The island-province of Cebu is a good springboard for island-hopping in the Visayas. Located in the centre of the Philippine archipelago, it offers travellers easy access to the caves and lagoons of Gato and Kalanggaman, dive spots in Mactan, Moalboal, Badian and Olango, as well as Carmen, Oslob and Argao beaches.
The region's metropolitan area is the second largest in the country and, along with its adjacent Mactan Island, has become a bustling package-tour destination. Travellers will find casinos, golf courses, shopping malls, balmy weather, sandy beaches and all-inclusive resort hotels. They should consider visiting in January, when Cebu stages the Sinulog Festival. The celebration involves singing, dancing, dazzling costumes and Christian imagery.
Cebu is also the country's oldest Spanish colonial city and has several historic landmarks. These include the original cross planted by Magellan in 1521, when he baptised the first group of Filipino natives into the Catholic faith. The cross is now housed in a roofed kiosk in Magallanes Street. Downtown Cebu is dominated by Colon Street, which is the country's oldest street and dates back to the 16th century.