Tuesday, October 4, 2011

5 Things I Love About Cebu

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As most Filipinos know, Cebu is the gateway to the Visayas region of the Philippines, where most of the pristine beaches and idyllic landscapes of the Philippine Islands can be found.  Cebu itself is home to many  interesting destinations, from historical places to amazing man-made attractions to beautiful beaches. It's no surprise that you'll see people  wearing  those "I love Cebu" shirts.

Here are five things I love about Cebu:

1. I can go over The Edge.  
There's nothing sinister or crazy about this. Cebu City just happens to be the venue of Crown Regency Hotel and Towers' Sky Experience Adventure (located at Fuente Osmena Blvd., Cebu City). The Sky Experience Adventure features my favorite activities: Riding the Edge Coaster and doing the Sky Walk Extreme. The Edge Coaster is a rail seat that goes around the 38th floor of Crown Regency, allowing riders to enjoy a panoramic view of the city. Making it more exciting is that the rail seat can be tilted 55 degrees, making riders literally feel that they're on the edge of their seats! The Sky Walk, on the other hand, lets adventurous folks walk with a safety harness on the outer rim of the Crown Regency building, which is 126.55 meters high above the ground.  

Sky Adventure Experience at Crown Regency Hotel

2.  There's lots of food! Glorious food!
They say you have not really been to Cebu if you haven't tried the Cebuchon or Cebu Lechon, a succulent roasted pig  that has crackling skin and very tasty meat. So tasty that you don't need to add seasoning or eat it with a sauce. And Cebuchon is just one of the glorious food that I love here in Cebu. I can have my fill of grilled seafood,  fresh fruits and rice cakes as well.

Crisp Cebu lechon and other dishes from CnT Lechon, located at
1377 Rama Avenue, Guadalupe, Cebu City 

3. It's rich in history.
Cebu has a number of important sites that showcase the country's heritage.  One of them is the Magellan's Cross (located outside the Basilica Minore del Sto. Nino in downtown Cebu) which marks the introduction of  Christianity in the Philippines through Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan.  Another one is the Mactan Shrine (located at Punta Engano Road in Lapu-Lapu) which commemorates the Battle of Mactan. The Battle of Mactan is the first recorded resistance in the Philippines against foreign invaders. Local chieftain Lapu-Lapu (Kolipulaku) and his men defeated Ferdinand Magellan and his troops in 1521.

Magellan's Cross and the mural depicting the first
mass in the Philippine Islands

Lapu-Lapu's Monument at Mactan Shrine

4. I can shop `til I drop.
The posh Ayala Mall at Cebu's Business Park is where the well-heeled residents of Cebu, expats and tourists flock. While it may not be as enormous as its competitor, I like it better because of its beautiful gardens and large open spaces. Shopping is a breeze, too, since one can find almost everything there from fashionable clothes to souvenir items (especially those creative shirts and knickknacks from Islands Souvenirs). There are plenty of good restaurants and cozy cafes in there, too.

The Terraces at Ayala Center Cebu 

Of course, if I'm on a tight budget and need to bring home some gifts, I can always head to Mactan to buy some well-crafted guitars and souvenir items or go to Tabo-an market for affordable dried mangoes, dried fish, and other delectable foods.

5. It has amazing scenery!
Cebu is an island paradise. There are a lot of amazing sights to see on land and even underwater. The city of Carcar has well-preserved ancestral houses and buildings that showcase the city's heritage. Cebu's Mactan Island and Bantayan Island boast of beautiful beaches. Malapascua and Moalboal has fantastic dive sites.  Olango Island is known for its wildlife sanctuary and dive sites.

Getting there: Cebu is accessible through direct flights from many cities abroad (Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, etc.) One can also fly to Cebu through a domestic flight from Manila. Air Philippines, Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines are just some of the local carriers with flights to Cebu. 

Have you been to Cebu? What are the things you like about Cebu? If not, what attraction would you like to see?

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