The Philippine Star
Where do we get the best of both worlds?
WHEN you look up the Philippines on a map, its unusual shape will fascinate you. But what’s more mesmerizing is visiting its more than 7,000 islands peacefully hiding their beauty in the country’s three main archipelagos.
Visayas, the island tucked in the middle of Luzon and Mindanao, holds a collection of hidden gems. Although it was the first to witness the Philippines unfold during the Spanish colonization, it has managed to preserve its culture while embracing innovation. Cebu, the largest island in Visayas, proves that nature and modernization can coexist without overpowering each other.
For your next adventure, Mactan, Cebu deserves the top spot on your list. Visit the island and discover why you can get the best of both worlds here.
1 LIVE IN THE PAST
When you visit Mactan, don’t miss the opportunity to finally see the iconic Magellan Cross from the pages of your elementary textbook.
The historic cross is said to be planted by the Portuguese and Spanish explorers led by Ferdinand Magellan, thus signifying the beginning of Christianity in the country.
2 TASTE THE BEST OF THE BEST
You can’t call it a trip to Cebu without tasting the province’s famed lechon. The Cebuanos have mastered the art of roasting, so you will definitely enjoy munching on the lechon’s crispy skin and melt-in-your-mouth meat.
For seafood, locals have three interesting ways of preparing the bounty catch: through sutukil or sugba, tulaan or kinilaw. Photo from www.iluvcebu.com
3 CUSTOMIZE YOUR PASALUBONG
Less than an hour away from the MactanCebu International airport is a mango museum where you can watch how the locals peel, flavor, preserve, pack and deliver Cebu’s top product, the dried mango.
During the tour, you may not only purchase freshly made pasalubong, you will also be in awe of a furniture set made out of mango seeds.
4 PLAY MUSIC FROM SCRATCH
In Mactan, you can also rest the curiosity on how Cebuanos conceive their famous handmade guitar. Right before your eyes, you can observe how seasoned guitar-makers magically and creatively produce crisp- and clear-sounding instruments.
5 ENJOY THE ENDLESS ISLAND HOPPING
Mactan is your gateway to not one but five breathtaking islands: Pandanon, Nalusuan, Hilutungan, Caogahan and Sulpa. Each guarantees an Instagram-worthy photo and a vivid memory that no one can ever erase.
Pandanon Island, the farthest island, flaunts a white sandbar complementing the bluegreen waters.
6 WALK ON PRISTINE BEACHES
The coast of Mactan hides several unspoiled beaches. Leave the comforts of your wellequipped hotel and strengthen your legs as you brave dirt paths, bushes and rocky waterfronts.
The paths to Ikid-Ikid, Tonggo and Baliwis beaches may be long and tiring, but the amazing view and clear waters are surely worth the challenging journey. Photo from www.cebutours.ph
7 IGNITE THE EXCITEMENT WITH WATER ACTIVITIES
Don’t end your stay in Mactan without unleashing the daredevil in you. A long list of thrilling water activities such as free diving, scuba diving, snorkeling, parasailing, banana boat riding, water skiing, jet skiing, even swimming with sharks can be arranged to ensure an unforgettable stay. Photo from www.cebutours.ph
8 FALL IN LOVE WITH THE SUNSET
Who doesn’t love sunsets? The symbolic and romantic event of the day can be savored while cruising along the Mactan Channel. While sipping a glass of wine, take out your camera and frame the sun as it hides between the twin bridges, the Marcelo Fernan Bridge and Sergio Osmeña Bridge. Photo by Israel Opao
9 LIGHT UP THE NIGHT
After the sun has set, you may rest your feet, calm your soul and fill your tummy at Mactan’s sky lounge. Thirteen floors above the ground, your eyes will be delighted by how the sea sways with the glittering city lights.
To truly enjoy the best of both worlds, various hotels offer outdoor dining. The calming sound of the waves will serenade you as finish a plate prepared by Michelin-starred chefs. Photo from Scape Skydeck
10 BE FRIENDS WITH THE FOLKS
We can’t deny that the Filipino’s hospitality and friendliness are incredibly comforting. Since the Mactan locals know every corner of the town by heart, they can show you surprisingly breathtaking beaches, attractions and native restaurants that are not included the usual itinerary. Photo by Bruce Liron
From tall buildings, conversations with locals on the streets, to thrilling water activities and peaceful dinner dates on pristine beaches, Mactan continues to show its undiscovered hidden gems, proving that you can have the best of both worlds here. Visit Mactan now!