believed to have been used by Lapu-Lapu during his combat with Magellan.
2. Magellan’s Cross
This cross that stands at the heart of Cebu is the Christian symbol installed by Portugese explorer Ferdinand Magellan when his troops arrived in Cebu on April 1521. It is the spot where the first Filipino Christians, Rajah Humabon and Queen Juana and about 400 of their followers, were baptized.
Magellan’s Cross is located in a chapel next to the Basilica Minore del Santo Nino on Magallanes street. The cross is inside a kiosk covered by a roof with a painting of how Magellan came, conquered and was later defeated.
3. Basilica Minor del Santo Nino
This church was founded by Miguel Lopez de Legaspi and Father Andres Urdaneta where an image of the Santo Nino was recovered. According to historical accounts, Magellan handed a Santo Nino to Queen Juana as a gift of her baptism.
The first structure of the church was, however, destroyed by fire on November 1, 1568 and the image survived unscratched. It was rebuilt in 1602 under the administration of Juan Albaran and was rehabilitated in 1740. During the World War, a bomb fell on the building but the Santo Nino relic remained undestroyed. Today, many Catholic devotees believe that the image of Santo Nino makes miracles and it has since been venerated by the Cebuanos as their patron saint.
4. Museo Sugbo
Museo Sugbo preserves the long history of Cebu. The building itself has its own story, turning from a provincial jail guarding those who fight against Spanish rule, to a horse stable. It also once became home to the popular YouTube dancing inmates. Now, it houses old photos, artifacts, papers and city’s details that we might forget if not retold. It is where you will found that Cebu had a train and a railroad even before Manila had MRT and LRT.
5. Bantayan Island
Cebu is famous for its beaches and nothing beats the gorgeous white-sand beaches of its very own Bantayan Island. Nicknamed “Sugar Beach” and “Paradise Beach,” you know it’s something special.
With the exception of Holy week when the island transforms into a crowded tent city, Bantayan is an idyllic tropical island that you expect to find on postcards. There are also plenty of low-key resorts in Bantayan to relax and enjoy paradise.
6. Jumalon Butterfly Sanctuary
A wonderful treat for nature lovers for it is home to beautiful flying objects. This place keeps 53 species of butterflies including those only found in the Philippines. There are also different kinds of plants that serve as food for the butterflies.
Established in 1974 as the Philippines’ first butterfly nesting ground, Jumalon Sanctuary showcases the country’s oldest butterfly collection with live immature and adult-stage local butterflies in their natural settings. It also houses the Lepido Mosaic Art collection which utilizes butterfly wings as its medium.
7. Olango Wildlife Sanctuary
If you’re a bird lover then the Wildlife Sanctuary at Olango Island is a must. The birds use the sanctuary as a stop-over point when they migrate from and to northern Asia from Australia.
This sanctuary supports the largest concentration of migratory birds in the country. Migration of these birds starts from their breeding places in Siberia, Northern China, and Japan.
Cebu attracts many local and foreign visitors, not only because of its sceneries, but also because of its economic developments that make it an ideal place to raise families or make investments.
But no matter how cosmopolitan Cebu is, life is simpler, compared to well-developed cities—everything you need is within your reach. Stores are just a stone’s throw away, and you don’t even need to travel far to see paradise. Book flights now and find Cebu hotel for your next getaway.