What To Do In Cebu

In order to get to Bantayan Island you will likely go through Cebu. Whether coming from an International country of origin or Manila, everyone must travel through Cebu on their way to the paradise of Bantayan.

Many people who have made previous trips to Bantayan Island will first stop in Cebu for a few days to recharge and relax from their long overseas journey. We like to stay at a hotel that is near the Ayala Mall on our trips in or out of Cebu. The Mandarin Plaza Hotel has been a recent favorite with room rates as low as $40.00 USD, or about 1800 Pesos. The breakfast is wonderful with many Filipino favorites as well as international entrees from the United States and Europe.

See The Mandarin Plaza Hotel Web Site Here

Across the street from Mandarin Plaza is the Quest Hotel, also a budget conscious choice with nice amenities and probably the best breakfast buffet in Cebu. Be careful when making your reservation at any Cebu hotel that it includes breakfast. If you book a lower room rate without breakfast and decide to partake of the buffet later, it is twice as expensive as if you book it with your room.

See The Quest Hotel Web Site Here

The Ayala Mall is just across the street from both the Quest and Mandarin Plaza Hotels. Try not to cross the street near the Quest Hotel, but make the short journey shown in the map below in blue. This will take you to a side entrance of the Ayala Mall and a much safer route.

The Ayala Mall is located at the center of the commercial, cultural and political heart of Cebu. A recent modern expansion of P2.9 billion Pesos has added to the beauty and relevance of this Mall.

CLICK HERE to see a list of 532 Stores At The Ayala Mall: Restaurants, Movie Theatre, Gaming, Electronics, Appliances, Apparel, Shoes, Hobbies, Hardware, Computers, Fashion, Books, Music, Video, Office Supplies, And Many, Many More.

The City Of Cebu

Located at the center of the Visayas, Region 7 with 167 surrounding islands, Cebu is the oldest and first Capital of the Philippines. Second only to Manila, Cebu boasts the most modern and developed of all provinces in the Philippines. A center for education, commerce, industry, and trade, in just ten years this growing city has transformed itself into a center for tourism, business and heavy industry.

A map depicting the route Magellan took during his expedition of circumnavigating the world.
 The origin for the name “Cebu” came from the old Cebuano word sibuor sibo, or “trade. This was due to the harbors in the town of Sugbu which were used for trading goods. Sugbu is the oldest name for Cebu.

Early History Of Cebu

The early natives of Cebu were called the “Rajahnate” who lived in this area prior to the coming of the Spaniards. The city was founded by Sri Lumay,  known as Rajamuda Lumaya. Descended from a Malay Tamil prince from the Chola dynasty who captured Sumatra in Indonesia.

When Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan arrived at Cebu in 1521, he established Spanish exploration and colonization of the island. On September, 20, 1519, Magellan guided five ships with  250 people from the Spanish fort of Sanlúcar de Barrameda. While en route to southeast Asia through the Americas and Pacific Ocean, Magellan arrived at the Philippines on March 16, 1521.

Magellan, with Enrique of Malacca serving as translator, introduced him to Rajah Humabon the King of Cebu. After some persuasion, Magellan convinced the natives of the island to pledge their allegiance to king Charles I of Spain. King Humabon and his wife were given Christian names and baptized as Carlos and Juana. The Santo Niño was presented to the native queen of Cebu, as a symbol of peace and friendship between Spain and the Cebuano peoples. On 14 April Magellan erected the large wooden cross on the shores of Cebu that he is famous for. During this time nearly 700 Cebuanos were baptized into Christ.

Hearing of king Lapu-Lapu, of Mactan Island and the old rivalry that had existed Magellan inserted himself into the feud. On April 27, the Battle of Mactan took place and the Spaniards were defeated. Magellan was killed by the natives of Mactan.

 Italian historian, Antonio Pigafetta, recorded that Magellan’s body was never found. Juan Sebastián Elcan, Magellan’s second-in-command,  assumed command as captain and sailed the fleet back to Spain, completing their circumnavigation of the world.

Survivors of the Magellan expedition brought tales of a savage island in the East Indieswith them when they returned to Spain. Consequently, several Spanish expeditions were sent to the islands but all ended in failure. In 1564, Spanish explorers led by Miguel López de Legazpi, sailing from Mexico, arrived in 1565, and established a colony. The Spaniards fought the King, Rajah Tupas, and occupied his territories. The Spaniards established settlements, trade flourished and renamed the island to “Villa del Santísimo Nombre de Jesús” (Town of the Most Holy Name of Jesus). Cebu became the first European settlement established by the Spanish Cortés in the Philippines. In 1595, the Universidad de San Carlos was established and in 1860, Cebu opened its ports to foreign trade. The first printing house (Imprenta de Escondrillas y Cia) was established in 1873 and in 1880, the Colegio de la Inmaculada Concepcion (College of the Immaculate Conception) was established and the first periodical The Bulletin of Cebu (“El Boletin de Cebú”) began publishing in 1886. In 1898, the island was ceded to the United States after the Spanish–American War and Philippine–American War. In 1901, Cebu was governed by the United States for a brief period, however it became a charter province on 24 February 1937 and was governed independently by Filipino politicians.

