The Philippines ‘Queen City of the South’ is a popular place for foreign tourists to spend a few days, which is probably why there are so many international consulates here. It’s a fast-growing metropolitan hub with an important harbor and airport. Add white-sand beaches and a mix of affordable guesthouses and luxury hotels in Cebu City, and it’s easy to see why this is such a popular tourist stopover.
Cebu City’s colonial history goes back to the 16th century, when Magellan’s Cross was planted in an area that would later become the Parian (or Chinese) district. This area has the Cebu capitol building along with the best historic sites in town. These include Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, Rizal Memorial Library and Casa Gorordo Museum.
On a hillside overlooking the district is a Taoist Temple and its neighbor, the Buddhist Phu-sian Temple. These are reminders of the thriving Chinese community that formed here in colonial days and that still persists. An even better view of the city is available on the Sky Experience Adventure, with its ‘Edge Coaster’ thrill-ride perched 38 stories high. Riders get a clear view over Plaza Independencia, Heritage of Cebu Monument and Colon Street.
Cebu City is championed as a toned-down version of Manila. It offers cosmopolitan niceties without the heavy traffic and crowds. Shopping is great in the city center, with venues spanning wet markets like Carbon and modern centers like Crossroads Cebu, Robinsons Place or the enormous Ayala Center. The restaurant and night scene are also first rate. There is accommodation in Cebu City to suit all tastes, including business high-rises near the Central Bank of the Philippines or Cebu Business Park and tourist options in every price range.