Is it me? Or do you notice many more tourists in Cebu these days?
From a totally unscientific perspective, there seems to be much more visitors lately. I personally think it’s brought about by the aid the Philippines has been receiving due to typhoon last year. It seems like people are using Cebu as their base of operations.
If you know anyone visiting Cebu for the first time, you might want to share this to them. Heck! If you have lived here all your life and haven’t visited any of these places, you should go yourself!
Not only is it the oldest Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines, they also famously house the oldest religious relic in the country, the statue depicting the Holy Child Jesus or more commonly called the Santo Niño. The destruction caused by the recent earthquake hasn’t deterred thousands of Catholic devotees from visiting the Church. You can find it in the heart of downtown Cebu.
Statue of Lapu-Lapu
One of the first things Filipino history teachers drill into our heads is the first Filipino hero. Lapu-Lapu famously defeated the Spanish soldiers led by Ferdinand Magellan. You can find the statue in Punta Engaño.
Fort San Pedro
The oldest triangular bastion fort in the Philippines, the original Fort San Pedro was built to defend against local attackers. The fort has many stories in its walls. It started out with the Spaniards then became a stronghold for Filipino revolutionaries, then got turned over to the Americans, then transformed into a school and at some point it even housed Japanese residents. You can find it in Plaza Independencia near the pier.
Right next to the Basilica del Santo Niño is a quaint little chapel. Inside you will find a giant cross. This is what most people refer to as Magellan’s Cross, but if you look closer, you will see a sign that says that the original cross planted by Magellan is encased inside the big wooden cross – in order to protect it from people who chipped away parts of it as souvenirs or miraculous mementos.
Amongst all the Spanish history spots, you might be surprised to find a Chinese temple in this list. Many young locals visit the temple and perform a simple ritual asking the gods to grant their wish. Basically, the ritual starts with two blocks of bean shaped wood. Make your wish then drop the two pieces of wood on the floor. Depending on the way it falls, your wish will be granted or you’ll be encouraged to try again on a different day.
Of course there’s a lot more to Cebu than historical spots – we wouldn’t be able to write all of them in one post, but we’ve tried. Luckily for you, technology has gone a long way. There are plenty of apps that help travelers along the way.
Here are a few of our favorites:
When visiting new places, our go-to app is always Foursquare. Foursquare allows you to check into a place and read reviews. We even wrote a whole piece about it. This is as close as you can get to a local’s tips and tricks.
Whenever we travel, we like to take plenty of pictures! While Instagram filters are nice, sometimes we want our travel photos to look different from the usual stuff. VSCO cam is perfect for that. Not only do they have great presets that mimic a vintage look, but they also allow advance tweaks to the photos. Things like exposure, temperature, sharpness, etc. No sense taking crappy photos of a once in a lifetime travel opportunity. (Here’s a look at all our favorite Instagram peeps – most don’t rely on the filters from Instagram)
Tired of all the usual hotels? You can try looking at Airbnb. There’s a good chance you’ll find an unusual place to stay with all the preferences you prefer. Just remember to look at the comments and check the recommendations. We tried it on a trip to Hong Kong. It was a hassle free experience.
Here’s the truth. We did research for every historical spot above. Guess where we got most of the research material. Yup! Wikipedia! The largest and best encyclopedia in the world is now in your fingertips. Remember when you had a whole book shelf full of encyclopedias? Now everything fits in your pocket. Use and abuse.
We like getting lost when we travel. In cities we’ve never been, we find it best to roam and roam around some more. This way we get to experience something truly ours and unique. But eventually we need to find our way back to the hotel. There’s an app for that. Doesn’t get any better than Google Maps.
Of course, you’ll need fast and reliable internet service to be able to take advantage of all these apps. Be prepared and power up your phone with GoSURF 499!
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GoSURF 499 gives you 1.5GB of mobile internet for a month that allows you to enjoy posting tweets and photos. That’s a heck of a lot of foursquare check-ins and a ton of photo uploads too. Not to mention all the knowledge you’ll get from Wikipedia app – search-on-the-go for terms and places you never heard of. And, GoSURF comes with FREE Spotify Basic (GoSURF 99 & below) or Premium (GoSURF 299 & up)where you get to enjoy free music with Spotify. Whether, you’re on a road trip or just hanging out on your favorite places, listen to your Spotify playlist wherever you are. Do it.