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Cebu City offers more than beaches and resorts. Cebu is rich in traditions and heritage, as well as abundant in historical sites. As such, a visit to Cebu is not complete without acquainting yourself with its distinct culture and popular tourist spots.

We also heard that nightlife in Cebu City is alive and bustling. I’m not talking about bars and cafes only but also night markets selling delicious food.

Day 3 in Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa

We woke up early and had our breakfast and coffee in our room. How time flies when you are on holiday. But, as they say, no amount of vacation is really enough.

Cebu City

Cebu City
Enjoying the crystal clear water
Cebu City
Ate Cha, Nicole and Kuya Nicky

We spent the entire morning frolicking in the water, letting the sight of the magnificent sea lull our minds and take away all worries and stress brought by the daily grind.

When we finally hauled ourselves out of the water, it was close to lunchtime. We went again to Acqua Restaurant for a light lunch of Greek and Caesar salads and pastas.

Exploring Cebu City

By early afternoon, we were off to Cebu City. Our primary objective was to buy pasalubong and our itinerary consisted of a trip to the Sto. Niño Shrine, Magellan’s Cross and Taboan Market. The weather was fine; sunny yet it was breezy. It was perfect for an afternoon of leisurely walking.

Sto. Niño Shrine

We boarded a shuttle bus going to Ayala Center in Cebu City. From there, we took a cab going to the Sto. Niño Shrine. The shrine, officially called Basílica Minore del Santo Niño, is a small yet beautiful structure located in the heart of Cebu City. History books say that it is the oldest Roman Catholic Church in the country and stands on the spot where Spanish explorers found the image of the child Jesus.

This is a photo opportunity that I would not miss. Unfortunately, the facade was being renovated and a scaffolding gave me a hard time composing my shot.

The interior of the church was impressive though. If you want to get a good photograph of the altar, bring a camera with a good zoom lens because you are allowed to take pictures only from afar. It was very solemn inside the church.

Sto. Niño de Cebu in Cebu City
Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño under construction
Cebu City
The altar
Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño in Cebu City
Interiors of the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño

As a testament to Cebuanos’ devotion to the infant Jesus, you can see people waving to the image of the Sto. Niño with their heads bowed as they pass by the Pilgrim Center, a structure built across the basilica to accommodate more worshipers. There is a museum inside the Pilgrim Center but we were not able to visit it.

Cebu City
At the Pilgrim Center
Cebu City
The Pilgrim Center can accommodate around 3,000 devotees based on my estimate

We went to the store inside the Basilica to buy religious figurines. I was particularly looking for a small black Sto. Niño statue which Nanay asked for pasalubong but it was not available at the store. Luckily, I found one in a shop just outside the shrine.

Magellan’s Cross

Another landmark that we wanted to see was Magellan’s Cross.This small structure houses the cross planted by Ferdinand Magellan to signify the dissemination of the Roman Catholic faith in the Philippines. Some say that the original cross is encased inside a wooden cross to protect it from deterioration.

Unfortunately, Magellan’s Cross was also closed for renovation. I still took photos of the exteriors though.

Cebu City
Images of the Child Jesus
Cebu City
Rosaries
Cebu City
A painting depicting the interaction between conquistadors and locals
Cebu City
A hallway inside the Basilica
Magellan's Cross in Cebu City
Magellan’s Cross

Taboan Market

From the shrine, we took a cab going to Taboan Market (Pahina Central, Cebu City, Cebu) to buy danggit and other dried seafood; local produce that Cebu City is known for. Going there was a quick 30-40 minute ride.

As soon as we got out of the cab, the pungent aroma of dried fish immediately greeted us. Taboan Market is composed mainly of stalls selling dried seafood and a few souvenir shops.

The mounds of assorted dried fish and squid were a sight to behold. There was something about seeing all those mounds of assorted dried seafood that got me excited. The richness of the Cebu seas is very evident in these bountiful harvest.

Aside from Taboan Market, you might also want to visit Carbon Market along M.C. Briones Street. Carbon Market is the oldest and largest farmer’s market in Cebu City and also a famous tourist destination. It was so named because it used to be a coal depot.

Cebu City
Dilis
Cebu City
These are dried fish bones that are delicious when lightly fried
Cebu City
Mounds of assorted dried seafood
Cebu City
Chorizo, Cebu’s famous longganisa
Cebu City
Heaps of assorted seafood

Cebu City

For those who love breakfast food, you will enjoy it here. The red ones on the lower left hand corner are fish tocino. There is also dried swordfish and sapsap.

Cebu City
Dried squid

We bought 15 bags of danggit, each weighing 1/4 kilo. Of course, we also bought a kilo of dried squid and danggit for us. For my office mates, I bought half kilo of Cebu’s sinful chicharon (crunchy pork rind), with its crispy skin and layers of rich fat and meat. Easy on these babies because they sure are artery-clogging but they are so good! I would recommend this with a warm plate of steamed rice. For these goodies, we paid around P1,500.

We were supposed to buy dried mangoes at Taboan Market, too, but, as a tip, one of the store helpers told us that it was cheaper to buy those in SM Supermarket. So, the decision was made that we will buy dried mangoes from the supermarket.

We finished at around four in the afternoon. We took a cab, got off at SM Cebu and bought hoards of dried mangoes. We got around 20 bags which cost us close to P4,000.

Afterwards, we hurried back to Ayala Center to catch the last shuttle going back to Mactan Shangri-La.

Tired from running around the whole afternoon, we had early dinner at Tea of Spring and soon afterwards, we were off to bed.

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Also read:

  1. Our Summer Adventure at Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa in Cebu
  2. Exploring Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa
  3. Our Last Day in Mactan Shangri-La
  4. Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa’s Acqua Restaurant
  5. Dining at Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa’s Tea of Spring

If you are interested to book a room at Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa or if you want to find out their latest promos and offers, you may get in touch with them through the following:

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Address: Punta Engano Road, Lapu-Lapu, Cebu 6015 Philippines
Contact number: (63 32) 231 0288
There are also daily direct flights to Mactan-Cebu International Airport so going to Cebu is fairly easy.
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Author: Ivan Jose

Narrating stories from the perspective of two souls who are both devoid of pretensions or appetite for anything ostentatious. This blog is about living life, pursuing passions, realizing dreams, appreciating culture and history, and just being happy.

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