Re/Discovering Cebu, one story at a time

Author: engkanta

Hale Manna: House of Good Energy

Nature never travels in a straight line and at Hale Manna, which is Hawaiian for House of Good Energy, great pains are taken to ensure that this natural order of…

Hale Manna shore

Nature never travels in a straight line and at Hale Manna, which is Hawaiian for House of Good Energy, great pains are taken to ensure that this natural order of things is followed.

The ground is uneven and rocky and trees are planted to match this terrain, steps are carved from rocks to serve as pathways around the 2.8-hectare property and to the seashore, and wild flowers are allowed to grow in abundance.

Walkways at the Hale Manna Beach Resort and Coastal Gardens in Moalboal, Cebu follow a winding course, and its owner Rebecca Pestano-Smith, a permaculture enthusiast, said this is in keeping with nature’s ways.
“A seawall is the sea’s natural enemy. A wave has a lot of energy and when it makes contact with the seawall, the surrounding environment will suffer from the force it brings,” she said, to explain the scouring of the sand in some areas where structures have been built so near the sea.

She explained that permaculture is a discipline that encourages ecological sustainability in human actions, and she brings it to her resort by building into the existing environment as well as through her rainwater catchment, herb and vegetable gardens, and composting methods.

Smith, whose work in coastal resource management with USAID brought her to live in Hawaii for several years, said she was impressed by how this US state took care of its lifeblood that is the sea and wanted to do something similar in her home province Cebu.

Hale Manna gardens and grounds

She bought the coastal property in Moalboal sometime in 1995 but only opened her resort in February this year.

Gift from heaven

The Hale Manna house is huge, sprawling, and open. Sunlight streams in and the breeze flows through. The seven rooms of various sizes are large and airy, and cool even without the air-conditioning turned on.

All the rooms have access to a common or private veranda with a view of the nearby gardens and, farther away, the sea’s blue vastness.

The wide receiving area at the ground floor is designed so that a guest can choose to read in solitude or be with others talking or playing board games.

Open cottages, hammocks, and seats are placed strategically near the sea, and the sound it makes as it breaks against the shore is all you hear.

Two cottages nearest the sea have beds and Smith said some guests choose to sleep there where there is no better lullaby than the sea’s strange song.

So that the resort will have access to the sea, Smith has carved steps from the rocks leading down to it in at least three parts of the property.

The main steps are wide and lead to the main beach while the two other stairways go down to private coves sheltered by trees. Smith’s favourite spot is a place near the farthest cove, where she sees only the sea and hears only the surf, and it is there where she is truly one with the world.

Smith said the two letters “n” in the word manna means gift and manna is from heaven and this place in faraway Moalboal is a gift from heaven, and it is easy to see why.

Floating raft

Because of its well-kept corals and wide variety of marine life, the Moalboal sea has gained a reputation as a scuba diver’s paradise but diving does have its stringent requirements.

The next best thing would be to snorkel there and Hale Manna makes this easy by providing its services and equipment for free when you check in at the resort.

Some 500 meters away from the shoreline is Hale Manna’s floating raft, which is anchored at the boundary where the sea’s eight feet-deep bottom gives way to the blue nothingness that divers call the wall because the descent is sudden and steep.

The raft is tied by rope to a huge concrete slab in the bottom of the shallows.

Hale Manna brings guests to this raft using its kayak and while they snorkel in the area, two experienced swimmers serve as lifeguards. The resort provides life vests and snorkelling equipment.

What guests can see underwater are corals in various forms as well as schools of fish in every conceivable color.

Out of the sea, Hale Manna also has a billiards table for those who wish a crack at the game.

Rooms, food rates

The months from December to June are peak season and rooms at Hale Manna range from P3,800 for the four superior rooms that can fit in up to four people and P4,800 for the largest family room that can accommodate up to seven guests.

The superior room is only P3,040 while the biggest family room is just P3,840 during non-peak months.

Buffet breakfast is priced at P180 to P250 per person while lunch and dinner cost from P250 to P385 per guest depending on the menu.

Smith said guests can book the entire resort for exclusive events. They will need to pay for all the rooms and there is a small charge for the garden.

