The island province of Cebu has long been popular among avid photographers thanks to its diverse selection of uniquely photogenic sites and venues. While the Philippines is not at all lacking in interesting photographic subjects, Cebu contains distinct urban cityscapes, idyllic countryside scenes, and natural wonders within a relatively small area. It also offers historical sites and ultramodern wonders to enchant would-be photographers of varying interests.
If you’re planning a trip to the enchanting province of Cebu, here are the 12 spots you shouldn’t miss:
1. Tops Lookout
Located in Busay, Cebu, the fortress-like Tops Lookout offers unimpeded panoramic views of Cebu City, Mactan Island, and the region’s stunning seascapes. While not especially well-known outside of Cebu, it’s become a favorite spot for local photographers to capture Cebu’s vibrant urban skylines, forested hills, and stunning coastal features at different hours of the day. Unlike other similar lookout spots on Cebu Island, Tops Lookout also features a bar where you can grab a few beers while waiting for the sun to go down.
2. NUSTAR Resort and Casino
NUSTAR Resort and Casino on SRP isn’t just one of the best hotels in Cebu—it’s also a great photo destination, filled to the brim with opportunities for perfect, “Insta-worthy” shots. Aside from amazing seaside views and five-star appointments, there’s also a massive casino, luxury shopping boutiques, and multiple world-class event venues that are sure to make NUSTAR a favorite destination not just for photographers but for luxury seekers as well.
3. Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX)
The newly opened Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway or CCLEX is not only a modern engineering marvel, but also an unforgettable backdrop for stunning photos. This bridge is the latest one to connect Cebu City to Mactan Island, and it offers photographers countless fresh perspectives of the area’s world-famous natural and urban vistas. Whether you’re taking photos from the bridge or capturing its sleek forms and undulations from a distance (the above-mentioned NUSTAR has a great view of the thoroughfare), CCLEX provides countless opportunities for stunning photos, especially during sunrise or sunset.
4. Temple of Leah
This site’s reputation as the “Taj Mahal of Cebu” doesn’t seem to make sense at first, given its Greco-Roman architecture. However, once you learn about the temple and its mausoleum, it all comes together. Regardless of its history or purpose, the Temple of Leah’s interesting architectural features, gardens, and view of Cebu City make it a favorite spot for photographers and tourists alike.
5. Sirao Flower Garden
Known as the “Little Amsterdam of Cebu,” the Sirao Flower Garden and its hundreds of colorful flowers and tropical plant species offer a world of limitless wonder for photographers who love using their macro lenses. Apart from photos of the blooms and foliage, the garden is also a fun place to take selfies, and you can use the surrounding attractions to add a Dutch flavor to your backdrops.
6. Cebu Taoist Temple
The ever-popular Cebu Taoist Temple in Beverly Hills, Cebu City, offers a glimpse into the area’s Chinese culture and heritage. The temple’s intricate authentic architecture, dragon and lion sculptures, and serene atmosphere all make excellent subjects for photographers of all skill levels.
7. Terrazas de Flores Botanical Garden
For tropical plant lovers and photography enthusiasts, Terrazas de Flores Botanical Garden in Malubog, Cebu City, boasts a wide variety of Philippine flora, most of which are native or endemic to Cebu Island. Take your best macro lens with you and wander through the grounds to capture the beauty of Cebu’s flora.
8. Casa Gorordo Museum
Built in the 1850s, the Casa Gorordo Museum in Cebu City’s Parian district offers a glimpse into life of the well-to-do during the height of Cebu’s Spanish colonial era. This beautiful house offers insights into the local culture and history, with its well-preserved architecture as well as its collection of centuries-old antiques.
9. Kawasan Falls
Just a 3-hour drive from Metro Cebu, Badian Municipality’s Kawasan Falls is a series of cascading waterfalls surrounded by lush greenery, turquoise waters, and natural pools. All in all, it’s a dream location for photographers and adventure seekers who don’t mind getting a bit wet.
10. Sardine Run at Moalboal
On the western shores of Cebu Island, the municipality of Moalboal has developed a beach and ecotourism industry that attracts thousands of tourists each year. It’s especially renowned for its spectacular sardine run, where countless sardines gather in a mesmerizing dance. Bring your best waterproof photography equipment with you then snorkel or dive with these shimmering schools of fish to capture their underwater magic.
11. Fort San Pedro
Steeped in history, Fort San Pedro has been part of the nucleus of Cebu City since the very beginning of the Spanish colonial era. Its weather-etched stone walls, rusted yet resolute cannons, and lush gardens offer a perfect blend of history and natural beauty that will enchant photographers with an interest in history.
12. Simala Shrine
Located in Sibonga, Simala Shrine is a pilgrimage site known for its unique architecture and religious significance. The intricate details and vibrant colors of the shrine were prominently featured in the film Patay na si Hesus, which gave the site a degree of international fame. While the gardens and intricate architecture are unforgettable in the literal sense of the word, they practically beg to be captured on camera.
Cebu’s diverse range of picturesque sites ensures that every photographer will find something to catch their eye. Whether you’re admiring Cebu’s bustling cityscapes from a mountaintop or exploring its rich natural and cultural heritage, Cebu promises an unforgettable experience filled with photo opportunities at every turn. Don’t forget to charge your camera and grab your SD cards when you’re visiting this uniquely enchanting part of the Philippines.
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