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Tourist Destinations

HISTORICAL SITES AND MONUMENTS

Colon Street/Calle Colon

Downtown Area, Cebu City

Also known as Parian District, the oldest street in the Philippines built by the Spaniards during the time of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. Named after Christopher Columbus. Today, Colon Street is home to Cebu’s very first and many cinemas, restaurants, department stores, and other business establishments

Fort San Pedro

Pier Area, Cebu City

Erected on May 8, 1565, is the country’s smallest and oldest tri-bastion fort. The fort served as the nucleus of the first Spanish settlement in the Philippines and after the battle of Manila Bay, the fort became an American Warwick Barracks during the American Regime that was later converted into classrooms where the Cebuanos received formal education. During World War II, from 1941 to 1945, it served as fortification for Japanese soldiers, when the battle for liberation was fought, the fort served as an army camp. The fort has a total inside area of 2,025 sq. meters. The walls are 20 feet high, 8 feet thick and towers are 30 feet high from the ground level.

Fuente Osmeña

Osmeña Boulevard, Cebu City

Is a fountain honoring Cebu's favorite son, the late President Sergio Osmena, Sr., who was the 4th President of the Philippines (2nd President of the Philippine Commonwealth). The fountain is one of city's most famous landmarks dominating the uptown area where commercial establishments have proliferated.

Heritage of Cebu Monument

Parian District, Cebu City

Located in the original Plaza Parain, it showcases the significant and symbolic events in the history of Cebu from the time of Rajah Humabon, down to the arrival of the Spaniards and to the recent beatification of Cebuano martyr Pedro Calunsod. The monumental sculptural tableau is the work of national artist Edgardo Castrillo. Construction began on July 1997 and it was inaugurated on Dec. 8, 2000.

Lapu-lapu Monument

Punta Engaño, Lapu-lapu City

Is the site of the battle of Mactan on April 27, 1521. Mactan Chieftain Lapu-lapu, the Philippines first national hero and who first resisted Spanish colonization victoriously battled with Portuguese captain Ferdinand Magellan and his men. The monument depicts the hero holding a bolo in one hand and a pestle on the other. This bronze statue of the victorious chieftain stands as a reminder of Filipino bravery.

Bagacay Point Lighthouse

Liloan, Cebu

Located in an uphill area overlooking the splendid Mactan Channel, the Bagacay Point lighthouse in Liloan town in Cebu, stands as a symbol of stability and charm. For the past 101 years, this white octagonal tower has provided guiding light to mariners, navigators and fishermen from coastal towns in northern Cebu.
Named after its home -- Bagacay subvillage, Catarman village in Liloan -- which is known for its brown sandy beach, pottery and delicious delicacies, the landmark was built in 1904 by virtue of an executive order issued on July 28, 1903 by William Howard Taft, who came to the country in 1900 as president of the Philippine Commission and later appointed US governor general. Today, the lighthouse has been a favorite subject of many painters and photographers for its magnificent architectural design.

Mactan-Mandaue Bridge

The old Mactan-Mandaue bridge was built in 1973, it immediately became one of the most spectacular sights outside of Metro Manila. The superstructure project provided the first land transportation link between Mactan Island and the Cebu mainland. When this bridge was not yet existent, the only means of travel between Mactan and the mainland was by boat. At that time, mass transport was by ferry operated by the Ouano family of Mandaue City, using decomissioned LCTs (landing craft transport) of World War II vintage.

Magellan’s Cross

Magallanes Street, Cebu City

Planted in April 14, 1521 by Ferdinand Magellan, this marks the spot where the first Christian Filipinos, Rajah Humabon and Queen Juana and about 400 followers were baptized by Fr. Pedro Valderama. In 1525 to 1740, the Agustinian priests built an open shrine for the cross, but the natives began to take chips from the cross believing it had miraculous power. To protect it further, a hollow cross of tindalo wood was made to encase the original cross that still stands today. The cross is housed in a small chapel next to the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño on Magallanes Street (Magallanes being the Spanish name of Magellan), just in front of the city hall of Cebu City.

