Cebu is the Philippines top business and tourist destination. About one-third of the country’s foreign tourists visit Cebu. Also known as the “Queen City of the South”, Cebu is a unique destination where leisure and business co-exist, and where beach resorts and sky scrapers are altogether under one place. The province is composed of 6 cities and 47 municipalities contributing to the country’s economy. Over 150 islets and islands also add to it’s beauty.
Being the oldest city in the Phiippines, Cebu has rich historical remnants of Spain’s colonial rule from the past. The oldest church, the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño and the famed Magellan’s cross are only few of the seemingly endless tourist attractions in Cebu. Pristine diving spots and white sandy beaches with crystal clear waters help Cebu gain popularity. Cebu is the portal to around 70% percent of the entire Philippine islands. With it’s strategic location, travelling to other islands by plane, boat, or bus is very accessible.
FOOD AND LIFESTYLE
Rice is the main staple during meals. Being a seafood-rich island, crabs, clams, fresh and dried fishes, shrimps, etc. are very common. Vegetables are overwhelmingly abundant. Poultry and other live-stock meats are equally available. The hanging rice, or “puso” as it is called, is a unique boiled rice in woven coconut leaves and can only be found in the province. Also not to be missed are Cebu’s delicacies such as suman (sticky rice cake), banana-cue (fried banana with sugar coating), and other variations of rice cakes like puto, bibingka, and kutsinta. International and local fast-foods are also readily available in Cebu. Having a history with Spanish, American, and Japanese occupations, Cebu is truly a mixture of different lifetsyles and is a combination of east and west. With fusion of different cultures, Cebu adopted and transformed itself uniquely. Old traditions remain the same while embracing modernity is the kind of distinct lifestyle Cebu came to be. The local dialect Cebuano is used together with the national language Tagalog. English is spoken and is also an official language. The rise of BPO companies and English language schools are some of the testimonies that English is widely-accepted.
WEATHER AND GEOGRAPHY
Cebu is mostly hot and humid with little or no rainfall at all. The dry or hot season falls between March, April, May, and early June, and it is considered the summer season in the Philippines. Late June until around October is the cool season. Cool winds with moderate to heavy rainfall is expected. Cebu has a total land area of 5,000 square kilometers and is situated in Region 7 in the middle of the Philippine archipelago. It is composed of several islands like Sumilon, Mactan, Olango, Camotes, Malapascua and Bantayan islands. Over 70% of the country’s flower species can be found in Cebu. Also, migratory birds from Russia can be seen at the Olango Bird sanctuary. Truly, it is a place where visitors can unwind and be with the beauty of nature.
Being pre-dominantly Catholic, Cebu often celebrates fiestas all throughout the island-province. The Sinulog festival, which is celebrated every third Sunday of January, is held in honor of Señor Sto Niño de Cebu or the Holy Child. Hotels are usually fully occupied by foreign and local tourists alike just to witness the biggest Mardi Gras in the country where up to a million people parade the street for fun and dancing. Other fiestas include the Siloy Festival of Alcoy, Mantawi Festival of Mandaue City, Palawod Festival of Bantayan Island, and the Haladaya Festival of Daanbantayan. The kadaugan sa Mactan (Victory in Mactan) is also celebrated in commemoration of the victory of the island chieftain Lapu-lapu against the Spanish conquistador Ferdinand Magellan. The wooden cross which Magellan brought and planted in the island as part of his evangelical mission to spread Christianity is now being displayed as a tourist attraction.
LEISURE AND RECREATION
Cebu has a lot to offer in terms of leisure and recreation. In the metropolitan area, entertainment, karaoke, and disco establishments are everywhere. Specialty shops are also a must-see. Shopping malls, internet cafes, fine-dining and first class restaurants, etc. are readily available. Spa, massage parlors, and coffee shops are also constantly increasing in numbers. Membership to fitness gyms with modern facilities is also becoming a fad together with yoga and zumba sessions. For animal lovers, there are crocodile farms and butterfly sanctuaries available. Whale shark watching is also getting attention in the south.
Being a tropical island, Cebu is the best place to have a weekend get-away with family and friends. Offering the best diving spots, beautiful resorts, heritage parks, and golf-courses, complete satisfaction is guaranteed to everyone. Swim in the white-sand beaches with crystal clear waters, or simply enjoy the view while walking in the shoreline and relaxing the time away. The Olango bird sanctuary is also a must see. It has 77 species of migratory birds. Also, witness the Orchid farm in the southern part of Cebu in Moalboal. It said to be the largest in Southeast Asia with orchid varieties coming from the rest of Asia, South America and Hawaii.