1. Cebu City is The Philippines’ oldest city.
Legendary Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan arrived in Cebu on April 7, 1521. However, it was a bunch of Spanish conquistadors under the leadership of Miguel López de Legazpi who signed the ‘Treaty of Cebu’ on July 3, 1565 with local ruler Rajah Tupas. De Legazpi named the city Villa de San Miguel de Cebú and it became The Philippines’ first Spanish colony.
2. Cebu is home to Youtube viral sensation the CPDRC Dancing Inmates.
At maximum security prison the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Centre, the inmates are Youtube stars. Their ‘Thriller’ routine has received more than 53 million hits. Dancing forms part of their daily exercise routine in a program initiated by Cebu government official security advisor Byron Garcia.
3. Its most famous landmark is Magellan’s Cross.
During his 1521 visit, Magellan planted a Christian cross which is now encased in a chapel located on Magellanes Street, right next to the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño.
4. Cebu City hosts its very own version of the Mardi Gras.
Every year, on the third Sunday in January, the city streets are taken over by the Sinulog Festival. Its main event is a magnificent parade that lasts anywhere between nine and twelve hours.
5. The oldest school in Asia is found in Cebu.
Spanish Jesuit fathers Antonio Sedeno, Antonio Pereira and Pedro Chirino founded the Colegio de San Ildefonso on August 1, 1595. These days, it operates as a private Catholic institution named the University of San Carlos.
6. There are 168 islands in the Cebu province.
In addition to Cebu itself, the province boasts another 167 islands, scattered with stunning beaches and world-class diving opportunities.
7. Cebu City’s Colon Street is the oldest street in The Philippines.
Miguel López de Legazpi not only gave the city its first name, he also designed it, too. At the centre of his plans was Colon Street, the city’s first focal point for business and retail. These days, it serves more as a tourist attraction and is definitely worth a visit for the colonial architecture.
8. It’s the place to marvel at one of The Philippines’ oldest relics.
Inside the Basilica del Santo Niño, there’s a statue that’s both an impressive representation of how Jesus Christ might have appeared as a child, as well as one of the oldest relics to be found anywhere in The Philippines. Magellan gifted it to Queen Juana and her husband King Humabon in 1521.
9. It’s where foodies can eat ‘the best pig ever’.
Fans of television show No Reservations might already know that American chef, writer and media personality Anthony Bourdain believes that ‘the best pig ever’ is to be found in Cebu. Locally referred to as ‘lechon’, roasted pig can be found in an array of eateries.
10. It’s the seventh best island in the Indian Ocean-Asia region.
During the past decade, Cebu has received some serious attention from various travel journalists and magazines. In 2007, Condé Nast Traveler Magazine listed it as the seventh best island in the entire Indian Ocean-Asia region. Two years before, it came in as the eighth best island in Asia Pacific.