Your Sinulog Festival Itinerary: An Easy Guide to Exploring Cebu City
Belle Piccio | Sep 19, 2014
Cebu City is one of the major cities of southern Philippines. It's located on the eastern shore of Cebu Island and was the first Spanish settlement in the Philippines. It was a fishing village ruled by Rajah Humabon before the Spaniards came.
Metro Cebu draws a significant income from tourism. There are a number of revered landmarks and monuments, great places to dine, awesome beaches minutes away from the city proper -- and is home to the rockin' Sinulog Festival every January.
Ideally, you'd be spending a week or more exploring the city and the province. But if you’re on a tight schedule, you can follow this suggested itinerary:
Thursday or Friday
Fly to Cebu to give you ample rest for the whole weekend of city sight-seeing & Sinulog watching. If you can afford the time, fly on Thursday to give you enough time to relax on nearby Mactan Island's beaches.
Take note that the closer you get to the Sinulog culminating days, the more the airfare becomes expensive. So watch out for promo fares ahead, or book your tickets at least 3 months before the festival.
Spend your whole Saturday visiting the landmarks, monuments, and Spanish colonial buildings. At night, there are concerts and street parties to enliven your body, spend a great time with your friends, or try to befriend the beautiful and handsome locals.
One word: Sinulog! Spend the whole Sunday watching the Sinulog Grand Parade on the streets. You can party till you drop at the SRP Grounds, but if you’ll be catching a flight the next morning (Monday), you can end your Sinulog Festival merriment watching the fireworks display at 12:00 midnight. Check the Sinulog Festival 2015 schedule for your reference.
With that itinerary, here’s a guide to help you explore the city:
1) Casa Gorordo Museum
The museum is a heritage house in downtown Cebu City that takes you back to the late 19th century. It's the home of the first Filipino Bishop in Cebu, Juan Gorordo. It's located at No. 35 Lopez Jaena St. Contact (032) 255-5645 for inquiries.
Just a hundred meters from the museum is our next stop!
2) Yap-Sandiego House
An ancestral house and pseudo-museum where one can have a good grasp of how the affluent Cebuanos lived back in the days. It's one of the oldest residential houses in the Philippines.
Just 90 meters away from the Yap-Sandiego ancestral house is our next stop.
3) Cebu Heritage Monument
This monument designed and built by artist Eduardo Castrillo features some of Cebu’s important heritage sites and events.
Watch out for the next landmark, which you’ll be passing by just a hundred meters away from the Cebu Heritage Monument:
4) Colon Obelisk
The Colon Street Obelisk is a marker that serves as a sundial and stands in the middle of a busy street. Colon Street, also known as Parian, is the oldest street in the Philippines.
Colon was made by the Spaniards who arrived in Cebu in 1565 with a fleet composed of the vessels San Pedro, San Pablo, and San Juan under the command of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi.
Less than 300 meters away is the elegant Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral and Cathedral Museum.
5) Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral and Cathedral Museum
The ecclesiastical seat of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Cebu is found along Mabini Street. The Cathedral Museum houses religious relics and artifacts.
From there, you can reach the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño and the Basilica del Sto. Niño Museum after 330 meters.
6) Basilica Minore del Santo Niño
One of the most important churches in the country, this Augustinian church was elevated to the rank of Basilica in 1965 during the 400th year celebration of Christianity in the Philippines.
7) Basilica del Santo Niño Museum
The museum contains many Filipino historical artifacts, including the clothes for the Sto. Niño doll.
Our next stop is Cebu's iconic cross, 340 meters from our last stop.
8) Magellan’s Cross
The city’s most famous landmark was originally planted by Ferdinand Magellan himself on April 21, 1521 on this site. The cross is made of tindalo wood.
From the cross, a walk worth 430 meters will take you to a historic plaza.
9) Plaza Independencia
At the plaza center stands the obelisk dedicated to Miguel Lopez de Legaspi, the first Spanish Governor-General of the Philippines.
And just 100 meters away from the plaza is one of the oldest forts in the country.
10) Fort San Pedro Museum
The place is like a miniature version of Manila's Intramuros. It's said to be the oldest standing triangular bastion in the country, as Fort Sad Pedro is the first site of Spanish/Western occupation in the Philippines.
Now, there are a lot of tourist spots that you can visit within Metro Cebu. You can check other museums, the Taoist temple, and even food parks like the Larsian BBQ sa Fuente. The list above is just a mere sampling for a fly-in-fly-out itinerary.
Once you’re done with our suggested itinerary and you’re not yet tired, you can enjoy the Sinulog Fireworks Competition and party all night at Fuente Osmeña. Check the Sinulog Festival 2015 schedule for your reference.
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How to Get There
From Manila, you can fly to Cebu (estimated cost of Php3,000++, round trip, 45 minutes). All major airlines fly to Cebu City.