As the oldest city in the Philippines, Cebu offers many attractions perfect for the visitor who not only wants to enjoy the city’s white sandy beaches, but also get exposed to some history. Here’s a list of five historic sites you have to visit while in Cebu.
1. Lapu-Lapu shrine:
Ferdinand Magellan’s historic trip around the world ended in 1521 at the famous Battle of Mactan. On March 16, 1521 Magellan made landfall near Cebu and befriended the Chief Kulambu and his wife. He baptized the Chief and his wife into the Catholic faith. Because of his friendship with Chief Kulambu, Magellan was able to order an issue to all other nearby chiefs to also convert to Christianity. While most chiefs obeyed, Chief Lapu-Lapu of Mactan refused to obey. In an effort to convince Chief Lapu-Lapu to convert to Christianity, Magellen sailed to Mactan with 49 of his men. However, they underestimated the strength of Lapu-Lapu who greeted Magellan with 1,500 of his men. Lapu-Lapu and his men easily beat Magellan and he and most of his troops were killed in battle.
2. Magellan’s Cross
While Lapu-Lapu’s defeat of Magellan is celebrated throughout Cebu and all over the Philippines, he is not the only person from the Battle of Mactan to be celebrated as a hero. Magellan is also honored for bringing Christianity to the Philippines in general and for bringing the symbol of the Santa Nino (Child Jesus) to the Philippine islands.
3. Fort San Pedro
About 10 minutes from Magellan’s Cross is Fort San Pedro. Built by the Spaniards and Cebuanos during Spanish rule in 1738, the fort was meant to protect the city from Muslim raiders.
4. Yap Sandiego Ancestral House
A wonderfully preserved historical Filipino house, the Yup Sandiego Ancestral House is a great place to see how the Filipinos of long ago used to live. The house is full of antiques and old knick knacks. Looking at the old furniture, you can imagine the family sitting by the window and enjoying the breeze 100 years ago. The current members of the family still maintain the house and occupy the space once a week.
5. Cebu Heritage Monument:
Across the street from the Yap Sandiego Ancestral House and at the end of Colon Street, the shortest street in the Philippines named after Christopher Columbus, is the Cebu Heritage Monument. Created by Edgardo Castrillo, a Philippine National Artist, the monument depicts the history of Cebu. Showing scenes of the city from the time before it was inhabited by Spaniards to the modern-day city, it’s a great place to take pictures and see a great piece of art.