At first, I was overwhelmed and do not know where to go or where to start with my DIY Cebu City Tour. I hear the familiar sound of the busy city streets but I was in an unfamiliar realm. The world was so big all of a sudden and there I was feeling so vulnerable. Good thing that I have definitely learned more than a thing or two from my experiences when I went around Cebu City for the first time. So, after reaching my first destination, it became easier to get to the next one. Being able to thrive out of the comfort zone certainly brought in greater pleasure and sense of accomplishment.
Sirao Flower Farm
It happened very quickly, one moment we were in the middle of the concrete jungle then next thing I noticed, the breeze was cooler and there were less vehicles on our ascent. It was an immediate shift from the chaos in the city to the serenity of the mountains. Away from all the noise and city smog, I was taken to one of the two flower gardens in the mountains of Sirao, Sirao Pictorial Garden and Campsite. Kuya Jason said that the other farm just harvested the flowers and the new ones were not yet in full bloom and it was also the first one along the way. The decorative blossoms of “Burlas” or Celosia Flower added vibrancy to the lush mountain in the backdrop.
Temple of Leah
Situated in Barangay Busay, Temple of Leah is a fascinating architectural feat. But what’s more interesting aside from the concept, design and construction of this massive structure carved on the side of a mountain was the story behind it. Still unfinished from the time of posting, the temple was built as a depiction of an everlasting love of a devoted husband to his affectionate wife. At first, it was intended to be as a family heirloom, but soon after it has been opened to the public for the whole of Cebu to appreciate.
Fort San Pedro
I bade goodbye to Kuya Jason and took a jeep going back to SM City Cebu which has been my ground zero. From the mall’s transport terminal, I rode a jeep with code 12i. I alighted at Pier 1 in less than 20 minutes and from across the street, the fort was already in sight. The triangular bastion of Fort San Pedro (Fuerza de San Pedro) located in Plaza Independencia in Cebu City’s Port Area is similar to Manila’s Instramuros, only smaller. It is believed to be the smallest and the oldest of the forts in the Philippines. Same with other Spanish fortifications, it also has a garita (guerites) or sentry boxes that were used as watch towers. Originally built to fend off the enemies, today it serves as a park for locals and tourists alike and a museum with some of Cebu’s past still intact.
Right after I left the fort I started with the walking tour in Cebu City. From here on out there’s no need to ride a jeep as the sites were just close to each other. My next destination was Magellan’s Cross located in Magallanes Street. So, I asked manong guard in Plaza Independencia on how can I get there and he pointed across the street, directed me to make a turn at the gasoline station then walk straight ahead. True enough, it led me to the cross. A chapel shelters the said to be original cross that is enclosed in a wooden casing. The planting of the cross ushered the advent of Christianity not just in Cebu but in the Philippines.
Minore Basilica de Sto. Niño
Literally a few steps away from Magellan’s Cross I’ve found my way to Santo Niño Basilica through a crowded small gateway. The Basilica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebu has been elected as the Mother and Head of all Churches in the Philippines by the Holy See. Due to its huge following the church cannot accommodate everyone inside and as a solution, an open structure with bleachers was constructed in right in front of the minor basilica where devotees can hear mass during Fridays and other special religious occasions.
Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral
Just a couple of blocks away from Santo Niño Basilica, after passing through a narrow street filled with vendors which reminded me of Quaipo area in Manila, I’ve arrived in another historical and spiritual landmark in Cebu, the less crowded Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral.
Cebu Cathedral was one of the first churches in the Philippines constructed near the fort. It is known as the ecclesiastical seat of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Cebu. A few years ago, the church officials have submitted an application to the Vatican pushing for Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral to be recognized as a minor basilica in honor of St. Vitalis.
I used the same entry route to exit Cebu Cathedral, walked down to Legaspi Street, turned right and strolled all the way to Colon Street.
Walking across the two prominent churches reminded of Quiapo while the old buildings, the sidewalk, the different business establishments and the overall ambience while walking towards Colon Street jogged my memory of Recto area. With the run down state of Colon Street, the oldest street in the Philippines, who would have thought that it was once the center of business in Cebu City? But more than the negative impression that it gets now, the historic significance of Colon Street can never be refuted.
Yap-San Diego Ancestral House
I headed to Mabini Street just right passed Colon Obelisk, turned right then walked passed the Cebu Heritage Monument and I have reached Yap-San Diego Ancestral House. The 341-year old house made of wood and coral stones has been turned into a museum. According to the receptionist, who was in an old-fashioned Filipiniana attire, that the only renovated part of the house was the bedroom but everything else was from the original structure. The paintings and antique collection were very well preserved. I was on my up to the second floor when the caretaker stopped me. I should take off my shoes or wear one of the foot covers, she said. It was necessary to protect the centuries-old hard-wood flooring. Also, they were controlling the number of people who wants to take a look at the artifacts on the second all at the same time.
On my way out, I asked the receptionist how I can get to Fuente Osmeña then to Larsian. She told me to walk down to Colon Obelisk all the way to Vicente Gullas Street and take a 14D.
There’s no better option to end an exhausting tour around Cebu City but to find a place to eat that is affordable. So, to appease my hunger and my craving for ihaw-ihaw (grilled food) I proceeded to Larsian in Don Mariano Cui Street, near the hospital. It is like a food court but with cooked-to-order grilled food as their specialty. Different stalls offer seafood, fish, different kinds of meat, and local Cebu chorizo and the famous puso (hanging rice). There is nothing fancy about the place and the food but it is the ambience and the experience that is worth a try especially for first time visitors.
Helpful Jeepney Routes to Go Around Cebu City
- 21A – Mandaue to SM
12i – SM to Pier 1 – for Fort San Pedro
14D – from Yap San Diego to Fuente Osmena
12G – from Sto Nino to SM
6C – Fuente Osmena – Sto Nino
04L – SM to JY Square Mall
21D – SM – Mandaue
Minimum Fare Jeep – P7.00
Taxi – From Airport to Mandaue – P350.00
Habal-Habal – P400 (depends on destination/s)
- Entrance Fees:
Sirao Pictorial Garden and Campsite – P30.00
Temple of Leah – P50.00
Fort San Pedro – P30.00
Magellan’s Cross – Free
Santo Nino Basilica – Free
Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral – Free
Yap-San Diego Ancestral House – P50.00
P20.00 – Cebu Chorizo and pork barbecue.
P5.00 – Puso rice
Other Places to Visit in Cebu City
- Taoist Temple
Casa Gorordo Museum
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How about you? Have you been to Cebu? Have you tried taking the public transportation while on a Cebu City tour? How was your experience? What was the favorite place that you’ve been to in Cebu City? We would love to hear from you? Share your thoughts.