Hale Manna is full on most weekends and can host wedding receptions or, in the case of divers Mitch Dumlao and Sarah Laigo, a venue for a proposal.

The resort has a regular staff of 10 people, who are all from Moalboal, and eight others who are on call, added Smith, who also owns Handuraw along Gorordo in Cebu City.

She said she plans to hold cultural activities in the resort and bring in local bands to play in events like full moon parties.

Publicity-wise, Smith said she is only relying on the resort website www.halemanna.com and online social networks like Facebook as well as through word of mouth.

This is probably why Hale Manna is not as well known as other resorts in the town, but in terms of facilities and amenities it certainly is among the best.

Hale Manna location map

[wp_geo_map]

1 Comment on Hale Manna: House of Good Energy

Cebu’s selection of white sand beaches

Cebu beaches are known for their fine white sand and clear waters. Being in the center of a long and narrow island that is 200 kilometers long and nowhere exceeding…

Cebu beaches are known for their fine white sand and clear waters. Being in the center of a long and narrow island that is 200 kilometers long and nowhere exceeding 40 kilometers in width, Cebu City is half an hour to a few hours away from white sand beaches, long coastlines, beautiful resorts, and paradise islands.

This is one of the reasons why the city is in every tourist’s list of top destinations. Another Cebu to do activity is take a heritage tour of centuries-old churches and Spanish period churches.

The island of Cebu is blessed with rich marine resources and fine beaches, and tourists, both local and foreign, make time to visit Cebu and explore its natural wonders.

A trip without a visit to world-class Cebu beaches with their beautiful sunsets and panoramic views is incomplete.

From Cebu City, the nearest white sand beaches are those in the smaller island of Mactan to the east. The airport is located in Mactan, under the territorial jurisdiction of Lapu-Lapu City.

Mactan Cebu beaches

Going to Mactan Island is easy as two bridges connect it to mainland Cebu — the Mandaue-Mactan Bridge and Marcelo B. Fernan Bridge. Mactan Island consists of Lapu-Lapu City and Cordova town.

From the city, Mactan is about 45 minutes to an hour drive. Most Mactan, Cebu beaches are just 15 to 30 minutes ride away from the Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

To get here, one option is to take a taxi. The flag down rate is P40.00 (temporarily set at P30, but you have to ask the driver to subtract P10 from your actual fare) and taxis are widely available anywhere in the city as well as in the island. Resorts usually offer shuttle transfers to their guests. You may arrange for airport pick-ups or drop-offs. There are also shuttle services going to and from the malls in Cebu City for a fee.

Be Resorts Mactan

Be Resorts in Mactan Island.

Be Resorts

True to its tagline “Beyond the Expected,” guests here will surely get the relaxation they deserve. An Infinity Pool that is four feet deep immediately creates a calm mood. The Jacuzzi Pool is also hard to resist, especially for those who need to break free from their daily routine in office or at home. Situated on Punta Engaño Road, the resort has unique names for their accommodations — Be Cool, Be Chic, and Be Classy. If you do visit Be Resorts, make sure you try its boodle dining package: to know more about it, read our story: Be Resorts Mactan introduces Boodle on the Boat.
Contact: +63-32-2368888 (tap on number to call on your phone) or email: [email protected] (tap on email address to send a message)
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/beresorts.mactan
Website: www.beresorts.com

Shangri-La’s Mactan Island Resort and Spa

This resort located in Punta Engaño, Lapu-Lapu City offers its guests a vacation in luxury. The garden view appeals to nature lovers and is an ideal place for travelers. Considered as a premier resort in Mactan island, Shangri-La’s Mactan Island Resort and Spa boasts of a large spa and various restaurants.
Contact: +63-32-2310288
Website: www.shangri-la.com

Plantation Bay Resort and Spa

Saltwater lagoons and freshwater pools distinguish Plantation Bay Resort and Spa from the others. With its colonial plantation architecture, guests will surely enjoy the amenities of the resort. Here, athletic tourists could not resist their wall climbing facility while health conscious guests would love their fitness center plus the spa at their Mogambo Springs. The resort lies in an 11.4-hectare lot in Marigondon, Lapu-Lapu City.
Contact: +6332 505 9800 or email: [email protected]
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/plantationbayresortandspa
Website: www.plantationbay.com

