Things to do in Cebu
From the city to the many surrounding islands, you will never find a shortage of things to keep you occupied. Everywhere is bursting with things to draw you in, including historical and religious sights as well as more natural, scenic spots. Not to mention, the more you explore the city the more you will experience the huge number of restaurants, shopping opportunities and of course, buzzing nightlife, for yourself.
Much of the city's appeal lies in its relevance as the first place the Spaniards landed when they conquered the Philippines nearly four centuries ago. Follow the trail of the city's history by first visiting Magellan's Cross, which is held in the rotunda opposite city hall. This cross bears remnants of the very cross that Ferdinand Magellan planted on the beach upon his arrival. Next head to Mactan's Shrine in nearby Lapu-Lapu city, found to the east of the island. This is a shrine to the Chief Lapu-Lapu, regarded as a hero for defeating Magellan in 1521. Also worth a visit is historic Colon Street, named after Christopher Columbus.
Understanding the City's Past
Once you have visited the aforementioned sites of significance you can head to the museums to get an even deeper insight into the history of the city. Arguably the most informative museum is the Museo Sugbo where both the Spanish and American eras are explored in depth. Also worth a visit is the Casa Gordoro Museum, a privately owned exhibition in a 19th century home, as well as the nearby Yap Sandiego Ancestral House, thought to be oldest building in the whole country. Cebu Cathedral is another worthy landmark which incorporates a museum on the history of Catholicism in the country.
Basilica Minore Del Santo Nino
A church has stood on this spot for nearly 500 years. The church that stands here today was built in the 18th century after the previous ones were destroyed by fires. The church is home to a Flemish painting of the baby Jesus, a piece of art that survived both fires. As a result of the artwork's miraculous resilience, Filipinos make pilgrimages to the church. This means you are likely to encounter a constant procession of people at any time of day. It is wise to remember that this is the holiest place in the area, so visitors should be respectful.
The Best of Cebu Island
The city itself is may indeed be where the best bars, restaurants and museums, but the remainder of the island has much appeal too. Just a little way out of the city centre is the much celebrated Butterfly Sanctuary, a lovely break form the hustle and bustle of the downtown area. Travel down to the south west of the island to visit the stunning Kawasan Falls, a popular spot for canyoning. A ferry ride to the fascinating Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary is also highly recommended and a must for bird watchers.
Diving and Island Hopping
Many travellers journey to beautiful Cebu solely to partake in one of the biggest activities in the area: scuba diving. Take a boat to the beautiful Bantayan Island or Malapascua Island where the best diving locations are thought to be. These islands are famous for their white sandy beaches and laidback feel, so even if you don't fancy a spot of diving, or even snorkelling, simply lie on the beach for a taste of paradise.