I have often stayed in this city every time I’m in vacation, it’s a big known place following the footstep of Metro Manila popular for its Sinulog Festival largest festival in the Philippines. It is the place where Ferdinand Magellan arrived, explored, discovered, and established the spanish colonization in the country, known for its beautiful islands and tourists spots, The Queen City of the South, Cebu City Philippines.
The first tour that I have done with my family here in Cebu was to visit a lot of tourists spots like Basilica of Sto. Niño, Taoist Temple, Magellan’s Cross, Lapu-Lapu Shrine, Fort San Pedro and Simala Shrine.
For the second time its with my family again, first thing to do after my flight is to eat like a monster in a restaurant called “Hukad” it’s a Cebuano word means “to serve food” popularly use by Visayan people in breakfast, lunch or dinner or anytime when they eat.
It was Holy thursday and mostly all of the restaurants and malls were closed so we ask the taxi driver to drop us to the nearest place where we can eat diner and fortunately Park Mall is open, we ordered some traditional Filipino food that I’ve been longing for like pork sisig, sizzling bangus, bulalo, monggo soup, atsara, pinakbet, and of course garlic rice.
The Basilica Minore del Santo Niño
On the next day we went for a walk going to the Basilica of Sto. Niño located at the city town, according to the history the holy child (Sto. Niño) statue was given to the wife of Raja of Cebu by the Portuguese Ferdinand Magellan upon the royal couple’s christening, On the left picture is the Pilgrim Center where devotees come to hear mass in Basilica, it is built for the purpose of accommodating the increasing population of devotees who come to visit the place.
The last time that we have visited this place I vividly remembered that the walls and the upper part of the Basilica was destroyed caused by the earthquake, I felt happy to see that it’s now repaired as good as new.
As expected a lot of people come here to attend the mass and visit Sto. Niño’s statue, but this time most of them light candles solemnly and pray.
After a short in this holy place next to go is to fill my stomach with my favorite fast food “Jollibee” we ordered some spaghetti, fries (not french fries), and burger patties with mushrooms and rice.
Jollibee is not just an ordinary fast-food chain it has rice based meals which is suited for Asians especially Filipinos who eat rice 3-4 times a day, it serves also burgers, side orders and desserts like other fast-foods but this one is the leading company in Philippines and all people from young to old knows Jollibee. Prices are very affordable with your 2 euros you can have a meal, its basically known to all Filipinos wherever you go just try to ask if they know Jollibee and the answer will be “Yes” for sure.
Magellan’s Cross located just right next to the Basilica of Sto. Niño a house that symbolizes the Christianity that Ferdinand Magellan once ordered to his people to construct this chapel with a cross on it.
This place is one of the famous spots in Cebu which people from different countries come here to take some pictures of this historical chapel, as Magellan is considered as the person who discovered Philippines he also name it after the king of Spain on that time who is King Philip “las islas Felipinas” the islands belonging to Philip and the spreading of Christianity in the country as well as the spanish colonization for more than 300 years.
It’s a happy feeling for me to be able to take a good picture with the Magellan’s Cross and its features, as for my last visit as I have said after the horrible earthquake occurred in Bohol and Cebu this chapel was also affected and by that time I visited here it was completely in the process of reconstructing the area.
WhaleShark Watching at Oslob
On the next day we decided to go for a long trip, to start with the Whale Shark watching in Tan-awan Oslob, it has started to be very famous in Cebu highlighting the whale sharks who come daily to be feed by the local fishermen under the supervision of foreign and national environmentalists and scientists.
To visit this place you really need to wake up early for the travel that may occur it’s about 4 hours from the city center unless you are already located at the nearest resort in Tan-awan, or else if you’re located in Cebu City you need either to take a bus or to get a package tour deal from your hotel. Fortunately with my family we have found a local taxi driver who helped us to easily get in and have some connections to make it faster access like VIP’s.
tariffs of the whale shark watching may differ if you’re going to swim with them or not, but before everything else after the registration at the resort, you will undergo a short briefing about precautions, do’s and dont’s during your swimming with whale sharks, do not worry whale sharks “butanding” are very friendly but you must follow the guides and rules given by the facilitator.
Opening hours is from 6:00am to 12:00pm only, so you must be very early to avail a slot. 500 pesos fee per person and if you want you can rent a go pro camera with unlimited pictures and videos underwater with free CD and pay a service charge to the resort.
Kawasan Falls was our next destination after Oslob, it’s about an hour drive located at Badian, after arriving at the entrance vehicles are not permitted to continue the road so people are obliged to walk for around 1,5 km from then on you will see this fantastic cascade.
The place was filled with locals as well as foreigners, as we arrived in the area our guide reserved us a raft for a “pool tour” closer look of the waterfalls and a shower massage under the falling water. Cottages are rentable from 500 pesos to 2,500 pesos depending on location plus raft rent of 300 pesos You can also avail some tour packages which includes canyoneering and cliff jumping adventure.
Unfortunately even if we wanted to stay more we have to budget our time, after the tour in the raft and the shower massage we directly went down and head on our next trip to Simala shrine which will take us another hours of drive.
The miraculous shrine in Sibonga known for its collection of various types of Mama Mary’s statues from all over the world, its winding staircase, its unique structure and faceted layout, arched balconies, jagged terraces and the castle life façade which will make you amaze.
Considered as a holy place for christians, as you visit inside countless letters from devotees will welcome you, from the photos of miraculous Virgin Mary, the thanks giving letter from all who have their wishes and prayers came true and the gifts and offerings of the people expressing their gratitude.
Second time to visit here and each time is another treasure of experience that I will keep in my heart.
Cebu Metroplitan Cathedral
Also known as The Metropolitan Cathedral of the Holy Angels and of St. Vitales is a typical colonial spanish church which is decorated with carved reliefs of floral motifs, Cebu was established as a diocese and elevated as metropolitan archdiocese and an application is still pending at the Vatican for its elevation into a minor basilica.
To start our last day before going home the sky is heavy and it seems ready for a rainfall, we have attend a mass in the Cathedral the place was full that time and nowhere else to sit so we only pulled out some random stools in the corner so we can make ourselves install and focus on the mass.
To end our vacation days in Cebu it’s always a must to enjoy the precious Filipino foods in the Philippines, dining in Kuya J’s house with some home cook foods like pork kawali, grilled bangus, bulalo, adobong kangkong, palabok and the garlic and plain rice platter of course and lastly the special desert halo-halo.
In the next morning “direction Aéroport” destination Airport for our trip going home to Zamboanga City.
Overall it was a great and fun experience, all I can advise to those who want to do a tour in Cebu City, make sure that you’ll make a list of your iterinary first then compare prices from the different tours and travels agencies especially when you are travelling with your family its kinda less expenssive with packages, unless you’re travelling with a partner or alone much better if you’ll commute cause it will be more cheaper, don’t forget to contact a local friend or try to ask more about how you can reach your desired destination at the hotel receptionist or inquire at the official websites to be sure.
For foreigners, Cebu City is an ideal city for you to visit its a safe place but always be careful as bad people are everywhere.
My last advise to all travelers, do not trust easily to strangers, and refrain from sharing your personal lives, be more vigilant and cautious.
If you want to know about detailed information on how to plan and go this tourists spots don’t hesitate to ask me or send a message. It’ll be my pleasure to help you.