The ‘Queen of the South’ seems at times uncertain whether to present itself to the world as an expanding metropolis, historical enclave or seaside resort. The provincial capital of the Central Visayas and the third-largest urban region in the country, Cebu has certainly long merited attention as a thriving commercial and industrial center and port. As the oldest city in the Philippines, its past is also firmly entrenched in the annals of the Spanish conquest, for it was on neighboring Mactan Island that world circumnavigator Ferdinand Magellan met a grisly end at the hands of a local chieftain in 1521. A handful of historical remnants recall those missionary days – Magellan’s cross, the Basilica Minore del Santo Nino built to house the little statue presented to the newly-converted wide of the local schoolhouse, hospital, park and zoo but now largely abandoned. During the 16th century it served as the base from which, a few years later, Miguel Lopez de Legaspi would claim sovereignty over the islands in the name of Philip II. For most of today’s visitors, however, Cebu’s prime claim to fame is likely to be its proximity to the warm waters and sandy beaches of Mactan, Badian and the rest. With an international airport already on the spot and direct air links to Europe in the making, Cebu’s growing array of holiday resorts seems set to boom.
Cebu Island is a long narrow island stretching 225 km (140 mi) from north to south, surrounded by 167 neighboring smaller islands, that includes Mactan Island, Bantayan, Malapascua, Olango and the Camotes Islands. Of the hundreds of small islands some are uninhabited which make them the targets of adventure-seeking tourists.
Getting to Cebu City
The international airport of Mactan-Cebu is located on the island of Mactan at about thirty minutes of the centre town of Cebu. Cebu-Mandaue are connected to Mactan by two bridges open to the road traffic and crossing the arm of the sea separating the islands from Mactan and Cebu.
Flights: Cebu-Mactan International Airport has international flights through Hong Kong, Singapore, Doha (Qatar) ,Tokyo, Seoul, Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu (Malaysia), Palau, Taipei and Shanghai.
* Hong Kong ( Cathay Pacific , Cebu Pacific, Philippines Airlines )
* Singapore (Cebu Pacific, Silkair)
* Kuala Lumpar (Malaysian Airlines)
* Tokyo (Philippine Airlines)
* Taiwan (Mandarin Airlines)
* Qatar/Singapore/Europe (Qatar Airlines)
* Palau (Asian Spirit)
* Korea (Asiana, Philippine Airlines, Korean Airlines)
International via other airports
* Other airlines arrive at Manila, such as Lufthansa and Emirates. It is easy to get a connecting internal flight to Cebu, there are many each day. Excess baggage costs will probably apply, but the cost is usually quite low.
* If you are coming from the UK or Canada, be sure to check the low cost Oasis Airlines to Hong Kong, and then connecting flights to Cebu via Cebu Pacific
Domestic Airlines: Air Philippines, Cebu Pacific, Philippines Airlines
* Connections can be made through Manila, Caticlan (Boracay), Puerto Princessa (Coron), Clark, Iloilo, Davao, Surigao and other Philippine cities
Ferries: There are daily ferries to/from Cebu and Manila, Tagbilaran (Alona Beach/Bohol), Negros (Dumaguete) and Leyte among others. Ferry schedules change often so reconfirm departure times you get from guidebooks. There is also a daily boat from Leyte to Maya (departure approx 7am). There are ferries from other places as well, check locally for details.