With some of the best beaches and scuba diving in Southeast Asia, it can be hard to tear yourself away from the coast in Cebu—particularly if you only have a single day to explore. But there’s plenty of natural appeal on the island’s interior as well. Here’s how to maximize 24 hours in Cebu.
Fort San Pedro
Close to Plaza Independencia
Fort San Pedro provides the perfect introduction to Cebu’s story: It was on Cebu that European colonizers first began their conquest of the Philippines, unifying a diverse island group and introducing Christianity. Yet there’s more than history to this sleepy spot. Especially at sunset, the shady garden makes a great choice to escape the downtown hubbub, while the ramparts offer lovely ocean views. Many travelers combine a visit here with Magellan’s Cross and the Basilica del Santo Niño nearby.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Fort San Pedro is a must for history buffs, while kids will appreciate the ruins and the cannons too.
- The fort is small but you can make the experience more colorful by hiring a guide, who can tell gory tales of hauntings.
- There is wheelchair access to Fort San Pedro’s flat, low-lying gardens, but the upper storeys and the ramparts are reached by stairs.
How to Get There
Fort San Pedro is conveniently located in the heart of Cebu City, just a 0.5-mile (800-meter) walk from the port and a 10-minute stroll east of Magellan’s Cross. Local transport in Cebu City can be tricky to use, so many travelers prefer the convenience of an organized tour.
When to Get There
Fort San Pedro and its gardens are open from morning until well into the evening, seven days a week, although the museum operates shorter hours. It can look particularly impressive after dark, when the fort is illuminated, but don’t expect much by way of sunset views.
Historical Sights in Cebu City Cebu City is the Philippines’ oldest city. It was here that explorer Ferdinand Magellan first landed in 1521 and Miguel López de Legazpi founded his first settlement a couple of generations later. Much of the city is thoroughly modern, but history buffs will appreciate Magellan’s Cross, a crucifix supposedly planted by Magellan, the Basilica del Santo Niño, dating back to the 16th century, and the 17th-century Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House.
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