The adventures of a modern day nomad, as she quenches her thirst for cultural explorations wants to bring you along for the ride.

DIY (do-it-yourself) Cebu City Tour


Cebu City is kinda like Manila to me. The only difference is that, most of them talk in English and “Bisaya” (their dialect) rather than national language which is “Tagalog”. I like that coz it shows how much they love their local language. I wish I could speak Bisaya because almost 30% of the Philippines’ population speaks Bisaya, 20% Ilocano (which I also speak) and 50% Tagalog. Well in general, most Filipinos knows 2 languages; Tagalog and English.

If you Google “Day Tour in Cebu”, you will find some travel agency websites offering day tour services which will normally last for 3-4 hours. And guess what, almost all of them offer the same stuff. So instead of booking with them, we decided to do our own version of the famous “Cebu city tour” that would last not just for 3 hours, but for whatever time we want it to last. That’s the beauty of being your own boss, you make your own schedule. 🙂

Here’s a list of the popular tourist attractions in Cebu City:

1. Magellan’s Cross– The cross is located next to the chapel of Basilica Minore del Santo Niño in Magallanes Street, just in front of city center. There’s a sign below the cross that says, “This Cross of Tindalo Wood encases the original cross planted by Ferdinand Magellan on this very site April 21, 1521”
magellan's cross cebu

One thing I noticed though is that there’s a lot of people taking a selfie inside the chapel. I’m not that religious but come on, there’s another place for that.

2. Basilica del Santo Nino– The Minor Basilica of the Holy Child commonly known as Santo Nino Church. It’s the oldest Roman Catholic church in the Philippines. The image of the Santo Niño de Cebú, a statue depicting the Child Jesus was found in 1565 by Spanish explorers led by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi.

DIY Cebu City

I like the open-spaced church where you will see a collection of different Sto.Nino and patron saints. We spent time walking on the long corridors, appreciating the paintings and learning about the history of the basilica.

3. Heritage of Cebu Monument– I have a thing for sculptures because most of my relatives are artists and I have this uncle who is a sculptor and made several famous art works back home.

Cebu Monument

Anyhoo, the Heritage of Cebu Monument depicts the history of Cebu. Each figure symbolizes something, from baptism of Rajah Humabon to the battle of Mactan between Lapu-Lapu and Ferdinand Magellan.

It would be nice if you have a knowledgeable tour guide so he can explain to you all the figures in case you don’t know anything about the Philippine History.

4. Sandiego-Yap Ancestral House– It is located between Mabini and Lopez-Jaena Streets (just across the Heritage of Cebu Monument). Some people call it “Balay nga Bato ug Kahoy” which means the house was built using wood and stones. The owners were Don Juan Yap and Maria Florido, rich Filipino-Chinese family in the 18th century. They eventually handed it down to Val Mancao San Diego, dance maestro and a heritage enthusiast.

Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House in Cebu City

What I like about this place is the friendly caretaker. He is not too strict and he takes good pictures of everyone in the tour. The house is full of antiques, religious artifacts, family pictures and old chinaware around the house. It’s very interesting, one of my favorite place in Cebu. 🙂

5. Museo Sugbo -Commonly known as the Cebu Museum. It used to be a penitentiary built in 1871 during the Japanese occupation. Obviously, now they made it into a museum. There’s nothing much to see there except old Spanish architecture.

FYI, you can’t take pictures here and the entrance fee is much expensive for foreigners. Around Php70 or $1.56

Museo Sugbo

photo from flickr by Constantine Agustin

6. Fort San Pedro– It is a military defense structure built by the Spaniards in the 17th century. It is also called “Fuerza de San Pedro” in Spanish. Eventually, Americans made it as their barracks then later on, it became a school for Cebuanos to received their formal education. World War II came, they converted the school to an army camp and emergency hospital for the wounded. Fast forward to the present day, part of the fort is now a museum where you could find well preserved Spanish artifacts. 🙂

Fort San Pedro

I like the cannons they have on the ground, it looks like it sunk on the ground coz it’s been sitting there for hundred years. Some tourism students are also there to serve as tour guides. It’s like they were placed there as part of their OJT (on the job training).

Fort San Pedro DIY Cebu City

7. Cebu Taoist Temple– It is located in Beverly Hills Subdivision and was built in 1972. It is open to the worshipers and non-worshipers alike.

The temple is the center of worship for Taoism, the religion which follows the teachings of the ancient Chinese philosopher, Lao Zi. Another ritual among Taoist devotees, which is done during Wednesdays and Sundays,is the climbing of its 81 steps (representing the 81 chapters of Taoism scriptures) to light joss sticks and have their fortune read by the monks.

Cebu Taoist Temple

I just wish there are some monks there like in most temples in Thailand. I’d rather see real monks rather than tourist who tried to worship there with joss sticks. Monks bring some spiritual essence to the place, I’m just saying. Anyhoo, what I like most about this place is that it’s high up in the mountain, you could see a nice view of the city. 🙂

All the tourist destinations I listed above can easily be accessed by jeep, tricycle or taxi. 🙂

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About Author

KT Mina

KT is a digital nomad who quit her job, bought a ticket somewhere, got a tan, fell in love with mother nature and she would never return to the normal life that society dictates. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: @pinaynomad

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