Cebu is the oldest city in the Philippines, famed for its historic buildings and beautiful beaches.
Historic Cebu city, which is the capital of Cebu province, is a hotspot for tourists keen to learn about its colourful past. Often known as the Queen City of the South, Cebu is part of a wider metropolitan area that also includes Danao, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, Toledo, Talisay and 47 other smaller towns.
Residents – also known as Cebuanos – are famously proud of their city’s historical and cultural heritage, which stretches back to the time when Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan first planted a cross on the shores of Cebu.
Over the past five centuries, the provincial capital has developed into a highly urbanised metropolis and a focal point for investment in the southern Philippines. Its many Spanish colonial buildings – including the Basilica Minore del Santo Nino and Fort San Pedro – make Cebu city a popular destination for sightseers.
Outside the city centre stands the Cebu Taoist Temple, which was built in the 1970s by the sizeable local Chinese community. Standing at 300m above sea level, the temple is a towering, many-tiered attraction that can be reached via three different winding routes.
In a nod toward Cebu’s cultural heritage, the Jose R Gullas Halad Museum boasts a collection of musical memorabilia from acclaimed local composers of the early 20th century, such as Ben Zubiri, Inting Rubi and Minggoy Lopez.
However, the city is arguably most popular for the beautiful beaches that can be found throughout Cebu province. The 167 islets and islands that make up Cebu are known for their idyllic white sands and crystal-clear waters, and are a major attraction for divers.