Aside from its richness in culture and religious faith, the Queen City of the South is a historical haven in the Philippines. Travelers from the neighboring provinces and cities, and most especially from abroad, would love taking pictures of themselves beside a landmark that is unique due to its historical background.
With my experience exploring the metro, I was able to catch up with these places and icons around Cebu City. Fortunately, immortalizing them on photos makes me proud that I have been to these sites.
Cebu City’s historical landmarks on Instagram
Here are the seven (7) Cebu City’s historical landmarks that I would recommend you to visit with some photos I took via Instagram:
The cross was planted on the site by Portuguese and Spanish explorers on April 21, 1521, as ordered by Ferdinand Magellan. Now, it is inside a chapel next to the Basilica Menor del Santo Niño located near Magallanes Street (Spanish name for Magellan) in Cebu City.
The original cross is encased in another wooden cross made of Tindalo wood to protect it from people chipping away the parts for souvenirs.
A restoration was made in the chapel of the Magellan’s Cross from the damaged parts during the October 2013 Tagbilaran, Bohol earthquake.
Address: Magallanes Street, Cebu City
Hours: All day
Basilica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebu
Commonly known as the Santo Niño Church, it is the oldest Catholic church in the Philippines. It was founded in 1565 on the same spot where the image of the statue of the Child Jesus (Santo Niño de Cebu) was found by Spanish explorers led by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi.
The church’s former name was Church and Convent of Saint Augustine, as it was established by an Augustinian priest, Rev. Andrés de Urdaneta. In 1965, the late Pope Paul VI elevated the church to its Basilica dignitary status, during the fourth centenary celebration of the Christianization in the Philippines.
The year 2015 is its 50th year (Golden anniversary) as a Basilica.
Address: Osmeña Boulevard, Cebu City
Contact: (032) 255 6697
Hours: All day
The Plaza Independencia is strategically located in Cebu City. It is near the Fort San Pedro and the pier area. Before its current name, was originally called in four different title names: “Plaza de Armas” in the 1600s as it is near the Fort San Pedro and served as military marching ground; during the expansion, it was named “Plaza Mayor”; Spaniards honoring a Spanish queen, it became “Plaza Maria Cristina”; and during the settlement of the Americans, the name was changed to “Plaza Libertad”, emphasizing the country’s freedom from the Spanish colonization.
Three famous landmarks are housed in Plaza Independencia. A War Veteran’s Monument, a bronze statue of the late Philippine President Ramon Magsaysay, and a white memorial tower to honor the Spanish explorer Miguel Lopez de Legaspi, who served as the first Governor General of the Philippines and the founder of Cebu City.
The plaza is currently surrounded by giant Acacia trees.
Address: M.J. Cuenco Avenue, cor Legaspi Extention, Cebu City
Hours: Always open
Fort San Pedro
It was built as a military defense center near the pier area of Cebu City in 1738. The main function of this triangular fort is to help the Spanish and the Cebuano revolutionaries to repel raiders from both the land and the sea.
Fort San Pedro is the smallest and the oldest triangular bastion in the Philippines, and it is considered to be the center of the Spanish settlement in the country during the 19th century.
This became one of the living witnesses of the Spanish, American and Japanese wars that took place in Cebu City.
Address: A. Pigafetta Street, Cebu City
Contact: (032) 256 2284
Hours: All day, 8:00am – 8:00pm
Fee: ₱20 (students) / ₱30 (adults)
Yap-San Diego Ancestral House
A house built in the 1600s, the Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House is one of the oldest existing structural residential houses in the Philippines. It is made of coral stones and woods, by a family of Chinese merchants, Don Juan Yap and Maria Florido, sometime in the late 17th century. When their eldest daughter, Maria, got married to Don Mariano Avendano Sandiego, the house was converted into an activity center.
Mariano, the husband of Maria Yap, was the head of the barangay (cabeza de barangay) in Parian, Cebu City. It is now under the custody of Mr. and Mrs. Sandiego. At present, the architectural house is still standing into its original ground, and it serves as a museum of the properties of the Yap-Sandiego families.
The ancestral house is said to be the oldest Chinese house outside China.
Address: Barangay San Manuel, 155 Lopez Jaena corner Mabini Street, Parian District, Cebu City
Contact: (032) 515 9000, (032) 513 8000, (032) 253 5568, (032) 514 3002, (032) 514 3003, (032) 253 5568
Hours: All day, 9:00am – 7:00pm
Casa Gorordo Museum
In a quieter, residential area in the downtown part of the city, a house was built in the 1850s and was purchased by one of Cebu’s leading families, the Gorordos. It is a two-storey house. The lower part has walls of coral stones from Mactan, Cebu. The upper floor is where the living quarters are located, in Philippine hardwood joined together not by carpenter nails but with wooden pegs.
The Casa Gorordo serves as a museum of the property of the Gorordo family, displaying kitchen wares, bedroom and living room furniture, family photos and antique jars. You can personally see in the house a very old toilet seat made out of a wooden box.
With its Spanish influence, the house was also built with Chinese principles of Fung Shui, considering the ancestry of the family.
Address: No. 35, Lopez Jaena Street, Cebu City
Contact: (032) 255 5645
Hours: Tuesdays to Sundays, 9:00am – 5:00pm
Built in 1869, the Museo Sugbo was once a Cárcel de Cebú or Cebu’s main prison complex. Domingo de Escondrillas, the only architect in Cebu at the time, designed the said building. It was believed that the famous Filipino revolutionaries or Katipuneros were executed inside the prison complex without trial.
The Cárcel de Cebú changed its name twice, during the American to the post-war periods when it was called “Cebu Provincial Jail”, and was changed again to “Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center” (CPDRC) in the 1980s.
Today, it is now a museum keeping religious artifacts, machinery, and weapons during the historical wars in Cebu City, antique radio, printing and telecommunication devices, flags and military uniforms.
Address: M. J. Cuenco Avenue, Cebu City
Contact: (032) 239 5626
Hours: Mondays to Wednesday, 9:00am – 6:00pm | Thursdays, 9:00 am – 6:00 am | Fridays to Saturdays, 9:00am – 6:00pm
Fee: ₱75 (foreign tourist-adult) ₱50 (foreign tourist-student) ₱30 (local tourist-adult), ₱10 (local tourist-student)
How about you? Did you travel to Cebu City lately and visited some historical landmarks?