Flights to Cebu
Cebu City is the capital of the Cebu Province in the Philippines, and is the most significant metropolitan center in the country. Cebu (2007 population 798,809) is the first Spanish settlement in the Philippines, and the country's main domestic shipping port. This city is a significant center of commerce, trade and industry in the both the Visayas and Mindanao regions. The Mactan-Cebu International Airport is only a twenty minute drive away from Cebu City, making for convenient travel-distances. The site of Cebu was inhabited as early as the 9th and 15th Century, by pagan and Islamic people who traded with other Asian civilizations. Later Cebu was colonized by Spanish conquistadors in the 16th Century. In 1591, a Portuguese explorer by the name of Ferdinand Magellan landed in Cebu, who was welcomed by the native chieftain of Cebu. The chieftain, his wife, and 700 native islanders were baptized by the Spaniards in 1521. Magellan failed to successfully claim the Philippines for the crown of Spain, as he was slain in the Battle of Mactan. In 1565, the Spanish conquistadors came under the lead of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, who sailed all the way from Mexico before landing on the islands. It wasn't until after these settlements were made that trade flourished, and Cebu was then named the capital city of the Spanish East Indies. It became an official city in 1936.
Tourism contributes a lot to the local economy, both of the city and the entire province. There are a number of shopping establishments in the city, the most popular being the SM City Cebu, Ayala Center and Robinsons Plaza. Throughout the city are many smaller malls and stand-alone department stores, and strip malls have also become a recent trend. Cebu is an important cultural center to the Philippines, and it's most famous landmark is the Magellan's Cross. The cross, which is now housed in a chapel, was believed to be planted by Ferdinand Magellan upon arrival to the Philippines in 1521. The Magellan's Cross had to be protected for years to prevent devotees from chipping away pieces of the cross, and is considered a symbol of the beginning of Christianity in the Philippines. Near the resting place of Magellan's Cross is the Basilica Minore del Santo Nino, an Augustinian church that was the first to be established in the islands. The church is made from hewn stone, and is home to the country's oldest relic-- the image of the Santo Nino de Cebu (the Holy Child of Cebu). A large religious event is held in the city every third Sunday of January, called the Sinulong Festival, which is devoted to the patron saint of Cebu. The Sinulong is a dance ritual of pre-Hispanic indigenous origin, and is practiced at the festival.
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