Cebu Destination Guide
Cebu is well known for its wealth of scenic beauty. The Central Mountains stretching way down to the coral sands in Cebu are a natural wonder. Most of the archipelago's 8,120 species of flowering plants are found in Cebu. About 5,832 are unique to the country.
The local people of Cebu are called Cebuanos. While most are descendants from Austronesian people, some have Spanish and Chinese ancestry.
Things to See & Do in Cebu
Pre-Spanish culture is a way of life for some mountain villagers. It is interlaced with the cultures of other places and is expressed in song and dance shows like in the Sinulog festival. These fiestas creatively mix foreign influences with local folklore.
Mactan Island - (across Mandaue City). This is a famous coral island and scuba diving site with beach resorts of international standards. It is also the site of the Export Processing Zone with 102 companies that employ over 30,000 people. Land area: 150 ha.
It is popular for its beach resorts that cater to international standards with very good diving facilities. Its proximity to Cebu makes it an important holiday destination for both local and foreign travellers.
Malapascua Island - also referred to as ‘Logon', which is the name of the main community in the South, it is situated across the northernmost tip of Cebu. The name ‘Logon' stuck on after the Japanese and Americans fought over the island during World War II. Its white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters make it an ideal place for swimming and snorkelling. However, you need to be careful because of unpredictable weather. One can take a stroll or a little tour of the entire island in half a day.
Kawasan Falls - (Matutinao/Badian). These are panoramic waterfalls surrounded by lush tropical greenery.
Badian Island/ Moalboal - This island is celebrated for its beautiful corals, reefs, white sandy beaches and its marine life, which make it an excellent diving spot.
Olango Wildlife Sanctuary - Olango Island has the largest collection of migratory birds found in the country. The migration begins from the birds' breeding place in Siberia, Northern China and Japan. According to data collected until recently, the birds make use of Olango Island as a place to rest as well as a wintering ground.
The birds stop to eat large quantities of invertebrates found in the inter-tidal mudflats, for their fat reserves. These reserves gives the birds energy for the next leg of their journey during which they will cover anywhere between 3,000 to 15,000 km in non-stop flight.
Sinulog - (every 3rd Sunday of January). It is one of Cebu's biggest and most famous festivals. It is observed in honour of the Holy Image of Senyor Santo Nini de Cebu. Fiesta Senyor is the most celebrated festival in Cebu. During this time people flock to join grand processions and take part in the fun, with a Mardi gras parade splashed with wild colours and accompanied by the steady beating of drums.
Pasko sa Sugbo - (Cebu City/ Province wide). This is an annual Christmas event accompanied with lighting and decorating the main street in Cebu, starting from the capital right down to the Plaza Independence. The festival celebration also includes cultural shows held at night by various schools, parol, Christmas trees and daygon competitions.
Sanayon - This is an agro tourism festival celebrated in the southern towns of the second district that is about 100 km away from the city. The activities are held month-long to help spread tourism in the countryside.
Kadaugan sa Mactan - (Lapulapu City). This is a celebration held with plenty of pageantry every 27th of April to commemorate the historic battle of Mactan between the forces of Lapulapu and Ferdinand Magellan.
Tagbo - (Poro, Camotes Island, Cebu). This is held every January and celebrated in honour of the Patron Santo Nino de Poro. Tagbo is a sacred memoir of the past and is the basis of the municipality. It is rich in cultural heritage and has strong spiritual significance. Tagbo is a very important event that preludes the birth of a town held very dear to all its citizens.
Carcar Fiesta - (Carcal, Cebu). This festival is held in honour of the town saint, St. Catherine of Alexandria, on the 24-25th November of each year. Carcar town is well known for its old Spanish style houses set in the peaceful countryside. People invite friends, relatives and visitors to their homes during this festival to eat famous local delicacies. It is a vibrant and enjoyable event.
Casa Gorordo Museum - This is actually the home of Juan Gorordo (1862-1934), the first Filipino Bishop of Cebu. As you visit this house and move around, you get acquainted with the Filipino lifestyle between the years 1860 and 1920. The home of the Bishop displays many items like famous paintings, museum relics, antique household items and furniture.
Fort San Pedro National Museum - This age-old fort displays artefacts taken from the Old Spanish Galleon called San Diego in the deep seas of Fortune Island off the coast of Nasugbo and Batangas.
Julian Jumalon's Butterfly Sanctuary and Art Gallery - You can find the country's oldest butterfly collection and Butterfly Sanctuary here. It is wonderful to watch live immature and adult-stage local butterflies in their natural setting. It also houses the Lepido Mosaic Art collection that uses butterfly wings as its medium of art.
Aznar-Alfanso Antique Collection - This antique collection is owned by Dr. Lydia-Aznar Alfanso. It includes pieces of lovely period furniture, a large collection of jewellery, ‘santoses' as well as genuine ‘grave goods' from various archaeological excavations in the islands of Mactan and Cebu.
Magellan's Cross - (Magellanes St.). This was planted on April 21, 1521 by Ferdinand Magellan. It was here that the first Filipino Christians, Rajah Humabon and Queen Juana and about 400 followers were baptized by Fr. Pedro Valderema. The Augustinian priests built an open shrine for the cross between the years 1525 and 1740. Unfortunately, the locals started taking off chips from the cross superstitiously believing that the cross possessed miraculous powers. So, a raised structure was built to protect the cross. Currently, a hallow cross of tinadalo wood encloses the original cross to protect it.
Fort San Pedro - (Pier Area, Cebu City). It is one of the oldest and smallest tri-bastion forts in the country. It was an important hub of Spanish settlement in the Philippines. Its walls are 20 feet high and 8 feet thick with the tower rising 30 feet from the ground. After the battle of Manila Bay, the fort was handed over to the local Cebuanos by Commodore George Dewey. It then became the American Warwick Barracks during the American regime. It was put to good use later by being converted into classrooms where the local Cebuanos received their initial education.
Magellan Marker - (Punto Engano, Lapulapu City). Magellan, who was greatly enthused by his success in converting most Cebuanos to Christianity decided to extend his efforts to Mactan Island. He crossed the channel to the island but was killed by the island chieftain Lapulapu and his men even before he could reach the shore. The battle that ensued was for supremacy and freedom, and began on April 27, 1521. Unfortunately, Magellan's body could never be recovered in spite of offers of jewellery and spices in exchange for the dead body. The Magellan Marker was erected in 1866 to mark the spot where the great explorer died.
Colon Street - is the oldest street in the Philippines and was built by the Spaniards during the time of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. The city is named after Christopher Columbus and lies in the heart of Cebu city. The street is a hive of activity and is lined by movie houses, departmental stores, restaurants and several other business establishments. An obelisk describing its historical importance in detail stands on its northern end.