Sightseeing in Cebu
Cebu is without question one of the economic powerhouses of the Philippines today, and it is also undisputed that a great deal of this is due to the ever increasing number of tourists, both foreign and local, that have been drawn to the place. There are an endless number of places that you can visit, but among those that must not be missed include the following.
The Cross of Ferdinand Magellan
Few historical landmarks in the Philippines is as well known or highly regarded as this cross. Upon his arrival to the Philippines on April 21, 1521, Ferdinand Magellan and his men were greeted by the then ruler of Cebu, Raja Humabon and his wife. A friendship was born between the two, and as a symbol of peace, Magellan installed a wooden cross upon the shore on which he had stepped on.
Today the cross can be found in a chapel adjacent to the Basilica Minore de Santo Nino, on a street bearing his name (Magallanes). The chapel itself is a main tourist attraction in Cebu; hexagonal in shape, the visitor is greeted, once inside, by breathtaking paintings reminiscent of the works of Renaissance masters.
The cross itself cannot be missed, as it is in the center. To prevent further erosion, the relic has been placed within another cross, which is what people will see.
The Lapu-Lapu Shrine
Along with the Magellan Shrine, there is also one dedicated to Lapu-Lapu in Punta Engano, Mactan. There is an 80ft (20 meters) statue of the chieftain and there are also artful depictions of the famed Battle of Mactan.
The Basílica Minore de Santo Nino
According to legend, sometime in 1565, some friars found a wooden chest on the shores where Magellan had landed, and inside they found a black Sto. Nino (the Infant Jesus). Believing it to be a miracle, the Augustinian priest Andres de Urdaneta had a church built on the spot where the statue was found, which would become
the Basilica de Santo Nino.
The Basilica underwent several construction phases; when it was initially built the material consisted of wood and bare earth. In 1735, Governor Fernando Valdes of Cebu ordered that stones be placed around the edifice to strengthen it.
Among the numerous objects that can be seen include a grand rosary, statues, images, and garments worn by the clergy. There are also antique furniture inside the Basilica.
The Taoist Temple
No trip to Cebu would be complete without visiting the Taoist Temple. Constructed in the early 1970s, the place has become very popular not just among tourists but also the Cebuanos themselves.
Surrounded by lush trees, the first thing that will impress the traveler is the entryway which has been modeled to resemble the Great Wall of China.
Once inside one can explore the site (for it is open to all, regardless of belief). There is library, a chapel, a place where you can buy souvenirs, and also the dragon statue.
The Marcelo Fernan Bridge
A marvel of engineering, the bridge is a testament to the modern infrastructure that pervades in Cebu. Measuring over 4,000 ft (12,00 meters) it forms the link between the islands of Cebu and Mactan. Unlike other bridges in the Philippines, the structure has four lanes, plus pedestrian sidewalks. Built in 1999, the bridge was named after Marcelo Fernan, a Cebuano who would become a Supreme Court Justice and later Senate President.
The Magellan Shrine
One of the most popular landmark in Mactan Island in Cebu, the shrine is some 100 ft high (30 meters) and located in Punta Engano. It was built in honor of the famed Spanish explorer, and the site where the shrine was built is said to be where Magellan was slain by Lapu-Lapu.
Fort San Pedro
Within the Plaza Independencia in the Pier Area lies Fort San Pedro, a military stronghold whose construction was decreed by no less than Miguel Lopez de Legazpi.
It is an imposing structure, measuring some 6,660 sq ft (2,000 sq. meters) and some 30 ft (9 meters) tall, it has served a variety of functions. Its initial reason for being was to help the Spanish in their battles against the Muslims. Later on it became a stronghold of the American forces after they defeated the Spaniards.
Before World War II erupted it was turned into a school. During the war, several members of the Japanese Army sought refuge in the place, but when it was retrieved by the Allies it became a sanctuary for the wounded.
Today various parts of the building have been restored and is now one of Cebu’s main attractions. Today one will find in Fort San Pedro a museum, artwork, chapels, gardens and prisons.