- Published on Monday, 01 August 2016 09:56
- Written by Saigoneer.
The Philippines’ “Double Your Fun” continues on into the summer, this time featuring the natural jewels of Bohol and the chilled out city of Cebu.
Cebu is not only the Philippine’s original capital, but contains some of the country’s best natural beauty and has long been a multicultural center, even before the arrival of the Spanish in the early 16th century.
Over the past five hundred years, the region, which consists of a main island complimented by 167 smaller islands and islets, has become an important center of trade and tourism, second only to Manila. Known as the “Queen City” of the south, Cebu is a sliver of an island centrally located in the Visayas region, 365 miles south of Manila which can be covered in a short 45 minute flight from the capital. Its international airport on Macatan Island offers direct flights to its ASEAN neighbors, the US, Australia, China, Japan and Korea.
The main island is characterized by its beautiful coastlines, limestone plateaus coastal plains, rolling hills and rugged mountain ranges all of which are easily accessible from the city, especially its white sand beaches. Metropolitan Cebu exudes a refreshing blend of big city life and country living.
Cebu City has plenty to offer those looking for a slower tempo than that of Manila. The city’s main attraction, Magellan's Cross, is reputed to have been planted by its discoverer Ferdinand Magellan when he arrived in the Philippines in 1521, making it one of the oldest European relics in all of Asia.
There are a number of other significant religious tourist spots including Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, and the Cebu Taoist Temple.
And when it comes to shopping, Cebu offers a variety of goods from handcrafted guitars, bags, furnitures, trendy costume jewelries. The Ayala Center, a modern shopping complex, sells both international and local fashion brands.
Cebu is also home to “Butanding” (whaleshark). In the small fishing village in Tan-awa, 30 kms from Oslob, one can swim, snorkel or dive encounter with it. It may be the largest fish in the world at more than 50 feet long but it is actually gentle and people friendly.
While there’s plenty to see in the city, the region’s real draw is its astounding natural beauty. Though there are plenty of diverse options given the area’s geography, there are a few standouts, particularly Bohol. It only takes one hour and a half by ferry to get to Bohol from Cebu City or roughly 30 minutes by air.
A main island surrounded by 75 smaller surrounding ones, Bohol is one of the country’s strongest tourism draws. Panglao Island is something of a mecca for divers across the globe, often listed as one of the top-10 diving locations in the world.
Numerous tourist resorts and dive centers dot the southern beaches. The Philippine tarsier, amongst the world's smallest primates, is indigenous to the island.
The region is also home to the Chocolate Hills, often referred to as the Jewel of the Philippines. They are hills made of limestone left over from coral reefs during the Ice Age when the island was submerged. The 50sq mile area, currently up for inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage list, is home to up to 1,776 hills that turn brown during the summer, earning them their moniker.
There are many local legends about the formation of the hills, most of which attribute their existence to giant beings.
With attractions like these, there’s never been a better time to Double Your Fun in the Philippines.
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