What to do in Cebu!
Cebu - an industrious and lively city full of rich traditions. Honking jeepneys and populated streets at every turn - it felt as though we were trying to catch up to the pace of the city during our tour with Southwind Travel & Tours.
Before diving right into our tour of Cebu, let us provide you with a preface. We had no idea what to expect before traveling to Cebu, especially since before arriving in the Philippines all we ever heard about was Manila, Palawan and Boracay which as you’re reading this you’re probably thinking: “Cebu, what is there to do in Cebu?”. Well, guess what? We don’t blame you! However, all we ask is that you give it a chance like we did because you’ll find that there is plenty to do here and Cebu City is significant to the culture in the Philippines.
Our first stop on the Cebu City tour was the furniture showroom of award winning, Filipino industrial designer, Kenneth Cobonpue. Being that we live in Los Angeles, we enjoyed learning that Cobonpue’s designs have appeared in film and television; such as, Ocean’s 13 and CSI Miami. His roster of Hollywood clientele includes celebrities like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. We really loved walking around the showroom to see first hand some of his famous designs - not to mention, acquiring knowledge about his brand.
After visiting the showroom we drove across town to visit a landmark known as Yap San Diego Ancestral House. We’re grateful that we had a guide because anyone could have easily walked past this place if they didn’t have one; it certainly is a hidden treasure in Cebu. Construction began in 1675 and ended in the early 1700s which means that this property is over 300-years-old. It is one of the oldest residential structures located in the Philippines with 95% of the roof and the walls being original. A fun fact we were told by our guide, is that the current owner of Yap San Diego will sleep in the master bedroom once a week! How crazy is that? If we got dared and paid enough money, we probably would too!
Our favorite stop on the Cebu City tour was (Ferdinand) Magellan’s Cross and Basilica Minore del Santo Niño. Let’s start with Magellan’s Cross, it’s a small spot full of rich history and is arguably the most famous landmark in the city. Back in the 1500’s Ferdinand Magellan wanted to prove that the Earth was round and by doing so he ended up taking a voyage from Spain, ultimately ending up in Cebu. It is believed that upon his arrival in 1521, he and his explorers planted the cross in this exact location. The original cross is encased inside of the wooden cross on display to help preserve and protect from locals as well as tourists. The cross itself is housed a few steps away from the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño. This church happens to be the first established and the oldest roman catholic church in The Philippines. Our time spent here was special because mass was in session and it was during the week of Easter; it was a spiritual experience to witness firsthand the religious traditions of the Filipino people. It’s something we will never forget.
Our last stop on our tour of Cebu was Zubuchon a world famous restaurant with "The Best Lechon in the World". We had never had Lechon but really enjoyed it and the whole experience at Zubuchon. Anthony Bourdain claimed that the Lechon at Zubuchon was "the best pig ever". If you travel to Cebu you must try Lechon at least once!
Overall our action packed tour of Cebu was filled with history and culture of the Philippines! We can’t thank Southwind Travel & Tours enough for the wonderful city tour, giving us more insight into the wonders of Cebu! We hope that when you visit this exciting and fast paced city that you’ll get a chance to check out some of these historical highlights like we did.
Comment below some of your favorite things about Cebu and email us if you have any questions about our time in Cebu or the city tour we took. Backpackingboyfriends@gmail.com