Built in 1565 by the Spanish conquistadors, Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral looks like a typical Philippine colonial church with its thick walls designed to withstand tropical typhoons. However, its facade decorated with floral motifs and twin griffins is the only original part of the chapel that’s left. After WWII air raid bombings on Cebu City, the whole interior was destroyed, and centuries-old records of the archdiocese were lost. Restorations were completed under the supervision of Philippine architect Jose Maria Zaragoza in the 1950s, and today you can head inside to see Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral’s famous floor-to-ceiling gold altar. Life-sized statues of saints are dotted around the cathedral too.
Five minutes’ walk north of Magellan’s Cross, Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral is a peaceful spot in the city, and the chapel gardens have benches to relax on. This is also one of the most popular wedding destinations in the Cebu City, and a particularly special time to be at Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral is on Holy Tuesday, when the annual procession of religious floats, devotees, and colorful depictions of saints are paraded outside the church.
On Mabini Street, there is no entry fee to Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, and mass is regularly held in English as well as in Cebuano.