The Cebu Province experience — from air, sea and land

Read this in The Manila Times digital edition.

Bluewater Maribago Beach Resort — designed in a chic, Filipino style — sits in a cove with its own private beach.

It’s no surprise the Department of Tourism (DoT) consistently names Cebu as the most visited province in the Philippines in terms of both domestic and foreign tourist arrivals. From its compelling history as a native kingdom prior to the arrival of the Spaniards, its friendly and religious people, irresistible food, and its world class natural and man-made attractions — Cebu has forever lived up to its moniker as “The Gateway to a Thousand Journeys.”Air

Above the clouds, via the province’s very own air carrier Cebu Pacific, one will easily see a paradise surrounded by a number of islands and mountainous areas.City side-wise, seen are large number of high-rise buildings, piers and seaports as it continues to be a bustling center for trade and commerce — not to mention being the second-biggest growth area in the country after Metro Manila.

For a daring and thrilling adventure, Cebu is known as one of the very few places in the Philippines where skydiving spots and skydiving centers are available.SeaWhat’s a trip to Cebu without visiting some of its sugar-white beaches, azure waters and pristine coral gardens? As a matter of fact, the province — apart from its main island — is home to over 150 islands and islets.For surfing, some of the perfect spots to get stoked across Cebu are Punta Engaño, Liloan, Catmon, Carmen and Bantayan, Talisay, San Fernando, Toledo and Argao.

Buwakan ni Alejandra Flower Farm is a spectacle of color with it lush garden scape in bloom all year round.

For those interested to see the most colorful coral reefs and majestic sea animals, consider going to diving sports Malapascua, Moalboal, Oslob, Hilutungan, Nalusuan, Capitancillo and Mactan.Cebu also has no shortage of amazing beachfront resorts. One of them is Bluewater Maribago Beach Resort that is just approximately 25 minutes away from Mactan Cebu International Airport. A lush 7-hectare tropical paradise nestled by the sea, it has a 110-meter beachfront of pristine white sand and clear blue waters, a private island and three lagoon-shaped swimming pools with waterfalls.Here, tourists can expect Cebuano hospitality, comfort and relaxation with its 190 well-appointed rooms, pampering treatment of Amuma Spa and Health Club as well as tons of recreation activities such as swimming, scuba diving, snorkeling, boating, billiards, table tennis, beach volleyball, life-size chessboard and pieces, children’s playground and kiddie playroom.

Visitors can also enjoy a gastronomical experience from the resort’s five restaurants – Allegro (Filipino and international cuisine), The Cove (live and fresh seafood restaurant), Oyster Bar (cocktail bar by the beach), Pizzeria Delfino’s (Italian restaurant), and Amuma Juice Bar (healthy fare), all these apart from their Recreational Bar.Furthermore, guests are assured that they will enjoy a safe stay at Bluewater Maribago as it is recognized by DoT and Department of Health for its compliance with the public health and safety protocols through the implementation of BlueCARES and using StaySafe.PH for contact tracing.Land

While Cebu is mainly known for its beaches, there remain equally great places worth visiting which can be reached via jeepneys, taxis, ride-hailing service, v-hire (van for hire) or evenhabal-habal.Churches. The province is known to be the “Cradle of Christianity in the Philippines” what with Ferdinand Magellan introducing Catholic faith to Filipinos in the very same province. Cebuanos’ devotion to the Holy Child or the Senior Santo Niño even attracts tourists through their annual Sinulog Festival held every January.As such, a pilgrimage is almost always part of tourists’ itinerary. There are a number of grand churches to visit, one of them being the Nuestra Señora de Regla Parish National Shrine in Lapu-Lapu City where the miraculous image of the Our Lady of the Rule is located.The Manaoag Rosary Santuary in Cebu City is likewise worth the visit. Located at a hillside in Barangay Guba, it has a very quiet environment conducive for prayer and meditation.Gardens and vacation farms. Cebu also has a number of scenic mountains for hiking aficionados. But for some visitors who just want to rediscover nature and enjoy that calm and fresh air, the province offers some of the best vacation farms in the country, such as Buwakan Ni Alejandra situated in Transcentral Highway, Balamban. The 700-square-meter garden is known for its picturesque locally-grown flowers blooming amidst stunning landscapes.Another must-visit garden is the Adlawon Vacation Farm located Sition Proper, Adlaon. Perfect for those who want farm staycation experience, this destination hascountry-style guest rooms and lodges, two function rooms for team buildings or reception and parties, a library, lounge and entertainment center, and a view deck. Add to that their mini-forest, nurseries, animal pens, camp site, orchards, and a chapel.Their huge hectare of agricultural land has a variety of crops which visitors can buy. Through this, the farm has been helping the community by employing locals as gardeners and caretakers, while some use their talent in making handmade crafts to sell.Of course, one must not leave the farm without trying the food. It’s Kusina Luche uses fresh produce to its famous serve dishes such as cassava cab-cab, chicken buko soup, bistek, crispy pata, fruit shakes and homemade guyabano ice cream, among many others.City tour. Finally, the city life is very much alive in Cebu. Among the must visits in the city is The Chocolate Chamber in Robinsons Galleria Cebu. This chocolate oasis set in front of the mall’s garden is owned by Raquel Choa, a tablea advocate and the so-called “chocolate queen.” They have various unique takes of dishes using chocolate such as spaghetti, pizza and mushroom soup.Another place to visit in the city is the Alegre Guitars Factory in Lapu-Lapu — one of the most famous guitar makers in Cebu, if not the country. Visitors can watch craftsmen in actual guitar-making process.Lastly, the latest attraction in Cebu is the newly inaugurated Cebu–Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX), also known as the Cebu–Cordova Bridge, and the Third Cebu–Mactan Bridge.The artistically designed 8.5-kilometer bridge is now the longest and tallest bridge in the Philippines, eclipsing the 2.1-kilometer San Juanico Bridge of Leyte and Samar. This iconic landmark was four years in the making and is also an eye-catching sight even from afar.Indeed, with everything it has to offer from land, sea and air, Cebu will not run out of new and unique adventures for everyone.