When you've got a province that's called “The Gateway to a Thousand Journeys”, you know you're in for some serious fun.
And that is what you'll find in Cebu. As the premier gateway to Central Visayas, Cebu is where travelers can get easy access to other provinces in the region. Not to mention, plenty of natural, historic, and gastronomic adventures!
We count down six of the best ones.
1. Go on a lechon hunt.
A trip to Cebu isn't complete without sampling its signature delicacy: lechon. Even Anthony Bourdain declared lechon “the best pig ever”. It is often paired with puso, or rice in a heart-shaped woven coconut leaf.
Stalls and restaurants selling this slow-roasted pork dish is a ubiquitous sight in the province. In Mactan, the more popular ones are Rico's Lechon and Zubuchon.
Cebu City also has CnT, which has branches Rama Avenue, SM Cebu, and Ayala Center. If you're headed to south Cebu, don't miss lechon stalls in Carcar. They're among Cebu's best!
2. Cross the seas to Bohol.
From Cebu City pier, you can easily access other provinces in Central Visayas, including Bohol by ferry. A fast craft can take you to Tagbilaran in Bohol in just two hours. From there, you can take a van bound to nearby destinations like Chocolate Hills and Panglao Island.
Perhaps the most popular of Bohol's islands, Panglao is dotted with pockets of white sand beaches, ranging from luxury resorts in Dumaluan to tranquil public beaches like Doljo Beach.
TIP: If you prefer something that is not often on the tourist map, take a one-hour ferry ride to Tubigon from Cebu City. This coastal municipality boasts several sandbars and coral reefs that are home to various fish species and anemones.
3. Dine in Abaca.
A famous food stop in Cebu is Abaca Baking Company (ABC), or simply Abaca. It is especially popular among young professionals.
This boutique coffeehouse and bakery serves freshly brewed local coffee and handmade pastries, including cookies, tarts, croissants, and sandwiches. Don't miss Abaca's best-selling soups and Eggs Benedict too!
Relying only on word-of-mouth, Abaca's first branch in Crossroads in Banilad quickly expanded to eight more branches across Cebu City. It's a living testament to how delicious their offerings are.
4. Go an island hopping adventure in Mactan.
Many go straight to Cebu City from Mactan International Airport, but if you want to make the best of your Cebu trip, board a boat upon arrival at Mactan and snorkel in three stunning islands.
Island hopping usually starts in Hilutungan Island, a marine sanctuary located only 30 minutes away from the mainland.
You will also stop by Caohagan Island, a forested island in the Olango Island chain, which is a popular birdwatching site. Swim in a sparkling lagoon or snorkel with fishes.
Lunch is often served at Nalusuan Island, a man-made resort that is also part of Olango Island. Situated along Cebu Strait, Nalusuan is famous for its white sand beach and vibrant corals that attract both snorkeling and diving enthusiasts.
5. Hike Osmeña Peak.
About two hours away from Mactan, you'll find Cebu's highest peak. Osmeña Peak is part of the Mantalongon mountain range in Dalaguete, which is known for its spire-shaped hills.
The peak only takes 20 to 45 minutes to complete via an easy trail that passes through local communities and gentle slopes. At the summit, you will be rewarded with a panoramic view of Cebu's southern coast, as well as Negros Oriental.
6. Swim in Santander Beach.
Also in South Cebu is the lesser-known pebble beach of Santander. The tranquil strip is a great escape for those who want to lounge by the beach without the crowds.
Santander is located at Cebu's southernmost tip, near Siquijor and Negros Oriental. It's where you'll enjoy a fantastic view of these two provinces from the beach.
What are some of your favorite must-dos in Cebu? Let us know in the comments section below!
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