The Top Attractions in Cebu
The glorious beaches
Surely the top attraction for most visitors to the Province of Cebu in the Philippines is the host of sunny beaches, many of them scattered on surrounding islands. Mactan Island is the main resort, connected to Cebu by bridge, and has all the usual watersports facilities. Kansatik Island is particularly good for scuba diving, along with the remaining 165 island locations that offer fascinating sights like black coral and sea snakes.
However, even the most dedicated sun-seeker or watersports enthusiast occasionally needs to do something other than merely swim or pick up that golden tan. Fortunately, this beautiful Pacific island has much to offer in the way of alternatives to the delights of sand and sea, and most of them are free to visitors. Cebu hotels located in the beach are highly sought after and can be booked in advance.
Cebu City is the oldest settlement in the Philippines and was first visited in 1521 by Magellan, the famous explorer who gave his name to the straits at the foot of South America. In Cebu's Basilica Minor del Santo Nino is a cross which allegedly houses the original one planted by Magellan on his arrival. As a predominantly Catholic country, such religious artefacts have great symbolic significance for today's Filipinos.
Lapu Lapu Monument
After his initial success in converting Cebu to Christianity, Magellan went across to Mactan Island on the same mission but was killed by the island's chieftain, Lapu Lapu. This monument was erected in Magellan's memory and placed at the site of his death. Today, it is surrounded by attractive gardens and has a number of seafood restaurants.
Fort San Pedro
After Magellan's fatal visit, Christianity did not bring unbroken peace to Cebu, which accounts for the building of the small but still impressive fort of San Pedro in 1565. It served successive regimes for almost 400 years before becoming a garden and museum after Japanese occupation in World War II.
Originally little more than a bamboo and wood barn in 1591, this cathedral has evolved into an impressive landmark, and is worth visiting to understand the strong Catholic tradition of this country as well as providing a quiet shady retreat from the tropical sun.
Although Catholicism is the main Filipino religion, other cultures and their religions co-exist in these islands. You can't go far around the Pacific Rim without encountering communities of expat Chinese along with their strong cultural traditions. In downtown Cebu, you can visit a secluded but stunning Taoist temple with 81 steps, each representing a chapter of the Taoist scriptures.
Although many visitors come to Cebu in search of sun, it can be hot work at times. If you need to cool off outside for a few hours without aircon, then why not head 2000 feet up to the well-named Tops, with its great views of the town and islands as well as picnic spots? Just make sure you have a good set of wheels for the steep climb.
Cebu does not rely on tourism alone but is world famous for its guitar factories based mainly on Mactan Island. You can visit these to watch how guitars are constructed and perhaps buy one yourself at a discounted price. Cebu resorts will be able to offer advice on how to get to the attractions with ease.