Magellan Marker

Punta Engaño, Lapu-lapu City

Encouraged by the success of Christianizing the people of Cebu, Magellan crossed the channel to Mactan Island in an effort to spread the faith. Before he reached the shores, he was killed by the chieftain of the island, Lapulapu and his men during the battle for supremacy and freedom on April 27, 1521. Efforts to retrieve the body of Magellan were futile inspite of the offer to trade jewelries and spices for the dead body. This marker was erected in 1866 to mark the spot where the great explorer died.

Marcelo B. Fernan Bridge

Marcelo Fernan Bridge is an extradosed cable-stayed bridge which spans across Mactan Channel connecting Cebu Island to Mactan Island. The bidge was opened in August 1999 to decongest the traffic from the older Mactan-Mandaue bridge. The bridge has a total length of 1237 metres (4058.40 feet) with a center span of 185 metres (606.96 feet). The bridge is one of the widest and longest bridge in the Philippines . It was named after Senator Marcelo Fernan, a political figure from Cebu City.

Plaza Hamabar Park

Legaspi Street, Cebu City

Once an eyesore and now a tourist attraction, the Plaza Hamabar is a renovated historical park initiated by former First Lady of Cebu City Mrs. Ninette Neri Garcia. Located in the vicinity of the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, Plaza Hamabar was a strollers's paradise of churchgoers during the Hispanic era.

Plaza Independencia (Freedom Square)

M.J. Cuenco Avenue, Cebu City

Formerly called "Plaza Libertad". Strategically located between Fort San Pedro and the building that used to house the old Gobierno Provincial, it now becomes the most favored spot for picnics and trysts. Dominated by the obelisk of Legaspi, Plaza Independencia is Cebu's most historically significant plaza.

Provincial Capitol Building

Osmeña Boulevard, Cebu City

The seat of the Provincial government is of pre-war vintage and has the undulating mountains of Cebu for its background. Majestic and imposing, its high dome can be seen along Osmeña Boulevard. A replica of the United States' White House. One of the many beautiful capitol buildings in the country, constructed in 1937 under the administration of Governor Sotero Cabahug.

Taoist Temple

Beverly Hills, Cebu City

Located at Beverly Hills, Cebu City. This temple preserves the teachings of Lao-Tse, the 600 B.C. Chinese philosopher. Everyday people climb its 81 steps, representing 81 chapters of his teachings, to light joss sticks and have their fortune read. A towering, multi-tiered, multi-hued attraction accessible by three separate winding routes. Attractions here consist of huge, colorful dragon, a replica of the Great Wall of China, spacious balconies offering scenic views, souvenir shops, mini library with instructional materials, and dozens of escalating steps.

University of San Carlos

P. del Rosario St., Cebu City

Is the oldest school in the Philippines and in Asia. Originally founded in 1595, the College was granted its university charter in 1948. It was founded as the Colegio de San Ildefonso by the Spanish Jesuits fathers Antonio Sedeno, Pedro Chirino and Antonio Pereira on August 1, 1595. This makes the school older than the University of Santo Tomas (1611) in Manila and Harvard University (1636) in the United States. It was closed from 1769 at the expulsion of the Jesuits.

In 1783 it was reopened on the initiative of the Bishop Mateo Joaquin de Arevalo, taking then the name of Colegio-Seminario de San Carlos. In 1852, the management of the college was entrusted to the Dominican fathers, replaced in 1867 by the Vincentian Fathers then, in 1935, in Societas Verbi Divini (Society of the Divine Word). The Second World War led to the interruption of the courses in 1941, however that several buildings suffered various destruction. The reopening of various faculties spread out between 1945 and 1946.

Malacañang sa Sugbo

The structure was originally a mansion built circa 1910 and formerly housed the Bureau of Customs. Today it serves as the President’s office here in Cebu.

