I’ve been in Cebu countless times – on several trips with my grandma when I was still a kid; few times when I was in college; lived in the city for few months when I took review classes in preparation for PRC (Professional Regulation Commission) board exam; once with my wife and kids on vacation; two years ago as crew member of a cruise ship; and thereafter, few times in a row – work related or for pleasure. So I would say that I am familiar with almost every corner around the city.
I don’t know how or why but I always find every visit in Cebu interesting and exciting. So when I learned that my next ship assignment had scheduled stopover in Cebu City, the more I became so revved-up and was so excitedly looking forward for that day – never in my imagination occurred that I will be visiting Cebu as crew member of a cruise liner.
So, all the way from Europe to Asia, we arrived in the port of Cebu on a warm and sunny morning. And to be welcomed with colorful, loud and lively Sinulog dances, wow that was one very lively arrival!
Sinulog Dance is a ritual dance honoring Senior Sto. Nino, the island’s patron Saint. If you want to see and experience the dance ritual in its full animation, visit Cebu for the yearly Sinulog Festival happening every January.
The cruise liner stayed Cebu for just 9 hours to be precise – so obviously our passengers did not have enough time to roam around and explore more of Cebu. Though stopover in Cebu was not that long enough to visit to as far as to the outskirts of the city, at least our passengers had the chance to see several of the main attractions of Cebu. These are sites depicting Philippines’ oldest colonial city’s rich history and heritage. Among those places were the following:
1. Fort San Pedro
The smallest tri-bastion fort in the country protecting Spanish settlers from pirates and hostile natives.
2. Magellan’s Cross
Planted by Ferdinand Magellan, the cross marks the arrival of Christianity to the country.
3. Basilica Minore Del Santo Nino
Home to the image of Holy Infant Jesus.
4. Cebu Heritage Monument
A monument located in Parian showcasing the significant and symbolic events of Cebu’s history.
5. Carcar Town
The town of Carcar is home to various Spanish and American period structures. Highlighting the Carcar visit includes a visit to the St. Catherine of Alexandria Church, the Carcar Museum and Carcar Shoe Expo.
6. Colon Street
The country’s oldest street located in downtown area.
Cebu is one of Philippines’ most visited island destinations most especially during the festive month of January when celebration of the elaborate and colorful Sinulog Festival takes place. But even if it’s not January, that cruise ship visit in Cebu proves that the city is a consistent all year round top tourist destination in the country.
With very limited time ashore, I missed lots of things I had in mind days before arriving Cebu. But I managed to visit Sto. Nino Church and of course got a taste of my all-time favorite, the tasty and crispy lechon, a delicacy Cebu is widely known for. So, when we left port of Cebu at 5PM on that same day for another Asian destination in the itinerary, I knew I made the most of that very short visit.