Maribago Bluewater Beach Resort

Other than being known for its bungalow type of accommodation, Maribago Bluewater Beach Resort has become a favorite venue for weddings. Couples who are fond of the beach often choose to hold the reception in its 1.1 hectare man-made island dubbed Alegrado Island. Kids also are attracted to visit the place and have an encounter with the mascot Dolpo, a dolphin. This 158-room resort is located in Maribago, Lapu-Lapu City.
Contact: +6332-2345411 or +6332-4920100
Website: www.bluewater.com.ph

Jpark Island Resort and Waterpark

If you talk about water fun, this resort is definitely the best place to go. Located on ML Quezon National Highway, Maribago, Lapu-Lapu City, it offers a one of a kind Waterpark and Slides. Imperial Palace Waterpark Resort and Spa features themed pools namely Amazon River Pool (with inflatable tubes), Wave Rider, Beach Pool, Captain Hook’s Pool, and the Toddler Pool.
Contact: +6332-2361367
Website: www.jparkislandresort.com

Mactan Blue Reef Resort

Value for money is what best describes this resort in Tongo, Marigondon, Lapu-Lapu City. For only an entrance fee of P50.00, one can get a nice dip in the beach. The resort is a perfect option for those who are looking for an affordable get together. You are allowed to bring in food and the cottages are for rent at reasonable costs.
Contact: +6332 4942644 or +6332 4942911 or email [email protected]

Other resorts and accommodations in Mactan Island:

Cebu Beach Club

Location: Pag-utlan, Maribago, Lapu-Lapu City
Contact: +6332-4921888

Costabella Tropical Beach Hotel

Location: Buyong, Maribago, Lapu-Lapu City
Contact: +6332-2314244
Website: www.costabellaresort.com

Cebu White Sands

Location: Looc, Maribago, Lapu-Lapu City
Contact: +6332-268 9000 or +6332-4952222
Website: www.whitesands.com.ph

Cordova Reef Village Resort

Location: Poblacion, Cordova
Contact: +6332 238 1878 or +6332 496 8050
Website: www.cordovareef.com

Crimson Resort and Spa

Location: Mactan Island, Lapu-Lapu City
Contact: +6332 239 3900 or email [email protected]
Website: www.crimsonhotel.com/mactan/

Alta Cebu Resort and Convention Center

Location: Tugbungan, Pilipog, Cordova
Contact: +6332-496-7812 or +6332-496-7399 or email [email protected]
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/AltaCebuResort

Pacific Cebu Resort

Location: Suba Basbas, Marigondon, Lapu-Lapu City
Contact: +6332-3405982

Farther away from Cebu City are unspoiled beaches with fine sand and cool waters, but they take travel time of two to three hours or more.

Southern Cebu beaches

Down south, you will discover hidden paradise in the towns of Boljoon, Santander, Alegria, and Moalboal.

Exploring southern Cebu is easy even for those who do not have cars. You may take buses at the Cebu South Bus Terminal along N. Bacalso Avenue in Cebu City to destinations in the south. There are also van-for-hires available at the Citilink, also on N. Bacalso Ave., and Ayala Terminal.

Lambug Beach Badian

Lambug beach in Badian is among the best in Cebu.

Lambug Beach

For years, this secluded public beach with its long stretch of fine white sand in Badian was deemed a secret among regulars loathed to share it with others lest the rush of crowd ruin its pristine state. Lambug offers one of the best and cleanest beaches in Cebu. It is a three-hour drive from Cebu City.

If you take public transport, you can ride a bus to the town of Badian and hire a tricycle or a motorcycle to get to the place. There are several resorts in Lambug where you can stay. You can also choose to rent or bring or your own tent and pitch on the beachfront. To know more about Lambug, read our article: Lambug Beach in Badian offers perfect, peaceful getaway

Cebu Club Fort Med

This resort in Boljoon is very accessible to tourists as it is located on the highway. From Cebu City, this town is about three hours away.

