While in Cebu, you may want to do some sightseeing. There is a lot to see and do and we are here to help you see it all! We have knowledgeable Tour Guides that are Tourism Graduates that can take you to many of the top tourist attractions located throughout Cebu.
It was in the province of Cebu, that Portuguese Explorer, Ferdinand Magellan first set foot on Philippine soil back on April 7, 1521. Even before the Spaniards came, trade with the Chinese already flourished in the province. Prosperity has continued, and today, Cebu City, known as the "Queen City of the South", has become a thriving, highly urbanized mecca that comes in second only to Manila's bustling metropolis.
Recently Cebu City was named the #8 Asian city of the future. There is a dramatic change happening with the city landscape that includes new construction, new business, and new ideas, but there still remains many historical attractions waiting for you to see. Come join us while we explore Cebu.
This location marks the spot where the first christian Filipinos, Cebu Island Rajah Humabon and his wife Queen Hara Amihan and about 700 native Filipino followers, where baptized by Friar Pedro Valderama, the Andalusion chaplain and Catholic priest of the Spanish fleet. Rajah Humabon was given the name Carlos in honor of King Charles of Spain and his wife given the name Queen Juana after King Charles’ mother. Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese explorer working for King Charles of Spain in search of the Spice Islands, was the first European to come to the Philippines on April 7, 1521. He planted the well-known Magellan Cross at this site on April 14, 1521 to commemorate the spiritual baptisms. In 1525 to 1740, the Agustinian priests built an open shrine for the cross but the Filipino natives began to take chips from the cross believing it had miraculous power so an octagon brick kiosk-like chapel structure was erected in 1834 to protect the cross from total destruction (see left photo taken in 1900). To protect it further, a hallow cross of tinadalo wood was made to encase the original cross and it still stands today. Some feel that the original cross was destroyed and the Magellan cross kept on display is probably a replica of the original. Magellan's Cross is a symbol of Cebu City and the chapel's image can be found in the city's seal. The cross signifies the start of Roman Catholicism and Christianity in Philippines.
Inspired by his success in befriending and Christianizing the people of Cebu, Ferdinand Magellan sailed with his men across the Cebu channel south to Mactan Island in hopes of converting the Mactan Island Chief Lapu-Lapu, a rival to Cebu Island Chief Rajah Humabon, and spreading the Catholic faith. Miscalculating, his ship could not come ashore because of the coral rock so he and his men waded toward shore. Before he reached the shore, he was met by Lapu-Lapu and his warriors and killed in a battle for supremacy and freedom on April 27, 1521. A shrine was erected in 1866 to mark the place where the great Spanish explorer died.
Lapu-Lapu Monument Back to Top^ This site marks the place where the Battle of Mactan took place on April 27, 1521. The warriors of the native chief Lapu-Lapu of Mactan Island defeated Spanish sailors and soldiers under the command of Ferdinand Magellan. It depicts the native Filipino hero holding a bolo in one hand and a pestle on the other. Said weapons were believed to have been used during the combat with Magellan and his men. Chief Lapu-lapu is regarded as the first Filipino to defeat a Western conqueror and is a national hero. This monument stands as a reminder of Filipino bravery.
Rajah Humabon Park Back to Top^ Before the Spanish came, Rajah Humabon was the supreme King of Sugbu (present-day Cebu) and ruled over 8 chieftans and their subjects. During his reign, Cebu was a trading zone with neighboring Asian countries Siam (Thailand), China and others. When Ferdinand Magellan landed on the island of Cebu on April 7, 1521, Rajah Humabon made a blood compact with Magellan as a symbol of their newfound friendship. Captivated by the noble teachings of Magellan, Rajah Humabon became the first Filipino to embrace Christianity. The following Sunday, Rajah Humabon and his Queen were baptized along with about 700 followers. After the death of Magellan, Rajah Humabon lost trust to the Spaniards and invited the remaining Spaniards to a banquet where they were killed by Humabon’s warriors. Learning of the massacre, the remaining Spaniards immediately left the island.
Basilica Minore Del Santo Nino Back to Top^ The Basilica Minore del Santo Niño is a 16th century church in Cebu City and is the oldest church in the Philippines. It houses the oldest religious relic of the Philippines, the image of the Santo Niño, a sculpture depicting the Holy Child Jesus that was given by Ferdinand Magellan to the newly-baptized Queen Juana as a bapitismal gift. The Santo Niño later survived a fire unscathed and was found by the Legaspi Expedition of Spanish explorers in 1565. It was preserved in a burned wooden box which was left behind during the 1521 Magellan Expedition. The church was built on that spot and founded by an Augustinian priest, Andrés de Urdaneta on April 28, 1565. The first church structure was built out of earth, hard wood and nipa in 1566. Later, in 1739, the church was reconstructed of hard coral stone. The Basilica remains under the care of the Order of St. Augustine.
The Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral took many years to construct due to frequent interruptions brought about by lack of funds and other unexpected events, like funding the moro wars. The architecture of the church is typical of Spanish colonial churches. During World War II, much of the cathedral was destroyed by allied bombings. Only the belfry (built in 1835), the façade and part of the walls remained. It was rebuilt in the 1950s during the incumbency of Archbishop Gabriel Reyes. The cathedral was then renovated for the 75th anniversary celebration of the elevation of Cebu into an archdiocese in 2009.
The Heritage of Cebu Monument is a tableau of sculptures made of concrete, bronze, brass and steel showing scenes about events and structures related to the history of Cebu. The construction of the monument began in July 1997 by sculptor Eduardo Castillo. The project was commissioned by the Archdiocese of Cebu and inaugurated on December 8, 2000. The monument depicts structures, scenes and people such as the Basilica de Santo Nino, the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, the Saint John the Baptist Church, the Magellan’s Cross, a Spanish Galleon, baptism of Rajah Humabon, a procession of the Santo Nino, a Roman Catholic mass, the Battle of Mactan, the late president Sergio Osmena Sr and the Blessed Pedro Calungsod. The monument is located in the historic Parian District, which during the Spanish period was home to the residences of the most prominent families in Cebu. On the site once stood the Saint John the Baptist Church. It was demolished by the diocese of Cebu in 1875.
Yap-San Diego Ancestral House Back to Top^ For centuries, the Parian District was home to the founding families of Cebu consisting of well-to-do early Chinese merchants. The families homes were clustered together and made of coral stone on the ground floor and wood-cladding on the second floor with a clay-tiled roof. Only a few of these antique structures survive today. One, the 18th Century Yap-San Diego Ancestral House, is considered to be one of the oldest residential houses in the Philippines and was built sometime between 1675 and 1700. It was owned by Don Juan Yap, a Chinese merchant and his wife Doña Maria Florido. During the 1880's, their oldest daughter, Maria Florido Yap, married Don Mariano San Diego, who was Parian’s District Head at the time. In 2008, the old ancestral home was turned over to Doña Maria’s great great grandson, Val San Diego, who restored the house to it's original splendor and transformed his families 300 hundred year old ancestral home into a history museum displaying items of Cebu's past.
Casa Gorordo Museum Back to Top^ Casa Gorordo was built by Alejandro Reynes Y Rosales in the middle of the 19th century and was home to Spanish merchant Juan Isidro de Gorordo (1862-1934). He became the first Filipino Bishop of Cebu during 1910-1932. Four generations of the Gorodo family lived in this home. Now it is one of the three remaining houses left in the old Parian District of Cebu, which dates back to the Spanish colonial period. In this prestigious section of the city, home to the most prominent ancestral families, stood this home with a Mactan coral stone ground floor and wooden clad second floor with a tiled-roof. In 1980, the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation acquired the home and restored it into a lifestyle museum (opened 1983) that features altar pieces, antique furnishings, paintings and antique relics. On September 24, 1991, National Historical Institute Board, declared the house a national historical landmark.
Jesuit House of 1730 Back to Top^ Nestled in the old Parian District is the Jesuit House of 1730. It was the residence of the Jesuit Superior of Cebu and made up of two houses connected by a bridgeway. The main house is made of coral stone, while the other house followed traditional era design with coral stone walls on the ground level and wood cladding on the second floor. In 1768, the Jesuits were expelled from the Philippines and several of their properties, including this one, were put up for sale. A wealthy landowner and rancher, Don Jose Alvarez from Bohol, bought the property for his family and the Alvarez family lived in it for years without making any major changes. In the mid-1960s, the Alvarez family sold the house to Don Nicanor Sy. The current owners, Jimmy and Margarita Sy, have converted the house into a life museum.
Historic Colon Street Back to Top^ Calle Colon (Colon Street) was constructed by the Spainards in 1565 during the time of a Spanish conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legaspi and named after famous explorer Cristóbal Colón (Christopher Columbus). Being a market and trading hub, this historic street was lined with Spanish tiled-roof houses and shops that made up the old Parian District of Cebu. The area thrived during the commercial boom of the 19th century. Many of the original Parian families have since moved and most all of their ancestral structures have been replaced by present-day commercial establishments, where now many shop for bargains. On the north end of Colon Street, an obelisk was erected by the National Historical Institute in 1999. Various historical markers (like the one pictured) are displayed detailing points of interest along the oldest street in the Philippines.