Cebu, being one of the most densely populated islands in the Philippines, served as a Japanese base during their occupation in World War II which began with the landing of Japanese soldiers in April 1942. The 3rd, 8th, 82nd and 85th Infantry Division of the Philippine Commonwealth Army was re-established from 3 January 1942 to 30 June 1946 and the 8th Constabulary Regiment of the Philippine Constabulary was reestablished again from 28 October 1944 to 30 June 1946 at the military general headquarters and the military camps and garrisoned in Cebu city and Cebu province. They started the Anti-Japanese military operations in Cebu from April 1942 to September 1945 and helped Cebuano guerrillas and fought against the Japanese Imperial forces. Almost three years later in March 1945, combined Filipino and American forces landed and reoccupied the island during the liberation of the Philippines. Cebuano guerrilla groups led by an American, James M. Cushing, is credited for the establishment of the “Koga Papers”,which is said to have changed the American plans to retake the Philippines from Japanese occupation in 1944, by helping the combined United States and the Philippine Commonwealth Army forces enter Cebu in 1945. The following year the island achieved independence from colonial rule in 1946.

In February 2012 Cebu island experienced the effects of magnitude 6.7 earthquake on the neighboring island of Negros and was the largest quake in the area for 90 years. The tremor shook buildings but there were no reports of major building damage or loss of life on Cebu Island itself. This tremor was caused by a previously unrecorded fault.

In October 2013, Cebu and Bohol were hit by record-setting 7.2 magnitude earthquake which left more than 100 dead, and collapsed some buildings, including 5 historical churches. There were over 700 aftershocks.

Area: 4,467.5 km (1,724.9 sq mi)
Length: 32 km (19.9 mi)
Width: 196 km (121.8 mi)
Coastline: 1,097 m (3,599 ft)
Population: 3,979,155 (2015 census)

Cebu is located to the east of Negros, to the west of Leyte and Bohol islands. The province consists of Cebu Island, as well as 167 smaller islands, which include Mactan, Bantayan, Malapascua, Olango and the Camotes Islands. But the highly urbanized cities of Cebu, Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue are independent cities not under provincial supervision, yet are often grouped with the province for geographical and statistical purposes. The province’s land area is 4,944 square kilometres (1,909 sq mi), or when the independent cities are included for geographical purposes, the total area is 5,342 square kilometres (2,063 sq mi).

Cebu’s central location, proximity to unusually exotic tourist destination, ready access to a diversity of plant, animal and geological wonders within the island, and remoteness from earthquake and typhoon activity are some of the special attributes of Cebu.

Cebu’s area is 4,468 square kilometres (1,725 sq mi),making it the 9th largest island in the Philippines. It supports over 3.5 million people, of which 2.3 million live in Metro Cebu.

Beaches, coral atolls, islands and rich fishing grounds surround Cebu.

Coal was first discovered in Cebu about 1837. There were 15 localities over the whole island, on both coast; some desultory mining had been carried out Naga near Mount Uling, but most serious operations were at Licos and Camansi west of Compostela and Danao. Active work ceased about 1895 with insurrections, and no production worked for more than ten years. A topographic and geologic survey of Compostela, Danao and Carmen took place in 1906. The Compostela-Danao coalfield contained about six million workable tons. The tramroads, one from Danao to Camansi, one from Compostela to Mount Licos, were undertaken in 1895, together with a wagon road built in 1877, from Cotcot to Dapdap.


The climate of Cebu is tropical. There are 2 seasons in Cebu − the dry and wet season. It is dry and sunny most of the year with some occasional rains during the months of June to December. The province of Cebu normally gets typhoons once a year or none.

Northern Cebu gets more rainfall and typhoons than southern Cebu because it has a different climate. Typhoon Yolanda hit Northern Cebu in 2013 killing 73 people and injuring 348 others. Though most typhoons hit only the northern part of Cebu, the urban areas in central Cebu are sometimes hit, such as when Typhoon Ruping, one of the worst to hit Cebu, lashed the central Cebu area in 1990.

Cebu’s temperatures can reach a high of 36 °C (97 °F) from March to May, and as low as 18 °C (64 °F) in the mountains during the wet season. The average temperature is around 24 to 34 °C (75 to 93 °F), and does not fluctuate much except during the month of May, which is the hottest month. Cebu averages 70–80% humidity.


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