Cebu is one of the key resorts in the Philippines, which combines comfort, relaxation on paradise beaches against the backdrop of palm trees and golden sand, and a rich “excursion”. On the island, tourists are waiting for secluded lagoons with the purest water, modern hotels with a full range of services, magnificent colonial architecture from the time of Spanish rule and picturesque natural beauty. Check liuxers for customs and traditions of Philippines.
Cebu is considered a real paradise not only for lovers of quality beach holidays and exotic species, but also for divers – coral reefs with rich marine flora and the ruins of sunken ships attract underwater divers from all over the world. Even if you dive with a mask, in the azure water you can see the amazing inhabitants of the depths of the most unusual shapes and colors.
The island’s capital of the same name is the oldest and second largest city in the country. It was here that Magellan landed in 1521 and is credited with discovering the Philippines.
The best swimming areas are grouped in the southern and western parts of the island. There is no beach in Cebu City itself (only a port), so travelers staying here go to the nearest island of Mactan, where among the most popular beaches are Blue Water Maribago (entry fee – from 1500 to 2100 PHP) and Imperial Palace Resort and Spa (with a water park, entrance fee – 3500 PHP), located at hotels. The price includes lunch or dinner, towels, sun beds with umbrellas. Swimming areas are well equipped, tourists are offered water activities: boating and jet skiing.
For a quieter and budget holiday, you should go to Alcoy on Tingko Beach or Moalboal on White Beach and Panangsama Beach – there are few tourists here, there are many eateries for locals where they cook grilled fish and Filipino cuisine. In some places there are sun loungers for rent for a reasonable amount, but you will have to entertain yourself on your own, and it’s not very convenient to relax with children, since they will have nothing to do besides building sand dumplings. The infrastructure is also lame: locker rooms are not everywhere, and in most cases there are toilets only in cafes.
It is believed that the small islands located around Cebu are ideal places for swimming, suitable for the definition of “bounty”: white sand, clear blue water and slender rows of palm trees. The beaches on Malapask, Bantayan and Badian meet these criteria.
It should be taken into account that all the beaches in tourist areas at hotels are paid, there are many Filipinos on public weekends, and in remote towns there is no full-fledged infrastructure.
Diving in Cebu
In the waters surrounding the island of Cebu, an almost complete set of tropical marine life frolics: from the ubiquitous motley riff-raff to exclusive specimens, so diving is quite developed here.
Moalboal resort (Moalboal, literally “boiling stream”) is located on the southwestern coast of the island, a three-hour drive from Cebu City. From the local beach of Panagsama (Panagsama), boats depart daily for daily diving and tourists leave every minute for snorkeling. Popular dive sites: Pescador Island 2 km from the coast, Cape Copton, Saavedra, Bas Diot, Cape Tongo and Badian Island.
On the south side of Cebu, the site of Capitancillo Island is interesting – the rounded wall is covered with beautiful corals and gorgonians, there are manta rays, tuna and groupers.
Other sites: Quatro Island, which is famous for its caves and walls with corals (up to 150 m), the sunken island with Kimodo reef with sharks, manta rays and rays, as well as Gato Island, where many people scurry in the tunnel under it from November to May sharks and sea snakes.
Shops and souvenirs
Of the major shopping centers in Cebu, Ayala Center Cebu on the street should be highlighted. Cardinal Rosales Ave and Robinsons Galleria Cebu on st. Sergio Osmena Blvd. next to Pier 4, where you can buy anything from branded clothing and famous Philippine pearls to standard souvenirs. But for authentic things – terracotta dishes, handmade fabric or original shell jewelry, it is better to go to special places – small shops or markets, for example, Carbon Market. Paintings made from improvised materials are very popular with tourists: sand, wood, leather, stones, straw, as well as original rattan and bamboo furniture.
Cebu Cuisine and Restaurants
Cebu has an incredible number of restaurants and eateries serving Filipino and Pan-Asian cuisines. In almost all establishments, visitors will be provided with a wide selection of seafood dishes.
Meat, poultry and fish dishes play a key role in Philippine cuisine. The highlight of the region is tropical fruit desserts: halo halo, puto, ginataan, macapuno. If we discard stereotypes, then durian sweets will seem like a good delicacy.
In an expensive restaurant at the hotel, dinner or lunch with a serving of alcohol per person will cost from 950 to 4500 PHP (depending on the exoticism of the dishes). In a city cafe, a full meal will cost 400-1000 PHP, in fast food chain restaurants, prices fall within the range of 100-400 PHP. The culture of street food is very well developed – the markets offer quite impressive portions of the most incredible dishes for less than 180 PHP.
Entertainment and attractions of Cebu
Interesting places – natural and man-made – are scattered throughout the island: for tropical beauties, you should go deep into Cebu and to little-visited parts of the coast, for architecture – to the cities.
Of noteworthy sights, first of all, the main cathedral of Santo Niño should be singled out, where the image of the baby Jesus brought by Magellan is kept. The building was built in the 18th century in a mixture of Moorish, neo-Romanesque and classical styles. Nearby in the chapel is the Magellan Cross (its navigator brought it to the islands as a symbol of Christianity).
The Spanish Fort San Pedro is another example of colonial architecture from the time of the Great Geographical Discoveries. It began to be erected in the 16th century and was built for almost 200 years. For such a long existence, he managed to change his profile from a military facility to the office of the tourism department.
It will be interesting to look at the Taosite temple built by the Chinese in 1972 in the prestigious Beverly Hills area of Cebu. Like a bright flower, it stands out with its pagoda-roofs, eye-catching contrast of colors and skillful landscaping of the grounds.
Not far from the city of Moalboal is one of the main natural attractions of the island – Kawasan waterfalls, where the road leads through gorges covered with lush vegetation. The path to the cascades turns into a real adventure, especially if you wade through two-meter ferns and overcome bridges hanging over the abyss.
The Talima Marine Sanctuary near Olango Island is a real underwater kingdom of exotic fish and corals, among which lie the remains of a sunken ship. For the sake of such a spectacle, it is even worth learning the basics of diving.
Fans of eco-tourism and extreme sports have a direct road to the Central Cebu Protected Landscape reserve, where the Danasan Eco amusement park awaits visitors, offering hiking and horseback riding, hiking, quad biking, sport climbing, bungee jumping and wakeboarding.
There are two interesting antagonist monuments on Mactan Island: monuments to Ferdinand Magellan and his killer, the leader Lapu-Lapu, as well as the grave of the famous discoverer of the Philippine archipelago.