Museo Sugbo - Cebu Provincial Museum Back to Top^ This facility was the main provincial prison built in 1871 and orginally called the Cacel de Cebu where criminals like the Katipuneros during the Philippine revolution and some guerillas during the Japanese occupation of World War II were kept. The prison was originally built to be the main prison for the entire Visayas. It was renovated in 1892 with additional buildings added behind the main structure where it was the city jail in the front and provincial jail in the back. The prison was in operation until the Cebu provincial government opened a modern prison complex further north of Cebu City in 2004. The orginal facility was then converted into a repository for Cebuano heritage & history, now called the Museo Sugbo (Cebu Museum) and opened August 2008. This prison was once home to the famous YouTube - Cebu Dancing Inmates.
Plaza Independencia is a liesure park in downtown Cebu with beautiful gardens and trees and a great place to hang out. During Spanish rule, the park was christened as Plaza Maria Cristina, in honor of the Spanish Queen. During the American colonial period, the park's name was changed to Plaza Libertad to commemorate the Americans liberating the Cebuanos from Spanish rule. Later the park became known as Plaza Independencia. An obelisk is in the center of the park dedicated to the memory of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, who established Cebu as the first Spanish settlement in the Philippines and was it's first Spanish Governor-General.
Located on the grounds of Plaza Independencia, Cebu Governor Miguel López de Legazpi had Fort San Pedro built to protect the original Spanish settlement that he founded. Construction began on May 8, 1565. The original fort was made of wood and reconstructed of coral stone in 1833. The fort is triangular in shape, with two sides facing the sea defended with artillery cannons. Most of the fourteen cannons are still there today. Inside the walls are found two buildings, the "Cuerpo de Guardia" where the personnel that manned the fort lived and the "Vivende del Teniente" which was the living quarters of the lieutenant of the Fort.
Malacanang sa Sugbo - President’s Residence Back to Top^
The Malacañang sa Sugbo is reserved as the official residence for the President of the Philippines when he/she visits Cebu and other areas of the Visayas region. It was named after the Malacañang Palace in Manila, the primary official residence of the Philippine President. The structure was originally built in 1910. In 2004, it was restored by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Cebu City Hall and Historic Bank of the Philippines Back to Top^
Cebu City Hall is a pre-WWII government office building that houses the executive and legislative bodies of the city. It was damage during WWII by US airships and later rebuilt through American aid under the Tydings War Damage Act of 1946.
Located across from the Cebu City Hall is the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), another pre-war structure made of solid reinforced concrete and is the oldest bank in the Philippines. The Japanese Imperial Army occupied it during World War II. It was damaged and burned during the air attacks of WWII, but it too was restored. The same bank still operates in this building today and is a national historical landmark.
The Archbishop’s Palace contains the office and residence of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Cebu. The original residence was located downtown across from the Cebu Metropolitian Catherdral and was made of Parian District inspired coral stone on the ground floor and wood on the second floor. WWII bombings gutted the original residence causing the new residence to be built in 1953. Pope John Paul II spent a night in this palace during his 5-day visit to the Philippines in 1981.
Born September 9, 1878 and 4th President of the Philippines, Sergio Suico Osmeña Sr., traced his roots to a wealthy and prominent family from the old Parian District of Cebu where a historical marker marks his birthplace. He was the first Visayan to become President of the Philippines. After his political defeat against Senator Manuel Roxas in 1946, he retired in this residence built on Osmeña Blvd from the 1950s to his death in 1961. The house is now a history museum protraying his life as a great political leader.
Fuente Osmeña is a water fountain built in the center of Fuente Circle in uptown Cebu City. It was erected to commemorate the completion of the Osmeña Waterworks System built during the American-colonial era. Prior to the waterworks system, city dwellers had to get water from wells and rivers, which carried water-borne disease. The waterworks system took 13 months to complete at a cost of 550,000 pesos and was completed on February 1912. The fountain symbolizes the start of forward progression for the city.
High above Fuente Circle, sitting on top of the Crown Regency Hotel and Towers, is Cebu's famous Sky Experience Adventure attraction. For adrenaline pumping madness, head up to the Sky Walk on the 37th floor or the thrilling Edge Coaster on the 38th floor. On the 40th floor is the new to open death defying thrill ride called the Insanity Orbit. Now ain't that gonna be fun?
Seen from Fuente Circle, is the Cebu Provincial Capital Building, the seat of the provincial government of Cebu containing offices for the Cebu Governor in the north wing and the Vice-Governor in the south wing. It was designed by Juan M. de Guzmán Arellano, a Filipino architect who trained in the U.S. Construction started in 1937 and it was inaugurated June 14, 1938 by Philippine President Manuel L. Quezon. The capitol was damaged during WWII, but reconstructed under the Tydings War Damage Act of 1946.
Near the Cebu Provincial Capitol, is the pre-World War II building of the Rizal Memorial Library and Museum. Named after the Philippines’s national hero, Jose Rizal, who fought for freedom through his writings during the Spanish colonial period. The Cebu City Public Library occupies the first level while the City Museum, opened in 1992, is on the second level. On the third level is the Sinulog Hall with beautiful stained glass windows holding performing art concerts and theater productions by local Cebuano talents.
