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Backpacking in the Philippines? Lonely planet is a useful book with useful tips and advice to help you through your travels across this beautiful country! About every region including Cebu!
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If you have any plans to visit South East Asia, you must visit the Philippines, if you are visiting the Philippines you must visit Cebu!
Located in the centra visayas, Cebu has it's share of history to tell us from Magellan to the Spanish conquest to now, to beautiful beaches landscapes friendly people great choices of malls great choices of food! and so much more! Cebu is more fun in the Philippines!
I went to Cebu this year during a backpacking trip, I'd like to take this time and share my experience and recommendations of places to visit around island and maybe give you ideas on why you should visit Cebu!
Took a flight to Cebu and stayed at Tonros Apartelle in Cebu City the largest city in the island of Cebu which is 30minutes from Cebu-Mactan International Airport, and known as the queen city of the south had a nice bed to sleep which I needed after that long flight halfway round the world!.
After recovering the next day, took a tour round the city, first off went to "Basilica del Santo Niño" which is a church and is said to be "the founding of the convent of the Santo Niño de Cebu in 1565," this is where a statue of Sto Niño the holy child Jesus is located and is said to be oldest religious relic in the Philippines, he is also patron saint of Cebu, the statue was presented by Ferdinand Magellan (a Portuguese explorer) to Queen Juana (Of Spain) during the baptism of King Humabon and his wife Queen Juana on April 14, 1521, close by is Colon a very busy sometimes very overcrowded place, Colon has a carbon market every night selling cheap affordable items handicraft and food, went with a Filipino neighbour and friend of mine one night, the place was packed, tried some of the delicious barbeque in offer and had a shirt with my name printed out on it! It was a nice atmosphere that night, Colon street is said to be the oldest street in the Philippines. To some travellers however it would be too overcrowded.
Another place I visited during my stay in Cebu City was Fort San Pedro it is one of the smallest Spanish outposts in the country, it is now a small museum showcasing the wreckage and treasures from the sunken San Diego galleon from Mexico.
Cebu City has it’s share of beautiful shopping malls an example of two are SM City Cebu and Ayala Mall which are the biggest and more popular.
The malls include lots of shops cinemas and attractions, you may have a go on the arcade centres bumping cars, or head off to the internet café
The Taoist Temple which shows Chinese heritage in Cebu, a beautiful building located in Beverly Hills one of the must see places on your travels to Cebu!
Cebu has it's museums giving you a great history lesson to take home withb you in your heart, nature reserves and so much more
Other places to visit include:
- Cebu Parkmall and Cebu International Convention Center
- Cebu Provincial Museum The museum is housed in the former Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center, which was once the Carcel de Cebu. Its four Spanish-era buildings made of coral stone contain artifacts relating to the history of Cebu. It is only a short taxi ride from Fort San Pedro.
- Provincial Capitol, which is particularly scenic at night, is by far the largest provincial Capitol building anywhere in the entire archipelago. Its original design is a miniature of the White House and was built during the American Era.
- Heritage of Cebu, (Eastern end of Colon St). A massive and particularly detailed monument showcasing the heritage of Cebu from the old Spanish to the American colonial era.
- Mount Manghilaw
- Santa Rosa Falls
(This is a list of places I went to visit which I had took with me from Wikitravel)
I went to Tops situtated in Busay Hills, Nivel Hills, Lahug which is at the top of Mount Busay, to experience Tops is to go by mountain bike, you can ask your hotel where you can hire one or you could take the taxi, but personally I'd take the mountain bike because not only it's cheaper (than getting a taxi), it's a great way of seeing that beautiful view of Cebu!
Went to Crocolandia a nature conservation which is located in Talisay city, it includes crocodiles and also some bird species lizards and snakes civets, Rufous Hornbill, ostrich,monitor lizards, myna, iguana, squirrel, turtles, peacock, deer and a Visayan warty pig.
Entrance fee is about 100pesos (PHP)
Lapu-Lapu city is located in the island of Mactan, this is where the shrine of Lapu Lapu a chieftain who defeated Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan in 1521 and which the city is named after.
