An intriguing sliver of an island right at the heart of the Visayas, Cebu has always been known as a travel destination not only for its importance in trade and business but also for its vibrant culture, its hardy people, enthralling travel landmarks and tourism activities that has reawakened with new things to offer.
For the tourist, travel to this island province was usually limited to the standard (and trite) fare: Basilica del Sto. NiÃ±o and kiosk, Taoist Temple with an overly strict lady guard, empty Fort San Pedro, Taboan dried fish market, lechon and dried mango shops in Cebu City and the resorts or diving in Mactan and Moalboal or a stop to distant Sta. Fe in Bantayan and Malapascua for their white sand beaches. These were in everyoneâ€™s checklist. But today, a rediscovery is in the offing. This reawakening has been fuelled mainly by the internet and travel bloggers, the influx of Korean nationals, locals wanting new activities and places to do and visit, as well as keeping up with national and global trends.
If itâ€™s for an exciting adrenaline rush, thereâ€™s really no need to go far in Cebu City. Sky Experience Adventure (http://www.skyexperienceadventure.com/) at the Crown Regency offers various death defying rides like the Edge Coaster where youâ€™re strapped to a 55 degree inclined coaster at the edge of the 38th floor. The Sky Walk Extreme is a harnessed walk on translucent glass at the edge of the 37th floor. Other adventures include the Drop Zone, vertex and a 4D show. Adventure packages are available.
A ride to the Scenic Transcentral Highway, a route replete with cheap vegetable and fruit stalls along the way and that connects Cebu City to Balamban at the western side brings one to Adventure Cafe (Nigel Wenceslao, +639209474460), the first resto of its kind in the country. Located at one of the highest points in the province, it offers guided caving and waterfall tours and a trek/camping at Mt. Manunggal. In house, one can do the zipline, wall climb and the stresswall where one can throw plates and glass to alleviate oneâ€™s stress. Other than the sumptuous food offered in a cool setting, it has fantastic sunset views with towering Mt. Canlaon in Negros looming in the background.
For a night cruise along the cityâ€™s waters or island hopping in the Hilutungan Channel, IslandsBanca (http://islandsbanca.com/) offers these kind of activities for those wanting to be at sea.
Malapascua Island off Daan Bantayan at the northern tip of Cebu is not only for sun worshippers and divers observing thresher sharks and manta rays. If cliff jumping is your treat, thereâ€™s a 50 foot cliff in the island and itâ€™s free. Ask a local banca guide to take you to one of the cliffs. They all know where it is.
Mantayupan Waterfalls in Barili at the western side is 1.5 â€“ 2 hours from Cebu City and is a good and closer alternative than heading to Kawasan Falls in Badian (4 hours ride). It is the highest waterfall in the province at 98 meters tall. Entrance is 10 pesos and is just two kilometres from the town proper. Ride a habalhabalÂ (P20/person) to reach the waterfalls.
Article originally written and published in Space Magazine.