celebrate life like no other. They strum their guitars and sing the
"balitaw" when they're happy. They strum the guitar and sing
the "harana" when they're sad. And when they pray, they dance!
therefore comes as no surprise that the guitar is a prime product in
Cebu which, quite naturally, has also produced a large share of the
country's best musicians and master showmen.
Cebuano's flair for showmanship and love for celebrations is manifested
in the Sinulog, a colorful festival of pageant proportion observed every
third Sunday of January.
is an anchor tourist destination and one of the 7,000 times more islands
that make up the Philippine archipelago.
Isle of Your Tropical Dreams
is the traveler's fantasy of a tropical island come true - balmy
weather, pristine beaches, crystalline waters, and luxurious resorts
with all the frills of modern living.
island-province of Cebu was where the Portuguese navigator Ferdinand
Magellan planted the Cross of Christianity in the name of Spain in 1521.
But even before Cebu became the Occidental gateway to the Orient, it was
already a popular entry point among Asian merchants.
has since blossomed into a choice tourist destination, with many leisure
establishments taking full advantage of its sea-valley-and-mountain
Metropolitan Cebu, the country's second biggest metropolis, is the
political, economic, educational and cultural center of the Visayas.
Hotels, shopping malls, entertainment halls, casinos and golf fairways
are ever present in the metro to cater to every tourist's whim.
rest of Cebu's 166 islands and islets are fringed with sandy beaches and
sapphire-clear waters teeming with marine life, perfect for divers.
fiesta is when life in these islands is celebrated in full pageantry,
complete with a brilliant display of sights and sounds, scents and
tastes. Cebu shows us how.
The Sinulog is Cebu's biggest and showiest fiesta in honor of the Infant
Jesus or Señor Santo Niño. In a choreographed movement,
"tribes" clad in dazzling costumes hold aloft images of their
tiny patron even as they simulate the natural rhythm of sea waves which
brought the Holy Child to their shores. The prayer-dance is synchronized
to the beat of drums and shouts of "Pit Señor! Viva Santo Niño!"
The tribes wend through the city's major streets, starting early in the
morning and stretching into early evening. A big entertainment roadshow
and grand fireworks display bring to a close the celebration.
The Kadaugan sa Mactan is a one-day pageant re-enacting the historic
battle between the Magellan-led Spanish colonizers and the resisting
natives led by Rajah Lapu-lapu. The festival is celebrated every April
27 in Lapu-lapu City at the beach area where the Portuguese voyager met
While the rest of Christendom observes Holy Week with somber rituals,
fasting and abstinence, Bantayan Island makes an exception. The
townspeople display their brand of folk Catholicism by feasting on
roasted pig and then swimming at its white sand beaches after a
religious procession. The Semana Santa is a movable feast between the
months of March and April.
The rustic town of Opon honors its patroness, Our Lady of Rule, with a
fiesta from November 20 to 21.
Guests take the occasion of the Feast of St. Catherine of Alexandria to
visit the beautiful old town of Carcar which, aside from its splendid
colonial architecture, also produces a number of Cebu's popular
In December, Cebu culminates its fiesta celebrations with the month-long
Paskuhan, a festival of Christmas songs and lantern displays.
takes pride in being the country's oldest colonial city. Many landmarks
attest to the richness of its history.
On April 14, 1521, Magellan planted a cross to mark the spot where some
800 natives - led by Rajah Humabon and his wife, Queen Juana - were
baptized into the Catholic faith. The original cross is now encased in a
hallow hardwood cross and can be found in a roofed kiosk along
As a baptismal gift to Queen Juana, Magellan gave a black image of the
Infant Child which, on April 27, 1565, managed to remain unscathed after
a fire razed Cebu to the ground. The Basilica Minor del Santo Niño was
built by Captain Miguel Lopez de Legaspi and Fr. Andres Urdaneta on the
spot where the miraculous icon was found. The religious statue has since
been enthroned in the basilica, with the original kept inside the
convent and a replica enshrined at the church's side altar.
From mainland Cebu, Magellan crossed the channel to the island of Mactan
in an effort to spread Christianity. The chieftain Lapu-lapu, together
with his warriors, resisted the attempt and killed Magellan as he
reached the shore. A monument now marks the site.
Fort San Pedro, located at Cebu City's wharf area, was the nucleus of
the first Spanish settlement in the country. The fort has been turned
into a museum-park.
Colon, the country's oldest street, was built at the Parian or Chinese
District. Located at the heart of downtown, it is a busy commercial
center by day and a lively entertainment belt by night.
The seat of the provincial government is an imposing building of
pre-Pacific War vintage rising majestically along Osmeña Boulevard.
Located at the center of the boulevard is Fuente Osmeña, named after
Cebu's Grand Old Man, the late Commonwealth President Sergio Osmeña,
Sr. A favorite strolling park among locals, the circular Fuente becomes
even more alive in the evenings. Within the park is a skating rink.
