4 Months in the Philippines – Part 5: Sightseeing

4 Months in the Philippines – Part 5: Sightseeing

One of the biggest tourist attractions in Cebu City is Magellan’s Cross. The famous explorer first landed in the Philippines in 1521, on his voyage around the world. The cross he planted on Cebu Island signified the arrival of Catholicism in the Philippines.

Magellan’s Cross is located in central Cebu, just a short taxi away from the Radisson. It’s inside a small chapel next to Santo Niño Basilica, so most will visit both at the same time.

Chapel containing Magellan’s Cross

A note at the base indicates the original cross Magellan planted is housed inside the cross currently seen. The chapel is quite beautiful, with a mural painted on the ceiling.

Magellan’s Cross
Magellan’s Cross Plaque
Magellan’s Cross and mural

The Basilica is stunning and is well worth seeing. The architecture and artwork is beautiful. The Basilica is the main site of the annual Sinulog festival, held in mid-January.

Santo Niño Basilica exterior
Santo Niño Basilica exterior
Santo Niño Basilica interior
Santo Niño Basilica ceiling
Santo Niño Basilica courtyard

In the mountains above Cebu City is the town of Busay. The weekend after visiting Magellan’s Cross, I headed up to Mountain View Nature Park to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. It takes about 30-40 minutes via taxi to reach Busay, depending on traffic.

Cebu City from Busay

There are cottages throughout the park if you want to spend the night.

Mountain View cottage

The hills are definitely steep, so be prepared to walk. There’s also a great restaurant, Lantaw, even farther up the mountainside. It serves typical Filipino fare, and has some incredible views of the city. I ate here after sunset and was able to see the entire city lit up below.

Cebu City at night

Mountain View is also an incredible place to take in a sunrise.

Sunrise over Cebu

When ready to head back into the city, keep in mind that there are no taxis. You either need to prearrange transportation, or take a ride on the back of one of the motorbikes which will bring you back down to the city, where you can hail a taxi.

There are countless things to see and experience in Cebu, but these two stood out to me. The history and significance of Magellan’s Cross make it a must see, as are the beautiful mountains overlooking Cebu.

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