Cebu City, the second capital of the Philippines

Cebu City is the capital city of Cebu province (Island) and is often referred to as the second capital city of the Philippines, after Manila. It is a fact that Cebu City is the second most populous city in the Philippines after Manila. Cebu City has a very rich Spanish Colonial history and was the first Spanish settlement in the Philippines. It was also the very first capital city of the country.

Cebu City is heavily populated and is a hub to over 150 nearby islands and islets, most notably Mactan Island, which I have featured in a separate write-up. Cebu City and Cebu Province are regularly confused with each other.

Spanish history in Cebu

With such rich history, there are a number of Spanish-Filipino heritage buildings and monuments in Cebu City. This gives an insight into the role the Spanish played in the development of the City. This has helped to fuel tourism for those with a thirst for history.

Cebu City is right in the middle of the Philippines, a very convenient location for a number of reasons. This makes it easily accessible from just about anywhere in the Philippines. That is why 80% of all domestic shipping companies are based in Cebu. The main shipping port in the Philippines is also located in Cebu City.

Keeping up with the changes

In recent years, Cebu City has become a focal point for a lot of call centres and BPO operations. This is mostly due the fact costs in Cebu are more favourable than Manila. The other advantage, of course, is that English is widely spoken. This has seen Cebu rise in popularity not just as a holiday destination, but also as a centre of commerce.

One of the more unique attractions in Cebu City can be found at Cebu City’s Crown Regency Hotel, the city’s tallest building. If you are game enough, you can sit in the “edge coaster”. The edge coaster is the only ride of its kind and is 130 metres above the ground. You are able to manoeuvre the platform up to 55 degrees, whilst going around the edge of the building. Not sure I could even handle that!

Cebu City and nearby Mactan Island have a plethora of hotels and accommodation to suit all budgets and desires. If visiting the Philippines, Cebu is definitely a place to put on the list of places to visit.

If you want to get out of Cebu City and explore more of Cebu Island,  please read my blog on the best 8 places to visit in Cebu.

Fort San Pedro in cebu city is both the oldest, and smallest fort in the Philippines.

Fort San Pedro is both the oldest, and smallest fort in the Philippines. Built by the Spaniards to repel sieges by hostile natives and Muslim pirates, the fort was deemed finished in 1738, some 200 years after it started construction.

cebu city Ayala Centre

Ayala Centre is Cebu City’s version of Makati’s Greenbelt (also called Ayala Centre). Just like Makati’s Ayala Centre, this is a hive of activity with retail stores, bars, cafes, restaurants and live music to cater to everyone’s taste.

Cebu city Taoist Temple located in the Beverley Hills

The Taoist Temple located in the Beverley Hills subdivision is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Cebu. Built in 1972, the temple is both open for worship and also for tourists. Located on the top of a hill, it also offers great views of Cebu City.

cebu city magellans cross

Magellan’s Cross is a monument the Portuguese and Spanish explorers built. Led by Ferdinand Magellan,  it was built to celebrate the Roman Catholic baptism of Rajah Humabon, his wife Queen Juana, and some of their followers on April 21, 1521.

How to get there

Philippine Airlines (PAL) fly to Cebu City (Mactan Island) from Manila ten times daily and the flight takes about one hour. This airport is also an international airport servicing most countries in Asia as well as the US and Dubai.

Dezza´s Tip

If you like your history and a fun time, it’s worth spending a day/night in Cebu City. From there, you can skip off to Mactan Island or any one of the other islands and resorts in the area to experience the real beauty of Cebu.