Cebu South Coastal Road

The 12 kilometer, 4-lane highway was created to improve traffic in Metro Cebu. It connects Cebu City, Talisay City and other southern municipalities. An almost 1-kilometer long Subway Tunnel is currently under construction to connect the South Coastal Road with the Sergio Osmeña Avenue in the North Reclamation Area.

Cebu Transcentral Highway

Bounded by Cebu's watersheds, one will pass through the Ayala-developed Ayala Heights Subdivision and then onwards to the Cebu National Park Forest Reserve. Sights include Mt. Manunggal where a shrine to former President Magsaysay is located, Island in the Sky Resort and many more. Fresh vegetables are available at a very cheap price not to mention the sweet corns, lettuces, fruits and the beautiful flowers.

Tops

The place is an excellent sight seeing spot which offers a breathtaking view of Metro Cebu and the islands of Mactan and Olango. Located in the mountains of Busay. Cottages are available for daytime picnics and instant evening parties

CHURCHES

Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral

Cebu City

The Cebu Metropolitan Catherdal took about a century to complete because of frequent interruptions. The first church was built in 1595 of wood, bamboo and thatch and after several reconstructions on the church it was eventually improved in 1886, during the incumbency of Bp. Gorordo, and in 1939.

During the Spanish period, diocese of Cebu had the most extensive territory because Guam and the Marianas fell under its jurisdiction. Only in 1898, Cebu lose these territories because of the Treaty of Paris. Cebu was raised to the status of archdiocese in 1934 with the dioceses of Calbayog, Jaro, Zamboanga, Bacolod, and Cagayan de Oro as suffragans. Because of the damage caused by World War II and the recent renovation, nothing of the historical interior remains, however, the exterior remains 18th century.

Basilica Minore Del Santo Niño and the Image of Santo Niño de Cebu

Cebu City

Sometimes also called Basilica del Santo Niño is a 16th century church structure in the heart of downtown Cebu City. It is build in the exact spot where the image of the Santo Niño was founded by the Spanish conquistadors in 1565 preserved in a burned wooden box which was left behind by the Portuguese and Spanish explorers in 1521. The church of Santo Niño de Cebu was first founded by the Augustinian priest, Andrés de Urdaneta on April 28, 1565 . The first church structure was built out of earth, hard wood and nipa in 1566 ordered by Fr. Diego de Herrera. In 1735, Fernándo Valdés y Tamon, the Governor of Cebu, ordered the church to be constructed by hard stone, which was build in the same spot were the previous church stands. Constructions finally finished in 1739. In 1965, during the fourth centenary of the Christianization of the Philippines, Pope Paul VI elevated the church to the rank of minor basilica.
Santo Niño de Cebu is a representation of the Child Jesus, somewhat related to the Infant Jesus of Prague. Santo Niño de Cebu literally means "holy child of Cebu". The image was brought to the archipelago that would later become known as the Philippines on Ferdinand Magellan's near-circumnavigation and in 1521 was given to the Queen Juana of Cebu, who was later baptized into the Catholic faith along with her husband, Rajah Humabon, and their people. After the Cebuanos turned against the Spaniards, the Spaniards burned a good part of Cebu, and the image was caught in the blaze. In 1565 with the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors led by Miguel López de Legazpi, the image was found relatively unscathed. The image was quickly acknowledged as miraculous, and a church was later constructed on the site of the discovery. Today, the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño is an important historical and religious landmark in Cebu, with devotees forming long queues to pay their respects to the Holy Child.

Chapel of The Last Supper

Mandaue City

The treasured relic and life-sized carvings of the Lord Jesus and His 12 apostles seated at a long table for the Last Supper are found in the Church of Mandaue City that dates back to 1601. This is the only one of its kind in the Philippines.