Coming here is not too expensive as you can either stay for a night or just spend the whole day there enjoying the beach. They have open cottages for rent both for day use and overnight stays. They also have a pool for those who wish not to take a splash in the beach.

Snorkeling and diving are two of the best things to do while here in the resort. Since Boljoon is known for its heritage sites, they also offer Church visits for guests.
Contact: +63 932 8567880 or (+6332) 482 9050 or email [email protected]
Website: www.cebuclubfortmed.com

Club FortMed Boljoon

Club FortMed in Boljoon.

Eden’s Resort

With only 10 rooms, guests in this resort located in Liloan, Santander are assured of private leisure. The place is perfect for honeymooners and in fact is best described as couples’ retreat.

Guests here will surely love the sea view from the room. The resort has spacious and big rooms.

What is nice as well is they offer hassle-free package and room-only rates. If you wish to take a vacation without worrying too much about other details, their all-inclusive rate best suits you as it comes with meals and leisure activities already. Among the things to do here are ocean kayaking, mountain biking, motor cycling, snorkeling and many others.

From Cebu City, Santander is approximately a three-hour drive. Buses stationed at the South Bus Terminal will take you to this town.

As additional tip, you may board a fast craft or motorized banca from Santander going to Sibulan, Negros Oriental. Sibulan is about 15 to 20 minutes away from Dumaguete City.
Contact number: +6332-4809321
Website: www.eden.ph

Costa de Leticia Resort and Spa

Once a quiet town in the south, Alegria is now becoming an option for tourists and honeymooners as this resort features an inviting 10 x 20 meters infinity pool.

Other than swimming, guests could take a waterfalls tour, go hiking and feel relaxed staying at their spacious accommodations. Also, busy professionals would not worry about their responsibilities even while in vacation as the resort has wifi connection.

The town of Alegria, via the Barili route, is about three hours travel time from Cebu City.
Contact: +6332-4767040 or call manager Clyde +63949 4013528 or email [email protected]

Website: www.costadeleticia.com

Hale Manna

True to its name that means House of Good Energy, the owner of this resort believes and put into practice permaculture — a way of producing food and energy without depleting the earth’s gift of nature.

Offering only seven rooms, this resort in Barangay Saavedra in Moalboal is perfect for family reunions, team buildings, and other intimate gatherings.

The town of Moalboal is known for its white sand beach and considered as one of the top diving spots in the island. From Cebu City, it is between two to three hours drive. Know more about Hale Manna by reading our article here: Hale Manna: House of Good Energy
Contact: (+63) 922 842-4939 or (+6332) 316 2603 or email [email protected]
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/halemanna
Website: http://www.halemanna.com

Basdako or White Beach

This one’s a favorite among beach campers and the Holy Week crowd. Basdako or the White Beach is located in Barangay Saavedra, Moalboal. It is a public beach with cheap lodgings and, further away, exclusive resorts. You can also rent tents for camping out on the beach. To read more about Basdako, go to our article: Camping out on Basdako beach in Moalboal.

Basdako or White Beach in Moalboal.

Basdako or White Beach in Moalboal.

Other resorts and accommodations in Southern Cebu:

Kalumpang Beach Resort

Location: Highway, Looc, Poblacion, Argao, Cebu
Contact: +6332-3677505

Ocean Bay Resort

Location: Guiwanon, Poblacion, Dalaguete
Contact: +63-32-4848003 or email [email protected]
Website: www.oceanbaybeachresort.com

Bodo’s Bamboo Bar Resort

Location: Pasol, Alcoy
Contact: +6332-483 9119 or +6332-483 5522
Website: www.bbb-alcoy.com

Lusapan Resort

Location: South Road, Lusapan, Boljoon
Contact: +6332 482 9077

Lubi Resort

Location: Poblacion, Santander
Contact: +6332 480 9038 or +6332 480 9025

Club Serena Beach Resort

Location: White Beach, Saavedra, Moalboal
Contact: +63 928 507 2026 or +63 920 927 2939 or email [email protected]
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/clubserenaresort
Website: www.clubserenaresort.com

