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Cebu - Visayas - Philippines Travel
Cebu, the country’s fastest growing economy and home to a thriving metropolis, is for most people a premier tourist destination. Its strategic location also makes it the perfect gateway to more exotic and remote spots of the central and southern Philippines.
It is easy to find a hotel if you should ever find yourself stranded in Cebu because of a missed boat or plane, hotels are plentifull and in good shape.
Even its geographical trait somehow contributes to Cebu’s tourist-friendliness. A thin sliver of an island, many of the best beach resorts are not more than an hour’s drive from the center. You can go snorkeling all day and still have ample time to go back to the city and dress up for a cocktail at night.
So if you haven’t been to Cebu yet and may find yourself in that part of the Philippines one of these days, where do you go first? There are the famous landmarks of the city. Visiting these historical points is a good way of getting to know what Cebu could offer. You could also meet Cebuanos along the way and get a taste of hospitality all Filipinos are known for. Cebu has houses, churches and municipal edifices dating back to the 16th century colonial Philippines.
Allot 3 hours for your tour that takes you to a 20-kilometer radius swing to interesting points. First stop is Fort San Pedro—the regional office of the Manila-based National Museum. During the Spanish times, it was the first fort built on Philippine soil. Now it also houses a miniature replica of the San Diego—a Spanish Galleon that sunk in Manila bay in 1600. It was recovered 5 years ago and yielded vast amount of gold, silverware, ivories, stoneware, earthenware, porcelain, etc.
Next stop is Magallañes—a spitting distance from Fort San Pedro. There stands Magellan’s Cross and East Asia’s only Catholic Basilica (before Quiapo Church in Manila was elevated to Basilica status). Home to the original statue of the Sto. Niño or Infant Jesus, the Basilica is the focal point religious pilgrims in the Visayas region. A bit of info: the Sto. Niño was given to Queen Juana (wife of Cebu’s King Humabon) by Magellan himself.
Along Osmeña Boulevard, past the old buildings, is Colon street—reputed to be the country’s oldest street and is now undergoing a major restoration effort by the Women’s International League. You could also wind up to Carbon Market where the richest harvest of fresh fruits from Cebu and adjacent islands are first dropped off. Then you can trek to the Beverly Hills and bask in a magnificent view of the city from the Taoist Temple.
Don’t forget Cebu’s other cities like Lapu-Lapu and Mactan which is just a 2- to 3-hour ride from the capital. From the bridge of Mandaue-Mactan, turn right and head towards Opon plaza which is the center of commerce in Mactan and home to Opon Church. Then you can proceed to Abuno and marvel at Cebu’s famed and superb guitar craftsmanship. Foor a cool break, continue east towards the resort areas and end northwest at Punta Engaño where the shrine of Lapu-Lapu is located. This is where the Battle of Mactan took place.