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© 2017 The Strand Magazine

The Ultimate Guide to Exploring Cebu

July 11, 2019

 

Photo: Sandy Kan

 

In 1542, Spanish Colonialists named a group of islands located in South East Asia ‘Las Filipinas’, honouring Prince Philip—this country is now called the Philippines. With more than 7000 islands, island hopping is the most reasonable way to explore the archipelago. Cebu is one of the most popular islands to visit among tourists, and from wildlife to beautiful scenery, it has a lot to offer. Your Cebu adventure awaits you.

 

 

Where to Go

 

Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary

 

This sanctuary is the largest wetland in the Philippines. Although migratory times vary from year to year, according to the Southeast Asian Wetland Protection Association, 40,000 to 60,000 migratory birds per year pass though the Philippines, including more than 77 different species.

 

Nalusuan Island

 

You can stay on the only resort on this island, but reservation is necessary, because there are only 14 rooms. Each of these water houses, built on the South Pacific, hosts stunning sea views. When you look down from the wooden sea walkway, you can see a beach full of starfish. You can also swim in your very own private beach, with large coral reefs and tropical fish. At night, stars cover the night sky and the galaxy trajectory is clearly visible.

 

Photo: Sandy Kan

 

Caohagan Island

 

Owned by a Japanese writer, this island resembles a single jade sewn onto a sea of aqua-blue silk. The island is only the size of one football field and is easy to walk through. In Caohagan, you can enjoy scrumptious barbecues and tropical fruits. Residents will also enthusiastically promote their hand-made patchwork, souvenirs made out of shell, and freshly-caught seafood. You might be surprised by how freely the natives live: no shoes, no concrete, no fear, only cockfighting and happiness!

 

Photo: Sandy Kan

Photo: Sandy Kan

 

Moalboal

 

There are many centres where you can choose to engage in scuba diving or snorkeling. With it being a protected area, the sea is rich with corals and tropical fish, and sometimes even turtles swimming on the ocean floor! Moalboal is also known for its 'sardine storm', as thousands of sardines gather here every day, in a storm-like formation.

 

Photo: Hubert Tang

Photo: Hubert Tang

 

 

What to Do

 

Diving

Photo: Hubert Tang

Photo: Hubert Tang

 

Visit the Churches

 

Within Cebu, you will come across towns with colonial churches, plazas and traditions that have been passed on from the Age of Discovery. In terms of religion, 83% of Filipinos identify as Catholic, and the oldest Roman Catholic church to visit in the country is the Basilica del Santo Niño.

 

 

What to Buy

 

A Guitar

 

Cebu is the guitar manufacturing centre of the Philippines, and the high-quality guitars made here are famous worldwide. They are all hand-made with different materials, including wood from mango trees. In Cebu, the first gift given to children when they grow up will often be the guitar.

 

Coconut Products

 

For Filipinos, the coconut is a multi-functional fruit. It can be made into coconut oil or coconut powder, and can be used for cooking, skin care, massaging, and hair care. However, the easiest thing to do is to simply drink it! You will be impressed by the natural sweetness and aroma of the coconut.

 

Shell Products

 

Shell products in the Philippines are cheap and durable. Shells are used to make a diverse variety of souvenirs, ranging from keyrings and wind chimes, to lampshades, clocks, bracelets, necklaces and curtains. Another must-have souvenir is a beautifully-crafted, textured shell painting, made of shells of different shapes and colours.

 

Dried Mango

 

Dried mango is considered to be the most famous speciality in the Philippines, and it is known to be of high quality and pure in taste. Unlike other dried fruits and vegetables, dried mangoes from the Philippines do not have added pigment and their surface is dry, not sticky. The mango has a strong, favourable sweet and sour fragrance.

 

 

Edited by Alexia McDonald, Digital Editor

 

 

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