At first blush, Cebu City is not as well-endowed with natural resources as Palawan, nor is it as diverse as neighboring Bohol. However, it is a very important spoke in the country’s economy and a pillar of the country’s history – these two qualities translate Cebu City to a top tourist destination in the country. Getting the moniker “The Queen City of the South” isn’t any easy feat. To gain that, the place must be good to the extreme.
A top tourist destination in the Philippines, Cebu City is a beaming hub when it comes to everyday fan and thrills.
The Basilica del Sto. Nino
Take a trip through the roots of Catholicism in the Philippines and wander through the ancient Basilica del Santo Niño. Founded way back in 1565, it is considered the oldest church in the country. A chapel beside it houses the famed Magellan’s Cross. The Basilica del Sto. Nino is one of the most famous tourist attractions in the city. The oldest religious image in the country, the Sto. Nino is also housed here and commemorated every year.
There’s a curious “ritual” done by candle vendors outside the church. When you buy from them, they will ask you for your family name. Then, they will pray for your family — while dancing. Nothing can beat that.
For an added historical high, head over to the Magellan’s Cross, just a few steps away from the Church itself. Inside a stone chapel is said to be the exact same cross planted by Ferdinand Magellan as he lay claim to the Philippine islands on behalf of Spain’s King Phillip.
Heritage of Cebu Monument
Feel history surge through your veins as you trek through the Heritage of Cebu Monument, located in the original site of Plaza Parian. The Heritage of Cebu monument is a magnificent outdoor art installation that was done by National Artist Edgardo Castillo. Even for those uninterested in history, the sheer magnificence of this artwork is a sight to behold.
This place is famous for its top-notch danggit, pusit, dilis, and tuyo. There are also several other Cebu delicacies, such as otap and dried mangoes. It is located in downtown Cebu, and is a must-visit for anyone looking for good pasalubong.
Fort San Pedro
When we think of forts, we often think of large structures that can withstand the onslaught of the armies of old. Not this one — this is the oldest and smallest Spanish fort in the country. It only has three bastions, and is located in Cebu’s Pier area. The general area is now called Plaza Independencia.
Sky Experience Adventure
A must-visit for adrenaline junkies, this place offers thrill activities like the Tower Walk, the Edge Coaster, the Vertical Climb, and the Urban Zipline. It is located atop the Crown Regency Hotel and Towers, around Fuente Osmena. Aside from being a good place to see the city’s daytime skyline, check it out at night for a magnificent view of twinkling Cebu lights.
For shopaholics, Colon Street is the perfect place. It turns out to be the oldest street in the country and home to several shops. The country’s oldest street, this is located at the heart of the Queen City. It is also the commercial center of the area. Colon Street is famous for its bags, clothes, jewelry, shoes, and even electronic goods. Just have a little patience in wading through the shops here, and you will find items costing much lower than they do in other shops.
As a plus, Colon Street also has a lot of restaurants – literally a one-stop fodie area. Just be careful of pickpockets and other miscreants.
For the foodie, try the famous Sutukil near the equally renowned Mactan Shrine. Sutukil is a portmanteau of the words “sugba” (grill), “tula” (stew), and “kil” (kilaw). Never mind the pun on the infamous police procedure — the food here is to die for. Add to that the famous delicacies of the place, such as otap and turones, and you have the perfect treat for the palate and the tummy. Don’t forget to drop by the Larsian barbecue station, too — it’s good food with good people all around you. What could be better?
For the active and the nature lover, try the pristine Kawasan falls. Bathe or raft in its crystal clear waters, or sit by the side while sipping some fresh buko juice. Then there’s the Badian beach and the Basdaku white beach where you can enjoy some sand and sun — and forget that you’re in the middle of one of the busiest cities in the country.