Dolphin House

Location: Saavedra, Moalboal
Contact: +63 916 321 6533 or +63 921 635 2198
Website: www.moalboal.de/moalboal/

HK Beach Resort

Location: Basdaku, Moalboal
Contact: +63919 4766385

Sampaguita Beach Resort

Location: Tonggo Basdiot, Moalboal
Contact: +6332 4740066 or email [email protected]
Website: www.sampaguitaresort.com

Savedra Beach Resort

Location: Panagsama Beach, Moalboal
Contact number: +6332 4740014

North Cebu beaches

North of Cebu, there are resorts to visit as well, such as those in Danao, Sogod, and San Remigio.

Buses going to the towns in the northern part of the province are stationed at the North Bus Terminal in Subangdaku, Mandaue City.

Those who want to enjoy the famous Bantayan and Malapascua islands need to ply the northern route and take a boat ride from the Hagnaya Port and Maya Wharf, respectively.

El Salvador Beach Resort

Located just along the national highway, this resort in Danao is easy to find.

It offers 39 accommodation units and has facilities such as the Elsa Spa, a lagoon swimming pool with waterfalls and outdoor jacuzzi, Coco restaurant, and Buddy’s KTV.

For athletic travelers, it has a fitness gym and volleyball court. Internet access is available to guests, thus busy professionals need not worry coming here.

Contact: +63923 145 5613 or +6332 514 4672 or +6332 516 2252
Website: www.elsalvadorresort.com

Coco Palms Resort Danao

Also in Danao, this resort is the best place to go for a great water fun. With an entrance fee of P150.00 per adult, P75.00 for kids age 7 to 11 years old, you would surely experience an adventurous day under the sun.

Not only they have the beach and the pool, they also have a waterpark that provides four inflatables for guests to enjoy. It is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the rate is an affordable P100.00 per person. The pool, on the other hand, is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

And if you feel that one day is not enough, it has accommodation units for overnight stays.
Contact: +63932 855 4625 or +6332 514 5767 or email [email protected]
Website: www.danaococopalms.com

San Remigio Beach Club Sports and Leisure Resort

This resort located in San Remigio is an answer to those who are looking for a good venue to hold reunions, birthdays, and weddings. Its Sea Pool Party Area is very spacious and perfect for luau parties.

One nice thing here is that it offers various packages for groups. Among these are Group Tour Package, Day Tour Package, Side Trip Package and many more.

For transportation, it has coaster and van service that is very convenient for groups. Other option is to take a bus that costs only P120.00 per person. From the city, the town of San Remigio is three hours travel time.

Contact: (Cebu City office) +6332 231 0382 or +6332 422 4070 or (resort) +6332 516 0630
Website: www.sanremigiobeachclub.com.ph

Other Resorts and Accommodations in Northern Cebu:

Casa Del Mar Resort Hotel

Location: Barangay Bancasan, San Remigio
Contact: +6332 236 3403
Website: www.casadelmar-golfresort.com

Villa Meling

Location: Agoju, Daanbantayan
Contact: +6332 437 8691

Las Flores

Location: Flores, Catmon
Contact: +63919 638 8248 or +6332 430 9390 or email [email protected]
Website: www.lasflorescebu.com

Intosan Resort

Location: Taboc, Danao City
Contact: +63917 6294972 or +6332 516 7393 or +6332 253 3757
Website: www.intosanresort.com

Nailon Beach Resort

Location: Lovers Lane Road, Nailon, Bogo
Contact: +6332 253 9941 or +6332 251 2328

Midwest Cebu beaches

Midwest Cebu beaches are comparable to other destinations in the Cebu island and the resorts here are equally worth your travel.

Six towns and one city make up the midwest part of the province — Balamban, Tuburan, Tabuelan, Asturias, Pinamungajan, Aloguinsan, and Toledo City.

To get here, there are vans-for-hire from the CitiLink Terminal or take buses at the South Bus Terminal in N. Bacalso Avenue in Cebu City.

