Queen city of the south
Cebu, the bustling capital of the eponymous island province, is the oldest city in the Philippines – and Cebuanos are justly proud of their intellectual and historical heritage.
Today the city, clustered around its natural harbour, is second only to Manila in commercial and cultural importance and is a focal point of growth and development in Southern Philippines.
Cebu, a fusion of traditional and modern, presents a kaleidoscope of varying cultures and lifestyles. The nightlife is amongst the most vibrant in the Philippines – bars, cafés, discos and nightclubs abound, especially around Colon Street and Osmena Boulevard; there is a wide choice of excellent restaurants, particularly in the Ayala district, many specialising in the region’s superb seafood; and there are two casinos.
In contrast to the lively metropolis, the province’s 167 peaceful islets and islands are fringed with pristine white sandy beaches washed by the crystalline waters of the Cebu and Tanon Straits, where coral reefs harbour a colourful world of tropical marine life. Cebu has gained wide popularity for its excellent resorts, luxurious accommodation, world-class golf courses, and superb diving areas and diving facilities.
Places of interest
Magellan's Cross and Lap Lapu shrine; Colon Street, the oldest street in the country and part of Cebu’s original Chinatown; Fort San Pedro, near the waterfront, dating back more than 500 years; San Agustin Church, now known as the Basilica of Santo Niño, housing the country’s oldest religious relic – the image of the Holy Child presented to Queen Juana by Magellan; University of San Carlos Museum.For the family
Jumalon Butterfly Sanctuary & Art Gallery; Moalboal Orchid Display.Best buys
Hand-made craft products, traditional wood carvings and sculptures; antiques; hand-crafted guitars and ukuleles made of jackfruit wood.Out and about
Mactan's beaches; Bohol, just across the Tanon Strait, renowned for its curious geological formations, lush forests and rare species of flora and fauna.