Who says you need a car to explore Cebu? It is pretty much doable on foot, especially the Downtown Cebu. Wandering around the oldest street in Cebu is much more fun when you walk around. Walking around downtown will allow you to experience what Cebu was during the old times and will also let you visit sights that have molded Cebu’s history in the past centuries.
Fort San Pedro
First stop is this military self defense structure of Cebu City, the Fort San Pedro or the Fuerte de San Pedro in Spanish language. Located in the Plaza Independencia in Cebu, Fort San Pedro was erected during the Spanish colonization under the supervision of the Spanish navigator and governor Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. In 1565, Governor Legazpi ordered to build this triangular wooden bastion fort in the country to symbolize the first Spanish settlement in the Philippines. However, it was taken over by the Filipinos and the Fort San Pedro served as the defense structure of the city to prevent invasion and conquest. Years later, Americans and Japanese also resided in the Spanish built fort. And in the present, part of Fort San Pedro is a museum and is one of the many first spot of the many tour packages in Cebu city by local and foreign tourists.
Contact Number: (032) 256 2284
Operating Hours: Opens from 8am and Closes at 7pm
Entrance Fee: 35 Pesos
Address: A. Pigafetta Street, Cebu City, 6000 Cebu
I bet all the people in the Philippines know about Magellan’s Cross. This spot is in the middle of the busy street of Cebu has a very big part of Philippine history and the country’s religion. This famous landmark is what the Portuguese and Spanish explorers headed by Ferdinand Magellan planted when he landed in Cebu on March 15, 1521. On the same date, Christianity in the Philippines started.
During that period, ancient people believed that the cross possess a healing power that’s why they started chipping bits of the cross. The local officials were worried about the extinction of the Christianity symbol. Thus, they covered it with another wooden cross made of another wood.
Address: P. Burgos St, Cebu City, Cebu
Contact Number: (078) 945 6321
Operating Hours: 8 am to 6 pm Daily
Entrance Fee: NO Entrance Fee needed
Santo Niño Basilica
Situated right next to Magellan’s Cross near the Fort San Pedro is the Santo Nino Church or the Basilica Minore Del Sto. Nino (The Minor Basilica of the Holy Child in English) is a minor basilica located in Cebu City, Philippines. This is the oldest Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines, founded by Fr. Andres de Urdaneta on April 28, 1565.
Sto. Nino Church was constructed on the same place where the image of the baby Jesus called Sto. Nino was discovered by Spanish explorers in 1565. It is the same image as the one given by Ferdinand Magellan to the wife of then cebu chieftain as a gift over forty years after he was baptized to Christianity on April 14, 1521. The Sto Nino was kept and protected in a wood box after Cebu was razed and torched down by the Spaniards. Basilica de Santo Nino is also called the “Mother and Head of all Churches in the Philippines”.
Feast of Senior Sto. Nino
Annually, the whole Cebu City celebrates the grandest celebration of the year every 3rd Sunday of January. It is called, Sinulog festival. This celebration is to give thanks and honor to the patron of Cebu, Sto. Nino. The 9 to 12 hour street parade is one of the highlights of this celebration. This parade has participants coming from different cities and towns of Cebu and even the neighboring islands.
Contact Number: 0917 662 4820
Operating Hours: Opens 24 Hours
Entrance Fee: Free
Address: Osmeña Blvd, Cebu City, 6000 Cebu
After offering prayers and gratitude to Santo Nino, you can then proceed to the next stop, the oldest and shortest street in the country. This was once the center of trade and commerce of the ancient Cebu. The first established business in Cebu flourished in Colon. However, in recent years, the fashionable shops, offices, movie houses, moved in the more modern, bigger, and more commercialized spaces in Cebu. Many big and famous universities in Cebu were built near or along Colon Street namely University of Cebu, University of the Visayas, University of San Carlos, and University of San Jose-Recoletos.
Although, most of the millennials prefer to shop in a much better and air conditioned malls, the main reason why there are still lots of people visiting Colon street is because of the bargain shops. Haggle as much as you can but just be kind to the sellers. Here in Colon street, you can come empty handed and go out carrying loads of historical knowledge and hands full of goodies without breaking the bank.
