4 In Archaeology + History/ Art + Museums/ Religion + Spirituality/ The Philippines/ Travel

Cebu City, The Philippines


We left Oslob after swimming with whale sharks, having lunch & swimming in the massive pool below a waterfall which put us back in Cebu City in the late afternoon. We were staying at The Travelbee Guesthouse in Cebu City. It was very reasonably priced and our rooms were super cozy (the first night was a private room and the second night we had four bunks and a bathroom). However, we were apparently in a very rough part of town. Our driver asked us if we wanted to get dinner before he dropped us off & he went home for the night, but it was only 4pm so we weren’t hungry. When he dropped us off he said to be very careful, a lot of muggings go on around there. We didn’t think too much of it because we had been warned several times, as young women traveling. However, when we went to the front desk at night to as their recommendation on where to eat since we were a little off the main roads he looked at us like we were crazy and handed us a menu from Jollibee and told us to have them deliver. (Jollibee is the Philippines fast food chain and happens to be delicious!) This was not as a warning not to come to Cebu City, we had no issues here, but heed warnings, think about where you’re staying and make the most of the daylight when you’re in a “rougher” area.


Basilica del Santo Niño is named because of a doll figure of baby Jesus that Magellan (yes, the Magellan who first circumnavigated the world) to a the leader of Cebu’s wife when they landed in Cebu City and it was discovered in a burnt box 44 years later and seen as a miracle! Pope Paul VI made this church into a basilica because it’s where Christianity began in The Philippines.

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This is the site where Magellan and his men planted their cross in Cebu. This cross is not the original, but that original is inside of this cross. Pretty cool, huh?

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The Basilica del Santo Niño Museum is all about the spread of Christianity in the Philippines and about the importance of Santo Niño.

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Stacey taking her turn before Santo Niño and leaving an offering


Santo Niño


Inside the basilica – I love, love, love all of the natural light

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Will took us to the Cebu City Monument which shoes the history of the city from Santo Niño / Magellan, to wars and more! What a beautiful and interesting work of art – we were VERY impressed.

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This almost 150-year-old complex was originally a city / provincial prison, then during Japanese occupation was used for a prison for guerrillas and as of 2004, is now a history museum. There is a lot of information about Cebu’s history taking them through multiple occupations & wars and finally independence.

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This is an early 14th century Tara Buddhist figure made of 21 karat gold that was found on a riverbank. 

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This guerrilla money was used while Cebu was ruled by Manuel Quezon, and if someone was caught with it, that meant certain death

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This exhibit depicted the ways that technology evolved over time



This Taoist Temple was built in the 1970s by the large Chinese community in the Beverly Hills district of Cebu City. This was the first Taoist temple I had ever been to. It was a very quiet and unbelievably peaceful experience.

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I loved this: “Transcend Worldliness” IMG_3516

To get to the top we had so climb several stairs. It was like a small journey to prepare yourself to visit, contemplate and ask.

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There are these wooden blocks that look like kidneys. You prepare yourself and then follow these instructions to ask the important questions of life.

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Visiting the Taoist temple was a deep experience. I loved how peaceful it was and really allowed for moments of reflection and meditation.


Will was very excited to show us Alegre Guitars before taking us to the airport. We walked through and saw where the guitars were made, the shapes and designs they were made into and which woods they used. It was really cool to see! Then, there’s a store with guitars and ukuleles for sale. They were beautiful and if The Philippines was my last stop I would’ve picked up a ukulele for myself.

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Testing them out. I played one of the few songs I know on the guitar and they had a chord cheat-sheet for the ukulele – owning one is a dream of mine. IMG_0463

It was just wall-to-wall guitars and ukuleles


This little park is right on this ocean inlet and is a tribute to the Battle of Mactan. Magellan and a round of soldiers came on to the island of Mactan to colonize it. Magellan told the leader, Lapu-Lapu, that if he swore allegiance to the ruler of Cebu there would be no attack, when Lapu-Lapu refused there was a battle which Lapu-Lapu and his people won. Magellan and several other soldiers were killed.

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There are statues and shrines to Lapu-Lapu and along with these are loads of vendor stalls loaded with souvenirs and snacks. We had some treats and walked around the park and the street next to it. IMG_3582

Our time in Cebu ended with this view of the inlet from inside of the park. I loved the brightly painted designs on the dock and of the boats; it all seemed so festive. What an amazing place to explore – loads and loads to do & see in Cebu!

To keep up with my travels in real-time and read more posts and travel articles I find interesting ‘like’ the For the Love of Wanderlust page on Facebook. Simply click HERE.

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  • Reply
    October 1, 2015 at 10:52 am

    Love these Philippines posts! My husband and I went to several of these places on a trip in January 2014. Now we need to go back to check out Cebu, to go deeper into the Sagada caves and maybe a few other adventures, too. Thanks for the stories and pictures!

    • Reply
      October 26, 2015 at 10:48 pm

      Thank you for reading them and taking the time to comment. I really enjoyed my time there and can’t wait to get back someday. What is your favorite island/site to visit there? There’s just so much to see there!

      • Reply
        October 27, 2015 at 3:44 pm

        Hi! I think Banaue & Batad were my favorites. The rice terraces there were amazing and that part of the country seemed a bit less westernized-so it was more interesting to us. Here’s more info on our trip: http://arahbahn.com/2014/02/03/take-the-tuk-tuk/ Happy travels!

  • Reply
    Sandy N Vyjay
    January 23, 2018 at 8:24 pm

    It is really surprising that in spite of numerous posts about the Philippines, not many talk about Cebu. The focus is of course on the exotic islands and beaches. Loved this post which gives a different perspective. The Basilica del Santo Niño looks so sublime. The pictures of the Cebu monument too capture the magnificence of the place to stunning effect.

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