More than picture-perfect beaches and sapphire blue waters
The collection of islands known as Cebu Province is synonymous with magnificent white sand beaches and sapphire blue waters. It is arguably one of the Philippines’ most picture-perfect locations for a relaxing getaway. Visitors can spend tranquil afternoons on the sand as warm, sparkling seawater laps at their feet and they admire the spectacular view from their Cebu beach resort.
There are over 160 islands within the area to choose for memorable Cebu holidays, but Mactan Island is amongst the most popular tourist spots. As well as being the most easily accessible, as host to one of the country’s largest airports, this coral island also offers some of the best diving and snorkelling experiences available in the world. Colourful underwater reefs and an unparalleled diversity of marine life can be seen. For something a little more active to do at the beach, tourists can also participate in a round of sailing, hire jet skis for the day or get involved in some tow sports.
However, a stay on the island has the potential to encompass much more than just sugar-white sand and tropical lagoons, with lots of things to do in Cebu whether guests are there for business or pleasure.
Whilst more familiar menus are always available at the excellent restaurants in the area (such as Italian, Chinese and Filipino), gourmets will delight at the opportunity to experience some of the exotic local cuisine – holidays to Cebu are not complete without getting to sample the mouth-watering lechòn de leche, a delicious roasted suckling pig dish which is something of a local speciality.
Located just a short drive from Mactan, on the main island, Cebu City is an attractive choice to tourists in search of a metropolitan shopping haven in close proximity to their beach resort. This growing, modern city offers every conceivable convenience and has a large number of shopping malls which provide space for well-known brands and international boutiques. There are also banks, airlines and tour companies, alongside a fantastic selection of cafés and entertainment venues such as cinema screens, games halls and comedy clubs.
Although a relaxing lunch or an afternoon shopping spree in Cebu City might offer all the excitement a tourist might want for the day, the local area comes alive at night-time and should be experienced before visitors leave. There is something to suit all ages, and visitors can enter lavish nightclubs and 24-hour casinos. Or dance to live bands, or even a ballroom waltz, in one of the many music bars which welcome guests come nightfall.
Cultural and sightseeing tours are also easy to arrange, and include entry into some of the area’s best historical museums and locations of special interest. Popular tourist spots in Cebu are a trip to Magellan’s Cross, an architecturally interesting octagonal building which celebrates the locals’ conversion to Christianity in the 16th century. Or visit the Taoist Temple, which honours the inhabitants’ strong Chinese ancestry and reveals some of the best views to be found in all of the Philippines.
In essence, a holiday in the Philippines on the islands of Cebu offers crystal blue water and gorgeous white beaches worthy of the area’s tropical paradise reputation. But it is also a place to eat well, socialise and come to know some of the rich history of the region at the same time – a powerful combination which creates a truly unforgettable holiday experience.