Sunday, March 18, 2007

Cebu Island

Cebu city, the Queen City of the south

The capital of Cebu island is Cebu City. Cebu City is the first Spanish settlement in the country and the oldest city in the country.

In the beginning of the 16th century the Spaniards arrived in the southern part of the Philippines. Since then Cebu City has been the centre of trade and commerce in the southern part of the Philippines.
Many tourists from abroad will directly fly to Cebu's airport. From Cebu they spread out by boat to the many islands in the Visayas or they stay on Cebu island.

On Mactan island tourism is well developed. Many dive centres and dive resorts (more than 75) arrange day excursions and diving safaris to the surrounding dive sites. Not only in the nearby waters, but especially to the nearby small islands. Cebu became the country's top tourist destination.

Mactan island

In the urban area of Cebu City there is an important seaport and the nation's second largest airport is located on Mactan Island, near to Cebu City. It makes clear that Cebu city is the economic heart of the southern part of the country. Modern industries, owned by foreign investors as well as local industries, brought a lot of employment.

What has Cebu to offer to tourists?

For tourists the island Cebu, its capital Cebu City and the nearby smaller islands have a lot of attractions. Many things to do and to see.


*Sun, sea and beach, inclusive possibilities for diving

*Local industries (the production process)

*The charm of the activities in the local service sector,by day and in the evening

*Traces from the Spanish and religious past in Cebu City

Traces from the Spanish and religious past

Magellan Cross

Center of trade since the birth of "Las Islas Felipinas"

In 1521 the Spanish period started with the arrival of a small fleet in the coastal waters of Cebu. There was a long period of struggle, but at last, in the year 1565, the Spaniards succeeded to break the last good organized resistance. From that time, colonial buildings and religious places gave Cebu City more and more a Spanish, and Catholic character.

From the beginning of the Spanish influences, the islands were given the name "Las Islas Felipinas", named after King Philips II of Spain. The Spaniards made 'Las Islas Felipinas' their colony and Cebu got the function of the capital in 1565

Traces from the religious past in Cebu City

The year 1521 is been seen as the beginning of the Conversion to Christianity of the island and in fact the beginning of baptize the people in the Philippines. The following three hundred and fifty years meant at last a wide spread of Catholicism in the Philippines. Many relicts from the past are still visible in Cebu City.

The Magellan Cross

Cebu's most famous historical religious landmark is the first wooden religious cross planted by Fernao Magellan on April 14, 1521. Fernao Magellan was the Portuguese explorer, who was sailing for Spain ' in the name of the King of Spain'. The cross symbolizes the beginning of the baptizing of the people of the Philippines. The original cross (or remnants of it), it is said, has been preserved. The original cross is now encased in a newer, bigger wooden cross and since 1834 placed on a concrete pedestal inside a small building named "the kiosk". It is unclear since when the present cross replaced the original one, but it is believed since 1565.

Santo Niño

Santo Niño, the oldest religious image

The image of the Santo Niño is the oldest religious image in the Philippines. The wooden image, made by Flemish artisans, was brought to the island by Fernao Magellan in 1521, just like the Magellan cross. Magellan gave the image Santo Niño to Queen Juana as a baptismal gift.

The miracle

Forty-four years later, In 1565, Cebu was for a big part destroyed by a fire. The fire was set on purpose by the Spaniards as a punishment for hostile activities of the Cebuanos. In one of the burned houses, a Spanish soldier found the image of Santo Niño. Remarkably unscratched! Since then, the miraculous image has been treated by the Cebuanos as its patron saint. At present, the miraculous image is kept in the Parish convent, and only a replica, adorned with gold and precious stones and enshrined in glass, is hold inside the Basilica Minor del Santo.

The Basilica Minor del Santo Niño

The church was built near the place where the Santo Niño was found in the burned house. On this place the Spaniards built three times a church.

The first two times the church was built out of wood and nipa. Every time it was burned down. The construction of the present church date from 1735. In 1965 the church was given the title of "Basilica Minor del Santo Niño".

The Philippines, unique in Asia

From a religious point of view, the Philippines is unique in the Asia, because it is the only country with a dominating Christian religion. In 2003 ninety percent of the Filipinos is Christian! A remarkable difference with Indonesia, where 95 percent of the people is Islamite. A great difference with other countries in de the region too. Buddhism is dominating in countries like China and Thailand for instance.