5 Reasons Why You Should Visit Cebu in the Philippines
Cebu in the Philippines is “Queen City of the South.” And being true to its name, it is a treasure trove of fun and adventure, nature, and culture. Located in the Philippines’ central region, Cebu consists of a main island. It also includes about a hundred and sixty surrounding islands and islets.
It is a popular destination for its unique travel and leisure experience. Everything is within reach in this tropical paradise, making it every traveler’s favorite.
Cebu has this unique charm. As a result it makes everyone feel welcome. There’s the hustle and bustle of the traffic.You can hear the loud and boisterous laughter and conversations on the streets.
Experience the well-organized jeepney routes and the sumptuous food. You’ll notice the Cebuanos’ hospitality feels like a warm hug from a new-found friend or a close relative.
Cebu’s sounds, colors, and sights are bursts of energy and life. Yet get just a few hours away from Cebu City’s busy metropolis. There one can enjoy nature in its most pristine and exquisite display.
Here are the top 5 reasons why you should never miss a chance to visit Cebu City in the Philippines.
Cebu in the Philippines is Rich in History
Cebu occupies an important place in the history of the Philippines. Ferdinand Magellan, the famous Portuguese explorer who circumnavigated the world, landed and was slain in Cebu’s islands in 1521. Magellan’s death in the Battle of Mactan birthed the first Filipino hero, Lapu-Lapu.
The Street of Colon is another historical site worth visiting. This shortest and oldest national road in the Philippines is full of color and life. Vendors and different shops sprawled the whole stretch of this busy street. You can find almost anything in the area. There are fresh flowers and fruits, to cell phone stores, textile shops, and food stalls. The people, the traffic, the busy business of Colon is therefore a unique experience in itself.
Another renowned historical site is the Basilica del Santo Nino. It is a centuries-old church and home to one of the oldest Catholic relics. The statue of the child Jesus brought by Ferdinand Magellan from Spain in 1521 is miraculous. Catholic devotees from all over the world visit the church. They light candles in the hopes of having their prayers heard.
A few steps away from the Basilica is another Catholic symbol used to mark the Catholic faith’s propagation in the Philippines. Magellan’s Cross, housed in a small chapel a few steps from the Basilica. It is the testament to the start of Christianity in the country.
One can also visit Fort San Pedro, Cebu Heritage Monument, and Museo Sugbo. They give you a glimpse of Cebu’s enduring contribution to Philippine history.
A Foodie’s Haven is in Cebu Philippines
Cebuanos are great cooks. Cebu street food is a mouth-watering fusion of different gastronomy and food culture influences.
You can scout what the locals love to call as pungko-pungko (to crouch or squat). These are food stalls found throughout the city. Food vendors place heapings of best-tasting ginabot (deep-fried intestines) and other fried food assortments on a table.
There customers can sit down in makeshift chairs to enjoy their meal at a very reasonable price. The best thing about dining in a pungko-pungko is that you get to eat with your bare hands. In addition, you can dip your food in a spicy, delicious vinegar condiment.
Never miss the chance to try the famously delicious Lechon that is synonymous with Cebu. Described by Anthony Bourdain as “the best pig ever,” the Cebu roasted pig is truly worth trying.
The more adventurous foodie can head over to the famous Entoy’s Bakasihan in Cordova, where they serve bakasi (saltwater eel); or enjoy eating a potent aphrodisiac by dipping a ball of rice in a big pot of tuslob buwa (pig brains).
Whale sharks and Dive Spots
Whale shark tourism in Oslob, Cebu, has gained popularity in recent years because everyone wants to see these massive and fantastic creatures up close. This whale shark sanctuary is about eight hours away from Cebu City, however, the long ride is definitely is worth it. For around $15, one can enjoy a 30-minute swim with these gentle giants.
Although there is a clamor from environmental groups to ban this tourism activity, Oslob’s local government has sustainable initiatives and programs to protect these majestic sea creatures. An orientation on the guidelines and protocols before swimming is given to ensure both tourists and whale sharks’ safety. Local fishers serve as tour guides to help the provincial government in the endeavor to protect these marine creatures.