The University of San Carlos was established by the Dominican fathers on
the site of the former Jesuit-run Colegio de San Ildefonso, originally
founded in 1595. Its museum on P. del Rosario Street has an extensive
collection of anthropological and biological artifacts.
The Southwestern University Museum located on the Urgello Private Road,
takes pride in its large collection of pre-colonial and colonial
artifacts as well as its Filipiniana Research Center.
Casa Gorordo, along Lopez Jaena Street, is the ancestral house of the
first Bishop of Cebu and affords one a glimpse of affluent Cebuano
lifestyle, circa 1800.
The Jumalon Museum, Butterfly Sanctuary and Art Gallery in the Basak
district was the private museum of the late lepidopterist Professor
Julian Jumalon. His garden continues to be a haven to thousands of
butterflies and his salon features mosaics made of butterfly wings.
The Cebuano's Chinese heritage is very visible and one of the more
popular destinations in the city is the Taoist Temple, located at the
highest elevation of the Beverly Hills Subdivision.
Devotees, meanwhile, go to the Heavenly Temple of Charity at the Peace
Valley in the Lahug district.
Yet another pilgrimage spot is the Celestial Garden where life-size
replicas of the 14 Stations of the Cross are spread in a 12-hectare
property within Banawa Hills.
are hot in cool Cebu.
downtown to uptown, Metropolitan Cebu comes even more alive as dusk sets
in, with queues leading to music bars, discos and the casinos.
Cebu is a premier entertainment center. Electric high tension fills the
nightlife and patrons can't help but "shake those bodies" as
they swing into the groove.
the island-hopper, Cebu is one exciting playground for daring
Aqua sports top the list of what to do. For scuba diving, the best dives
are found in the islands of Mactan, Moalboal and Camotes. The calm
waters surrounding Argao, Badian and Malapascua islands are ideal for
Because of its hilly terrain, mountain sports has created a following in
Cebu. Rock climbing is excellent in Cantabaco and Malubog.
For trekkers, the 908-meter high Mount Manunggal is a steady climb in
Mountainbike your way up and down scenic Talamban. It takes less than a
full day on the road, with plenty of stops along the way.
The ecotourist will find Olango an ideal place for communing with
nature. A wildlife sanctuary, the island supports the largest
concentration of migratory birds in the country.
For the golfer, the Cebu Country Club and the Alta Vista Golf and County
Club are conveniently located in the metro, in Banilad and Pardo. There
is also the Club Filipino Golf Course in Danao City, some 33 kilometers
drive from Cebu City.
Cebu is noted for its inexpensive gastronomy of many cuisines.
Island flavors are fairly simple with meats and seafoods cooked three
ways - marinated in vinegar, charbroiled or boiled - and then seasoned
with condiments. Chinese and Spanish cookery are the strongest foreign
influences in local cuisine.
till you drop or your money runs out in Cebu where there are fantastic
bargains to be had.
The country's leading producer of export-quality handicraft products,
Cebu is a shopping haven for novelty items at bargain prices. Highly
polished products also include fashion accessories, furnishings and
For mall shopping, check out Ayala Center at the Cebu Business Park, SM-Cebu
at the North Reclamation Area, and Gaisano Country Mall in Banilad. Good
buys can also be had at Rustan's on Gen. Maxilom Avenue, at Rosita's
Fuente and Robinson's Department Store along Fuente Osmeña.
For souvenirs, go to Artevalman Handicraft Market in Bakilid, Mandaue
City, or Island Souvenirs at Nasipit Talamban in Cebu City.
The public markets of Carbon, Ramos and Taboan in Cebu City and the
Mandaue Market are worth visiting: prepare to haggle.
is the jump-off point to satellite destinations in the Visayas and
in the Eastern Visayas region is a showcase of rich history set in an
It was here that Ferdinand Magellan first planted the seeds of Spanish
colonization during the 16th century.
A key battlegound in the Pacific theater during World War II, Leyte is
dotted with monuments, the most significant of which is the Red Beach in
town of Palo. The historic landing site of American Gen. Douglas
MacArthur in 1944, Red Beach has been developed into MacArthur's Park,
highlighted by larger-than-life statues of the liberating forces set on
a man-made lagoon.
Leyte's natural attractions include: Lake Danao, one of the loveliest
lakes in the country; Mahagnao National Park, home to a pristine lake,
hot and cold mountain springs, Guin-aniban Waterfalls, and exotic
wildlife; and Cuatro Islas in Indang, four unsullied islands surrounded
by white sand and coral reefs.
third biggest island in the Philippines, Samar offers opportunities for
adventure sports like trekking, spelunking, surfing and deep-sea
The capital town of Catbalogan is a major port. In the heart of town is
Capitol Park, with music concerts in the early evenings. Beaches near
Catbalogan include Cal-Apog, Ginsorongan, Payao and Buri.
The town of Basey is at the northern end of San Juanico Bridge which
connects Samar and Leyte. It is famous for its 17th century Catholic
church and the 840-hectare Sohoton Caves National Park, accessible
through a 90-minute, 30-kilometer boat trip upriver.