Durhan White Beach Resort

With a minimal entrance rate of P20.00 per person, you will enjoy this little paradise in Tabunok, Tabuelan that boasts of fine white sand beach. The place is fit for barkadas and family gatherings.

It has rooms that could accommodate two to eight persons. Also, it offers big tents for 20 persons and small tent for 15 persons. It both has air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned rooms.

Very native, the resort’s cottage has nipa roof. And you will be able to cook your own food there as there are gas stoves and a refrigerator. The town of Tabuelan, from the city, is about three hours travel time.
Contact: +63932 6070935 or +6332 461 9318 or +6332 514 6180 or email [email protected]
Website: www.durhanwhitebeach.com

Tauhai Garden Beach Resort and Spa

A retirement home open to tourists, this resort in the boundary of Toledo City and Pinamungajan town is true to its name that means serene, relaxing, and peaceful which are the translations for the Cebuano term “tawhay”.

A cottage-on-a-pond could accommodate more than 40 guests. It also offers air-conditioned rooms fit for families and barkadas. This would be a perfect venue as well for special occasions.

For guests coming from the airport, the resort provides shuttle service but for a minimum number of five passengers. From the city, the area is less than two hours drive.

There are boat trips in Toledo City going to San Carlos in Negros Occidental, thus while enjoying the resort you might want to consider a side trip to the neighboring province.
Contact: +63999 8816049 or +63917 8589179 or email [email protected]
Facebook page: facebook.com/pages/Tauhai-Garden-Beach-Resort-Spa/182677281770989
Website: www.wix.com/jncavada/tauhaigardenbeachresort

Other Resorts and Accommodations in Midwest Cebu:

Park Place Beach Resort

Location: Tajao, Pinamungajan
Contact number: +6332 468 8155

Maravilla Beach Club

Location: Can-ambay, Maravilla, Tabuelan
Contact: +63947 8907974 or +63920 6722749 or email [email protected]
Website: www.maravillabeachclub.com

4 Comments on Cebu’s selection of white sand beaches

Centuries-old churches in southern Cebu

Centuries-old churches of various architectural influences that were built during the Spanish occupation of Cebu can be found along the entire stretch of the mainland and even in satellite islands….

Santa Catalina de Alejandria Parish Church in Carcar. Construction of this structure started in 1860 and was finished in 1875.

Centuries-old churches of various architectural influences that were built during the Spanish occupation of Cebu can be found along the entire stretch of the mainland and even in satellite islands. A trip down Cebu’s southern part is a glimpse into the religious aspect of Spain’s influence on Cebuano heritage.

Spanish period churches in souther towns and cities:

1.
Sta. Teresa de Avila Parish Church in Talisay City

• Church construction started in 1836 and was completed in 1848, roof was replaced in 1877 after it was destroyed by a typhoon
• Located at the city center, near the old City Hall

The structure bears influences of Greek and Roman architectural styles in the use of Doric columns to support a second floor balcony that serves as an awning shielding the entrance and in the arches used on the massive domed-roof belfries flanking a recessed facade.

1 Comment on Centuries-old churches in southern Cebu

Cebu City’s heritage of churches

Cebu is an architectural feast of Spanish period churches in the styles of late Baroque, neoclassical, Greco-Roman, and Gothic or a combination of their elements. The Augustinians came with Spanish…

A typical afternoon at the Basilica del Sto. Nino church.

Cebu is an architectural feast of Spanish period churches in the styles of late Baroque, neoclassical, Greco-Roman, and Gothic or a combination of their elements.

The Augustinians came with Spanish conqueror Miguel Lopez de Legazpi to the Philippines through Cebu in 1565 and zealously went about converting people to Christianity.

Proof of their fervour is the churches of coral slabs and ornate retablos or altars, which were as much fortresses as they were places of worship, that can be found all throughout Cebu.

Common in many are massive belfries, minaret-like domes, arched portals, triangular pediments, facades with bas reliefs and intricate carvings, and painted ceilings.

