Check out Cebu, Queen City of the South. It is hailed as the sixth most beautiful island on planet earth.
Another one of the Visayan beauties, it offers more than just beaches to sooth the soul and ground the spirit. It’s a bastion of adventure and entertainment perfect for adrenaline junkies.
Cebu is an art deco, museum and nature park all mashed up. Fifteenth century relics are preserved and progressive modernization stays affront, linked together by the very people who walk its ground. You’ll find archaic Philippine heirlooms like the Magellan’s Cross, yet in same region lies the biggest mall in the nation. The juxtaposition of old and new is what makes the Queen City of the South astounding.
Touring the City was like stepping into my 5th grade history book. Magellan’s Cross was among our first stops. It dates back to 15th century, (1521 to be exact) when Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan first discovered a group of islands. Fun fact: Ferdinand Magellan was actually Portuguese but he sailed in honor of the Spanish because the King of Spain was the one who granted him resources. He was denied by his own king.
One of the oldest forts in the nation, Fort San Pedro, still stands in Cebu.
Tombs of Queens around the world are honored but what of commoners? Witness the undying love of a husband to his wife when you visit the Temple of Leah. It’s like the Taj Mahal of the Philippines. It serves as a lavish memorial to the life of Leah.
Cap the night off with a dinner overlooking the whole City at Langkaw. They serve sumptuous Filipino food. The people visit the place for the view but they definitely come back for the food.
Talking about food, DO NOT MISS CEBU LECHON. It’s the icon of Cebuano Cuisine. A trip to Cebu is never a trip to Cebu without it. Try Zubuchon or Rico’s. Try both. Yes. I could not stress that too much. Try both.
Perhaps, another foodie’s haven would be the pink-lit corner of La Vienne. It’s the only French restaurant I’ve been to but I’m very much impressed. Perhaps France will be too. The feel of the place is pretty special, ideal for dates and long talks over wine and croissants.
A neighboring town of Cebu is Oslob. It is home to a few places and encounters one should never miss out on. Probably the highlight of the entire Cebu trip was a thirty minute encounter with a gentle giant, the whale shark. It was surreal to be swimming beside them, for a second, I thought we were equals. Well, perhaps we are- curious but not overbearing and just minding our business. This attraction is shrouded by controversy but I would leave it to you guys to decide on it.
Sumilon Island was a fifteen minute boat ride from the shores of Oslob. It’s famous for its white sands that comes with, wait for it, a sandbar.
Another favorite of mine was a little piece of paradise tucked into one corner of Oslob, the Kawasan Falls. It’s freezing waters were unbelievably the color torquiose. A 20-minute hike is to be taken before you reach the falls.
So yeah, check out Cebu!
Warning: you might overshoot your budget.