The town of Gandara is home to the Bongahan ruins and the Blanca Aurora
Falls. Further inland is Mount Hurao, with its rainforests, winding
rivers, and bountiful wildlife.
Calbayog City is Samar's principal outport and is famous for its
7-layered Dorosdos Falls and Mapaso Hot Spring.
the capital of Negros Oriental, is a "City of Gentle People"
and sits on the plains of the southeastern coast of Negros Island.
Synonymous to Dumaguete is Silliman University, founded by American
Protestant missionaries in 1901. Its entire 35-hectare area is a bird
sanctuary, and has an ethnographic museum which houses an extensive
collection of locally-excavated artifacts. Its marine laboratory at
Silliman Farm Beach offers gear for diving and exploring the fish-rich
is the smallest of four provinces in Central Visayas. Legend has it that
Siquijor rose from the sea amid thunder and lightning. A legend re-inforced
by the presence of fossils of clams and other sea creatures found in the
The island-province is endowed with idyllic white sand beaches, coral
reefs teeming with marine life, century-old churches and other scenic
Excellent sites for diving and snorkeling are found in San Juan off
Tongo and Sandugan Points. The beach in Maria is a popular weekend
picnic destination and has coral gardens offshore.
Mystical Siquijor is also known for its Festival of Herbal Preparation
held during Holy Week at San Antonio Village overlooking the Bay of Lazi
and the Mindanao Sea.
"City of Golden Friendship, " Cagayan de Oro is geographically
part of the province of Misamis Oriental and is the gateway to the
Northern Mindanao region.
Within the city is the Garden of Malasag Ecotourism Village, a mountain
resort overlooking Macalajar Bay which is also a cultural haven for the
11 tribal communities of Northern Mindanao and their arts and crafts.
The Santillano Shell Collection exhibits over 1,000 priceless shells
from all over the world. The Pelaez Sports Center is one of the best
sports complexes in the country. In August, Cagayan de Oro holds the
Kagayhaan, the local Mardi Gras festival, in honor of its patron, St.
Cagayan de Oro offers world-class diving sites around Gingoog and Medina
- and rainforest-covered mountains dotted with caves, waterfalls and
tiny, pearl-shaped volcanic outcrop off the north coast of Mindanao,
Camiguin is an ideal destination for trekkers in search of adventure and
romantics yearning for a quiet corner.
Camiguin can be toured from tip to tip by land transport in two hours.
Mambajao, the capital, makes a good way station to such attractions as
seven volcanoes, waterfalls, springs, and white sand beaches.
This luxuriant island is equally famous for the tropical fruit lanzones.
The Lanzones Festival takes place in Mambajao in October.
del Norte consists of a part of mainland Mindanao and 100 other islands,
the largest of which are Dinagat, Siargao and Bucas Grande.
Casa Real in the capital city of Surigao is the governor's residence and
dates back to the Spanish period. A century-old replica of the Liberty
Bell stands at the capitol site. Within the city vicinity are Sabtang
Beach with its kilometer-long black sand shore, Ipil Beach with its
Raza Island, one side has low tide while one side has high tide. In
Sibaldo is the 10-meter high Zaragaza Rock Formation and the solitary
rock islet of Tamulayag where trees grow without soil. In Hikdop
Island is a natural rock sculpture in the form of a human skull.
Danawan Island has a white beach teeming with rare seashells. Bayagnan
Island has offshore whirlpools that appear and disappear with the
It takes hours to reach the three big islands. Bucas Island Grande is
known for Sohoton Lagoon in the town of Socorro, which can only be
reached by passing through a cave at low tide. Dinagat Island is a
spectacular snorkeling and diving destination. But it is Siargao
Island which is best known among adventure travelers. Many surfers
swear that Siargao has the best surf in the Philippines. Cloud 9 is
acknowledged as one of the best, if not the best, single breaks in
Cebu is a regional transportation hub. The Mactan Cebu International
Airport services both regular and chartered flights from Singapore, Hong
Kong, Malaysia, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea.
The fastest way to reach Cebu is by plane. Flight time from Manila is 1
hour 10 minutes.
A leisurely way to reach Cebu is by ship, which has first-class cabins,
restaurants, and music bars. Travel time from Manila is approximately 20
Philippines is accessible from the travel capitals of the world.
Traveling time to Manila from Hong Kong is an hour and 50 minutes; from
Singapore, 3 hours and 10 minutes; from Bangkok, 3 hours and 50 minutes;
Tokyo, 4 hours and 15 minutes; Sydney, 10 hours and 20 minutes; London,
20 hours and 45 minutes; Paris, 21 hours and 15 minutes; Frankfurt, 19
hours and 40 minutes; San Francisco, 16 hours and 15 minutes; Los
Angeles, 15 hours and 20 minutes; and New York, 25 hours and 20 minutes.
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