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The city of Cebu is the second biggest metropolis of the Philippines and the main international gateway for the Visayas Region. It was founded in the 18th century and it’s the most ancient city of the country, dubbed as the “Queen City of the South”. It has rich history that dates back way before the Spanish colonial times (evidences of the first settlements are dated before the 11th century).
Anyway, the historical event that marked the modern history of Cebu occurred on April 14 of 1521. On this day, the famous Portuguese explorer Ferdinando Magellano, working for the Spanish crown, planted a wooden cross that marked the start of the Christianisation of the Archipelago. The replica of the cross is a symbol of faith for the whole country and is popular among local and foreign tourists. In the same place you’ll find the Basilica of the Santo Niño, home to the most ancient and precious relic of the Philippines, as well as the most loved one of the Visayan Region. It’s a small statue of a child Jesus (the “Santo Niño”), brought by Antonio Pigafetta (Magellan’s Italian helmsman): it was presented as a gift to the local king as a sign of friendship and as a mean of religious propaganda.
In Cebu you can find many other traces of the colonial past. You might discover them with a Cebu city tour or just going around by yourself walking or using taxis. Some examples are Fort San Pedro and the ancient Casa Gorordo.
The city offers a great quality of comfort and services for all tastes, thanks to the presence of many high-end beach resorts, mainly located on Mactan Island. Mactan is part of the city and is connected to the rest of it with a bridge. Anyway it has “its own life” as a separate place for holidays and relaxation, packed with international-level services. Departing from Mactan Island you could also have island hopping tours in the surrounding seas, discovering snorkel and dive sites of absolute value.
With its skyscrapers, malls modern buildings and infrastructure, Cebu is considered a cosmopolitan city and a good destination also for those who want to witness the most recent modern developments of the Philippines, to go shopping and to search for souvenirs and local products.
Let’s not forget also that for a truly complete food trip around the Philippines, a stop in Cebu is almost compulsory: the Letson Cebu, a very tasty roasted pig cooked with local herbs and other local ingredients, is one of the biggest local attractions. For some, it’s even the main reason for visiting Cebu!
Departing from Cebu City you can also explore many other exciting places by land. For instance, you could go towards the southern portion of its province, switching to a countryside atmosphere immerse in nature. Or, you could to the Northern Cebu Province’s small tropical beautiful islands. You could also easily reach and discover the nearby Bohol and Siquijor Provinces by ferries.