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Get Away to Cebu

Map of Cebu Island

If your idea of a perfect getaway includes walking along white sandy beaches, watching a beautiful sunrise and sunset, swimming and diving with colorful fish, savoring succulent seafood, and shopping for the best bargains ever, Cebu island is the one place where you want to be.

Apart from all the trappings of a perfect rendezvous, this island is also rich with historical heritage. Located strategically at the centre of the Visayan islands, the long narrow island is 365 miles south of Manila or approximately a one-and-a-half hour flight from the Philippines' capital.

A short drive away from Cebu city's urban and industrial areas is a long stretch of white sandy beach and the clear turquoise sea. In fact, no part of Cebu is more than 40 kilometers away from the sea.

Take a few steps into the clear water and you will see beautiful coral beds with fish in various sizes and colors swimming around. And when you turn around, you can't help but notice the mountain range that forms a majestic green backdrop to the city. An escapade to Cebu is not complete without checking out its virgin coral reef and rich marine life. The island is a divers' paradise with sponge-covered submarine walls, colorful corals of all shapes and sizes and schools of aquatic fish.

Exotic marine life Photograph of colorful coral reef

Scientists believe that the triangle formed by the Philippines, peninsular Malaysia, and Papua New Guinea is where most of the Pacific's marine life evolved before they spread out to colonize other oceans. They say this area has the widest variety of marine species in the world! It's simply amazing!

The underwater visibility averages between 15 to 20 meters throughout the year and the water is not that cold, ranging between 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit) in December and January, and warmer at 32 degrees Celsius (89 degrees Fahrenheit) in April and May.

Photograph of marine life

Experienced divers will definitely have a whale of a time, exploring the island's fascinating marine world. Meanwhile, the new ones can join the popular snorkeling and scuba diving "banca" trip to go to popular snorkeling and diving spots around the island.

And don't fret if you don't have any snorkeling and diving equipment with you. The necessary equipment is available for rent at almost all the resorts and motels on the island. There is even an express diving class for those in need of a diving license.

Accommodations have never been a problem on the island. Cebu has a wide variety of beach resorts and motels to meet different budgets and purposes.

Business travelers who like to stay in touch with their offices while on holiday can choose from many world class resorts such as Shangri-La's Mactan Island Resort, Cebu Beach Club, Paradise Mountain Valley and Coral Reef Hotel, to name a few. These resorts offer several facilities with Internet connections and fully-equipped business centers.

The more laid-back travelers who just want to soak up the sun can check into standard hotels while budget travelers may prefer the pension houses, which also provide basic facilities.

Private beaches everywhere

Guests don't have to go far to get their feet into the water, as the white sandy beach is right there at their doorstep. Most of the resorts own private beaches with yachts, boats, surfboards and floats available for rental. Of course, there are also lifeguards (yeah... like those in Baywatch) stationed at the beach towers, ever ready to save lives.

Tired of the sun and the sea? Why not check out the gym or pamper yourself at the massage parlor or spa and get aromatherapy treatment at the resorts? Later, savor the many varieties of seafood - freshly cooked at the resorts' many restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars.

Take it from a Cebuano; the best way to experience Cebu is to be a part of it. So, leave all those urban hang-ups behind and learn a few words of Cebuano to impress the natives and your friends.

However, be careful not to mistake any of the tourists, especially those from neighbouring Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand as Cebuanos, as they all look alike. The only way to tell the difference is when they start to speak. Don't worry too much though, as English is widely spoken here.

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