Cebuanos 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!
It 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.
The 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.
Cebu is an anchor tourist destination and one of the 7,000 times
more islands that make up the Philippine archipelago.
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THE ISLE OF YOUR TROPICAL
Cebu 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.
The 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.
Cebu 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
The rest of Cebu's 166 islands and islets are fringed with sandy
beaches and sapphire-clear waters teeming with marine life, perfect
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The 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 his death.
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
In December, Cebu culminates its fiesta celebrations with the month-long
Paskuhan, a festival of Christmas songs and lantern displays.
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Cebu 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 Magallanes Street.
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
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
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.
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Evenings are hot in cool Cebu.
From downtown to uptown, Metropolitan Cebu comes even more alive
as dusk sets in, with queues leading to music bars, discos and the
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.
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For 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 kayaking.
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 the heat.
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.
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Cosmopolitan Cebu is noted for its inexpensive gastronomy of many
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.
source: Department of Tourism
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