There are many places to stay around at a cheap and affordable place, I recommend Maribago Bluewater Beach resort a beautiful resort friendly and helpful staff and great accomadation, another I would recommend is the Mactan Pension House, there are other places to stay at your choice on the cebu fest website: http://hotels.cebufest.com/Place.aspx?languageCode=EN¤cyCode=GBP&destination=airport:Mactan_Cebu_International_Airport_Lapu_Lapu_City&radius=2mi&Rooms=1&adults_1=1&pageSize=25&pageIndex=0&sort=Distance-asc&showSoldOut=true&view=hc_sr_summary&scroll=1833&open=3,2,1,4,7,6&mapstate=contracted
If you are in for fun by the beach jet skiing swimming I'd recommend you visit
Portofino Beach Resort
and Maribago Bluewater Resort
Top for a relaxing accomidation, beautiful scenary and much more! I went on a day out with friends to Portofino Beach Resort took a ride on a jet skii and relax by the beach!
Papa Kits Marina Fishing Lagoon should be on your list of places to see a marina fishing lagoon which is popular for it's zipline,You will have to climb a 4 storey structure and once you get to the top you are attach by a harness onto a zipline where you are flung (hanging) with only a harness holding you across to Silot Bay had a go on it for the first time and it was awesome!
You can fish at the ponds, there are about 4 of them, two of them are for game (meaning you'll have to put them back) and from what I've seen the fishes are big!
Other things to do include a horse ride and visiting the locals on my picture :)
The entrance was a 100 pesos per person, Papa Kits is situated in Liloan Cebu
Liloan is a municipality in the province of Cebu. One of the best known landmarks in Liloan is the lighthouse at Bagacay Point, here original lighthouse was built in 1857 by the Spanish. However, the current tower was built in 1904 by the order of William Howard Taft the first Governor-General of the Philippines and who later became the President of the United States.
In the town of Liloan you can buy food at the local supermarket and also at many stores there, you can also hitch a ride on the jeepney to other places round barangay Liloan and other towns and cities including Mandaue and Cebu City, and take a trycicle (a motorbike with a cab to hold passengers) which can take you to Catarman and Bagacay Point or other places around Liloan at a cheap and affordable price.
Bantayan and Malapascua- Cebu
If you are looking for real beach experience, visit Bantayan Island!
You can go there through Hagnaya Port by ferry where it is around an hour ride to Sta Fe port in Bantayan.
There are buses from Cebu City North Terminal (near SM Mall) costing around 80PHP taking you to the port, it will usually take 3hrs from the city to Hagnaya Port,the cost of the ferry is about 120PHP. The ferry runs all day from 5.30am till around 5.30pm.
If you have a hired car, you can also take it across with the ferry, which would cost you 800PHP
Activities you could do include playing tennis or golf snorkeling scuba diving, you can hire motorcycles or bicycles or a car and driver to Ogtong cave or kayak there!
You are able to arrange trips to Virgin Island (not linked to Richard Branson in any way:D) from your resort, also check out Halantaga-an Island,Silion Island and PouPou Island
As for rooms, you can get rooms for as little as 200PHP per day which is around £3GBP or $4.50USD ideal for a low budget traveller/backpacker!
much more info on Bantayan's official website: http://wowbantayan.com/wowhome/index.php?page=faq-frequently-asked-questions
Another island to visit would be Malapascua an island with beautiful white sands, crystal clear waters bordered by coconut trees and a dozen of scattered native style resorts and buildings including accommodation! it is an island well known for scuba diving, from under the sea you see a beautiful world of wonders!. If you want to stay in Malapascua, you have to spend an evening here and watch the sun set and wake up to a beautiful sunrise, the island compared to Bantayan when I went there was pact with people of all countries and is a top destination, so you wont feel alone, If you fancy island hopping there's plenty of places to stay eat and drink and have a good time, enjoy a drink at the bar and chat with the natives...and the tourists. enjoy a walk around the island it may be small but it's a long way round and worth it! enjoy swimming snorkeling and scuba diving in this great island!
Once you leave the island, it will be in your memory for ever!
Another place I recommend you to visit is Kasai Village in Moal Boal Cebu;http://www.kasaivillage.com/action.php#mountainbiking
it has a range of activities from Climbing,Canyoning,Caving,River Climbing,Horseback Riding, to Mountain Biking,Volcano Expeditions, Motorbike Safari and so much more!
A map below is a map of Cebu showing all towns and cities and places mentioned here and places I haven't mentioned since I haven't been yet, but would love to come back and visit them, and would recommend you check them out too
During my travels across Luzon and Visayas, Cebu was and will always be one of my favourite destinations, and I recommend it for anyone! whether you are a holiday maker, low budget traveller/backpacker want to take your family on holiday somewhere hot and exotic for a few weeks....
I recommend you experience Cebu!