Cebu Island, together with 167 surrounding islands is an important and well-developed province in the Philippines. About 140 miles long and very narrow, there are fabulous beaches along the coastline, while the interior features rugged mountainous terrain to the north and south, the highest of which stretch more than a half mile into the sky and flat plains in the northern region near the city of Bogo.
Sumilon Island in Cebu
The provincial capital is the oldest city in the Philippines, Cebu City; it is accessible to visitors via the busy Mactan Cebu International Airport, the second busiest airport in the Philippines.
Cebu City is an important port and hub for shipping in the Visayan Islands, the central region of the Philippines lying between Luzon in the north and Mindanao in the south. Portuguese explorer, Ferdinand Magellan, visited Cebu in 1521 and died there during a battle with natives of nearby Mactan Island that same year. Cebu City is the oldest Spanish settlement in the islands. With many historic locations to explore and a significant cultural heritage to enjoy, the white sandy beaches and the opportunities for diving also charm visitors. As a fast-growing city, it is easy to find cheap hotels in Cebu and to enjoy the fine local cuisine.
Among the important Spanish colonial buildings are Magellan’s Cross, the Basilica Minore del Santo Nino and Casa Gorordo Museum. In what is an increasingly sophisticated urban city, the shopping at Ayao Center Cebu is excellent and the nightlife increasingly focuses on music. One of the Philippines’ largest annual Reggae festivals is held in Cebu and the extensive sports complex plays host to festivals as well as sports events.
There is a significant Chinese community in the city and the glorious Cebu Taoist Temple sits high up in the hills, almost 1,000 feet above sea level, overlooking the city. It attracts both local worshippers and visitors. With a unique central location, yet tucked away among the hills and shrouded by other islands, Cebu has become something of a secret haven for vacationers.
Cebu Hidden Paradise Mountain Resort
There are a number of local resorts to stay in that are easy to reach from downtown Cebu; however, an interesting alternative is located a little over 15 miles away, deep in the San Fernando Mountains, called the Hidden Paradise Mountain Resort. This idyllic spot is scarcely signposted and is a little over three miles from the main highway, so many people hire a car or local tricycles to get there; once there all the cares of everyday life slip away.
The scenery is breathtaking and the resort offers lots of opportunities to relax in one of its four sparkling swimming pools with their spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. In addition to fishing, more energetic activities are also available, including zip-lining into the pool, recommended for those who are capable swimmers; negotiating the ‘monkey bridge’ and the ‘cobweb’ and trekking in the mountains. Indoor facilities include billiards and karaoke sessions. The proximity to nature and the peacefulness of the environment really do make Cebu a hidden paradise.
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