A GLIMPSE OF CEBU
Tourism Assistance in Manila
A Glimpse of Cebu
A city in the midst of overwhelming growth, Cebu blends its ancestral heritage and modern business savvy with flair. Crowned the Queen City of the South,Cebu stands as the country's top business and tourist destination. It is here where business and leisure breathe together with office buildings and beach resorts finding its own place under Cebu's friendly skies.
The country's oldest city. Cebu is necessarily the place where relics of the past are a-plenty. Colon Street, for instance,has the distinction of being the oldest street in the Philippines. Paved late in the 16th century by Miguel Lopez de Legaspi. Colon now houses malls, office buildings, theaters as well museums and monuments. Other place of historical importance include Fort San Pedro, the oldest fortress in the country, Liloan Lighthouse, and the Bantayan sa Hari.
A busting trade port since pre-Hispanic times, and was named the country's capital by the Spaniards in 1565. Since then, Cebu has maintained its stature as the center of trade and commerce in Southern Philippines.
However, Cebu is more than just a city of increasing sophistication. With its colorful past, the city still retains much of its provincial warmth and charm, apart from its numerous man-made landmarks and institutions, Cebu also features miles of forest greens-a haven to wildlife and the place for a perfect picnic. There's the 15,393-hectare Central Cebu National Park, the 696-hectare Sudlon National Park, the Cawasan Falls and the Bolok-Bolok Mineral Springs. Nearby Mactan Island boasts of world-class beach resorts.
Cebu is a famed beach and dive destination. Its waters offer some of the world's most fascinating marine life. Its beaches are rimmed by white sands and offer a host of resorts with various sports and dive facilities. Cebu is also is dotted with Spanish colonial churches, forts, monuments, historical markers and ancestral homes. Its colonial past is the best seen in Cebu City, The provincial capital and the Philippines oldest city.
While history is maintained, progress takes its steady course in Cebu. This is the hub of sea and air transport, trade, industry and tourism in the southern Philippines. It is served by an international airport. Accommodations here are plentiful.
In Cebu, one can enjoy island hopping, sightseeing, sports, special interest activities, shopping, good food and entertainment.
The province of Cebu is situated in the heart of the Philippines archipelago, in the center of the Visayan Islands. Five hundred and sixty two kilometers south of Manila, the province has a total land area of 5,088.44 square kilometers. It is made up of 167 island including Cebu Island (4,421 square kilometers), Mactan, Bantayan, Daanbantayan and the Camotes Group. Lying between Negros in the west and Bohol in the east, Cebu Island is 300 kilometers long north to south with a width of 40 kilometers at its widest point. A mountain range runs the island's length from Santander in the south to Medellin in the north. Topography is a mix of deep canyons, valleys, ridges, limestone plateaus, rolling plains, narrow coastal plains, and peaks like Mt. Manunggal which rises to 1,013 meters. Cebu province is composed of five cities: Cebu City, Mandaue, Lapu-lapu, Toledo and Danao. There are 48 municipalities.
Cebu City, the provincial capital, is made up of 73 barangays occupying an area of 27,797 hectares. It is located on the island's east coast, bounded by Mandaue in the north, the Bohol Strait in the east, Talisay in the south and Toledo in the west.
Cebu, situated on the air and sea transport crossroads of the country, is accessible by plane and boat. Philippines Airlines (PAL) has seven daily flights from Manila and daily flights from 22 domestic destinations. Mactan International Airport is also served thrice weekly by PAL flights from Tokyo and twice weekly by Silk Air flights from Singapore From Hongkong there are twice weekly flights with PAL and twice weekly flights with Cathay Pacific. Passengers flying to the Philippines from Hong Kong, Taipei, Singapore, the Middle East and the U.S.A. and heading for Cebu, can take advantage of PAL's exclusive "Cebu Link" service. They just have to check in once at their point of origin,transfer to the Cebu-bound plane in Manila, and claim their baggage and clear customs and immigration in Cebu. From Manila, Cebu is 22 hours away by boat. The city's port is the gateway to Southern Philippines' major destinations.
