It was in the province of Cebu that Ferdinand Magellan first set foot in Philippine soil back in 1521. Even before the Spaniards came, trade with the Chinese already flourished in the province. Prosperity has continued, and today, Cebu City, known as the Queen City of the South, has become a thriving, highly urbanized center that comes second to Manila’s bustling metropolis.
Only a few minutes away from the city are numerous white sand beaches, crystal blue waters, and swaying palms, making Cebu a perfect destination for both business and leisure. Mactan Island is a coral island and famous scuba diving and beach site. It is also the site of the Export Processing Zone. Malapascua Island is endowed with white sand beaches and crystal clear waters, and the west coast is ideal for swimming and snorkeling. The sleepy little market town of Moalboal was one of the first places where scuba diving caught on in the Philippines. From here, you can dive straight off Panagsama Beach, which is home to an extraordinary array of coral, anemones, sponges, and a swarming host of brightly colored reef fish.
Magellan’s Cross - (Magellanes St.). Planted in April 21, 1521 by Ferdinand Magellan; spot where the first Christian Filipinos, Rajah Humabon and Queen Juana and about 400 followers, were baptized by Fr. Pedro Valderema. 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 so a kiosk-like structure was built to protect the cross from total destruction. To protect it further, a hallow cross of tinadalo wood was made to encase the original cross which still stands today.
Fort San Pedro - (Pier Area, Cebu City). The smallest, oldest tri-bastion fort in the country. This served as the nucleus of the Spanish settlement in the Philippines. It has a total inside area of 2,025 sq. meters. The walls are 20 feet high, 8 feet thick, and the tower is 30 feet high from the ground. Work was first started on May 8, 1565 with Miguel Lopez De Legazpi breaking the ground. After the battle of Manila Bay, Commodore George Dewey turned the fort to the local Cebuanos, and then it became the American Warwick Barracks during the American Regime, which 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. After 1950, Cebu Garden Club took over and fixed the inner court into a miniature garden. For a couple of years it also housed the Cebu City Zoo. In 1978 to August 15, 1993, it housed the offices of Department of Tourism and the Philippine Tourism Authority. At present, it is under the care and administration of the PTA and now houses the National Museum that showcases the San Diego shipwreck & Fort San Pedro diggings.
Heritage of Cebu Monument - (Colon St., 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 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.
Magellan Marke - (Punta Engaño, Lapulapu City). Inspired by his success in Christianizing the people of Cebu, Magellan crossed the channel to Mactan Island in an effort to spread the faith. Before he reached the shore, he was killed by island chieftain 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.
Colon Street - The oldest street in the Philippines was built by the Spaniards in the time of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. Named after Christopher Columbus, it is the heart of downtown Cebu, a glittering area by night lined with moviehouses, restaurants, department stores, and other business establishments. An obelisk detailing its historical significance was constructed on its northern end.
Lapulapu Monument - (Punta Engaño, Lapulapu City). Site where the battle between Mactan Island Chieftain Lapulapu and the foreign aggressor Ferdinand Magellan occured in April 27, 1521. It depicts the hero holding a bolo in one hand and a pestle on the other. Said weapons were believed to have been used during his combat with Magellan. This monument stands as a reminder of Filipino bravery.
University of San Carlos - (P. del Rosario St., Cebu City). The oldest school in the country established in 1565. This was formerly called Colegio de San lldefonso, established by the Jesuits.
Capitol Building - (Osmeña Blvd., 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.
Casa Gorordo Museum - (35 Lopez Jaena St., Cebu City). Home of the first Filipino Bishop of Cebu, Juan Gorordo (1862-1934). A tour inside this residence is a brief journey into a Filipino lifestyle in a particular period between 1860 & 1920. The place presently features noted paintings, museum relics, a courtyard, antique household items and furniture.
Fort San Pedro National Museum - (Legaspi Ext., Cebu City). Artifacts taken from the old Spanish Galleon known as San Diego within the deep sea of Fortune Island off the coast of Nasugbo, Batangas are on display in this centuries-old fort. Artifacts excavated within Forts San Pedro's premises are also on display. The Museum used to house the offices of the Department of Tourism and the Philippine Tourism Authority.
University of San Carlos Museum - (P. del Rosario St., Cebu City). A product of years of research activities of the Anthropological Department’s faculty in Central and Southern Philippines, it has four galleries: Spanish Colonial, Ethnographic, Archeological, and Natural Science.
The Southwestern University Museum - (Urgello Private Road, Cebu City). Holds the extensive collection of Lydia Aznar Alfonso reflecting the flourishing trade, lifestyle, and culture of the port city Cebu in pre-historic times. Exhibits of excavated gold, trade beads, coins, iron-age potteries, rare trade wares of porcelain from China, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Thailand, including Ming, Celadon, and other China trade jars, as was Ban Chieng, Haripunchai pottery, and gold teeth peggings were excavated in the areas of Cebu, and the Visayas and Mindanao. The museum also displays heirloom jewelry, santoses, and church carvings and other church accessories.
Julian Jumalon's Butterfly Sanctuary and Art Gallery - (20-D Macopa St., Basak, Pardo, Cebu City). 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 JAMALON residence.
Rizal Museum and Library - (Osmeña Blvd., Cebu City). Located within Cebu City Library along Osmeña Boulevard, it showcases a collection of antiques donated by famous and rich Cebuano families. Also on display is a collection of artworks of the Cebuano painters and artists. Its upper floor is utilized as a performing arts hall for concert and theatre productions by Cebu talents. On the ground floor is the Rizal Memorial Library which keeps some important books on Cebuano history and culture.
Arcenas Antique Collection - Spanish period furniture and "santoses", jewelries, pottery, porcelain wares are on display at Dr. and Mrs. Ramon Arcenas’ residence located at Banawa, Cebu City.
Rose Ong Orchid Collection - So beautiful and varied, the biggest orchid collection in the province.
Aznar-Alfonso Antique Collection - Owned by Dr. Lydia-Aznar Alfonso, the antique collection is of much younger vintage. Pieces of lovely period furniture, a very wide collection of jewelry, “santoses” as well as authentic “grave goods” from various archaeological diggings in the island of Mactan and Cebu helped enrich Dr. Alfonso’s beautiful collection.
Pres. Sergio Osmeña Memorabilia & Cap Art Gallery - (60 Osmeña Blvd., Cebu City). 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. Rizaliana Museum. Contains the memorabilia of Dr. Jose Rizal given by his sister to the University of Southern Philippines Museum.
Rizaliana Museum - Contains the memorabilia of Dr. Jose Rizal given by his sister to the University of Southern Philippines Museum.
Sala Piano Museum - (415 Gorordo Avenue, Lahug, Cebu City). Houses the Ingrid Sala Sta. Maria Miniature Piano Collection donated to the family foundation in January 1990. A unique collection of hundreds of pianos of varying sizes and shapes. Venue to classical concerts and houses a music foundation.