Call it a lucky break. You’re in Cebu City for a day, one of the country’s dream destinations, and of course you’d want to make the most of your time in the Queen City of the South. Historical churches and temples, a smorgasbord of fancy and modern restaurants, unique delicacies to buy as pasalubong, parks to entertain the whole family, and a lot more… But one day is surely not enough to explore the beauty of this city. However, if you only have a day to spare, here’s Locale City Guide’s suggestions for what to do in Cebu City in 24 hours.
Discover Magellan’s Cross.
Location: P Burgos Street.
Housed in an ornate octagonal pavilion, Magellan’s Cross is a regularly visited tourist site in Cebu City. Both locals and tourists pay a visit to this holy site to either say prayers or experience this piece of history which is considered as a prominent symbol of Cebu. Planted by Ferdinand Magellan in 1521, the original cross was said to be enclosed inside the hollow of a tindalo wood to protect it from people who were chipping away the cross’ parts in the belief that it was miraculous.
Being an important landmark, the Magellan Cross pavilion image is incorporated into the city seal of Cebu City.
Photo credits: @donnytom via IG
Visit Basilica Minore del Sto. Niňo de Cebu.
Location: Pilgrim’s Center, Osmeňa Blvd.
Largely known as the Santo Niňo Basilica, the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niňo is the oldest Roman Catholic church in the country. The century old church, founded in 1565, houses the revered Holy Child Jesus (popularly called Sto. Niňo), the focal point of the province’s biggest annual religious event, the Sinulog Festival. It was designated as a National Historical Landmark in 1941 and has since attracted crowds and devotees all year round.
Photo credits: @sandrabear09 via IG
Go to Fort San Pedro.
Location: A. Pigafetta Street
Fort San Pedro is a military defense structure built during the time of Ferdinand Magellan. Fuerza de San Pedro, as it was known during the Spanish time, was the oldest and the smallest fort in the country. Today, Fort San Pedro is a combined park and museum, serving as a little hideaway in the city and a place to learn historical accounts of the province.
It is open from 7am to 7pm daily, with a small admission fee.
Photo credits: @nadinelqb via IG
Admire the Heritage of Cebu Monument.
Location: Sikatuna Street
Standing in what used to be the Parian District, the site of the residences of Cebu’s elite during the Spanish era, the Heritage of Cebu Monument is a beautiful visual representation of the province’s historical past. It is a spectacle of concrete, brass, bronze and steel made by Eduardo Castrillo. It depicts Cebu’s foremost important historical events such as the baptism of Rajah Humabon, the Battle of Mactan, the procession of Sto. Niňo, a Catholic mass, as well as the province’s iconic structures such as the Sto. Niňo Basilica and the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, plus 3 other edifices.
Photo credits: @amcsantiago via IG
Walk around Colon Street.
It’s exciting to be able to walk on the oldest street in the Queen City of the South… Colon Street, said to be the oldest street in the Philippines. Built by the Spaniards and named after Cristobal Colon, the Spanish name of the explorer Christopher Columbus. The street remains to be the epicenter for commercial ventures in downtown Cebu. It is currently lined with shops and eateries, making it a busy crowded street day and night.
Photo credits: @jhunvert via IG
Experience the Jumalon Butterfly Sanctuary.
Location: J.N Jumalon Street, Basak, Pardo
Get up close and personal with countless colorful butterflies in Jumalon Butterfly Sanctuary and Art Gallery. Built in 1974, the sanctuary is the oldest and boasts of the largest collection of butterflies in the country. For an admission fee of P50 (adult) and P25 (child), get intimate with more than 50 species of of these winged beauties flying freely in this nature reserve. The sanctuary is open everyday from 9am until 5pm.
Photo credits: @duckfeet428 via IG
Get high with Sky Experience Adventure.
Location: Tower 1, Crown Regency Hotel and Towers, Fuente Osmeňa Blvd.
A different kind of high awaits you in Metro Cebu’s tallest building, the Crown Regency Hotel, featuring the one and only Sky Experience Adventure. Get ready for heights and conquer your fear as you walk around the edge of the building 126.55 meters above ground. You can also ride on a 2-seat platform that tilts down a 55 degree angle, giving you the most amazing view of the city. It was hailed as the first and only amusement ride of its kind in the world, plus it has state-of-the art facilities.
Literally, you’ll hang loose in Cebu!
Photo credits: @cheskaaargghh via IG
Taste CnT Lechon.
Location: Ayala Center, Archbishop Reyes Ave., Cebu Business Park
A Cebu visit is not complete without tasting its most famous delicacy – lechon Cebu. One of the best lechon restaurants in the province is CnT Lechon. With its crispy skin and flavorful meat, deliciously roasted and paired with “puso” rice (rice wrapped and cooked in woven coconut leaves), you’ll definitely have a gastronomic orgasm.
Photo credits: @schlagger via IG
Relax in Cebu IT Park.
Location: Jose Maria del Mar St., Apas
Are you curious about Cebu City’s technology park? IT Park is an impressive technology hub featuring modern skyscrapers, manicured gardens, spas and wellness centers, contemporary restaurants, cafes and more. Buy a frap, sit on one of its green patches while enjoying the melange of what’s happening around.
Photo credits: @raven_13 via IG
Ask for blessings in Cebu Taoist Temple.
Location: Beverly Hills Subdivision, Lahug
A combination of architectural beauty and stillness in one place, Cebu Taoist Temple, was built in 1972 complete with a library, chapel, wishing well and a souvenir shop. It offers a panoramic view of the city, and Chinese tourists fly in from all over the world to pay homage to Buddha. Meditate for a moment, savor the tranquility of this serene place and let your eyes feast on the architectural details that will leave you with a feeling that you’ve arrived in China.
Photo credits: @mynebvillanueva via IG
Journey to the Tops Lookout.
Location: Cebu Tops Road
Popular among the locals who simply call it “Tops”, Tops Lookout is a popular spot that has a sweeping view of Cebu City, Mandaue, Mactan Island and even as far as the coast of Bohol. It is a citadel-like viewing deck frequented by locals and tourists alike for its beautiful sunsets and sunrises. Some even camp overnight to see the glittering lights of the city in the horizon. Guaranteed a perfect spot for numerous photos!
Photo credits: @_rachealrose via IG
Shamrock Bakery & Restaurant
Location: Fuente Osmena Circle, Osmena Blvd.
Pasalubong is always appreciated by every Filipino. When in Cebu City, one place to buy its famous otap is at Shamrock Bakery & Restaurant. A homegrown bakery and resto, Shamrock has more than 50 years of experience in making delicious delicacies and prides itself as one of Cebu City’s best take home gifts. Happy shopping and be sure to buy one for each loved one back home!
Photo credits: @shamrockotap via IG
Heading to Cebu City soon? These suggestions are just a small faction of what you can do and see in this booming province — where eccentricities, luxuries and adventure are seemingly found in every corner. For sure, you’ll find that a day is not enough in the Queen City of the South.
Ali diri sa Cebu! (Welcome to Cebu!)
Cover photo credits: @mark.casabuena via IG