In Pre-Hispanic times, Cebu was known as"Sugbu" or "Zubu". It was already a port town visited by traders from China, Thailand, the East Indies and the Arabian kingdoms. When the explorer Ferdinand Magellan landed in Cebu on April 7, 1521, its ruler King Humabon gladly welcomed him. Humabon and his queen, Juana, were converted to Christianity. Four hundred other subject followed suit. Magellan planted to cross and gave Queen Juana a statue of the Santo Nino (Child Jesus) to commemorate the event.
Later, Magellan died in battle in nearby Mactan Island when he confronted the local chief, Lapu-Lapu. On April 28, 1565, the Spaniards returned, led by Miguel Lopez de Legaspi and Fray Andres de Urdaneta. They destroyed the settlements of Rajah Tupas, built a fortified community on its site, and named it Villa del Santissimo Nombre de Jesus in honor of the Santo Nino statue of Queen Juana that survived the fires set by Spanish conquistadors. For six years, it was the capital of the Philippines. The Augustinians built the country's first church, the Basilica Minore del Santo Nino, in honor of the miraculous image. Also built was the first school, University of San Carlos and the street, Colon street.
In 1898, Cebuanos forced the Spanish colonizers out of Cebu. When the Americans took over in 1899, they met with hostility. This led to the clash in Toledo City in 1990. By 1901, the American regime was in control of the country. In the same year, the province was officially named Cebu. It became a chartered city on February 24,1937.
The American occupation saw the re-emergence of Cebu as an important trade center (after being eclipsed by Manila during the Spanish regime) with improved infrastructure, modern ports and facilities. Cebu's strategic location made it a key Japanese base during World War 11, subjecting it to heavy bombing by liberating American forces. The most infamous battle sites were in the Antuanga area and Bagbag hills. Liberation finally came in 1946. Since then, Cebu has been rebuilt into the bustling cosmopolitan center of today-with an international airport, advanced communication facilities, luxury hotels and beach resorts, fine restaurants, shopping and entertainment centers.
With an early exposure to the outside world predating the Spanish colonial period, Cebu has developed rich cultural foundations, creatively assimilating foreign influences with local folk sensibilities. This can be in centuries-old churches like the Basilica Minore del Sto. Nino, a subtle blend of Muslim, neo-classical and Romanesque architecture; or in ancestral houses like the 19th century Casa Gorordo Museum which is a perfect melding of Spanish and native Filipino elements.
Cebuano performing arts have also evolved in to rich repertoire of songs and dances using instruments initially fashioned from bamboo and coconut shells like the subing bamboo flute, later enriched with bandurias, harps and guitars which Cebuanos are famous for manufacturing today. Cebu is particularly known for the balitaw, a song and dance debate on love between a man and a woman and la berde, a courtship and wedding dance extolling the virtues of loyalty, fidelity and dedication. In the visual arts, one can see the degree of sophistication of the Cebuanos from pre-Hispanic jewelry and Spanish colonial santos (wooden images) to present day painting and sculpture of contemporary artists which can be seen at Casa Gorordo or at the Cebu Public Museum.
A bustling trade port since pre-Hispanic times, Cebu has maintained its place as the center of trade and commerce in southern Philippines. Farm lands make up 32% of the provincial land area which produce corn, coconut, sugar. rice and mango.
The island is rich in mineral resources, Copper tops the list, Cement is the number on non-metallic mineral, and two big cement factories are located in the province. Other mineral deposits include gold, clay, coal and limestone. Processing plants for coconut oil, rice and corn are concentrated in Metro Cebu (Cebu City, Mandaue City and Lapu-Lapu City), which has become the center of indstrialization in central Philippines. Expansion of labor intensive industries that use local materials includes coal mining; food and fish processing; ship repair; rattan, buri and bamboo furniture; garments and fashion accessories; shellcraft; and electronics. Cebu's thriving economy is boosted by a competitive entrepreneurial climate, an extensive business communications system, banking networks and a port served by major international shipping agencies.
