Spending a day in Cebu City

When you travel to the island of Cebu, Cebu city might not be your main destination. I can’t say why I decided to spend two nights here, but sometimes you don’t need a reason as my previous week in Legazpi City and Sorsogon showed. Maybe I just wanted to give myself time to enjoy a bigger city before finally moving on to the beaches.

arriving in Cebu city @Cebu

Getting to Cebu City was easy, it was just a plane ride away after I manged to get to the airport in Daraga. After about an hour I left the airport in, looked for a white taxi, and checked into the Hammersons Hotel. Unfortunately another place with practically no window to open, no view, and an especially loud AC.

I started my sightseeing tour at the famous Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu downtown. Totally forgot that it was a Sunday and the church was therefore packed. The priest was outside and I just arrived in time for the communion. It was totally unbelievable how many people attended church outdoor and indoor. Even though there were a lot of tourists, it was mostly local worshipers who moved around constantly.

the church @Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu

outdoor mass @Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu

main area basilica @Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu

I especially liked the altar, where all kinds of saints found a home not just Jesus. That’s so different from other catholic churches, since usually either a large painting or cross hangs in this place.

all kinds of saints @Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu

Since the line up for the chapel to view the miniature niño, a Flemish statue that dates back to Magellan’s time, was going on forever, I just walked around for a bit. The church area was huge and had different sections for candles, outdoor preaching, and other places of devotion.

candles area @Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu

The Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu was established in 1565, with the current facade dating to 1737.

facade @Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu

Just around the corner from the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu lies the Fort San Pedro. It was just a five minutes walk but I was drenched by the time I arrived, the heat and the humidity were slowly killing me.

Fort San Pedro @Cebu City

The fort was also established in 1565, but the current structure is from the 18th century. I guess a lot happened in the intervening 200 years. The fort has a triangular structure and is the oldest of its kind in the Philippines. So you can see the Spaniards were busy when they arrived in the Philippines, the church and the fort were built at the same time.

inside the Fort San Pedro @Cebu City

There was enough shade inside the courtyard of the fort to relax. I walked around the ramparts, but of course there was no shade and was dying of heat again. The Fort San Pedro might be an old and historic structure, but there was not a lot to see, neither on the inside nor on top.

walking the ramparts @Fort San Pedro

I liked best the costume, which was exhibited on the inside. I can’t really say where it was from, but definitely from the east. Probably Chinese, because that fits best with the history of Cebu.

costume from the east @Fort San Pedro

After resting in the shade I decided to go see the Casa Gorordo museum, a private home which had been built in the 1850s. It was the residence of the archbishops of Cebu. Too bad that my guide book erred here and the museum was unfortunately closed on Sundays. At least Bo’s cafe, inside the garden of the museum, was open and I got a cold coffee to drink. I needed that after 15 minutes in tropic heat.

Casa Gorordo museum @Cebu City

From the Casa Gorordo museum it was just two minutes to Yap Sandiego Ancestral house, which deserves its own post. After the Yap house I had enough of sightseeing and ended up taking a a taxi to Ayala shopping mall. Finally a large air conditioned place where I whiled away the rest of the day. So is Cebu City worth a detour? Probably not. But it’s interesting enough to spend a couple of hours here. Yours, Pollybert

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