Category Archives: Central Visayas (Region VII)

Magellan's cross

Highlights of Cebu

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Highlights of Cebu

Cebu City is the capital of the province Cebu, and regional center of the Central Visayas. The surrounding metropolitan area, known as Metro Cebu, is the largest in the Visayas, and one of the largest in the country, with a population of 2.3 million. It is the economic hub and the main port of entry of the Visayas.

Cebu City was the original capital of the Spanish East Indies. Later they moved the capital to Manila.

Metro Cebu is well equipped for tourism: There are beautiful white beaches on the coast, hotels, restaurants and resorts to suit any wallet, historic landmarks, bars and discos, cinemas and theaters, and everything else you need for your holiday.

Taoist temple

Detail of Taoist temple of Cebu
Taoist temple (detail)

The taoist temple, also known as the Chinese temple, built for the Chinese community in Cebu. It is open to anyone, as long as you abide by their rules. Photography is allowed outside the building, but not inside.

The temple is built on a hill, and when you walk around the temple you will also have a few nice views of the city.

Magellan’s cross

Magellan's cross
Magellan's cross

Explorer Ferdinand Magellan was the first European to arrive in the Philippines. According to tradition, he placed a Christian cross in what is now Cebu and converted a local tribe to Christianity. It is unclear whether Magellan’s cross survived, but according to many the cross is here in this chapel, encased in wood to protect it against the elements and against tourists chipping away small pieces.

Magellan, by the way, was killed in Cebu by a leader of a competing tribe. His crew went on and became the first people to sail around the world.

Fort San Pedro

Fort San Pedro
Fort San Pedro

A triangular fort, originally built by Spanish conquistador Miguel López de Legazpi in the 16th century, to protect the first Spanish settlement in the Philippines, but improved and expanded in later centuries.

Heritage of Cebu monument

Heritage of Cebu monument
Heritage of Cebu monument

This monument, created in the late 20th century, celebrates highlights of Cebuano history and heritage, such as the first catholic baptism, the battle of Mactan (in which Ferdinand Magellan was killed), the major churches of Cebu, a Spanish galleon, and a catholic mass.

Santo Niño Basilica

Altar, Basilica of Santo Niño, Cebu
Altar of the Basilica of Santo Niño

This church was built in the 18th century, at the spot of an earlier, 16th century, church, and elevated to the rank of minor basilica by pope Paul VI.

Inside the church is a museum devoted to the history of Christianity in Cebu.

Ayala and SM megamalls

Ayala mall, Cebu
Ayala mall

If you like shopping, head to one of the two megamalls in Cebu. Both seem to have every kind of shop and boutique, plus many bars and restaurants.

The malls are airconditioned to such an extent that you should consider wearing a sweater or a jacket.

Bohol Beach Club on Panglao Island

Highlights of Bohol

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Highlights of Bohol

The island (and province) Bohol is famous for its Chocolate Hills, but it has a lot more to offer – like beautiful beaches, cute tarsiers, floating restaurants, or old churches.

Chocolate Hills

Chocolate Hills of Bohol
Chocolate Hills

Bohol may have a lot to offer to its visitors, but it is famous for only one thing: The Chocolate Hills.

These hills are usually green, but they become chocolate-brown in the dry season. When they are brown, they look like giant chocolates – hence the name Chocolate Hills.

Unfortunately, when we visited the dry season was over, and the hills were green again, albeit with a few brown spots.


Holding a tarsier on Bohol Island

Tarsiers are small nocturnal primates with large eyes. They are hard to spot in the wild, as they are shy and are only active at night.

If you want to see tarsiers, your best bet is one of the tarsier parks on the island. Here you are not only guaranteed to see them, you can even hold one.

Floating restaurants on Loboc River

Lunch on a floating restaurant on Loboc River
Floating restaurant on Loboc River

A popular attraction on Bohol are the floating restaurants on Loboc River. Board one of the many river vessels and enjoy lunch or dinner while floating on the river. Pictured is a Filipino buffet lunch on one of the vessels.

There is entertainment along the river in the form of traditional Bohol folk music and dance. Most boats will stop at one of these entertainment groups so that you can enjoy the show, take a few beautiful photos – and leave a generous tip, as these people entertain you for a living and are paid by tips.

Beaches on Panglao Island

Bohol Beach Club on Panglao Island
Bohol Beach Club, Panglao Island, Bohol

Panglao is a small island near Bohol. You can reach it by bridge. The island has beautiful sandy beaches, and a range of resorts, restaurants and bars to keep you entertained. It is also a good place for many water activities.

If you are able to get up (very) early, you should go dolphin watching! Your hotel or resort can probably make arrangements.

The church of Baclayon

Church of Baclayon, Bohol
Church of Baclayon

There are many old churches on Bohol. The oldest on the island, and one of the oldest of the country, is the Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception in Baclayon.

If you have time, visit the convent next to the church: It houses a small but interesting church museum.

Blood Compact Monument

Blood Compact Monument, Bohol
Blood Compact Monument

In 1565, Spanish colonizer Miguel Lopez de Legaspi and local chieftain Sikatuna signed a treaty that is now known as the blood compact. According to the locals, this was the first friendship treaty in the world between people of different races.

The treaty is still celebrated annually with a festival.