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Beyond the Tourist Spots: Alternative Things to Do in Cebu

by Pia Mercado

You’ve probably been to Cebu several times, and you’ve probably done all the touristy things and seen all the touristy sights.

You’ve been to the Magellan’s Cross, offered prayers at both the Basillica del Santo Niño and at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, ate at all the featured lechon restaurants, hit the beaches of Mactan, had a beer while enjoying the view at Tops, and did everything else your Cebuano friends told you to do. Maybe you’ve even bought a bayong bag with a puso (hanging rice or rice dumpling) keychain already. Surely that can’t be all, you wonder? If you're looking for a change of scenery, here's a list of things you can do and try on your next visit to the Queen City of the South.

1. When in Mactan

You go to Mactan for a day of swimming or to have an island excursion. After a few hours of sun worship, consider giving your skin a break and go indoors. You can treat your hardworking self to an authentic Spanish brunch offered by Chef Ivan Saiz Sordo of Crimson Mactan Resort’s ENYE by Chele Gonzales Restaurant. Although the restaurant is open every day of the week, this buffet brunch is available only on Sundays from 11:30 AM to 3:00 PM. You won’t be disappointed: aside from the plethora of quality tapas spread out for you to devour, you can order as many platos of pintxos (small snack) and tapas as you can finish. Some of our favorites would have to be the different types of croqueta (jamon y pollo and chorizo), paella (valenciana and negra) and of course, an assortment of your favorite desserts from Espanya.

INSTAGRAM: enyemactan

This Sunday brunch is at ₱1288 net per person, but if you’re up for splurging a little bit more, you can turn it into a boozy brunch with unlimited alcohol for an additional cost of ₱400.

Crimson Mactan Resort
Seascapes Resort Town
(032) 401 9999
info@mactan@crimsonhotel.com

ENYE by Chele Gonzales Restaurant
(032) 401 9982
Open from Sundays to Fridays, 6:00 PM - 10:00 PM;
Saturdays at 6:30 PM - 10:00 PM

2. When in the mountains of Busay

INSTAGRAM: reigndelann

You will never regret a trip that involves connecting with nature. Especially if you’re coming from a densely populated urban area, ditch the malls and head up to Busay to check out Terrazas De Flores Botanical Garden. The place is just a half hour drive from Cebu city proper, and there’s no need to prepare food and drinks to take along since there’s a lovely cafe waiting for you there. Make a day out of it by starting with a hearty meal or sipping some coffee, then roam around the garden to admire the local flowers and other plants that thrive in the area. You will probably end up in one of their cabanas, where you can just laze around for the next few hours and enjoy the soothing view and the calming atmosphere. Need we mention that every spot in this garden is absolutely Instagrammable?

Terrazas De Flores Botanical Garden
Tiguib Malubog
(0917) 653 4227
cebuterrazasflores@gmail.com
Open from Mondays to Fridays, 8:00 AM - 9:00 PM;
Weekends at 8:00 AM - 12:00 AM
Entrance fee:
₱100 per person

3. When in the city

INSTAGRAM: gasshocenter

In case you don’t have time to go all the way to Mactan or even to Busay, don’t worry. There are some fun activities you can do in between your meetings or other engagements when in Cebu. If you have an hour or two to spare, try attending a Chocolate Yoga session at the Gassho Center for Healing Arts. Chocolate and Yoga are two things you probably can’t imagine together, right? Well, if you’re open to trying new things and meeting like-minded people, set aside a couple of hours to experience the marriage of cacao and a gentle, heart-opening yoga session with guided meditation. The Gassho Center also offers other unique activities such as a Full Moon Ceremony for Manifestation and different types of yoga sessions. If this is your kind of thing, check out their schedule.

INSTAGRAM: marissepatisserie

If you’ve got about 3 to 4 hours to spare, an afternoon tea party with your Cebuana lady loves at Marisse Patisserie is another idea. You can easily find this quaint bakeshop cafe at 32 Sanson Road in Rockwell, and all you have to do is call 24 hours in advance to book. They’ll take care of everything, from the charming table setting to the use of beautiful English tea cups and pots. There’s no need to pack your fascinator hats into your luggage, because they have some for you to use for your photo sessions! Just imagine the aroma of the fruit teas and their freshly baked pastries on a relaxing afternoon of catching up with friends in Cebu. Sounds like a plan, right?

Just like any other vibrant and constantly evolving cities, there are a lot of new things to see and do in Cebu. The list could go on and on, but for now, these exciting alternative options should tide you over for your next visit. Have fun!

Gassho Center for Healing Arts
Pacific Square, Unit 2 G/F, Cabahug Street
reikicebu@gmail.com

Marisse Patisserie
32 Sanson Road, Rockwell
(032) 406 3099
Open from Tuesdays to Thursdays and Sundays, 8:00 AM - 10:00 PM;
Fridays to Saturdays at 8:00 AM - 11:00 PM

Find Cebu travel inspiration when you check out our Travel Guide.

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About Pia
Pia Mercado is a Marketing & Communications professional with over eight years of experience in the Philippines and abroad. After successfully and passionately running an art organization in Cebu for several years, her wandering feet and cultural curiosity brought her to the melting pot that is New York City. Three years later, she’s back in her hometown, the Queen City of the South, taking along her wisdom and experience from the United Nations as well as another non-profit art organization working with artists and real estate developers. Aside from being passionate about art, the business side of art and its various disciplines, Pia loves to write about her adventures as a foodie and as a traveller. She is currently doing freelance work and studying another language in preparation for another escapade.

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