Patrocinio de Maria Church

Boljoon, Cebu

Founded in 1599. The Church of Patrocinio de Maria in Boljoon is a genuine showcase of old and complicated carvings and adornments. The interior is beautifully decorated. It has a main nave and transept and has twenty-eight pillars, two meters thick and made of mortar and lime, which support the walls as thick as the pillars. The style of the church is pseudo-baroque-rococo. It has the appearance of an impressionist painting “a la Greco”, with its elongated shape.

Of all Cebu’s churches, it is the church in Boljoon which best gives one a sense of the Philippine colonial past. The church of Boljoon is the oldest remaining original stone church in Cebu and is relatively well-preserved. It has been recently (year 1998) declared for conservation and restoration. Just this year (1999), technical studies have been undertaken, with the help of the German government, to pursue conservation and restoration efforts.

San Francisco de Asis Church

Naga, Cebu

Founded in June 12, 1829. The design of the façade is suggestive of Mexican art that is skillfully integrated into the local Filipino religious architecture. It is divided into lower and upper rectangular sections. The bareness of the lower panel with six columns flanking the main entrance is balanced by the overcrowded decoration of the upper level. The law of contrasts is applied here literally.

A miniature retablo flanked by two sets of tiny columns in the center represents the expansion of the Christian faith symbolized by a cross with outgoing rays. A similar alcove flanked by identical columns is found at the center of the pediment with the Biblical saying Predicate Evangelium omni creaturae. Winged cherubs carrying musical instruments, rosettes and other embellishments decorate the rest of the pediment. A number of symbols (the Cross, the Lamb of Sacrifice and the Eucharistic monstrance) are supported by ornamented columns resting on Atlantes.

San Guillermo Church

Dalaguete, Cebu

The Parished was founded in 1711 under the advocation of San Guillermo el Ermitaño. In 1825, Fr. Juan Chacel finished the construction of the church in and died this same year in Dalaguete.
The church has a style similar to churches found in Ilocos where the bell tower is built some distance away from the church-convent complex, connected only by a small passage. The massive bell tower has semi-circular windows crowned by railings with dome. Its massiveness counterbalances the weight of the convent found at the opposite end. The façade looks neat and simple and the white texture gives it a pseudo-rococo look. The simplicity of line and the airy pattern of pillars, voids and volumes create an impression of calmness.

San Miguel Arcangel Church

Argao, Cebu

The present church must be second, if not the third, constructed by Fr. Mateo Perez, who served this town for 33 uninterrupted years (1803-1836). The date 1783 engraved on the arch of the lateral door seem to indicate that the church had already been constructed by previous parish priests.A good number of religious artifacts have remained in the church. There are more than 20 angels on its brass-studded portals, it being dedicated to St. Michael.

The ceiling of the church is an interesting one. There is a notable difference in the painting on the ceiling. It was said that Raymundo Francia painted the upper half of the ceiling while Canuto Avila painted from the middle portion to the lower half. These painters are two of the best church muralists during that time (early this century). The first portion by the altar by Reynaldo Francia depicts the victory of St. Michael over Lucifer and his followers. The other portion, done by Canuto Avila, portrays biblical manifestations of angels This can be seen above the altar and is done in tinting color. The altar (retablo) of the church is still the original.

Of all the church facades, it is Argao church that is the most decorated, most rococo. The semi-circular arched entrance is flanked by columns on rectangular pedestals decorated with spread eagles and Corinthian capitals. The panels are crowded with relief designs. The small rectangular relief on top of the main door represents the Augustinian symbol and a window with balustradesis crowned by a small statue of San Miguel the Archangel.

St. Catherine of Alexandria Church

Carcar, Cebu

This 126-year old St. Catherine's Church is the second oldest church in the entire province of Cebu. St. Catherine’s Church now holds an unprecedented history. Inspired by the Graeco-Roman style, with strong Muslim influence, the church is made of masonry with one main nave and two aisles. The nave measures 68 meters long, 22 meters wide, and 12 meters high. The main entrance has a double arch design inviting attention in the massive rectangular façade. The twin bell towers of solid geometric pylons, act as buttresses but are integrated as part of the façade. The twin bell towers end up at the third level in the minaret shape common to Muslim mosques.

