Having formed as an ancient trading port way back in the 16th century, Cebu has developed into the city around which the southern part of the Philippines revolves, as well as becoming a hub on route to many truly stunning tourist spots on both the ample outer islands, and elsewhere on Cebu Island.
Aside from the bone-deep torrents that soak the city through in the summer, Cebu is generally a warm, sunny spot which hovers around 30 degrees for most of the year and has become an enticing mix of the luxurious and the affordable, all blended in with the chance to indulge in the tropical local environment. White sand beaches are two a penny, as are luxurious hotels sporting relaxing spas, and an array of monuments, temples and forts to keep you busy. Perhaps the city’s most inspiring tourist draw is the massive 16th century Basilica of Santo Nino, an impressive church with its own ornate courtyard, and home to a statue of the Holy Child that dates back to 1521.
Most visitors, though, will be keen to get out and explore the island, which is inundated with luxury resorts and more traditional fishing villages (head south for the more authentic Filipino experience, or north for supersized luxury). There is an extensive selection of attractive diving spots to be explored, while those who prefer their watery fun a little tamer can splash around in the island’s waterfalls or lounge on the beach. For the truly adventurous, kite surfing and snorkeling with sharks are available as more off-the wall forms of entertainment, too.
The big annual attraction in Cebu City is the Sinulog Festival, which culminates on the third Sunday of January with a wild Mardi Gras-style street parade and an outdoor concert at Fuente Osmeña. The local lifestyle is a major attraction for tourists. Cebuanos are warm and very hospitable, and with a flair for music and merry-making. Many nationally known singers hail from this island.
Cebu is best from December to May when the weather turns dry. It is coolest from December to February, hottest from March to May. Temperature can rise up to 37°C in the summer. The rainy season begins in July, often bringing torrential downpours that would sometimes inhibit movement.
Lapu-Lapu City is named after the 16th century local chieftain who is famous for defeating Ferdinand Magellan during the Battle of Mactan. It is also the name of a variety of grouper (fish) w…