Known for its beaches, dried mangoes, and handmade acoustic guitars, Cebu city is one of the great places you can visit and take great pictures when you go to the Philippines. Among the recently updated 7,641 islands in the Philippines, we will be sharing some sites in Cebu where you can take the perfect picture to add to your collection, or simply add to your memories.
About Cebu City
The Philippines is divided into 3 areas namely Luzon which is the northern or upper part of the Philippines, Visayas, the central part and Mindanao the lower or southern part. Specifically, Cebu is located in the central Visayas. Cebu over the years has retained its Spanish structures and other culture which can be seen through its buildings, cuisine and etc.
What makes Cebu unique is also its ability to adapt to other cultures over the years like the Chinese and American culture which also had a big impact. Their culture also can also be seen and felt visually through structures, food, and family upbringings.
Sites Within The City
Cebu has a lot of venues where you can take pictures. For a warm-up, you can start your adventure by taking pictures within the city. Below are some of the places within Cebu in which you can start your photo adventure:
The Taoist temple is located in the Beverly Hills subdivision of Cebu city. The temple was built by Cebu’s Chinese community way back in 1972. Today it serves as one of Cebu’s tourist spots where you can stroll around the temple grounds and take pictures, especially near the dragon which is the temple’s usual attraction.
Here, you can take pictures of the different structures the area can give you. You can also take a picture of the main temple’s interior. You can also take pictures of the temple’s front yard and small temples surrounding the area as well. Make sure to have a souvenir photo near the dragon statue. It would be best to equip yourself with a wide angle lens for this venue so that, you can have a wide coverage of the area and structure.
Magellan’s Cross is one of the iconic tourist spots in Cebu as it holds an important key to the city’s culture. It was a huge cross given by the Spanish and Portuguese explorers to the natives back in March 1521. Today, the cross stands near the Cebu City Hall and Sto. Niño Basilica Church. If you wish to have a collection of Cebu’s tourist spots, this is the place to be.
This place would be best photographed if you can use a wide angle lens for your camera so that you can take a great picture of the shrine where the cross stands. You can also take a picture of the Shrine’s interior which is full of paintings and the cross itself.
University of San Carlos
The University of San Carlos is one of the oldest colleges in the Philippines, but a famous university in Cebu though there’s not much you can really do, but you take a quick snap of the place and check out the university’s small museum where they display some artifacts and objects from Cebu.
If you wish to take a photo of the University outside, you can equip your camera with a wide angle lens to cover the whole front of the building.
Fort San Pedro
Is a Spanish military defense structure in Cebu located in the area called Plaza Independencia, near the pier area of the City. Here you can take pictures of the ruined exterior and interior of the fort. The fort also has a small museum of artifacts in the Spanish era and information boards you can check out about the place.
This would be the place to use your wide-angle lenses and prime lenses. By using a wide angle lens, you can cover a wide range inside the fort’s yard, as well as take pictures of the interior structures. Be sure to know how to set your camera for a dim environment, as the fort’s interior can be a bit dark. Your prime lenses can be used for the artifacts, or you can even use your macro lenses to picture certain details of the artifacts.
The Fuente Osmeña Circle is another of the landmarks located in uptown central Cebu. It’s best known for as an intersection for many vehicles to different places, as it is in the central part of Cebu. The Fuente is a good place to add to your collection of Cebu pictures.
If you wait until the early part of the evening, The Fuente Circle comes to life with its lights and fountain turned on. The ambiance is also set in the right mood with all the car and building lights around that decorate the place.
Sites Outside The City
As much as there are sites within the city for you to visit, there are also tourist spots outside the city that you can check out as well. Below are a few examples of some tourist spots outside the city for you to add to your collection:
The Lapu-Lapu shrine is located in Lapu-Lapu City, a small island outside of Cebu. Though being on a separate island, travel shouldn’t take more than an hour going there from the city. The shrine was erected in honor of Lapu-Lapu, a native leader who defeated Ferdinand Magellan in the battle of Mactan.
The place is small, so there are not many pictures you can take. You can start off with taking pictures of the monument itself in which, a suitable wide angle lens would be good. A wide angle lens is advisable for you to have a wide coverage of the area.
Temple of Leah
The Temple of Leah is also known as the ” Taj Mahal” of Cebu and was made a for a husband’s tribute to his late wife. The temple is a 45-minute drive from the city, as it is located uphill. The temple is 7 stories high and covers a land area of more than 5,000 square meters, which makes it a wide area to cover when taking pictures.
The interior is also unique and looks vintage, mid-range and wide angle lenses are best if you plan to take pictures of the place. The gate opens to a driveway that leads to the courtyard, with granite floors and a marble fountain at the center.
The church is owned by the Marian monks of Eucharistic Adoration(MMEA). It became a popular pilgrim site and people started to visit and pray to the blessed mother. Inside, you will find letters from locals believed to have been cured by the blessed mother. Inside is also a museum where different replicas and statues of the blessed mother are displayed.
It would be advisable to bring an ultrawide angle lens for you to capture the interior as what was used in the picture taken above. wide angle lenses are also helpful if you wish to take pictures of the exterior or area outside the church.
You can also equip yourselves with macro lenses if you wish to take pictures of your miniature souvenirs.
Osmeña Peak is the highest mountain in Cebu which is filled with green jagged hills. This is also a common tourist spot for hikers and nature lovers alike. Travel to this location takes around 3 hours and another 45 minutes by motorcycle.
For this trip, you will need to equip yourself with wide angle lenses to capture the huge area of hills and life around. You will also need to bring protective equipment for your gear as weather can be unpredictable and can rain at any time.
The Sinulog Festival
The Sinulog festival is one of the biggest Cebu City is very well known for. The Sinulog festival is always celebrated on the 3rd Sunday of January every year. Preparations start as early as December and the area in Fuente Osmeña circle is decorated as well, as this area is also a major route for the festival itself.
For this type of event, the most useful lenses you can equip with you are prime and telephoto lenses as you would surely want to take photos of moving subjects and details of float and costume designs. You can still use wide angle lenses to capture the area as a whole as well.
The usual weather conditions in this time of year are always sunny, so be sure to have enough water and gear to protect yourself from the Sun. Over the past years, the festival’s weather was also rainy so be sure to have some equipment to protect your camera and lenses from water as well.
To conclude, Cebu is one of the best places to visit in the Philippines to collect photographs of historical sites and places. Though we’ve covered a few tourist spots in Cebu to give you a start, there are still many places like beaches, resorts, and waterfalls you can visit, discover, and explore on your own.
In the meantime, you can also check out our topic on what to photograph in Bali in case Bali is also one of the locations you plan to visit. With Cebu and Bali known to have great views and tourist attractions, it would be advisable to have ultrawide and wide lenses for you to capture the whole place. If you plan to take portraits, it would also be advisable for you to bring prime lenses and a semi-telephoto lens such as a 24-70mm lens with you.