The name Cebu is attached to a province, an island and the Philippines' second-largest metropolis, Cebu City. The whole area is rich in colonial history. It was on Cebu Island that the explorer Ferdinand Magellan first landed in 1521, claiming the territory for Spain (soon afterward he was killed). Punta Engano is the precise location of Magellan's death—a monument marks the spot. Every year, on the anniversary of the event (27 April), the battle is re-created.
The region's main attraction is its many well-developed seaside resorts, especially on Mactan Island, just across the causeway from Cebu City (and the airport). In Cebu City itself, you'll find Fort San Pedro (dating from 1565) and Santo Nino Church (rebuilt in 1740), as well as Magellan's Cross, erected by the explorer's crew in 1521. Other sites in town include a Taoist temple, the Casa Gorodo Museum (a restored mansion with colonial artifacts) and the Carbon Market (be sure to try the local yellow mangos). Cebu City is also the jumping-off point to the Chocolate Hills of Bohol Island—perfectly rounded hills that look like giant chocolate drops during the dry summer months. Other islands in the area are Panglao Island (resorts and good beaches), Bantayan Island (remote escape with untouched beaches) and the excellent dive sites off Sumilon Island and Moab Boal. Allow at least three nights on Cebu Island. Cebu City lies 350 mi/565 km southeast of Manila.