Sto. Tomas de Villanueva Church

Danao City

Sto. Tomas de Villanueva Church was constructed in 1755 by Fr. Manuel de Santa Barbara, and was made up of materials from sugar cane and rocks from the sea. The crucero of the church was built in the 1800’s. However, it suffered a partial destruction (was burned in 1942) during the World War II. Religious items and other important materials were also burned. From the original construction materials of the church, only the solid stones were spared from the fire. It was reconstructed in 1946. In 1981, the building underwent another renovation, this time almost a complete overhaul (only 30% of the original stands). The renovation was completed in 1985.

Nuestra Señora de Regla (The Black Virgin of Opon)

Lapu-lapu City

During 1737, the parish in Boljoon was proposed to be abandoned for lack of religious. It was during this time that Opon (called Mactan) was annexed to Boljoon. Thus when the Father provincial proposed to get them back in 1742, the two names were set together. - Boljoon and Mactan. A friar named Fr. Aballe was the first Augustinian assigned to the parish after the Jesuits turned it over. The original church built during the Spanish times was constructed somewhere between the years 1735-1744. The church, made of stone cut in square blocks, was slightly damaged during the WW II.

The Nuestra Señora de Regla, the image of the blessed Virgin in black holding a black Sto. Niño in her arms, is the patron saint of Opon. The two-and-half-feet high icon has a black face with curly, black hair flowing down her shoulders. The Lady is enshrined in the sacristy of the Virgin of the Rule Church, which was built by the Mission of the Sacred Heart in 1890.

MUSEUMS

Casa Gorordo Musuem

Was the residence of the first Filipino Bishop of Cebu. The fully restored building now houses 18th to 19th century religious relics, prints and artifacts, recreating a Filipino home in the 1860's. The Museum also features contemporary art exhibits.
35 Lopez Jaena St., Pari-an Cebu City
Tel.: (6332) 255-5630
Open: Tuesday to Sunday
Time: 8:30-11:30am; 1:00-4:00pm

Fort San Pedro National Museum

The museum inside the Fort which is managed by the National Museum, the Museum displayed artifacts found underground from Fort San Pedro and the shipwrecked of San Diego Ship which sank in Batangas
Lagaspi Extension, Cebu City
Tel.: (6332) 256-2284
Open: Tuesday to Saturday
Time: 8:00-12:00noon; 1:00-4:00pm

University of San Carlos Museum

Founded in 1967 by the late German SVD, Fr. Rudolf Rahmann. It is composed of four galleries: (1) The Spanish Colonial Gallery, (2) The Ethnographic Gallery, (3) The Archaeological Gallery, (4) The Natural Science Gallery. The main activities of the Museum are: (1) collection, (2) exhibition, (3) organized activities, (4) conservation, (5) publication and, (6) research.
P. Del Rosario St., Cebu City
Tel.: (6332) 253-1000
Open: Monday to Saturday
Time: 8:00-12:00noon; 1:30-5:30pm

Southwestern University Museum

The museum houses the rare collection of Dr. Lydia Aznar-Alfonso. Spanning 30 years, this remarkable collection was kept in her basement making sure that Cebu could have a legacy of a rich cultural heritage of iron-age potteries excavated in Cebu and its neighboring islands, to rare celadons and a magnificent blue and white collection, in particular a Yuan bowl, one of the three early blue and white extra large bowl found in the Philippines. Likewise, it houses a rich Hispanic Cultural and Religious artifacts from furnitures, to baroque ivory Santos, excavated gold jewelries, trade beads, death mask, and gold peggings.
Urgello Road, Cebu City
Tel.: (6332) 253-6500
Open: Tuesday to Saturday
Time: 8:00-12:00noon; 2:00-5:00pm

