Cebu is blessed with a number of islands worth braving the long bus and boat rides for, but it also doesn’t fall short of must-visit sites in the city itself. Here, we did a lineup on the Queen City of the South’s whereabouts to guide you on your one-for-the-books city exploration.
1. Magellan’s Cross
Magellan’s Cross has got to be Cebu’s most iconic and historical landmark. The cross was believed to be erected by Ferdinand Magellan, the explorer known for doing the first circumnavigation of the Earth, when he baptized the first Christian Filipinos in Cebu back in 1521. Interestingly, the painting on the ceiling where the cross is housed shows the arrival of Magellan in Cebu. Meanwhile, locals and tourists alike formed a habit of tossing coins on the foot of the cross every time they visit the popular marker.
2. Basilica del Sto. Niño
Adjacent to Magellan’s Cross is the Basilica del Sto. Niño. Founded in 1565, the church was built on the place where the image of Sto. Niño or Child Jesus was found. Later on, the church was hailed to be “The Mother and Head of All Churches in the Philippines.”
3. Temple of Leah
Temple of Leah was born out of the eternal love of Teodorico Adarna, father of actress Ellen Adarna, to his wife Leah Villa Albino-Adarna back in 2012. He dedicated the temple to express his “undying love and my ceaseless devotion to Leah,” as mentioned on the temple’s Facebook page.
Upon entering the temple, not only massive staircases, pillars, golden lions and angels will welcome you, but also a panoramic view of the city.
4. Sirao Flower Farm
Sirao Flower Farm farms celosia, the most photographed flower in Cebu now. Coined from the Greek word “kēleos,” meaning burning, celosia flowers flaunt the vibrancy of red, orange, gold, pink, purple—colors that resemble fire. It has instantly gained a sudden influx of tourists after a series of photos of the celosia field has gone viral on the internet. The celosia flower is also the official flower of the notable Sinulog Festival.
A minimal fee of PHP 30 is to be paid to get in the farm for unlimited photos, while freshly picked flowers can also be bought for only PHP 35 to 40. Such amount will surely help the locals and the maintenance of the farm.
5. Miraculous Mama Mary Church
Miraculous Mama Mary Church, or generally called Birhen ng Simala by the locals, is a castle-like church in Cebu known for Marian devotees who firmly believe in Mama Mary’s miraculous acts. Inside the church is a lively, inviting altar and a museum that showcases granted prayers, photos of the Marian monks, garments of Mama Mary, and the history of Simala, among others.
Devotees usually gather every Friday to state their daily prayers, wishes, and adorations.
6. Fort San Pedro
Fort San Pedro is a triangular-shaped bastion fort constructed under the command of Miguel López de Legazpi, the first governor of the Captaincy General of the Philippines. This site is being included in most Cebu tours to rekindle the history and significance of such ruins in the city.
7. Taoist Temple
The Taoist Temple is not your typical temple. It is elevated 300m above sea level with three separate entry points, with its main entrance resembling the Great Wall of China. Though catered to the Chinese community, this multi-hued temple is open to all worshipers and non-worshipers alike.
8. Tops Lookout
If you want to literally get a high up on the Queen City of the South, Tops Lookout is definitely what you are looking for. This viewing point is 600m above Cebu; giving you an exemplary cityscape may it be on day or night time. Getting here requires an exhilarating 20-miniute habal-habal ride for a return fee of PHP 300, which totally adds thrill to the view ahead of you.
Entrance fee in this fortress-like lookout is PHP 100.
9. Tabo-an Market
Aside from dried mangoes, another dried product that Cebu City boasts of is their dried fish. When you want to take this home for your family and friends, Tabo-an Market is the best place to shop at. Some of the many choices to choose from are Dulong for PHP 400/kilo, Espada PHP580/kilo, Fish tocino for PHP 550/kilo, Negros Fish Tapa for PHP 350/kilo, Palad Flakes for PHP 680/kilo, and Lopuy for PHP 150 to 200/kilo.
10. Osmeña Peak
Located at about three hours away from Mactan-Cebu International Airport, Osmeña Peak is the place to be for some nature exploration in Cebu. It is considered as the highest point in the Queen City of the South, which also resembles the mountainous scene in the Japanese animated series Dragon Ball Z.