The Cebu Taoist Temple was built in 1972 by the local Chinese community and is located high in the hills overlooking the city and the Island of Mactan below. The temple is the center of worship for Taoism, the religion which follows the teachings of the ancient Chinese philosopher, Lao Tze. The entrance to the temple is a replica of the Great Wall of China. Inside the temple walls include a chapel, a library, a souvenir shop and a wishing well. The temple is open to worshipers and non-worshipers alike.
One of the most visited attractions in Cebu is Tops. Situated high in the Busay hills, Tops provides breathtaking views of metro Cebu City and the islands of Mactan and Olango below. Open kiosks are available for daytime picnics and instant evening parties.
There are more than 20 beautiful beaches lining the shores of Mactan Island with beach resorts ranging from 2 star hotels to top-of-the-line 5-star international chains (see our list of top beach resorts). One of the most popular forms of recreation in Cebu is island hopping. The best way to visit the islands around Cebu is in a banca boat. Relax on white beaches and swim in clear waters on islands like Gilutungan, Talima, Nalusuan, Olango and Pandanon Islands, or spend a day in Bohol with one of our day trips.
While you are out island hopping, make a stop at the Olango Island 920-hectare Bird Sanctuary. Olango Island consists of extensive coralline sandflats, mangroves and seagrass beds. It's offshore coral reefs are home to scores of various marine species. This diverse coastal ecosystem makes a perfect stop for migratory birds flying from the cold winter areas of Siberia, Northern China, and Japan going southward toward Australia and New Zealand, then back again to their nesting grounds. Great Diving is here too!
Bohol Island is very near to Cebu. Take a day trip to see the famous Chocolate Hills, The Blood Compact Shrine commemorating where Don Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and Datu Sikatuna mixed wine with their blood and drank the mixture to seal their friendship, the Baclayon Church, Bohol Python, Loboc Church, Loboc River Cruise, Tarsier Encounter, Man Made Forest, Butterfly Conservation Center and Souvenir Shopping. Book a one day tour with us for the best pricing.
Visit the islands around Cebu and Bohol for world-class snorkeling and diving. The marine sanctuaries of Talima, Gilutungan and Nalusuan are abundant in marine life with a wide variety of corals and colorful reef dwellers. Fish feeding is a favorite activity in these islands as you can feed these tropical fishes with your hands for a truly close encounter. Schedule a trip to Moalboal to see the famous Butanding, the largest fish in the world, known to the rest of the world as the Whale Shark.
The Mactan Island Aquarium opened in September 2008 and is the only public aquarium in the Visayas. The exhibits display a variety of marine life from the tropical Pacific Ocean including water snakes, sea slugs, sea turtles, reef sharks, living corals, sea horses, graceful sea jellies and myriads of colorful reef fish. Learn from interactive tours or lend a hand in shark feeding.
For your adventure, the major attraction at Mactan Island's Imperial Palace Beach Resort is their water slide park designed by Dream Park International USA. It is open to the public and features water slide themed pools like the Amazon River Pool, a flowing river pool that you can float down in an inflatable tube; The Wave Rider, an artificial tide pool; Captain Hook's Pool with pirate ship and slides, and the Beach pool.
The best guitars in the Philippines are made in the family-owned factories of Abuno, Mactan Island. Most the factories have showrooms for the different classes of guitars and some will even show you the various steps in the guitar making process. The guitars are made for export, so there are plenty of quality guitars being sold at direct factory discounts.
You might be lucky enough to be in Cebu during the time a Spanish Galleon replica pulls into port. Nearly 500 years ago, the first Spanish Galleon carried Ferdinand Magellan onto the shores of Cebu in 1521. This 6-deck ship was made of oakwood and measured 55 meters long and 20 meters wide with 7 sails. It was used by Spaniards for trade in the 16th century to 19th century. Now, this magnificant ship sails from the Spain to various countries and stops at the Philippines to commemorate the original landing.
The Sinulog Festival is Cebu’s biggest and most popular festival and is a feast in honor of Senyor Santo Niño de Cebu. The Sinulog celebration traditionally lasts for nine days, culminating on the final day with the Sinulog Grand Parade, which is celebrated every third Sunday of January. Leading up to the grand parade, devotees in the tens of thousands, converge in the streets of Cebu City to join in a grand solemn procession. Another major activity is the Fluvial Parade at dawn on the day before the Mardi Gras.
As you can tell, there is a lot to see and do in Cebu!
We offer guided tours to any of the above attractions. Just select which one of the attractions you would like to see or do and we will make all the arrangements.
We will pick you up at your hotel and charge you one set price which includes a stop off for lunch and shopping Wow!