Rizaliana Museum of the University of Southern Philippines

Contains the memorabilia of Dr. Jose Rizal given by his sister to the University of Southern Philippines Museum.
Salinas Drive, Lahug, Cebu City
Tel.: (6332) 232-6475
Open: Monday to Saturday
(By Appointment) 8:00-11:00am; 2:00-4:00pm

Jumalon Butterfly Sanctuary & Art Gallery

The country's oldest butterfly collection and Butterfly Sanctuary with live immature- and adult-stage local butterflies in their natural settings. It also houses the Lepido Mosaic Art collection, so called because it utilizes butterfly wings as its medium. Beautiful and intricate samples of these artworks can be seen at the Prof. Julian Jumalon residence.
20-D Macopa St., Basak Pardo
Tel.: (6332) 261-6884
Open: Monday to Sunday
(By Appointment) 8:00-11:30am; 1:00-4:00pm

President Sergio Osmeña Memorabilia & Cap Art Gallery

Contains an estimated 500 personal belongings and documents worthy of remembrance of the Grand Old Man of Cebu, made possible by various donations of generous friends and relatives of the former president.
60 Osmeña Blvd., Cebu City

ECOTOURIST ATTRACTIONS

Badian Island

97 km. southwest of Cebu City. Famous for beautiful corals, reefs, and white sandy beaches, making it an excellent diving spot.

Camotes Island

Also known as "The Lost Horizon in the South" because of its unspoiled atmosphere. Camotes consists of four islands; Pacijan Island, Poro Island (Poro & Tudela), Ponson Island and the tiny Tulang Island. Pacijan and Poro islands are actually joined together by a paved road. Ponson island is separated by the Camotes Sea, and lies about (4) four kilometers northeast from Poro island. Tulang island is located to the north of Pacijan. When the Spaniards first arrived in the Camotes Islands, they met some natives digging potatoes, and asked them the name of the island. The natives, thinking that they were being asked what they were digging, replied, "Camotes." Thereafter, the island retained that name, camotes, or potato island.

Kawasan Falls

Some 115 km (or 2,5 -3 hours drive) south-west of Cebu you'll find Kawasan Falls. From the parking area you'll have to walk 45 minutes along a very rocky and narrow path, but even though it is a bit humbling bumbling it is worth it, just take it easy and enjoy the walk along the beautiful river.

Malapascua Island

It was on Christmas day when the Spaniards reached the island. According to townfolks, it was supposed to be a special day of celebration but unfortunately a storm hit the island and so came the name “Malapacual”, Malas sa Pasko, which means “Unfortunate Christmas” in English. Malapascua is sometimes referred to as “Logon”, the main community in the south. “Logon” got its name when the Japanese and Americans fought over the island during WWII. The island is 3 km. long and 1 km. wide, with a population of about 3,000. It has white sand beaches and crystal clear waters. The west coast is ideal for swimming and snorkeling but one should be careful because of unpredictable weather. A walk or tour on the whole island can be done within half a day.

Moalboal

The best diving in Cebu and arguably some of the best, most affordable diving in Southeast Asia. Moalboal is a small town situated 89 km (2½ hour car drive or 2-3 hours by bus) south-west of Cebu City. The place offers white sandy beaches and rich marine life for scuba diving. Notable as an excellent diving area is the water around Pescador Island.

Nonoc Cave

Located in Borbon, 8 kms. north of Cebu City, a very picturesque shelter for picnickers and bathers.

Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary

Olango Island supports the largest concentration of migratory birds found so far in the country. Migration starts from the birds’ breeding places of in Siberia, Northern China, and Japan. Based in data gathering so far, the birds use Olango as a major refueling station as well as a wintering ground. At Olango, the birds can replenish their fat reverses by feeding on rich supplies of invertebrates in the intertidal mudflats. These fat reserves must fuel the birds on the next lap of their journey which may cover from 3,000 to 15,000 km. of nonstop flight.