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Must see Travel and Tourist Destinations in Cebu Philippines

1. Basilica of Santo Nino in Cebu

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The Basilica of Santo Niño or Basilica del Santo Niño was originated last 16th century as a church in Cebu City in the Philippines where it was founded by an Augustinian Priest named, Andrés de Urdaneta on April 28, 1565 and this was also the day where Urdaneta voyage attained in the island.

Last May 8 of the same year, when Urdaneta and his men planned the development of the city, they had already allocated a place for the church and the monastery of San Agustin, where the Santo Niño image had been found.

This was the first church configuration that has built on earth. Friar Diego de Herrera has ordered a nipa and hard wood for it and this was built with a statue or sculpture portraying the Holy Child Jesus, and it was first founded by Spanish voyagers in 1565, and it was conserved in a burned wooden box and in which was departed during the Magellan expedition.

And in last 1599, the monastery was led by a Visayan linguist, Fr. Alonso de Mentrida, and it was made a house of studies of grammar. This was also functioned as a house of missionaries working in the different provinces to help people and served as a home for the aged and sick people.

This Church was continuously been the Sanctuary of Sto. Niño, under the protection of the Augustinian. The number of priests delegated to the church assorts from three to five aside from one or two lay brothers.

In 1735, the governor of Cebu, Fernando Valdés y Tamon, has said that the church must be now constructed of hard stone and this was really built and the construction was completed in 1739. During the fourth centenary of the Christianization in 1965, Pope Paul VI elevated the church to the rank of minor basilica.

And up to now Basilica of Santo Niño remains under the care of the Order of St. Augustine.

There is a museum inside the church Basilica of Sto. Nino and it shows the olden times of Christianity in Cebu. There are antique objects on display inside, including century-old furniture, priestly garments and the Santo Nino’s ancient robes contributed by different people over the centuries. There are also religious artifacts such as statues and vestiges that are displayed and exhibited.

Now, there are lots of people in the Sto. Nino Church, praying and having faith and believing in him and this is a sacred place, especially for the Cebuanos.


2. SIMALA, in Sibonga Cebu Philippines

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Simala, is a place for people who believes in miracles, this place has been known to be miraculous. The Monastery of the Holy Eucharist is a church in Sibonga for the Marian devotees. The church is very popular among believers not only because it is considered the home of the image of the miraculous Virgin but also because the place is truly amazing and spectacular. The Monastery is the place where the ‘Mga Monghe ni Maria’ [Monks of Mary] lives.

As you go inside Simala, you will see different letters for Mama Mary, giving thanks to her for the different things that happened to different people, like they are thanking, they had been able to walk, able to see and many more. Furthermore, from students, they thanked that they had passed for their board exams. Inside the church, you will see a lot of things on display as a proof of Mother Mary’s miracles to the lives of the devotees. The place is very peaceful and it is a good place to show your faithfulness to Mama Mary, although it is far from the City. Most people who visit Simala Church, will have their wishes granted. Others will have their lives changed and experience different other miracles.

The whole place is still in the process of improving its structure and they are working on expanding the place to make more tourists visit the place. The monks are now building their monastery at the side of the church but due to some financial constraints, it will take some time before it will rise. However, it is incredible how the place had developed from a simple hut to what it is right now.

HOW to get there:
From Cebu City, go to South Bus Terminal near the Elizabeth Mall or also known as "E-mall" and ride a Bus there going to Sibonga. Don't worry about when and where you're going to STOP, just inform the drivers to stop you at the road that will lead you going to Simala Church.

This trip is a 2 hour and a half hour ride from Cebu so you better bring some water and foods with you.

The Safe Sanctuary of Mother Mary is 5 kms away from the Highway from the Bus drop point and you need a motorcycle ride or the famous "Habal-habal ", going to the Simala Church.

There are also cottages there for free and it is available for everyone, for families or group of friends who brought with them their packed lunches.
Don't forget to stop by in Carcar City for their famous delicacy "Chicharon" when you head back home. They have also, “bokarilyo”, “ampao” and many more.
Have fun and enjoy your trip to Simala.


3. The Fort San Pedro in Cebu

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Fort San Pedro or also known as the Fuerza de San Pedro is the smallest and oldest fort in the Philippines, and it was constructed by Spanish and Cebuano laborers and it was under the command of Spanish conquistador, Miguel López de Legazpi and the Spanish Government in Cebu. This was served as the basis of the first Spanish settlement in the Philippines.

The fort was constructed to keep the Spanish settlement in Cebu from Muslim pirates who occasionally robbed the coastal villages in the island. Construction of the fort began in May 1565, and it was initially created and made of woods, logs and mud and the fort was finished in 1738.
The fort is actually triangular in shape, with two sides facing the sea and the third side fronting the land.

The two sides facing the sea were protected with different weapons and the front with a strong palisade which is made of wood. The three strongholds were termed as La Concepcion (South West); Ignacio de Loyola (South East), and San Miguel (North East). The Fort structure was pronounced as having a total area of 2,025 square meters, with walls that are 20 feet high and eight feet thick, and towers that rise 30 feet from the ground. The sides are of unequal lengths and the one fronting the city is where one may find entry into the Fort.