Contact Number: N/A
Operating Hours: N/A
Entrance Fee: N/A
Address: Colon St, Cebu City, Cebu
The Heritage of Cebu Monument
This huge and massive sculpture portraying the history of Cebu in the center of the Parian District is our next destination. This monument is the product of a local artist, Eduardo Castrillo. With the donations from private individuals and public sectors, the construction of the Heritage of Cebu monument started in July 1997 and finished and inaugurated on December 2000.
The structures illustrated in the monument are the baptism of Rajah Humabon to Christianity, the Battle of Mactan between Lapu-Lapu and Ferdinand Magellan, the holy mass, President Sergio Osmena Sr. and Blessed Pedro Calungsod.
This shouldn’t be missed!
Contact Number: (032) 335 1200
Operating Hours: Opens all year round
Entrance Fee: Free but donations are welcome
Address: Sikatuna St, Cebu City, Cebu
Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House
The Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House was built sometime between 1675 and 1700, this ancestral house is considered to be one of the oldest residential houses in the Philippines. It was originally owned by a Chinese merchant named Don Juan Yap and his wife, Doña Maria Florido.
During the 1880’s, the oldest daughter, Maria Florido Yap, married a native from Obando, Bulacan, Don Mariano San Diego, who was Parian’s “Cabeza de Barangay ” (District Head) at that time.
Just a few years ago (2008), the old ancestral home was turned over to Doña Maria’s great great grandson, Val Sandiego. Val is a famous art collector in Cebu, renowned choreographer and heritage icon.
The materials used for the construction of the Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House were coral stones that were glued together with egg whites just like Baclayon Church in Bohol. The roof is made of clay called “Tisa” that weighs 1 kilogram in each piece. The wooden parts were made of Molave wood which were considered to be the hardest woods of all time.
Exploring the house brings you back in time. So enjoy the time machine.
Contact Number: (032) 266 2833
Operating Hours: From 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Entrance Fee: 50 peso
Address: Mabini St, Cebu City, Cebu
Casa Gorordo Museum
This next destination of our walking tour is the Casa Gorordo Museum, one of the few remaining ancestral houses in the city of Cebu. Casa Gorordo or Gorordo House was used to be the home of the most prominent family in Cebu. Built in 1850 by Alejandro Reynes and was sold to a Spanish Merchant, Juan Isidro de Gorordo in 1863. Four generations of the Gorordo family lived in this house until 1979.
In 1980, the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc, purchased the house under its Cultural Heritage Program. The Gorordo House then renovated and restored, then turned into a museum that was opened in public in 1983. The museum houses and exhibits mid-19th and early 20th century Philippine culture and lifestyle.
Casa Gorordo Museum is situated in Parian, the structure of this house is an example of what a Spanish colonial era house looks like. Casa Gorordo is also called “balay nga tisa” or house with a tiled roof. The house has two floors: the lower floor or more commonly known as silong, and the upper floor is called taas.
Contact Number: (+63) (32) 411 1767
Operating Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Entrance Fee: Php80, Php120, Php150
Address: Don Eduardo Aboitiz St. (formerly Lopez Jaena St.), Cebu City 6000 Philippines
Museo de Parian or 1730 Jesuit House
For the last leg of our downtown walking tour, we head to the Museo De Parian or the Jesuit House of 1730. The House of Jesuit of 1730 was once the residence of the second highest official of the Jesuit community in the entire Philippines. This house is probably the oldest house in Cebu. Built over 300 years ago, this two-storey house is made of coral stone walls, tugas hardwood floors and posts, and terracotta roof connected on its second floor by a walkway to a smaller house that seems to be a kitchen during that era. It has undergone a couple of different transformations and renovations from being the residence of a religious community to a hardware store and warehouse. Not until the present owners converted it into a museum. And because of that, the house slowly making its way into the tourist guide books and magazines.
Contact Number: 0935 998 4966 or (032) 255 5408
Operating Hours: 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM, 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Entrance Fee: PhP50/pax (PhP15 for students)
Address: #26 Zulueta St., Cebu City