Cebu City is also famously known as the Queen City of the South and it is undoubtedly right. Modernity perfectly blending with history, I must say Cebu may just be my next escape city when Manila hustles me overly.
Just last week we flew to Cebu City via Philippine Airlines for a short getaway. The trip was not meant to be for wandering but mainly to relax and slow down. We stayed in Quest Hotel right smack in the middle of the downtown area and it is right in front of Ayala Center Cebu (which felt like Glorietta and Greenbelt melted together if you ask me). With the strategic location of our hotel, we were able to do what we came to do and still see a bit of Cebu City.
WHERE TO GO:
Lapulapu was the first one to revolt against the troops of Magellan when they arrived in Mactan during the year 1521. Today a shrine is proudly situated there and adored by many tourist. There are souvenir shops in the area where I bought an abaniko (fan) for my Lola. *Always try to support local souvenir shops 😉
Magellan’s Cross is just a few steps away from the Basilica del Sto Niño, which is also a block away from Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral. The cross symbolizes the story of Christianity being brought to the Philippines by Ferdinand Magellan. Nowadays, the shrine houses ladies in yellow offering their prayer services for you when you buy a candle for Php 10 each. I bought two, Green (for wealth) and Pink (for success) and the lady chanted prayers in front of the cross. She was nice to me and I appreciated it. I learned that most of them have been doing that since their teenage years.
Basilica Minore del Sto Niño
Sto Niño Church is the home of the first symbol of Christianity in the Philippines, the Sto Niño. It was the same icon that Magellan gave to Raja Humabon during their baptism of his wife. 40 years later, Miguel Lopez de Legaspi, a Spanish colonizer, found the Sto Niño preserved in a box. Now its being shown to millions of devotees during the annual Sinulog Festival and when that’s not happening, you can find it in this church where hundreds of devotees and tourists flock to see the Sto Niño.
The Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral
The Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral is just a block away from the Basilica del Sto Niño. It’s less crowded and based on what I saw, its architecture is more intricate. The carvings, the design and the over all aesthetic of the church seemed to reflect a world that is ages ago.
The Taoist Temple is located in Beverly Hills Subdivision in Cebu City and dates back to 1972. It provides a quick green relief to those who are looking for serenity only an oriental garden can provide. It’s quiet as people come here to pray and meditate but it’s also a visual treat to a country where Christianity seats almost everywhere, Taoism and its symbols are something different to see.
Taboan Public Market
Taboan Public Market is the best place to buy danggit and dried seafood. There’s a lot of stalls once you get out of you car and yes the place reeks of dried fish and salt but that’s part of the charm. I bought dried pusit and danggit for pasalubong which they packed in 1/8 kg per pack and sealed it. You can also buy cheaper packs of dried mangoes here.
WHERE TO EAT:
World renowned American Chef, Anthony Bourdain of Travel Channel said that Cebu Lechon is “the best pig ever”. So we came to find out and ordered a hefty serving at Zubuchon in One Mango Square in Mango Avenue. This store is one of the newer ones as our driver didn’t even know there was one in that area, thank goodness for Google!
There’s a lot to order but what we had was their delicious lechon platter that serves 6-7 people at Php 640. There are smaller servings if you wish for it. We also had seaweed salad, their savory sotanghon soup and Escabeche Fish which left me dreaming for more.
Larsian is located in Fuente Osmeña and can be easily reached by taxi or Uber/Grab Car. It’s not a fancy market but it’s more like Manila’s Dampa. They will let you choose which items you want to be cooked, and of course we had fresh seafood! Sobrang sarap! You know when its fresh because they taste sweeter, masarap talaga and na-enjoy namin.
They will give you plastic hand gloves as food here is encouraged to be eaten using your hands. Rice is served in little buns of leaves called “puso”. Food orders are served steaming hot so I hope it’s clean. 🙂
Tsim Sha Tsui
Tsim Sha Tsui is located in Ayala Center Cebu. It’s concept is chinese dimsum in revolving conveyor where you can indulge to your heart’s delight. We paid Php 350 per person for a seat in the conveyor table.
Another restaurant at Ayala Center Cebu which is predominantly present in Visayas and Mindanao, Cafe Laguna. We were there one afternoon just to lounge and tried their merienda specials. Mike had the Arroz Caldo and I had Halo Halo. The vibe was classy Filipino and the menu sets the tone just right. They even had Filipino High Tea which had traditional merienda like turon. Nakakaaliw!
WHERE TO STAY:
Quest Hotel- Cebu. The location is absolutely convenient for tourists. Its about 30 minutes by taxi from the Mactan International Airport, right across the Ayala Center Cebu and in the middle of downtown and business district. The rooms are okay, not particularly wow but it was alright. What I particularly liked was the buffet breakfast selection of Quest Hotel. There was a lot to try and actually more than enough for your money. I remember their pastries section where I found cheesy ensaymadas which I dipped in strawberry jams I saw from one table, paired it with coffee. I love waking up in Quest Hotel Cebu!
In summary I enjoyed Cebu City, and the pacing during the 4 Days we stayed there was just right to rest and relax. There’s more to see in Cebu, which gives me an excuse to come back.
Thanks for reading!