Steeped in history and blessed with a variety of natural scenery, Cebu offers many options for the traveler. One can trace the steps of the conquistadors in the numerous historical landmarks or admire the province's mountains, forests and seas. Cebu is famous for its beautiful islands and beaches, and offshore corals and marine life, making it one of the Philippines' premiere resort destinations and a haven for divers and watersports buffs.
The Top on Busay Hills affords panoramic views of Metro Cebu, Mactan and Olango. Ideal for picnics.
Kawasan Falls in Moalboal, the site of cascades and lush greenery, is another, favorite picnic spot.
Sudlon National Park in Cebu City sprawls on 696 hectares of wood offering picnic grounds and swimming pools.
Magellan's Cross on the corner of Magallanes and Burgos streets is Cebu's most famous landmark. In 1521, Magellan planted a wooden cross on this very spot where the first Filipinos, Rajah Humabon, Queen Juana and 400 of their followers were baptized. During the 18th century, people started taking chips from the cross believing it had miraculous powers. What was left of the original cross was thus encased in a hollow 18-foot of tindalo wood and was placed inside a kiosk to further protect it.
Fort San Pedro is the oldest and smallest fortress in the country. Built as a triangular bastion in 1565, it took 200 years to finish. In the 1700s it served as a lookout against Muslim pirates. During the Philippines Revolution it was a prison for local rebels. When the Americans took over became a US army barracks. Once again, during World War 11, it was turned into a prison camp.
Lapu-Lapu Monument. Located in punta Engano, Mactan Island, this monument honors the first Filipino hero, Lapu-Lapu. Across the street is the monument to Magellan, the conquistador Lapu-Lapu killed on the very spot where the monument stands.
Colon Street, named after Christopher Columbus, is the oldest street in the Philippines. Located in the heart of downtown Cebu, Colon was paved late in the 6th century during the time of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. Today, it is lined with stores, shopping malls, office buildings and movie theaters.
Cebu Provincial Capitol was built in 1937 under the administration of then Governor Sotero Cabahug. Best viewed from the Avenue of Flags (Jones Avenue), the white domed structure is set against a backdrop of mountains.
Liloan Lighthouse in Liloan, 18.8 kilometers north of Cebu City, was built by the Americans in 1904.
Mandaue- Mactan Bridge links the industrial city of Mandaue with the historical island of Mactan. Eight hundred sixty four meters long and nine meters wide, the bridge was finished in 1972.
Bantayan sa Hari is located under the Mandaue-Opon Bridge. This Spanish colonial watchtower gave Mandaue resident a vantage view of the sea and marauding pirates.
Fuente Osmena is located in uptown Cebu City. It is a circular park with a fountain in middle and a skating rink on its side. The park was named after Cebu's favorite son, the late President Sergio Osmena Sr.
Basilica Minore del Santo Nino is where the miraculous Santo Nino image is enshrined. The Santo Nino de Cebu is the oldest religious relic in the Philippines. Given By Magellan to Queen Juana in 1521, the statue survived fires set by the Spaniards themselves in 1565. Since then Cebuanos have venerated the image. The Basilica Minore Del Santo Nino is the country's oldest church, built in 1565 by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and Fray de Urdaneta. Destroyed by fire on November 1, 1568, it was rebuilt in 1602 and rehabilitated in 1740. The church was conferred the title Basilica Minore del Santo Nino in May 1965.
Chapel of the Last Supper in the Mandaue Parish (ca. 1601) has lifesize wooden statues of Christ with the 12 apostles seated at a long table It was handcarved during the Spanish era.
Taoist Temple in Beverly Hills is where the teachings and philosophy of 600 B.C. Chinese thinker Lao-tze are preserved. Visitors can climb 99 steps to the temple where they can light joss sticks and have their fortunes read. Taoist ceremonies are held on Wednesdays and Sundays.
Heavenly Temple of Charity, located at Peace Valley in Lahug, stands on a sacred hill where spring waters are believed to have healing powers.
Phu-Sian Temple is also located in Beverly Hills. This Buddhist temple is near Taoist temple.
Carcar, south of Cebu City, has a Spanish baroque church dating back to 1876. its plaza is lined with Spanish colonial mansions.
Naga Church in Naga, south of Cebu City, is made of coral and limestone and adorned with angels and gargoyles.
