Cebu City is the capital city of the province of Cebu and is the oldest city in the Philippines. It is regarded as the “Queen City of the South.” Being such, it is a center for commerce, trade, education and tourism. It is one of the most sought after tourist destination in the Philippines. Furthermore, it is an accessible place for tourists because the second largest and busiest airport in the nation is located in Mactan Island and is just near Cebu City.
With all the beauty and splendor that there is in this magnificent place from their churches, monuments, historical legacies, mountain trails, exotic coral reefs as well as it's pristine and white sand beaches, it has contributed much in making Philippines a more fun place to stay. In no particular order, lets take a sneak preview of the top 10 tourist attractions in Cebu that would eventually make one from coming back over and over again.
1. Fort San Pedro
This is one of the rich historical legacy in Cebu which is located in the Pier Area of Cebu City. It is the oldest and smallest triangular-bastion fort in the country that was built in the year 1738 by Spaniards and indigenous Cebuano laborers. It served as military defense and was the focal point of Spanish settlement. It also served as a stronghold for Filipino revolutionaries. At present, part of the fort is a museum. A large statue of Legazpi and Antonio Pigafetta may be seen outside the fort walls and inside it were legacies of the Spanish government. It has well preserved artifacts such as Spanish document, paintings and sculpture. These days it served as a historical park and a famous venue for prenuptial pictures or wedding receptions at that. It is under the care of administration of City of Cebu and to earn income, one would pay entrance fee as follows: Regular fee is P 30.00, Senior Citizen is P 24.00 while students and children have the same rate of P 20.00.
2. Magellan’s Cross
Another significant historical landmark in Cebu is the Christianity religion brought about by the arrival of Magellan in 1521. He brought with him a wooden cross and planted it in Cebu to mark the propagation of Christianity. It is located in downtown of Cebu. The present Magellan’s Cross is now a Tindalo Wood encasing the original cross. This is to protect the original cross from people who chipped away parts of the cross for souvenir purposes or in the belief that the cross possesses miraculous powers. This tourist attraction is free for everyone to see and experience.
3. Taoist Temple
Situated in the northern hills of Cebu in a high end residential area of Beverly Hills about 6 km north of downtown Cebu, Taoist Temple marks as the symbol of the Cebu's prosperous ethnic Chinese population that follows Taoism. Yet the temple is open to Taoism worshipers and non-worshipers alike. Since it is a towering temple, one could see the breathtaking view of Cebu. The structural and architectural design of the temple is also well crafted. Moreover, the place is also a perfect avenue for one to reflect, pause and meditate.
4. Sumilon Island
If you want peace and serenity amidst the frenzied hurly-burly of the city life, you can have your sweet escape in the beautiful island of Sumilon which provides a tranquil refuge. It has a lush tropical environment with several white sand beaches, a lagoon, a hiking trail with breathtaking panoramic views, a lighthouse, historical watchtower (baluarte), cave and other resort facilities including a swimming pool that overlooks the island of Cebu. It is 125 kilometers from Cebu City and is in close proximity to Dumaguete. It can be reached by car or a Ceres bus with a south route, a three hour drive from Cebu City to Bancogon pier in Oslob town and from there, a 15-30 minute boat ride to the island. The boat ride is provided by the resort.
5. Bantayan Island
Bantayan Island beaches as most tourist say is the Cebuano version of Boracay when it comes to the wonderful display of majestic white beaches even as you approached its' pier in Santa Fe Cebu which is located in the northern tip of Cebu. It is a wonderful place to beach bum. The vast white sand shore and clear waters seems like a paradise here on earth. It has been one of the most favorite destination of foreign and local tourist alike and even celebrities especially during the Lenten Season. The Holy Week celebration is indeed filled with people as it is known for their “karo”and jubilant celebration of commemorating the Lord's death and resurrection. The main bread and butter of natives there is fishing. Hence, they have an abundant supply of fresh sea foods at a lower cost than the skyrocketing prices in the city markets. The serenity and laid back atmosphere in this island is truly a wonderful experience for you to rejuvenate and reinvigorate yourself whenever you are downcast from the pressure life has to offer.
