Thoughts take you places. So does Cebu each time you visit any of its monuments. Each fragment of Cebu tells a story that will transfer you to the colonial era. Located in the Central Visayas region of the Philippines, Cebu is one of the largest economies in the country. Featuring a collection of historical monuments, coral reefs and welcoming people, Cebu truly justifies its nickname Queen City of South.
Best of Cebu Tourist Attractions
Come see the canvas painted in many brush strokes of history & explore tourist attractions in Cebu Philippines. From the many, below listed are the top 5 tourist attractions of Cebu. Let’s take a tour.
1. Fort San Pedro – A Memoir of Cebu
Travel back in time to the 17th century, when the city was still under the rule of Spanish ruler Legazpi, who was also the founder of this fort. Apart from the fourteen ancient cannons, Fort San Pedro showcases amazing stories about Cebu’s past. One of them is contained in a letter that Legazpi wrote to the King of Spain mentioning about Fort San Pedro. Inside the Italian style fortifications lies a small garden. The walls surrounding it are decorated with sculptures, murals and paintings of the Spanish era.
Located in Plaza Independencia, the ancient monument attracts all kinds of visitors from enthusiastic tourists to local families and history buffs.
Highlights: Three Bastions, Statues of Legazpi & Antonio Pigafetta, Fort Museum
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2. Basilica del Santo Nino – In The Holy Presence
Passing through Plaza Sugbo along the Osmena Boulevard, you’ll find Basilica del Santo Nino, one of the Cebu’s major basilicas. Though the church existed since 1565, it was converted into a basilica by Pope Paul IV in the 20th century. The move was taken after a soldier discovered the statue of Santo Nino in a wooden box at the church site. It was believed to be an indication to promote Christianity in Philippines.
Along with its many attractions, the basilica houses a library containing texts in history, science, philosophy and Filipiniana for Augustinian friars and nonclerical researchers. Since the basilica remains packed with visitors year long, if you don’t find a place in the main hall, there’s also an air conditioned Pilgrim Centre where you can peacefully hear the mass prayers.
Highlights: Candle Lighting Prayer, Ceiling frescoes, Pilgrim Center, Museum
3. Magellan’s Cross – A Tale of Colonization
Few steps away from Basilica Santo Nino is a stone chapel, which is also one of the most important landmarks of entire Philippines; not exactly the chapel but what’s inside it. Inside the chapel is a wooden cross popularly called as the Magellan’s Cross. The cross got its name from Ferdinand Magellan, who in 1521 came to Cebu City. He was the one who had ordered Spanish and Portuguese ramblers to carve the Holy cross in this chapel to deepen the roots of Christianity in Philippine. Since then, the cross has been resting here beneath the octagonal ceiling. No, this wooden cross doesn’t carry Magellan’s spirit and all, if you are thinking. And oh! We forgot to tell you, don’t miss to read the plaque at the entry. It has a little (big!) secret for you!
Highlights: Wooden Cross, Paintings on Ceiling Kiosk, Candle Dance Prayer
4. Taoist Temple – Moments of Solace
Situated 300 meters above sea level, the temple is a creation of the Chinese community in Cebu City and one of the must-visit tourist attractions in Cebu Philippines. The temple gives a view of a Tao silence retreat centre in the hills of China. However, instead of retreat the temple offers you to make a wish by dropping wooden bean blocks on the floor. It is said that if you devotionally read all the 81 scriptures of Taoism, you’ll find peace of mind. The architecture of this temple too signifies the same. As you climb the staircase of 81 steps, you’ll find sinking silence up therein.
Highlights: Colorful Dragon Sculptures, In-built Gift Shop, Multi-tiered Pagoda style buildings
5. Mactan Shrine – Papuri Para Sa Lapu Lapu
Once upon a time there was a chieftain called Lapu Lapu who ruled Mactan Island. He was against Spanish colonization in Cebu. So, he fought a battle against Ferdinand Magellan to oppose spreading of Christianity in the country. The end, Mactan won and Magellan was killed. To honor the hero, a shrine was created in the 16th century. The shrine today is called as Mactan Shrine. Moral of the story, Mactan shrine is a must-visit if you are touring Cebu!
Highlights: Message Plaques, Bronze Statue of Lapu Lapu, Stone obelisk, Flower vases
Adding to these, there are still many other tourist attractions in Cebu Philippines that truly deserve your visit. If you find any of your favorite places missing here, share with us in the comments section down below.
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Feature image credit: Brian Evans