Swimming with whale sharks is a humbling experience. This memorable encounter is a reminder that there are far more awe-inspiring and majestic creatures other than us, therefore we must learn to respect and care for them.
Spectacular diving spots are also what Cebu is famous for. Because of its unique geographic location, Cebu, as a coral triangle, is teeming with different sea creatures from colorful tropical fishes, crustaceans, sharks, anemones, and other marine life.
Cebu has been a popular destination for professional and amateur divers alike. This marine sanctuary is home to the world’s best diving sites. Diving and snorkeling options are endless. You can experience the sardines run in Moalboal or wreck dive and enjoy the colorful and teeming marine ecosystem of Malapascua.
Attractions and Adventures in Cebu like No Other
Cebu’s tourism industry is highly capitalized on Cebu’s unique geographic location and topography. Because of Cebu’s coastal distinction, the region has an abundance of sandy shores, beautiful beaches, and waterfalls. Suppose you are an adventurer and loves nature and the beach, you can head to Cebu’s southern cities and municipalities for a nature adventure like no other.
Thrill-seekers can visit Badian, a municipality in the Southern part of Cebu, to experience canyoneering – a fun-filled and exhilarating adventure. You will be trekking the rugged and scenic cliffs of Badian while following the river’s flow in the canyon. You can enjoy thrilling activities like climbing, rappelling.
What about jumping from high cliffs straight into the icy cold waters of the river? You can do that too. Try the 30-feet jump and the jungle swing for a real adrenaline-filled experience. The best way to end this adventure is the breathtaking view of Kawasan Falls.
You can opt to book a reservation at one of the beach side accommodations and enjoy the stunning views of the sunrise and sunset during your stay.
If you wish to explore Cebu without taking a bus and traveling far, there are many attractions within the Cebu City area. You can visit Sirao Gardens in the highlands of Cebu. This little Amsterdam is a favorite for tourists because of the different blooming and beautiful flowers.
A short drive from Cebu city to Busay can be a whole new experience. The lush mountains, the cold air, and the stunning view of Cebu city with its tall buildings and vast sea in the horizon are reasons enough to dine in one of the area’s many restaurants.
The Temple of Leah, the Roman-style temple built by a loving husband as a testament of his love to his wife and the Cebu Taoist Temple, are attractions that are also within the city.
People of Cebu in the Philippines
Cebuano’s are known to be happy, welcoming, and fun-loving people. The grand Sinulog festivities is an extension of the Cebuano’s cheerful personality. This famous festival celebrates the mixture of Christian and native religious beliefs, living proof of how important and attached they are to their religious faith and cultural heritage.
Cebu food has its place in the world table because Cebuanos are excellent cooks. They are known to prepare and cook local ingredients and are generous in sharing the food they prepare. They are fun-loving people, always ready to share a good joke and a hearty laugh.
Cebu is also mindful of talents and creatives. The home of the Cebu Dancing Inmates, these prisoners serving their time at the Cebu Provincial Jail, made a following throughout the world because of their undeniable talent and resilience. Despite being in prison, they were able to showcase their dancing talents that mirrored their hard work and discipline.
Cebuanos are known for their sense of pride and dignity, courage, and bravery. Like most Filipinos, the Cebuanos’ welcoming smiles and gestures are the emblems of their warmth and hospitality. Mingling with the locals will not be a problem because Cebuanos are very good at speaking English.
Happy Jail | Official Trailer | Netflix
Published on Youtube on Aug 5, 2019
This five-part docu-series goes inside the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC), a unique Philippine jail where dancing is part of the inmates’ exercise and rehabilitation. CPDRC shot to worldwide fame when its 2007 performance of “Thriller” went viral, but ten years later it faces intense scrutiny when an ex-convict is hired to run it.
To truly experience and appreciate Cebu Island is to take as many jeepney rides as you can. Eat as many local foods as you want, and to try as many adventures as you can. After all, the best way to truly experience a place is to immerse oneself in what it has to offer.
Mae Angeli Rada is a world traveler who writes about her travels. In this article Mae writes about some of the great things to do and see in Cebu, Philippines.