Cha and I boarded the first Cebu-bound ferry from Tagbilaran City in Bohol. Despite time constraints, we were up to the challenge to explore the Queen City of the South for a day.
After two-hour ferry ride, we reached the port in Cebu. We wasted no time and went straight to the Tourism Office near the port to get a map of the province. Because we were pressed for time, we decided to just rent a cab (P1,500) to tour us around. With just a map in hand, we went on to tour Metro Cebu - one of the most visited provinces in the country - from 11am to 5pm.
The first thing that struck me while going around Cebu is its certain semblance to Manila. And like its counterpart in Luzon, it gives an impression that it is just a place with the accumulation of buildings and people. But at the end of our day tour, I learned that Cebu is not called Queen City of the South for nothing. Suffice it to say, a day is not enough to roam around its many historical sights. But I think Cha and I covered some of the most important ones.
Cebu lies at the very heart of the Philippines. Located to the east of Negros, to the west of Leyte and Bohol islands, Cebu Island is stretching 225 kilometers from north to south and surrounded by 167 smaller islands, which include Mactan, Bantayan, Malapascua, Olango and the Camotes Islands.
Its capital Cebu City is the oldest city in the Philippines. It is part of the Cebu Metropolitan Area together with four neighboring cities including Danao City, Lapu-Lapu City, Mandaue City and Talisay City and eight other municipalities.
Cebu is also one of the most developed provinces in the country. Its main industries include furniture making, tourism, business processing services and heavy industry. Most of the population are Roman Catholic and the main languages spoken there are Cebuano, Tagalog and English.
Here are some of the places we've visited during our six-hour stay in this metropolis.
Basilica Minore del Sto Nino (Cebu City)- Our first stop is the Basilica del Sto. Nino. This beautiful basilica houses the image of the Sto. Nino, considered the oldest religious relic in the Philippines. This relic is said to be the same image that Magellan gave to Queen Juana as a gift during the baptism of King Humabon and his wife Queen Juana on April 14, 1521.
Magellan’s Cross (Cebu City)- On April 21, 1521, Ferdinand Magellan ordered to plant a cross upon arriving in Cebu. At present, this cross is encased inside a wooden cross housed in a chapel near the Basilica Minore de St. Nino.
CNT Lechon (in front of SM Cebu) - The best lechon in the Philippines, nuff said.
Taoist Temple (Cebu City) - Located in Beverly Hills Subdivision and built in 1972, this temple towers at its elevation of about 300 meters above sea level.
Lapu-lapu Shrine (Lapu-Lapu City) - This shrine is a 20 metres (66 ft) bronze statue in Punta Engaño erected in honor of Datu Lapu-Lapu, a native leader who defeated Spanish soldiers and where the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan was killed in the midst of the Battle of Mactan on 1521.
Marcelo Fernan Bridge - From Cebu to Mactan, we passed by the Marcelo Fernan Bridge. It is an extradosed cable-stayed bridge located in Metro Cebu, Cebu in the Philippines. It spans across Mactan Channel.
Casa Gorordo Museum (Cebu City)- This house was built in mid-19th century and was declared a National Histrocal Landmark in Spetember 24, 1991. I wasn't very enthusiastic about the reception we got there, but there were good stuff inside the house. There is a fee to get in the museum, but heads up, taking photos inside is not allowed.
Cebu Heritage Monument (Cebu City)- We passed by this monument which can be found near Casa Gorordo.
Fort San Pedro (A. Pigafetta St, Cebu City) - We decided to check this important historical site which is located near the sea port. This military defense structure was built by the Spanish and indigenous Cebuano laborers under the command of Spanish conquistador, Miguel López de Legazpi and the Spanish Government in Cebu.
Souvenir shopping- Some of the best pasalubongs (souvenirs) you can take home from your trip in Cebu are Shamrock Otap, CNT Lechon, danggit, tablea, sylvannas, and of course, the famous Cebu guitars.
How to get to Cebu:
As the center of tourism, commerce, and industry in the Visayas, Cebu is accessible by all possible means – air, sea and land.
The Mactan-Cebu International Airport is the second busiest airport in the country. Major domestic airlines like Cebu Pacific, Zest Air, AirPhil Express and Philippine Airlines have daily service to and from Cebu. International airlines like Silk Air arrive from Singapore, Cathay Pacific and Cebu Pacific from Hongkong and Qatar Airways from the Middle East.
Direct flights from Manila to Cebu take only about an hour.
If you choose to go by sea, Super Ferry has daily (except Saturday) trips from Manila to Cebu. It offers a more comfortable means of transportation that would be necessary since the whole trip takes about a day.
For ferry schedule from Bohol to Cebu (vise versa), check click here.
Buses abound in the province, and could take you to almost all places in Cebu. However, if you want to explore the city, the most preferred mode of transportation are jeepneys. Likewise, there is the tartanilla, which are horse-drawn carts, which gives you a chance to experience the lives of early Cebuanos. However, if you want to conveniently explore Cebu and its cities, there are also metered taxis available for this purpose.