Situated on the western edge of the Pacific Ocean, the Philippines claims title to the second-largest archipelago on the planet with 7,107 individual islands. Coral fringed islands are home to extraordinary sights not to be missed. Spectacular rice terraces, tropical rainforests, underground rivers, soaring limestone towers, uninhabited 'Robinson Crusoe' islands, and cascading waterfalls.
We concentrate on Cebu City, it's Provence and the surrounding islands for visitors who wish to discover the beautiful Queen City of the South. Cebu is also a major tourist gateway for destinations throughout the Philippines via boats, ferries and planes. Did you know that the Philippines is the third largest English speaking country in the world. Filipinos are a freedom-loving people having waged two peaceful bloodless revolutions against what were perceived as corrupt regimes.
The Philippines is a vibrant democracy, as evidenced by 12 English national newspapers, 7 national television stations, hundreds of cable TV stations, and 2,000 radio stations. Filipinos are a fun-loving people and throughout the islands there are fiestas celebrated everyday and foreign guests are always welcome to their homes. Cebu is the traveler's fantasy of a tropical island come true - balmy weather, pristine beaches, crystalline waters, and luxurious resorts with all the frills of modern living. The island-province of Cebu was where the Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan planted the Cross of Christianity in the name of Spain in 1521.
But even before Cebu became the Occidental gateway to the Orient, it was already a popular entry point among Asian merchants. Cebu has since blossomed into a choice tourist destination, with many leisure establishments taking full advantage of its sea-valley-and-mountain location. Metropolitan Cebu, the country's second biggest metropolis, is the political, economic, educational and cultural center of the Visayas. Hotels, shopping malls, entertainment halls, casinos and golf fairways are ever present in the metro to cater to every tourist's whim. The rest of Cebu's 166 islands and islets are fringed with sandy beaches and sapphire-clear waters teeming with marine life, perfect for divers.
The majority of Cebu’s population are Roman Catholic, there are also some followers of Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism. The image of Santo Niño de Cebú (Holy Child of Cebu), the oldest Christian image in the Philippines, is enshrined and venerated at the Basilica of Santo Niño. Cebu has a Roman Catholic Archdiocese and has several major churches, including the Basilica Minor del Santo Niño de Cebu, Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, Santo Rosario Parish Church, San José-Recoletos Church, Sacred Heart Church, Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes, National Shrine of Our Lady of the Rule, National Shrine of Saint Joseph, Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe of Cebu and other Christian churches, as well as several other non-Catholic churches, mosques and temples.
The Sinulog festival is one of the grandest and most colorful festivals in the Philippines with a very rich history. The main festival is held each year on the third Sunday of January in Cebu City to honor the Santo Niño, or the child Jesus, who used to be the patron saint of the whole province of Cebu (since in the Catholic faith Jesus is not a saint, but God). It is essentially a dance ritual which remembers the Filipino people’s pagan past and their acceptance of Christianity. The festival features some the country’s most colorful displays of pomp and pageantry: participants garbed in bright-colored costumes dance to the rhythm of drums, trumpets, and native gongs. The streets are usually lined with vendors and pedestrians all wanting to witness the street-dancing. Smaller versions of the festival are also held in various parts of the province, also to celebrate and honor the Santo Niño. There is also a Sinulog sa Kabataan, which is performed by the youths of Cebu a week before the Grand Parade.
The climate in Cebu has two official seasons, Dry and Wet, rainfall is usually not particularly high, with average rainfall hitting around 100 millimetres per month. The wet season usually comes from June to December, while the dry season comes from January until May. Rainfall is highest in June and July. Cebu's temperatures can reach a high of 36 degree celsius from March to May, to as low as 18 degrees at the mountains during the cooler season from October to January. The average temperature in Cebu is around 24 to 32 degree celsius, and does not fluctuate much except for the month of May, which is the hottest month. Cebu averages 70–80 percent humidity.
The cross was planted in April 21, 1521 by Ferdinand Magellan; spot where the first Christian Filipinos, Rajah Humabon and Queen Juana and about 400 followers, were baptized by Fr. Pedro Valderema. In 1525 to 1740, the Agustinian priests built an open shrine for the cross but the natives began to take chips from the cross believing it had miraculous power so a kiosk-like structure was built to protect the cross from total destruction. To protect it further, a hallow cross of tinadalo wood was made to encase the original cross which still stands today.
Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral is the ecclesiastical seat of the metropolitan archdiocese of Cebu. Back in August 14, 1595 when Cebu was established as diocese and then later on elevated as a metropolitan archdiocese in April 28, 1934 together with diocese of Dumaguete, Maasin, Tagbilaran, and Talibon as suffragans.
The seat of the Provincial government, is of pre-war vintage and has the undulating mountains of Cebu for its background. Majestic and imposing, its high dome can be seen along Osmeña Boulevard. A replica of the United States' White House. One of the many beautiful capitol buildings in the country, constructed in 1937 under the administration of Governor Sotero Cabahug.
The Heritage of Cebu Monument is located in the original Plaza Parain at Colon St, Cebu City. It is a monumental sculptural tableau of the work of national artist Edgardo Castrillo. Construction began on July 1997 and it was inaugurated on December 8th 2000. It showcases the significant and symbolic events in the history of Cebu from the time of Rajah Humabon to the recent beatification of Cebuano martyr Pedro Calunsod.
High above the hills of Busay lies the "Tops" which offers outstanding views of Cebu City and Mactan Island. The cool mountain air gives a welcome respite from the city heat when visited either in the early morning or during the late afternoon and evening.