Cebu was featured by National Geographic on its list of 10 places where to backpack for 2016. The list has a number of high-profile travel destinations, including Turkey, Vietnam, New Zealand and Australia. The editors of National Geographic scoured different destinations around the world and considered the Philippines, particularly Cebu, as the “next hot backpacker destination” in Southeast Asia.
Cebu has a lot to offer to backpackers looking for an adventure to remember. Located at the center of the archipelago, Cebu can serve as a jump off point to a number of places around the Visayas area. The island of Cebu itself has a number of beaches offering a number of activities for backpackers from snorkeling, scuba- diving or simply soaking in the sun while lying on pristine white sand.
Mactan Island is home to a number of great beaches, from high-end hotels to smaller resorts. These establishments offer a number of water activities, including kayaking, snorkeling, banana boat rides and parasailing, among others.
For backpackers who are in town for scuba-diving, they can head off to the northern island of Malapascua or down south to Moalboal. On the other hand, Bantayan Island in the north has a number of resorts offering a relaxing environment to ease the aches from traveling. Backpackers can also try their hand at canyoneering that traverses Alegria and Badian in the south. Another activity backpackers can look forward to is whale shark watching in Oslob, which is located in the southern part of the island of Cebu.
Since Cebu is right smack in the middle of the Visayas area, it also serves as a jump-off point to other islands in the area. Mount Kanlaon National Park, located on Negros Island, is one of the highest peaks in the country. The island is located to the west of the island of Cebu. Another option is the island of Panglao in Bohol, which is located to the east of Cebu. Similar to Mactan Island, Panglao hosts a number of beach resorts backpackers may want to consider visiting.
Getting To Cebu
A number of airlines offer direct international flights to Cebu, including Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and Silk Air. Another option is passing through the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and catching another flight to the Mactan-Cebu International Airport. From Cebu, passenger and vehicle ferries can bring backpackers to different islands in the Visayas area.
Getting Around Cebu
Since Cebu is a highly-urbanized city, it has a number of options when it comes to traveling by land. Taxis and jeepneys are available for short distance travel while buses can be used for longer distances. Motorized bancas are used in ferrying passengers for short trips by water.
Lodging In Cebu
There are a number of hotels and pension houses that can easily fit the budget of any backpacker. For backpackers who want to stay close to the nightlife in the Lahug area of Cebu City, they can opt to stay at the Metro Park Hotel along La Guardia St., Lahug. Another option is Red Planet, which is right in front of a major mall in the city. The Pensionne La Florentina is another alternative for backpackers who want a quiet place to stay in for the night. The Escario Central Hotel is an affordable boutique hotel backpackers may want to take into account when they want to visit Cebu.
Dining In Cebu
One thing backpackers should not miss eating is the Cebu lechon or the roasted suckling pig from Cebu that was made famous by renowned chef and host Anthony Bourdain. There are a number of restaurants specializing in this delectable dish, including Rico’s Lechon, Zubuchon, CnT Lechon and Ayers Lechon, among others. The Lighthouse Restaurant along General Maxilom Avenue, formerly Mango Avenue, is one place to visit for good Cebuano food. Backpackers should also not miss tasting a number of Cebuano delicacies, including the Peanut Browas, dried mangoes, masareal, otap, rosquillos and chicharon.
Other Things To Do In Cebu
Cebu is home to the oldest street, Colon Street, and the oldest Spanish fort, Fort San Pedro, in the archipelago. It also has a number of historical and cultural sites backpackers may want to visit to immerse themselves in the Cebuano culture. A good number of these sites are within walking distance to each other, making it possible to see them within one day.
Lola Pureza's Peanut Browas, a taste of old Cebu.
Available in leading supermarkets and pasalubong shops.