Cebu’s top spots for a special occasion
By Yan Baring
CEBU is a certified tourist destination. You can go north, south, or west, head to the mountains, or jump to another island and you will see visitors – local or foreign – enjoying everything Cebu has to offer.
It’s stature as a traveler’s haven, though, received further validation after six Cebu towns made it to a recent Department of Tourism list naming the Top 10 major tourist destinations in the Central Visayas. Those that made it in the Municipal Category list — including a couple of usrprise entries — are San Remigio (No. 2), Sta. Fe (No. 3), Minglanilla (No.4), Moalboal (No.6), Cordova (No.8), and Medellin (No. 10).
And in case you haven’t made concrete plans for Mother’s Day yet – that’s today, yes – well, you can always head straight to one of these six destinations nearest you. Besides, the world’s number one mom deserves only the best, right? To help you out, here’s a quick guide of Cebu’s best destinations:
San Remigio is a sleepy town up north 109 kilometers away from the Capital. But throw in a white beach, blue skies and warm hospitality and you get a perfect Mother’s Day getaway from all the noise in the city. And this is why it is No.2 in the list next to Panglao Island in Bohol.
One thing that draws people to San Remigio? The beach, which happens to have the longest shoreline in the entire island of Cebu. The white, sugary beach stretching out for miles behind blue skies in this coastal town, it’s a scene right out of a postcard.
Visitors could choose from eight resorts, but they could always opt to enjoy the public beaches there. One resort offers scuba diving to beginners and advanced divers as San Remigio has protected marine sanctuaries in the Tañon Strait, which is home to sharks, barracudas, turtles and manta rays.
Sta. Fe is a Cebu municipality in the island of Bantayan. It’s major tourist draw is nothing less than its long stretch of pristine white sand beaches, something any mom will surely enjoy, even if she’s been there a number of times. If mom is the outdoorsy type, then there are also little islets you could visit off of Bantayan namely Kinatarcan, Hilantagaan and Hilantagaan Diot.
Fishing is a major source of income for Sta. Fe but so is tourism as visitors come in droves to enjoy the beaches.
For a lot of Cebuanos, Minglanilla is just a town next to Talisay that gives bad traffic a whole new meaning. But it is more than that. And – surprise, surprise — it made No. 4 in the list. Minglanilla is a town just 15 kilometers away from Cebu City. The town’s major attraction is the Kabanhawan Festival, which Catholic devotees flock to during Easter Sunday.
The festival, which makes Minglanilla the Sugat Capital of the South, is the culmination of the Holy Week celebration. Sugat, which translates to “meeting,” is the reenactment of the meeting of the risen Christ and Mother Mary.
But Minglanilla has more to offer: cooling down at a couple of resorts with free-flowing spring water pools (perfect for mom’s chill time), trekking in the reforestation site Camp 7, and for the more adventurous, exploring the White Caves or bouldering at the many impressive rock formations.
This town is about two hours Southwest of Cebu and it is home to the region’s top dive spot — Pescador Island. Easily accessible by boat, tourists go scuba diving here. Visitors can also snorkel, free dive and swim with turtles and sardines or simply enjoy the biodiversity of the world under the clear blue waters. It is said to be home to 2,500 species of fish. If diving is not your cup of tea, you can simply spend Mother’s Day by the beach, as Moalboal also boasts of awesome beaches.
People say island hopping in Mactan and they think the marine sanctuaries are part of Lapu-Lapu City. This is a common misconception as the well-known Gilutungan and Nalusuan Marine Sanctuaries are actually part of Cordova. Cordova, a municipality south of Mactan Island, is so small that people think it is part of Lapu-Lapu City.
With its proximity, Cordova makes for a nice place to celebrate Mother’s Day. Aside from the island hopping, Cordova also has several beach resorts such the Cordova Reef Resort. But for those on a tighter budget, Cordova also has clean public beaches with white sands.
Another thing that has people from the mainland travel all the way to Cordova to is food. Lantaw Seafood and Grill has a long waiting line every night of patrons wanting to not just eat good Pinoy food but also enjoy a good sunset and the sea breeze. And did I mention the bakasi? This local delicacy draws people to Cordova.
Medellin is a three-hour bus ride North of Cebu City and you might think Funtastic Island is the only thing this Northern town has to offer.
Gibitngil Island, or more popularly known as Funtastic Island, is a resort of colorful cottages built on top of rocks off the coast of Medellin, perfect for some vibrant bonding time with mom. The waters are clear and the marine life very much alive. The island also hides an unspoiled beach, which is perfect for adventure seekers as they can jump off cliffs to the deep sea below.
One can also go scuba diving at the Discovery Reef east of Medellin or do river cruising and water sports like jetski and kayak in Dagusungan River.
Out of the water, one can also satisfy their bold spirits in the Tarzan Jump and ziplines.