Cebu City, the second largest city in the Philippines, is a major tourist destination for foreign travelers. Cebu has an international airport and the amenities visitors can expect from a large metropolis, such as shopping centers, restaurants and a modern transportation system. Cebu has a long and fascinating history that you can explore by visiting some of its major landmarks.
The Basilica del Santo Nino, or Basilica of the Holy Child, is one of the most famous churches in Cebu because it houses the Image of Santo Nino, a revered artifact. This statue, which depicts Jesus as a child, dates back to the Spanish invasion of the country in the 16th century. Another notable 16th-century religious building is the Cebu Cathedral, the largest church in the city.
In 1521, Ferdinand Magellan planted a massive wooden cross on the spot where Catholic missionaries converted over 800 native Filipinos. You can see Magellan's Cross in a little building off Magallanes Street. Another historical landmark is Colon Street, the oldest street in Cebu. Most of the houses on this street date back to the period of American rule of the Philippines. At night, Colon Street turns into a massive open-air market with mostly souvenirs on display.
The Casa Gorordo Museum houses classic Filipino paintings as well as tools and other artifacts. A charming Spanish colonial mansion houses the museum, and you can take a stroll in the manicured park which surrounds it. Fort San Pedro is an old bastion built in the 16th century. Inside the museum, you'll see various artifacts and part of the wreckage of a sunken Mexican galleon.
Green grass covers the Chocolate Hills, a series of over 1,000 hills on Cebu Island 20 minutes away from Cebu City by taxi. In summer, the grass turns brown, giving the "Chocolate Hills" their name. Closer to Cebu, you can visit Mactan, which is just minutes from the center of Cebu. Mactan has several beaches where you can relax, swim and eat fresh seafood.