The name Cebu is given to both an island and the major city on that island. The island is long and narrow, and is located to the southeast of the Philippines’ main island of Luzon. It is 255 kilometres in length from north to south, and is also one of the most developed islands in the nation.
Cebu City is the second most important city in the country, after Manila. Although there are bigger cities in other parts of the Philippines, Cebu City is a commercial and industrial centre. Cebu City is also the oldest city in the Philippines, and is where Ferdinand Magellan landed in 1521 during the first circumnavigation of the world.
The city has such an affinity with the sea that it is still, by a long way, the nation’s largest port, controlling about 80% of the nation’s shipping.
As you would expect of a city with such an historical pedigree, Cebu is an important cultural centre where there is great emphasis on its past as a Spanish colony, and its role in the foundation of the national religion, Roman Catholicism. Many of the major attractions there are centred around religion, and one of the most important historical objects is Magellan’s Cross, which is located beside the Santo Nino Shrine in Magallanes Street. It was taken to Cebu by Ferdinand Magellan who planted the cross on the spot where he went ashore in 1521.
Cebu is a great cosmopolitan city, which is famous for the quality of its cuisine, but its other great attribute is that there are many great beaches within easy reach of the city, and it is for this reason that Cebu is a popular tourist destination, particularly for travellers from Asia.
There are many great resorts on Mactan Island, which is just a short distance from Cebu. Malapascua Beach also has a great reputation for its beauty, and is also a popular place for divers. Malapascua is also a great spot to visit if you enjoy the freshest of seafood, particularly if you enjoy eating anything with a shell.
Oslob is another great beach, and it is also a great spot to enjoy seeing the massive whale sharks, providing you are there at the right time.
The Camotes Islands also have a number of great resorts fronting very good beaches. Its beaches are popular because there are places where the water is quite shallow, and safe for swimming, and because of this they have great clarity if you wish to snorkel or dive.