Cebu was the first of the Spanish settlements that were to sweep through the Philippines in the 16th Century, and as such, it is a true historic highlight. Home to a city brimming with cultural significance (and some incredible nightlife), Cebu also offers the more iconic Philippines experience with world-class dive sites and white sand beaches in abundance.
AT A GLANCE
Multicultural, fast-paced and densely populated, Cebu is exciting, enchanting and often incredibly beautiful. Beyond the confines of the city, you’ve got stunning beaches and easy access to the rest of the archipelago. But leaving for off-shore islands won’t be the top of your list once you touch down in this intriguing destination. First, you’ve got historic sites, modern eateries, energetic bars, soft sands and turquoise waters to make the most of.
WHAT TO SEE
Cebu City is a city that cannot be ignored, so you may as well dive in head first and make the most of it. Some of the city’s major attractions are also its oldest, and offer a great insight to the fascinating past of this wondrous part of the Philippines. The Basilica del Santo Niño, for example, is home to the country’s oldest religious relic, which dates all the way back to 1521. There’s also Magellan’s Cross, which symbolises the moment Ferdinand Magellan landed upon the shores of Cebu and planted a wooden cross, forever marking the moment Christianity arrived in this part of the world.
Moving away from the historic sites, you’ll also find an abundance of world-class restaurants, fun bars and shopping districts throughout Cebu City. After a day or two in the city centre, however, your inevitable retreat to the stunning beaches of Cebu will take place. And who can blame you? Rich marine life grace the island’s shores and the temptation to relax on quiet beaches should never be resisted; Especially when you’re in the Philippines.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Cebu is at once frenetic and calm, developed and untouched. The city stimulates all the senses and offers a true glimpse of urbanity in the Philippines, whilst the beautiful beaches and stretches of greenery ensure you never forget where you are. It’s the perfect combination of old and new, man-made and natural. And that’s enough to keep anyone on their toes.