The Philippine’s Oldest City & Top Destination

The Philippine’s Oldest City & Top Destination

Cebu City is one of the most popular and historic cities in the Philippines. It is located on the island of Cebu and is the oldest in the country. Most people go to the Philippines for the beaches, but Cebu is one of the historic and bustling cities that also makes it one of the best places to Instagram in the Philippines.

The Philippines is one of the most affordable travel destinations and is markedly different from other countries in mainland Southeast Asia. The Philippines is a country where most people are fluent in English and a place that rewards diversity. Try exotic food, tropical beaches, stunning lush rainforests and steaming mountains. The Philippines is a destination people love to return to.

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The oldest colonial city in the Philippines

The Spanish began arriving in the Philippines shortly after arriving in the Americas. The first European to reach the Philippines was a Portuguese explorer in the service of the Spaniards, named Ferdinand Magellan. Magellan landed in Cebu on April 7, 1521. Magellan was killed at the Battle of Mactan, but the rest of his expedition managed to return to Spain.

  • Magellan: first person to circumnavigate the earth (done by his surviving crew)

In 1565, conquistadors led by Miguel Lopez de Legaspi arrived with Augustinian monks and occupied the island shortly after. Cebu went on to be the first Spanish settlement and first capital of the Philippines. In 1594, it officially became a city – the second city in the country after Manila. It is also considered the birthplace of Christianity in the Far East.

  • 1521: Arrival of Spanish explorers
  • 1565: Arrival of the Conqueror
  • 1594: Cebu officially designated City A

After the Spanish-American war, it became a U.S. possession for fifty years (except when occupied by Japan) and gave the U.S. an unofficial empire.

  • American: After the Spanish-American War, the Philippines became a U.S. possession

RELATED: Cebu in the Philippines holds many incredible experiences: Here’s what tourists love to do there

Cebu City Today

Today, tourism is an important part of the economy and is one of the most visited destinations for both international and domestic tourists. One can see Filipino-Spanish heritage buildings in Cebu City such as Fort San Pedro, Basilica of the Infant, Magellan’s Cross and Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral. You can see the oldest streets in the country, temples, colonial churches, mountains, pristine beaches, great museums and even swim with whale sharks.

  • Nick name: Cebu City commonly known as Queen City of the South
  • population: About 1 million – Metro population about 2.8 million

It is considered the capital of the southern Philippines and is a must for anyone visiting the country.

While the city has the longest colonial history in the archipelago, it doesn’t actually have three historical sites. Although there are some historic colonial era buildings to find. There’s a lot to see and do, and the city is vibrant – just be prepared for its notorious traffic.

Related: Philippines Travel Guide: 11 Things Visitors Should Plan Their Trips Around

When to visit – avoid the rainy season

The Philippines is tropical, so there is no winter. But there is a rainy season, and if the time of year is not right, it can get hot and humid. The best time to visit and enjoy the beaches and outdoor activities is from December to May.

  • when will you arrive: December to May
  • December and January: Best for beach weather
  • February and March: Great for hikers and backpackers (lots of outdoor adventures)
  • April and May: Clear skies, perfect for diving and gazing at the mountains
  • Worst time: Rainy season from May to October (with risk of storms and high humidity)

Things to See and Do in Cebu City

There are so many things to see and do in Cebu that I won’t list them all here. But one of the must-see temples is the Cebu Taoist Temple. It is one of the famous landmarks built by the Chinese community in Cebu City. This is a colorful multi-story complex located within the Beverly Hills subdivision.

Sure, there are beaches (what would the Philippines be without them?), but there are also stunning islets to explore, wrecks to dive in, and whale and thresher sharks to swim in. There are 170 nearby islands to visit!

Try Filipino food. Go and explore the many good restaurants in the city as well as the many street food.

No one needs to be bored in Cebu, the problem will be not enough time to not want to go home!

Next: These are the best destinations for solo travelers in the Philippines

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