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The Old and the Remembered: 7 Top Historical Attractions in Cebu

Cebu may be a bustling metropolis, but its historical side should never be forgotten when you first visit and explore the city. It is, after all, home to the oldest street in the Philippines as well as the oldest church. Even with just a few hours to spare, a tour around the historical attractions is very much possible. From Mactan Cebu International Airport in Mactan Island, there are two alternatives. You can cross from Mactan Island to Cebu Island via the Marcelo Fernan Bridge. Be mindful of the time as on a regular day as some areas can be congested with traffic. On Sundays and holidays though, it is a quick 30 minute drive.

A quicker and cheaper alternative is by ferry from Muelle Osmena wharf across Virgen de la Regla Church, a 10 minute trip from the airport. The ferry plies Mactan Channel and docks at Pier 3, just 5 minutes away from these top 7 popular historical attractions of Cebu.

Basilica Minore del Sto. Nino

The present church dates back to 1737 although the first structure was originally built in 1565 on the very site where a Spanish soldier saw an image of the Child Jesus. It is Cebu’s most visited historic attraction and houses the Sto. Nino de Cebu (Child Jesus of Cebu). Its feast is celebrated every January culminating in the popular Sinulog festival held on the 3rd Sunday.

Fort San Pedro

This is the first but smallest fort in the country built as a garrison by the Spanish against attacking Muslims and was also used as American military barracks. Today it is a museum with a collection of paintings, documents, sculptures and artifacts.

Magellan’s Cross

The octagon chapel is located beside the Basilica del Sto. Nino. It is said that the cross inside the chapel is the original one planted by Spanish explorer Ferdinand Magellan when he first set foot in Cebu in 1521. A large colorful ceiling mural depicts this event.

Casa Gorordo Museum

Casa Gorordo used to be a private house owned by Spanish merchant Isidro de Gorordo. Today, it is a national historic landmark and museum with well-preserved furnishings, household items, memorabilia and period costumes that will take you back to the Spanish period.

Cebu Heritage Monument

This bronze, steel and brass monument depicts important events in Cebu history including the arrival of explorer Ferdinand Magellan in a Spanish galleon in 1521, Cebu’s first mass, Rajah Humabon’s conversion to Christianity and the Battle of Mactan where he was killed by local chieftain Lapu-lapu. Part of the monolith is blessed San Pedro Calungsod, a giant cross and major Cebu churches.

Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral

Built in 1565, this church is the main Catholic Church in Cebu. Only the façade remained of the original structure after World War II but the interior was rebuilt in the 1950s. It is popular for its floor to ceiling gold altar and life-sized statue of saints in the landscaped garden.

Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House

This house is one of the oldest well-preserved houses in the country. Built by a rich merchant in the 17th century, this museum showcases centuries old household items, furnishings and artifacts that let you get a glimpse of what life was during the colonial times.

These attractions are just a few minutes away from each other and is the perfect way to know more about Cebu.