The fort has 14 cannons that were attached in their placements, in which it is still standing as of today. After the terrorizations of pirate attacks stopped, the Spaniards has still continued to use the Fort San Pedro as military quarter or camps and weaponries source.

Over the periods of a century, the Fort San Pedro had many usages. During the Philippine revolution from 1896, it became a prison for local rebels.
The fort has also become the American Warwick Stations during the American Establishment, and then it got to revolve into classrooms where Cebuano’s Filipinos has established a formal education from 1937 to 1941, and then used as penitentiary site and defenses for Japanese soldiers during 1941 to 1945, after that it has been functioned as a hospital, when struggles for liberty and freedom was fought, and it became an army camp from 1946 to 1950. Since 1950, Fort San Pedro has been still used for various purposes. The Cebu Garden Club took over the fort and turned the inner part into a miniature garden while the upper ground was used as workplaces for government and administration activities. The triangular fort was turned to a zoo in 1957.

By in 1968, the fort was ruined and has only two towers recognizable. A re-establishment effort for the Fort San Pedro was started and the zoo was relocated. The re-establishment was a tiresome development, and at the same time it is, time and labor consuming project since coral stones was tugged from under the sea of Cebu’s coastal areas and has used the fort in order to restore it. In 1970, the outlook, the main building itself, the inside place and the observatory roof garden were fully established.

The Fort San Pedro of Today
The Fort San Pedro is currently now under the care and management of the City of Cebu as a historical park. The main building serves as the provincial office of the Department of Tourism, the inner side of the fort is an open air place, and outside the fort is a park with open ground.

The fort is a museum park that displays its history and shows some artifacts such as painting and sculpture, sword fragments, old coins, helmets, Ming's porcelain which pieces of various sizes are displayed, and Spanish documents. A large statue of Legazpi may be seen outside the fort.

The fort is located in Barangay San Roque in Cebu City. In front of the fort is another city landmark, the Plaza Independencia, and to its side is the Cebu Central Post Office, which is near Pier 1.

It gets a little more interesting if you walk around the top of the walls, with its numerous cannons. Just enjoy and fun there.


4. Lapu - Lapu City, Cebu

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Lapu - Lapu City is a greatly developed city in the province of Cebu in the Philippines. Lapu - Lapu City also occupies the area of Olango Island further to the southeast region, and also other few parts of other islands, but mostly it is Mactan Island that covers the Lapu – Lapu City. Mactan Island is just a few kilometers off the central island of Cebu.

The city is connected to Mandaue City on the central land of Cebu by the Mactan - Mandaue Bridge and Marcelo Fernan Bridge. The second busiest airport in the Philippines is located in Lapu - Lapu City, which is the Mactan - Cebu International Airport.

During 16th century, Mactan Island was inhabited by Spain, and during 1730 the town of Opon was founded by the Augustinian and it became into a city in 1961 and after that it was renamed after Lapu - Lapu, a native Filipino chieftain who defeated Ferdinand Magellan, the Portuguese explorer and it was in April 27, 1521. With this battle, it was really honored and thus the Lapu - Lapu shrine in Punta Engaño was made. The island is encompassing also with the municipality of Cordova. The company of the two bridges has greatly improved the accessibility between Lapu - Lapu City and other areas in Cebu by reducing transportation cost and travel time.

The momentous and the great history between Magellan and Lapu - Lapu, is now known as “Kadaugan sa Mactan”, which is still celebrated every year as a week-long affair, presenting musical plays and cultural events culminating with a representation of the battle at the seashores where it actually occurred.

Due to it’s outstanding to its long stretch of white sand beaches, sparkling blue water and coral formations, Mactan Island of which Lapu - Lapu is there, is home to the most wanted, after resorts in the world. Plantation Bay Resort & Spa, deals one of the major privately - owned watercourses in the world; Shangri-La’s Mactan Island Resort & Spa, which is 15 minutes only away from Mactan - Cebu International Airport, on a stunningly and attractively - landscaped 13 - hectare site; Hilton Cebu Resort & Spa, Maribago Bluewater Resort and Costabella Tropical Beach Hotel and many more.

For those who want simpler and fewer costly accommodations, there are similarly long stretches of reasonable resorts along the eastern beachfront to select from. The nearby Cordova town has Cordova Reef Village Resort, which has one of the country’s best dive heavens.

An emerging tourist attraction is the Olango group of islands across Mactan Island, which had become the momentary home of wandering birds from the northeast Asia to escape from the cool season months. And a coastal source management curriculum has been put in place in Olango to inspire bird watching and other nature -oriented activities. During summertime, the island is good for swimming and diving, sea-kayaking, sailing and island-hopping.

First-class guitars have given music to some internationally famed musicians. Many products like wood carvings and shell crafts have been made important pieces to Filipino homes which are available in Lapu-Lapu City.

The wealth of encompassing seas makes Lapu - Lapu City’s cuisine incomparably fresh. Splendid seafood delights are offered in hotel outlets or seaside sutukil restaurants. Various restaurants also offer American, European or Asian culinary specialties. Don’t forget to bring home “lechon”, or roasted pig, because Cebu is known to have the best of it.


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