Argao Church in Argao has a baroque church with frescoed ceilings.
Dalaguete Church has a gold leafed altar and crystal chandeliers. It is dedicated to San Guillermo (St. William).
Ramon Durano Foundation Compound in the outskirts of Danao City Showcases busts of all the saints and popes lining walks leading to chapels dedicated to various saints and religious occasions.& ART COLLECTIONS
Fort San Pedro Museum Exhibits artefacts taken the old Spanish Galleon known as San Diego within the deep sea of Fortune Island off the coast of Nasugbu,Batangas. The museum used to house the offices of the Department of Tourism and the Philippines Tourism Authority. The artefacts on display include Ming porcelain pieces of all sizes, coins, lockets, sword fragments cannon and helmets. Admission is free.
University of San Carlos . Museum exhibits archaeological finds, ethnic crafts, plant and animal specimens and religious relics from various parts of the Philippines. The University of San Carlos is the country's oldest university, founded by the Jesuits in 1595.
Casa Gorordo Museum on Lopez Jaena Street was the residence of the first Filipino Bishop of Cebu. The fully restored building now houses 18th to 19th century religious relics, prints and artefacts, recreating a Filipino home in the 1860's. The Museum also features contemporary art exhibits. Open Mondays to Saturdays 9am to 5pm.
Cebu Public Museum at the Rizal Memorial Library and Museum along Osmena Boulevard exhibits Cebu City's commissioned historical painting collection and other Cebuano painting and sculptures.
Osmena residence in Osmena Boulevard exhibits some of General Douglas Mac Arthur's memorabilia and many personal mementos of Sergio Osmena, the first President of the Republic if the Philippines after World War 11.
Jumalon's Lepido Mosaic Art Collection. mosaic made up of butterfly wings intricately composed by Prof. Julian Jum are displayed at his residence at Basak, Pardo, Cebu City.
Mactan Island, linked to Cebu City by bridge, offers a wide array of beach resorts, from world-class to budget, most of which have full scuba services and water sports facilities. Buyong and Marigondon are famed dive spots with drop-offs that make for great night dives. Danajon Bank Features a double barrier reef-one of the few in the world. Most of the reefs are exposed during low tide. Two hours from Mactan, it is ideal for day-trip dives.
Olango Island, accessibly by boat from Mactan, is a narrow 13 square kilometer isle with white sand beaches. Kansantik, southeast of Olango, is an underwater mountain with corals, large sponges and fishes. Favorite dive spots of the north shore are accessible from Baring and Mabini Point (Tingo); on the west coast from Sta. Rosa and Poo; and on the south from Panganan, Lassuan Islands and Caohagan. Olango is also a destination for bird watchers.
Sagod, ons and a half hours' drive north of Cebu City, has caves, excellent beaches and dive spots. First class accommodation and diving/water sports facilities are available.
Capitancillo Islet, two hours by banca northeast of Sagod, is a flat coralline island at the center of a reef that extends for two to tree kilometers. The island is one of Cebu's major dive sites.
Calanggaman Islet, also in the area of Sagod, features black coral, shallow ledges leading to drop-offs, caves and many varieties of fish, especially in Nunez and Ormoc Shoals.
Bantayan Island, 15 kilometers offshore from Cebu Island, is a raised coral island fringed with reefs and shoals. It can be reached by boat from Hagnayan. There are beautiful beaches and dive areas and a choice of accommodations.
Gato Islet, accessible by banca from Tapilon, is named after its shape which looks like a sitting cat. Attractions include lagoons,coral reefs and breeding areas of sea snakes.
Moalboal, meaning "bubbling brook". is situated on Cebu Island's southwestern shores. A world-famous diving and beach destination, Moalboal is 89 kilometers from Cebu City. Accommodations cover a wide price range and offer amenities plus full scuba and sports services. Popular dive sites in the Moalboal area are Pescador Island, Saavedra, Bas Diot, Panagsama Beach, Tapanan and Tongo Point.
Badian Island, across the bay from Moalboal, 97 kilometers south of Cebu City, offers divers underwater attractions around Zaragoza Island or Badian Point. There are accommodations at a beach resort which provides five-star amenities.