6. Oslob Whale Watching
Cebu has many fascinating places to explore and one of the many ways to fascinate yourself is to take a glimpse of friendly creatures of the sea such as whale sharks in barangay Tan-awan. It is 10 km away from the town proper of Oslob. Side by side with watching them as fishermen feed them, you can also glide through with them as you swim, dive, snorkel and splash yourself in the waves of their splendid beach. It became a huge tourist attraction and local fishermen in their place earned income from it. Initially those whale sharks were just on their migrating route. The fishermen fed them and alas they stayed. Right now the government is concerned with the welfare of the shark. Hence, further studies are still made about the whale sharks and as to when the availability of feeding and seeing them, let's keep our fingers crossed. So while it is still available for everyone to see, grab this chance to actually experience the beauty of nature has blessed us.
7. Kawasan Falls
One of the most spectacular and well visited waterfalls in Cebu both by local and foreign tourists is the Kawasan Falls. It is located in the Southern part of Cebu in Barangay Matutinao Badian. It is a three-tiered cascade of clean and crystal clear waterfalls. From Cebu City, Kawasan Falls can be reached by bus right at Cebu South Bus Terminal. It will take you 3 to 4 hours travel to reach Barangay Matutinao. However, you need to walk for around 20 minutes for you to reach the 1st falls. Along the way you can view several wild tropical plants, birds and it is surrounded by lush and green rainforest. It is a magnificent display of God's creation as the ambiance seems like a magical paradise. The refreshing drops of crystal clear waters is soothing enough and feels like a back massage. It is truly an extraordinary and amazing experience to do away with the tropical heat of Cebu. There are two more falls if you are adventurous enough to explore nature at it's best.
8. Osmeña Peak
Osmeña Peak is said to be the highest peak in the province of Cebu. The peak is approximately 1,000 meters above sea level and it is located in the southern part of Cebu in Mantalongon Dalaguete. If you are the mountaineering type of person who will not pass the chance of nature trekking, Mantalongon Dalaguete is one of the best destination for you to traverse. It has been coined as the “Summer Capital of Cebu” and “Little Baguio of the South” for its cooler than the usual breeze. Due to the cool, refreshing and mind blowing scenery in Osmeña Peak, campers and mountain climbers love to come to this place to take a glimpse of the panoramic view around Cebu, Bohol and Negros. If Cebu City is your destination point, Dalaguete is about 85 kilometers and is about 1 ½ hours ride by bus from the city. You can ride the bus in Cebu South Bus Terminal and take the buses traveling southward to Oslob or Bato via Dalaguete and get off at the Dalaguete junction. When you reach Dalaguete, you can take a tricycle that will take you to Mantalungon and from there make the hike to Osmeña Peak. Another option for you to take is to ride a mini bus in Carbon Public Market. As soon as you were able to ride a mini bus, you will be dropped off at the Mantalungon Public Market. From there, you can either take a motorcycle for hire that will take you to the foot of the mountain ranges or you directly hike to Osmeña Peak that will take you at least one to two hours.
9. Papa Kits Marina and Fishing Lagoon
Papa Kit's Marina and Fishing Lagoon is one of the best places in Cebu where you can have a wide array of adventures just in one setting which opens at 6am and closes at 6pm. It is situated in Silot Balay, Poblacion Liloan which is about 40 minutes away from Cebu City. The resort offers wall climbing, off road bike ATV, 800 meters zip line, horseback riding, fishing at the lagoon, water sports activities, watercraft paddling, restaurants, hanging bridge and they also have a bird aviary. The entrance fee is P100.00 and half of it is consumable. You can bring your entire family here as this is a perfect place for young and those young at heart to be opened to the world of adventure and perhaps to conquer the fear of heights. To reach Papa Kits, you can either ride a bus headed to the north or ride a multi-cab or jeepney with a Liloan, Compostela or Danao route. You can call the Papa Kit’s landline at (032) 520-2116 or text/call them at 0922-8075594 or 0922-8838012.
Tops is one of the most visited tourist destinations of Cebu. It is located high above Busay Hills and is around 15-20 minutes drive from JY square in Lahug. You can get there by renting a car or taxi cab or you can bring your own car if you have one because there is an ample parking space for vehicles. Tops offers a bird's eye view of the City if Cebu and Island of Mactan. The panoramic view of the place is a perfect avenue for one to view either a sunrise or sunset. The magnificent display of the bright lights of the City is also a wonderful sight to behold. The entrance fee is P100.00 and the said rate is same for everybody regardless of age.
These and more are the very good reasons that makes Cebu one of the most sought after tourist destination in the country and that makes Philippines a more fun place to stay too. If you have the luxury of time and money, don't miss out the places mentioned and surely it will make you to keep coming back here in Cebu.