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The Philippines' second city is a bustling metropolis with good air links to the rest of Asia and a scattering of interesting historic sites. The explorer Ferdinand Magellan landed here in 1521 to claim the islands for Spain and was killed by an irate tribal chieftain shortly after. The main attraction of Cebu for visitors is its proximity to fabulous beaches and dive sites on Cebu and surrounding islands. It's also a much calmer, friendlier place to arrive than hectic Manila. Flights land on Mactan island, linked to Cebu by a causeway. The old part of town around Colon Street is known as Downtown; here you'll find historic Fort San Pedro ...

The Philippines' second city is a bustling metropolis with good air links to the rest of Asia and a scattering of interesting historic sites. The explorer Ferdinand Magellan landed here in 1521 to claim the islands for Spain and was killed by an irate tribal chieftain shortly after. The main attraction of Cebu for visitors is its proximity to fabulous beaches and dive sites on Cebu and surrounding islands. It's also a much calmer, friendlier place to arrive than hectic Manila. Flights land on Mactan island, linked to Cebu by a causeway. The old part of town around Colon Street is known as Downtown; here you'll find historic Fort San Pedro and the eye-catching Basilica Minore Del Santo Niño. The new part of town around Fuente Osmena is Uptown. Shoppers can take advantage of a good selection of shopping malls on the way to the airport. Most new arrivals quickly decamp to one of the small, laid-back islands offshore from Cebu - Bantayan and Malapasqua have the best of the beaches and dive sites.

Joe Bindloss
About the Expert

Joe Bindloss has written more than 30 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, Time Out and other publishers, with a focus on Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent and island nations.

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Joe Bindloss for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Cebu City is the capital of Cebu in the Philippines and lies on the eastern shore of the island of Cebu and is the first Spanish settlement in the country.
  • Language: Filipino, Tagalog, English
  • Currency: Peso and Piso
  • Research: Wikipedia
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    December to May, for dry weather and minimal risk of typhoons