Argao, two hours drive from Cebu City, has white sand beaches like Kawit, Mahawak and Mahayahay. There are upscale accommodations in Dalaguete.
Oslob, close to Cebu Island's southern tip, has a beach resort which is an ideal base for exploring dive sites such as Balicasag and Pamilacan in Bohol, a neighboring province.
Cebu's thriving arts and crafts industries make it a veritable paradise for souvenir hunters and avid shoppers. There is s wealth of finely crafted items in traditional and contemporary designs which have found their way into stores worldwide. Fashion accessories and furniture from Cebu are top exports of the Philippines. The Cebuanos have done wonders with sea shells, coral snakeskin and other indigenous materials to create stunning fashion jewelry and accessories. The furniture in rattan, bamboo, stone and other exotic materials and combinations are acclaimed for their unique designs and quality workmanship. Browsing through the many handicrafts available can fill a shopping day. Cebu buys include shellcraft like capiz (translucent and iridescent shell) which is made into Tiffany lampshades, ashtrays, coasters and other novelty items; baskets in nito (vine), bamboo, rattan, wicker, reeds and roots; abaca and raffia bags, rugs and placemats; woven cloth from Argao; coral and stone jewelry boxes and house accessories; and delicate jewelry and decorative items in silver. Cebu is famous for its handcrafted, shell-inlaid guitars in classical, folk and ukelele versions. Also popular are its food products like dried mango preserves, otap (crunchy sugar-coated biscuit) and turrones (rolled wafers with peanut or cashew filling).
To have a glimpse of the variety of goods Cebu has to offer, Carbon Market could be a first stop. Along Briones and Calderon Streets, this is Cebu's biggest public market. There are agricultural produce, housewares and handicrafts. Colon Street in lined with big malls and department stores offering everything from native handicrafts to designer labels. Maribago is the center of cebu's guitar-making industry.
Tabon Market on Sanciangko Street has a variety of dried fish like danggit.
The Visayans are a fiesta-loving people and the Cebuanos have some of the most colorful celebrations in the islands from solemn religious rituals to rowdy parades.
Sinulog is celebrated every third Sunday of January. Also known as Fiesta Senor, this is cebu's most extravagant and popular festival. It honors the holy image of the Sto Nino de Cebu with a mardi gras-type parade where merrymakers dance to the beat of the Pit Senor drums.
Cebu City Charter Day, every February 24, commemorates the anniversary of Cebu as the first chartered city in southern Philippines. There are civic-military parades.
Semana Santa sa Bantayan is the observance of the Holy Week in bantayan with processions on Holy Thursday and Good Friday.
Pasyon sa Mandaue is a 36 hours reenactment of the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ held form Good Friday to Eastern Sunday.
Bahug-bahug sa Mactan or kadaugan sa Mactan, held every 27th of April, is a reenactment of the Battle of Mactan where Lapu-lapu defeated Magellan.
Fiesta sa Mandaue is a weeklong celebration which starts May 8 to honor the city's patron saint, St. Joseph.
Feast of Santa Filomena is celebrated in Tingo, Olango Island every first week of August.
Chinese Moon Festival is observed from October 2 to 7 by the Filipino-Chinese community with parades, dragon dances and fireworks displays.
Virgin of the Rule Fiesta honors the patroness of Opon every November 20 to 21 with food fairs, parades, religious processions and the coronation of the fiesta Queen.
Fiesta sa Carcar, on November 24 to 25, honors Carcar's patron Saint Catherine of Alexandria.
Paskuhan is held during the Christmas season. Carolling and lantern contest are held.
Entertainment and nightlife in Cebu are a must. There are a string of bars, cafes, discos and nightclubs downtown, from Colon Street to Osmena Boulevard and Gen. Maxilom Avenue.
Cebu's entertainment scene reaches exhilarating heights at Casino Filipino in Nivel Hills Beside Cebu Plaza Hotel. Open from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. daily, the casino offers hours of excitement at the slot machines, black jack, baccarat, roulette, big and small, pai-gow and craps table.
Capital: Cebu City
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