First time in Cebu? Locals share awesome things to do in 24 hours
CEBU CITY, Philippines – I stood with my feet planted firmly in the sand, the wind causing my things to sway gently around me, as I tried my best to hold my camera steady. A few steps away, the water was rolling peacefully, a brilliant, striking blue-green.
It was one of Cebu's famous sunny days, and I would spend the day talking with folks who have called this beautiful place home, learning more about where they liked to spend their time when in town.
If one only had 24 hours to explore Cebu, I asked them, what shouldn't they miss?
Peter Delantar, founder, Vinyl Entertainment
First, I spoke to entrepreneur Peter Delantar, the founder of Vinyl Entertainment, an independent concert promoter based in Cebu. Young and full of energy, Pete had been working hard on an event for that evening – the DJ Dirty South was all set to perform at Cebu's trendly LIV Superclub.
But his suggestions for a trip to Cebu were classic activities that travelers shouldn't miss – with a spotlight on the area's nearby beaches and many possibilities for day trips.
A trip to Oslob
Well known for being a popular (but also controversial) destination to view the whale sharks, Oslob is also home to many other beautiful places to visit, including Tumalog Falls.
Stop by Carcar for lechon and chicharon
Rise early on your way to Oslob to drop by the historic city of Carcar for delectable lechon and just-cooked chicharon (pork rinds).
Check out the picture below via Instagram:
Cebu is home to the best and most tastiest lechon in the Philippines, and also adjudged the 'best pig' by Anthony Bourdain. What makes it unique is the stuffing of lemon grass and spices in its cavity, which gives it its nice aroma and tasty meat. The best for me is the lechon in Carcar market. The ultimate Cebuano comfort food. Best with 'pusô' (hanging rice wrapped and cooked in woven palm leaves and shaped like a diamond). #lechon #cebu #carcar #roastedpig #anthonybourdain #bestpigever
Aside from the food, you can also explore old structures built in colonial times (click here for more).
After your Oslob day trip, chances are, you might be hungry again. Peter suggests a trip to No. 9 might be just what you need.
The food scene in Cebu is vibrant and teeming with delectable gems waiting to be discovered by any curious traveler. A peek at No. 9's Instagram reveals a number of original, interesting, and just plain beautiful entrees – including one that's to be launched at Sinulog 2016.
We're launching a new dish this Sinulog weekend! Come by after the street festivities, grab some tapas and cool drinks :-) Mejillones en Escabeche Rojo at No. 9. Bar + Kitchen stays open till midnight. For bookings and reservations, please call (032) 253 9518, or visit us at www.no9restaurant.com. #no9cebu #no9restaurant #cebu #philippines #restaurant #bar #food #spanishfood #tapas #raciónes #platosgrandes #cócteles #sinulogdish
"To me, life without veal stock, pork fat, sausage, organ meat, demi-glace, or even stinky cheese is a life not worth living." - Anthony Bourdain Solomillo de Pulmon at No. 9. Kitchen stays open till midnight. For bookings and reservations, please call (032) 253 9518, or visit us at www.no9restaurant.com. #no9cebu #no9restaurant #cebu #philippines #restaurant #bar #food #spanishfood #steak
See the stars at Tops lookout
During my visit, I kept hearing constantly about Tops – not just from fellow travelers, but also from the locals – and the unforgettable, striking views of the city it offers.
I was not able to visit myself, although Peter's suggestion is at the top of my to-do list for my next visit. These Instagram snaps from various social media users aren't making it any easier to stay away:
Tops Lookout, Cebu. Took a taxi into the mountains, drove for about an hour. When I arrived, the city was under a cloud. I love seeing the big picture in any situation. It helps me orient and position myself better. #Cebu #topslookout #clouds #cloud #mountains #house #philippines #ph #exploreeverything #explore #travel #travels #traveler #wanderlust #instatravel #instagood #instadaily #instalike #sonyalpha #vsco #vscocam #vscogood #vscoph #vscophilippines #sonya6000 #architecture #tourist #itsmorefuninthephilippines #cloudy #city
Anton Aldeguer, owner, Hala! Paella
At 22, Anton Aldeguer is hard at work to make his mark on Cebu's food scene with his first restaurant Hala! Paella, right in the popular Banilad Town Center.
In the bustling, cozy space, surrounded by pans and pans of colorful paella, Anton talked to me about his perfect 24 hours in Cebu – a low-key day spent island-hopping, with a stop at his favorite café.
"With Cebu being uniquely narrowly shaped, everything is pretty much 30 minutes away, so I'd start the day going to the beach, maybe going island-hopping," he says.
Here are just a few gorgeous destinations you can visit via an island-hopping package, as seen on Instagram.
Pandanon Island, Bohol
"I'd end the day going to the mountains in my favorite little spot, Adventure Cafe, where they serve really great hot chocolate – and they have a zipline," says Anton.
Take a look at these snaps of Adventure Cafe from social media:
Meg Eteve, communications director at Movenpick Cebu
Like Anton, for Meg Eteve, a day spent in Balamban is a great way to spend time and bond with friends in Cebu.
Fittingly, I spoke to Meg, the communications director at Cebu's Movenpick resort, at the hotel's swanky Ibiza loft after a scoop of their famous Movenpick ice cream.
For the locals I spoke to, a perfect day in Cebu is about relaxing, making time to linger with laughs and good conversation, as well as the best food.
A quick dip to power up for the day is a great way to start the day, says Meg, who also suggests a trip to the municipality of Balamban, with its majestic mountains and hiking trails. "I'd take a hike, we have beautiful mountains here, there are easy hikes. Bring a picnic, hang out, trek," Meg suggests.
"After which, at the close of the day, I would grab a really yummy Neapolitan pizza at La Nostra Pizzeria," says Meg.
Jan Rodriguez, chef/owner, Ilaputi
Another famous Cebu site, the municipality of Moalboal, is top of the list for Cebu-based Jan Rodriguez, the chef-owner of the fantastic restaurant Ilaputi.
Scanning Moalboal photos on Instagram reveals more of Cebu's stunning marine life – especially well known for the sardine run, where fish in overwhelming numbers swim together, sometimes creating different shapes and patterns.
"Crazy as it sounds, the sardines are found just 10 feet underwater, even snorkelers may enjoy the intense show of epic proportions," writes diver Jun Lao in a previous Rappler story. Jun took the picture above.
And make sure, says Jan, not to miss Tatang's Lechon.
since a lot of parties will be coming up.. and for sure lots of lechon will be served, but lines will be long too... for that, decided to have a lechon overload ahead! sakto ba @iamatimesuspender @incursionist?! #tatangslechon #bonelesslechon #lechonbelly #Lechon #cebu #cebueats #instafood #FuddeeNiXavee
And if you'd like to say hello to Jan and to many other friendly locals, drop by for tasty craft beers and burgers at his own Irie Gastropub.
These are just a few of so many stunning sights promised by a trip to Cebu. What are your fondest memories of Cebu? What's on your bucket list this year? Let us know in the comments below. – Rappler.com
The author traveled to Cebu as part of an Eat and Greet tour to experience Cebu's dining scene and meet local entrepreneurs. The trip was sponsored by Carissa Villacorta Public Relations.