If you are a foreigner looking for a quick summer getaway, an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) who haven’t been home for such a long time or just an ordinary person looking for a nice place to unwind and you decided to visit the Philippines, there’s probably a lot of things that goes through your mind. Airplane tickets, hotel bookings, reservations and most importantly where exactly in the Philippines to visit. Of over 7,000 islands in our country choosing one specific destination could be a challenge and fun at the same time, but no worries, this article I’m giving you Top 6 Reasons to Explore Cebu, Philippines. Known also as “The Queen City of the South”, my hometown.
(Picture of Cebu Map in the center)
Beautiful resorts, luxury and affordable accommodations, breathtaking mountains, fun activities, outdoor adventures and wonderful foods are just some of the things you can experience in this impressive island.
- Cebu’s Original Lechon
(Pic of Lechon; Photo Credit: Nick Tam)
There are some foods that will take you for a joy ride, Cebu’s Lechon is one of them. For a foreigner’s tongue, tasting the crunchy brown reddish skin of a lechon for the first time is exhilarating. Lechon in Cebu is hands-down the best in the world, just don’t forget to pair it with “puso” (hanging rice) and a cold ice Coke. Puso means heart, and because the rice is wrapped around the weaved coconut leaves formed in a shape of heart giving the rice a coconutty taste.
- Whale Sharks in Oslob
(You can swim with them at Sorsogon in their natural habitat; Photo Credit: Nick Tam)
There aren’t so many places in the world you can swim with a humongous gentle creature, just an arm length away in touching a whale shark or in local dialect “Butanding”. In Oslob, just 3 hour drive south of Cebu City, you can find such a place and more. There have been some concerns about feeding these 41 feet whale sharks being codependent of the feeds rather than their natural habitat, but the gentle creatures have seemed to adapt well with the locals. An encounter with this giant sharks will certainly be scary and exciting at the same time.
(Pic of Magellan’s Cross)
If you want to experience our rich Philippine History, there is no better place to start than Cebu, the oldest city in The Philippines and a thriving metropolis of more than 3 million people. It has a rich and celebrated events that became part of our history.
- Lapu-Lapu ,often dubbed as the first Filipino hero, a native leader who fought the conquistador Magellan and won the battle. The Lapu-Lapu Shrine,a 20 meter statue found in Mactan, Cebu was erected in his honor.
- Basilica del Santo Niño, the country’s oldest Roman Catholic church was established in the country on the spot where the image of the Santo Niño, a statue depicting the Child Jesus was found in 1565 by Spanish explorers.
- Colon Street is the oldest and the shortest national road in the Philippines. A glorious but a crowded street in downtown Cebu City named after Cristobal Colon (Christopher Columbus) the great Italian explorer.
- The University of San Carlos (USC) in Cebu City, is not only the oldest school in the country but also in Asia. Formerly known as the Colegio de San Ildefonso, was founded by the Spanish Jesuits on August 1, 1595. This makes the Cebu-based university older than the University of Santo Tomas (1611) in Manila and Harvard University (1636) in the United States.
- And Fort San Pedro, known as the oldest military defense structure, meant to protect the city from Muslim raiders . Today’s structure dates from 1738 and is also the oldest triangular bastion fort in the country, built by the Spanish and indigenous Cebuanos.
- Amazing Mountains
Cebu is a dream place for mountaineers and people who likes the outdoors. Cebu’s amazing peaks are just an hour or two away from the City. As you drive along the long winding roads up to the mountains, you feel the cool breeze & fresh mountain air. Our modest mountains may not be the highest in the world, but most of them are stunningly beautiful.
- Osmeña Peak is Straddling the municipalities of Dalaguete and Badian(around 3 hour drive south of the city). It is only stands 1,013 meters above sea level and is considered the easiest peak to summit , but once on top, the amazing view of the surrounding Bohol like hills and gorgeous sunrise will take your breath away.
- Mt. Kapayas, located in Sitio Kampanya, Barangay Kabangkaya in the bowels of Catmon, Northern Cebu. At over 700 meters above sea level, Mt. Kapayas is an alluring, somewhat unexplored mountain that harbors plenty of secrets and challenges.
- Mt.Manunggal , At 1,003 meters above sea level, is the highest mountain in Central Cebu. It is the site of the crash of the presidential plane named Mt. Pinatubo which killed President Ramon Magsaysay and twenty-four others in 1957 . The vistas along the way to the summit together with deep valleys and high mountain ranges are simply breathtaking.
- And Mt. Hambubuyog, which the climb starts with a visit to the mighty Inambakan Falls in Ginatilan, one of Cebu’s most gorgeous waterfalls.
- Pristine Beaches
(Pic of Bantayan Beach)
Cebu simply has the best white sand beaches in the world. From the northern part, Malapascua Island being one of the country’s top diving spots and the renowned Bantayan Island having the most amazing sandbar you’ll ever see, to the southern part, Moalboal and Badian both known for its enthralling coral reef and rich marine life. Or if you choose somewhere much closer to the city, a 45 mins. drive to Mactan Island connected to mainland Cebu by two bridges, where you can enjoy the enchantingly grand beaches of Mactan’s coastlines. There are all kinds of beaches to choose and marvel, from the very basic & native to the most luxurious.
- Friendly Locals
It is said that we Cebuanos are free loving, down-to-earth, laid back cool people who speaks English well, as foreigners would agree. We are simply very accommodating and fun to be with. Apart from the jaw-dropping scenery and incredible adventures you’ll experience here in our province, the most valuable will probably be the amazing Cebuano friendships you will have during your visit.
Of course there are many other amazing attractions that didn’t make the list but that will be for some other time 😉
Mark Andrew is an Online Business Trainer by profession with an extensive background in IT, based in Cebu City Philippines. In his free time he likes to read all kinds of books, appreciate spy movies, watch NBA games and write Blogs.