Tourist Attractions in Cebu and Mactan Island
There are many things to do and see in Cebu City and Lapu Lapu City, Mactan Island, and whether you're used to Vegas, Hawaii or Dubai, there's something for everyone here. Belwow is a small selection of the more popular tourist attractions for those who enjoy activities both active and relaxed.
Remember if you are interested in taking a tour around these sites, liveCebu.com can arrange it for you. it's an out-going, unique opportunity you'll enjoy whether you're the kind to enjoy a trip away for the weekend with a few cheap flights or a boat trip around Venice. We will only use reputable Tour Companies and Guides: Just email us for more information or look at our Cebu Tour Pages.
Preserving the teachings of Lao-Tse, the 600 B.C. Chinese philosopher, the Temple offers a nice break from the hustle and bustle of down town Cebu. There are some 81 steps representing the 81 chapters of the Taoism scriptures. On reaching the top you can light joss sticks and have your fortune read. (Note! on a hot and humid day the 81 steps to the top feel like 181, so just take it slowly).
Lapu Lapu City Mactan Island, is the home to the majority of the Guitar manufactures in Cebu. Visiting one of the many factories will enable you to actually see how guitars are made. Whilst the Guitars are made on Mactan the materials typically used have to be shipped in from Mindanao, as they are not found on the Island of Cebu.
My recommendation is to visit Alegre Guitars, they have a great place and the staff are very helpful and friendly. You can buy guitars directly from the factory and they even take credit cards. Alegre Guitars has a couple of general gift stalls and somewhere to buy a drink. Well worth a visit.
Lapu Lapu Monument (Mactan Shrine):
Inspired by his success in bringing Christianity to the people of Cebu, Ferdinand Magellan crossed the narrow channel to Mactan Island in an effort to spread the Catholic faith. Whilst still wading to the shore, he was killed by island chieftain Lapu Lapu leading his army of men during the battle for supremacy and freedom on April 27, 1521. Magellan's body was never recovered and in 1866 a marker was erected as a monument to this great explorer, marking the spot that Magellan was slain.
There is a great deal spoken with regards to the Hero of the Philippines, Chief Lapu Lapu, much of it surrounded in myth and legend. However this is a nice place to visit the grounds are very well kept and you can have a great seafood meal in one of the several fish restaurants next to the shrine. Why not check out the shell vendors just outside the shrine and marvel at the exquisite designs made purely from shells.
University of San Carlos:
The University of San Carlos is the oldest school in the Philippines, established in 1565. Formerly called Colegio de San lldefonso and established by the Jesuits.
The museum is a product of many years of research activities
of the Anthropological Department’s faculty in Central and Southern
Philippines, it has four galleries: Spanish Colonial, Ethnographic,
Archeological, and Natural Science.
Casa Gorordo Museum:
Home to the first Filipino Bishop of Cebu, Juan Gorordo (1862-1934). Walking into this residence, you step back in time and get a view Filipino lifestyle in the period of between 1860 & 1920. Featuring noted paintings, museum relics, a courtyard, antique household items and furniture.
A special project of Don Ramon Aboitiz is the Casa Gorordo Museum, situated in the middle of the Parian district, one of the oldest streets/districts in Cebu. Don Ramon acquired the house in 1980 and turned it into a museum.
When Magellan traveled from Spain to the Philippines in 1521, he brought with him in a wooden cross. This cross was planted at a place called Sugbu, now Cebu, to symbolize the colonization of the country on behalf of King Philip II of Spain.
To preserve the cross the original has been encased in an outer layer of tindalo wood, mounted on a concrete pedestal, and housed in a tile-roofed kiosk. The roof of the kiosk is adorned with a painting depicting the landing of Magellan in Cebu and the planting of the original cross on the shore.
Fort San Pedro:
The smallest and oldest tri-bastion fort in the country. Fort San Pedro served as the hub of the Spanish settlement in the Philippines. It has a total inner area of 2,025 sq. meters, with the walls being 20 feet high and 8 feet thick. The tower stands approx 30 feet high from ground level.
Work was first started on May 8, 1565 with Miguel Lopez
De Legazpi breaking the ground. After the battle of Manila Bay, Commodore
George Dewey turned the fort over to the local Cebuanos. It became
the American Warwick Barracks during the American Regime, and was
later converted into classrooms where Cebuanos could receive a formal
During World War II, from 1941 to 1945, it served as fortification for Japanese soldiers. When the battle for liberation was fought, the fort served as an army camp. After 1950, Cebu Garden Club took over and fixed the inner court into a miniature garden.
For a couple of years it also housed the Cebu City Zoo. In 1978 to August 15, 1993, it housed the offices of Department of Tourism and the Philippine Tourism Authority. At present, it is under the care and administration of the PTA and now houses the National Museum that showcases the San Diego shipwreck & Fort San Pedro diggings.
The Cathedral dates back to 1591 and started of as a barn like structure made of wood, bamboo and nipa. It was the seat of the diocese which included the whole Visayas, Northern Mindanao and the Marianaa Islands.
In 1665 stone walls were added, over an extended period of time many changes were made making the Cathedral the landmark it is today. It was thought the Cathedral would never be finished due to typhoons, lack of funds and various administrative changes.
Basilica Minor Del Santo Nino:
The church was built by Miguel Lopez de Legaspi and Fr. Andres Urdaneta on the site where the image of Santo Niño was found in 1565. The church was however destroyed by fire on November 1, 1568 and was subsequently rebuilt in 1602 under the administration of Juan Albaran and was rehabilitated in 1740.
On May 1965, the church was conferred the title of Basilica Minor del Santo Niño by Cardinal Antonuitte, Papal Legate during the Fourth Centennial celebration of the Christianization of Cebu.
Image of Santo Niño
In 1521 Ferdinand Magellan gave the Santo Nino Image to Queen Juana as a baptismal gift.Some 40 years later in 1565 Miguel Lopez arrived in Cebu and on finding the natives extremely hostile (arguably due to the actions of the Spanish Invaders) he and his army besieged the settlement and set fire to it.
It was in one of these burnt out homes that a soldier Juan Camus found the image of the Santo Nino unscathed. From that point the Cebuanos have venerated the image as their Patron Saint.
The image is kept in the Parish Convent and a replica adorned with gold and precious stones and enshrined behind glass is housed in a side alter inside the Basilica Minor Del Santo Nino.
For more information on this amazing story please visit
Basilica Minor Del Santo Nino web site.
Situated around 2,000 feet above sea level up in the cool hills of Busay is Tops. It is a very popular sight-seeing spot offering a stunning view of Metro Cebu, the islands of Mactan and Olango & Bohol. There are kiosks available for daytime picnics and instant evening parties. Make sure your transport is in good condition as the climb up the mountains is very steep in places.
Last Updated: April 6, 2011 10:29