Visiting Cebu

Inside info

Cebu, a province of the Philippines, consists of Cebu Island and 167 surrounding islands. The capital, Cebu City, is the oldest city in the country and is known as the ‘Queen City of the South’. It is reputed for its nightlife, beautiful beaches, churches and its food. It is the perfect place to go if you are looking for both the hustle and bustle of a city and the peace and quiet of beautiful white, sandy beaches. Visit Fort San Pedro, Philippines’ oldest fort, a monument to the island’s turbulent past. It was built in the early 1700s and served as the centre of Spanish settlement in the country. Located in the Pier Area of Cebu City at the Plaza Indepedencia, this military defence structure was built to protect against Muslim raids. In the centre of the fort is a lovely garden where you can enjoy a picnic and escape the bustle of the city. Take a walk around the top of the walls with its numerous cannons and when you enter the fort, there are posters which detail the history of the place. Although it is quite a small site, it is well worth a visit if you are interested in the history of the country. Admire the astonishing architecture of the Taoist Temple, situated in the Beverly Hills area, 6 km north of the centre of Cebu. The temple preserves the teachings of the 600 B.C Chinese philosopher Lao-Tse and was built by the city’s Chinese community. A replica of the Great Wall of China can be seen here along with a colourful Chinese dragon and as it is situated 300 metres above sea level, there are great views of Cebu City, Mactan and Bohol Islands. Every Wednesday and Sunday, watch the Taoist devotees go about their rituals as they climb the 99 steps up to the temple to light joss sticks and have their fortunes read by monks. For those of you looking for white, sandy beaches, the Malapascua Island, situated about 8km northeast of Cebu mainland is paradise. It has one of the world’s best beaches and is the perfect place to go for those wishing to go snorkelling or diving. It is a popular destination for divers to swim alongside ‘Thresher’ sharks. These sharks are safe to humans and the island is one of the few places in the world where these sharks can be observed. Take the opportunity of island hopping to the remote islands surrounding Malapascua by hiring a ‘banca’ which is a local boat for the day and enjoying a picnic whilst observing the dolphins. Located in the Plaza Parain, which was home to the most important and prominent familes during the Philippines’ Spanish period, the Heritage of Cebu Monument highlights the important historical events of Cebu. It is made up of a series of concrete, bronze, brass and steel sculptures depicting scenes relating to the history of the city, such as the Battle of Mactan. Whilst in the area, take the opportunity of visiting the Yap-San Diego House, a museum which illustrates the life of a rich family in Cebu during its Spanish era and has displays of antique items and furnishings.

Travel review

My wife and I went to Cebu for our honeymoon two years ago as she wanted white, sandy beaches and tropical islands whereas I prefer exploring cities and learning about its history and culture, so we thought Cebu was the perfect place to go as it has the best of both worlds. During our stay, we stayed at two hotels, Marriott Cebu City in Cebu City and Blue Water Resort at Malapascua. The first hotel was just fantastic, the staff were very accommodating and treated us like royalty. The facilities were excellent too, the pool was great and the rooms spacious. However, the Blue Water Resort was a different story. Although the staff were great, the bed wasn’t very comfortable and there was a problem with humidity in the room. But the worst thing was the noise, during our one week stay here, we were kept awake two nights due to loud parties going on next to the hotel. This was a shame as the staff were really professional and if it hadn’t been for the loud parties, our stay would have been satisfactory.When I go on holiday, I love admiring the architecture so a visit to the Santo Nino Basilica was a must for me. There were beautiful paintings inside which were very impressive and it was a haven of peace amidst the bustle of the city. The church is dark and rustic which added to its charm and the carved wood, particularly behind the altar was wonderful. Definitely well worth a visit even if you’re not religious. Whilst we were there, we visited Magellan’s Cross which is just next to the Basilica and although it is small it’s still worth a visit to see the artwork on its roof. Before heading off to Malapascua on the last part of our trip, we spent our last afternoon in Cebu City visiting the Casa Gorordo Museum which depicts what life for a prominent family was like in the 1800s. The house is furnished with artwork and antiques from the Gorordo family and the surrounding gardens are beautiful. We really enjoyed wandering around its gardens whilst enjoying the sunshine. During our last week in Cebu, we stayed at Malapascua. My wife and I are keen divers so this was the perfect spot for diving. There is no shortage of dive sites here and there’s plenty to see. We got to see thresher sharks (they’re not dangerous to humans) and manta rays. We also went diving at North Point where we saw some amazing coral and marine life such as zebra crabs and frogfish. Apart from diving, we also rented out a boat and went island hopping for a couple of days which was fantastic. This really is heaven on earth and definitely a honeymoon to remember!

Did you know ?

The University of San Carlos in Cebu City is the oldest university in Asia and even older than Harvard. It was founded in 1595 by the Spanish

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