Manila takes all the hype when it comes to being the “center” of the Philippines. However, there was a time when Manila was but a mangrove-rich land and the true center of commerce and economy was somewhere to the south. And while the Luzon city is the official capital, this southern gem still shines brightly at its heels. Meet Cebu city — the Queen City of the South and the country’s “Second City”.
Cebu is the fifth most populous city in the country, and the second when counting only metropolitan areas. It houses the main domestic ship port of the Philippines, with about 80% of the country’s own shipping companies. It stakes its place in history as the county’s very first city, and the very first Spanish settlement. For the religious, Cebu is the fountainhead of Christianity in the Far East.
Aside from its economic and historical significance, Cebu is well-renowned for its amazing tourist attractions. The Spanish imprint on the city’s history is unmistakeable. Wander through the ancient Basilica del Santo Niño, which was founded way back in 1565. It is considered the oldest church in the country, and a chapel beside it houses the famed Magellan’s Cross. Feel history surge through your veins as you trek through the Heritage of Cebu Monument, located in the original site of Plaza Parain. Even for those uninterested in history, the sheer magnificence of this artwork is a sight to behold.
Like any great tourist destination, Cebu has something for everyone. It is a dynamic metropolitan area and a serene natural haven. It is both for the active and for the reflective. All you need is a backpack of your basic necessities, and a heart for adventure. Who knows where the Queen City of the South will take you?