Cebu is a small province in terms of hectares.. It doesn’t mean, however, that the sightseeing opportunities are scarce. Each of the city – from Cebu City to Lapu-Lapu City and Mandaue City where Amaia Steps Mandaue is located – boasts of its flourishing tourism. There are close to a hundred tourist spots in the province, but here are the best things to do in Cebu.
1) Basilica del Sto. Niño de Cebu
Built in 1565, the basilica is dubbed as the oldest Catholic church in the Philippines. It was built on the exact spot where the image of the Sto. Niño de Cebu was found. Also called the Minor Basilica of the Holy Child, this is perhaps the most popular tourist spot in the Queen City of the South. Rightly so, the city holds Sinulog Festival, a cultural and religious festival, every third Sunday of January in honor of the miraculous Sto. Niño. Thousands of pilgrims and revelers flock to the city to take part in the procession. Whether you are a devotee or not, don’t forget to visit the basilica.
2) Magellan’s Cross
Right next to the basilica is a chapel where Magellan’s Cross is situated. You might remember it being mentioned by your history teacher. The gigantic cross is an emblem of the baptism of Rajah Humabon, Queen Juana, and their proponents on April 21, 1521. This also commemorates Ferdinand Magellan’s voyage to Cebu, symbolizing peace between him and the Rajah. The chapel is located in Magallanes St., which is also named after the Spanish explorer.
3) Fort San Pedro
Fort San Pedro can be reached by a walking a few minutes from the basilica or the chapel. The tri-bastion fort houses Spanish artifacts from paintings and sculptures to documents. A visit to this place alone will tell you how rich the history of Cebu is. It’s as if you are transported to the 1500s. Fort San Pedro, which was built in 1565 to be a Spanish settlement, is found in Plaza Independencia. Aside from being the oldest fort, Fort San Pedro is also considered as the smallest fort in the country.
4) Heritage of Cebu Monument
A well-known landmark in Colon St. – the oldest street in the country, the tableau depicts the most important events in the history of Cebu. From afar, you’ll see the Heritage of Cebu that includes sculptures of Rajah Humabon and Pedro Calunsod, among others. Built starting from July 1997, the monument is one of the works of Edgardo Castrillo, a national artist.
5) Cebu Provincial Capitol Building
When in Cebu, you should never miss visiting the capitol building in Osmeña Boulevard. It is the seat of provincial government. Albeit being an old building, it was one of the uniquely designed government buildings in the Philippines. Its backdrop is the Cebu mountain range. It may look ordinary during the day but at nighttime the building is brightly lit with colorful lights.
6) Mactan Shrine
If you are venturing outside of Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu City should be your first stop. In here, you’ll see the 20-meter tall sculpture of Rajah Lapu-Lapu which glorifies the bravery of the rajah. He killed Ferdinand Magellan on April 27, 1521, during the Battle of Mactan. The death of the Spanish conquistador forced his army to retreat. The structure is the point of convergence of the Mactan Shrine. The shrine is located in Mactan Island, Lapu-Lapu City.
7) Cebu Taoist Temple
Another famous spot is the Taoist Temple in Beverly Hills Subdivision. The most prominent part of the temple is its facade which replicates the Great Wall of China. Another great feature of the temple is the preservation of the teachings of Lao Tse, a 600 B.C. philosopher. Built in 1972 through the initiative of the Cebu Chinese community, the temple is considered the center of Taoism in the South. Before a tourist reaches the temple, you need to tackle the high stairway; it has ninety-nine steps. The temple has a 300-meter elevation above sea level.
8) Cebu IT Park
Considered as the business process outsourcing hub of Cebu, the IT Park is a thriving destination. For the locals, it is the center of lifestyle and recreation with its great selection of cafes, bars, restaurants, wellness facilities, outlets, etc. If you want to experience Cebu’s nightlife, this is the perfect place to visit.
9) Tabo-an Market
Found in downtown Cebu, one of the most famous markets in Cebu, is the Tabo-an Market. It’s a haven for pasalubong shoppers. You can find all kinds of dried seafood here such as danggit, pusit, and dilis. Of course, there’s dried mangoes, too.
In Fuente Osmeña, you will find the popular barbecue strip, Larsian.Larsian is Cebu’s version of Dampa. Hundreds of stalls complete the strip, and offers the best grilled pork, chicken, and seafood in the province. Aside from lechon and sutukil, Cebu is also known for its puso, which is rice wrapped in palm leaves. The BBQ is best eaten with puso.
These are just ten, but all of these are the must-visit destinations. One day is not enough to visit all these places, but while there, you might as well roam around to get to know the province and its people better.