2 Comments on Cebu City’s heritage of churches

Marian devotees flock to Mary’s shrine in Simala, Cebu

A popular pilgrimage destination of Marian devotees in Cebu is Mary’s shrine in the village of Simala in Sibonga. The shrine is located inside an imposing and huge 3-level concrete…

Sanctuary Castle of Mary in the village of Simala in Sibonga. The Virgin Mary's shrine is a pilgrimage center of Marian devotees. Click on photo to enlarge. (PHOTO BY MARLEN LIMPAG)

A popular pilgrimage destination of Marian devotees in Cebu is Mary’s shrine in the village of Simala in Sibonga.

The shrine is located inside an imposing and huge 3-level concrete structure that Fra. Ma. Martin call as Sanctuary Castle of Mama Mary, which also houses the Monastery of the Holy Eucharist Church.

Fra. Ma. Martin, one of the Marian monk caretakers of the shrine, said they started their mission in Simala in 1996, but pilgrims started flocking in large numbers to Mary’s shrine beginning in 2005. This was mainly due to what has been reported as miraculous incidents involving the Virgin’s image that was said to have cried tears.

Mary’s shrine occupy a big portion of the castle. Pilgrims line up and wait for their turn to address their prayers and petitions to what they consider miraculous images of Mary in the shrine.

Inside Mary’s shrine are glass-covered cabinets that hold letters and keepsakes attesting to the miracles that the Virgin Mary has worked in the lives of the devotees. The letters thank the Virgin for healing grave illnesses and helping in work or school matters, among other things.

No Comments on Marian devotees flock to Mary’s shrine in Simala, Cebu

Moalboal in Cebu hosts over 10 dive sites

When people talk of diving in Cebu, they usually mention the small town of Moalboal in the province’s southwestern coast that is famous for the thousands of sardines that have…

When people talk of diving in Cebu, they usually mention the small town of Moalboal in the province’s southwestern coast that is famous for the thousands of sardines that have come to populate its seas.

Italian Sergio Forti, who manages a dive resort named Sampaguita in Moalboal’s Panagsama Beach or what they call Bas Diot (Cebuano words that literally translate to “few sand”), said the sardines arrive in and leave Moalboal as part of their normal migration process but they’ve come to stay for good around three years ago.

“Sardines are always migrating but they’ve been in the town for some time. Biologists couldn’t explain why. They say that let’s enjoy them while they’re still around,” he added.

2 Comments on Moalboal in Cebu hosts over 10 dive sites

Singapore popular destination with Filipinos: tourism board

Summer, the season for travel, is here. Where do you plan to hie off to? If Singapore is on top of your list, check out the new and popular as…

Summer, the season for travel, is here. Where do you plan to hie off to? If Singapore is on top of your list, check out the new and popular as well as thematic places and events that it has to offer to tourists.

Sherina Chan, Singapore Tourism Board (STB) Area Director for the Philippines and Brunei, said in a briefing in Cebu City that they have all kinds of accommodations — from luxury to budget — for visitors.

Right in the heart of Singapore’s city center is Marina Bay Sands, a world-class casino and hotel offering luxury dining, shopping, and entertainment.

Marina Mandarin Singapore (above) is among the best places to stay in Singapore. With its inventory of 53,895 rooms, Singapore has accommodations for every visitor with rates ranging from P1,925 to P5,500 for budget hotel and P6,050 to P13,200 for luxury suites. Click on photo to enlarge. (Photo from Marina Mandarin Singapore website)

Marina Mandarin Singapore (above) is among the best places to stay in Singapore. With its inventory of 53,895 rooms, Singapore has accommodations for every visitor with rates ranging from P1,925 to P5,500 for budget hotel and P6,050 to P13,200 for luxury suites. Click on photo to enlarge. (Photo from Marina Mandarin Singapore website)

Marina Bay is capped by the Sands Skypark, which offers a view of Singapore from 57 storeys above ground, and has a 150-meter long infinity pool, a stretch of restaurants and clubs, plus the first Louis Vuitton Island Maison in Southeast Asia on its waterfront, said Chan.

3 Comments on Singapore popular destination with Filipinos: tourism board

Sinulog 2012 depicts Cebu as ‘City of Culture’

A retracing of Cebu’s journey through the years, the people and countries it interacted with, and their influences on the island’s values and beliefs will be the central idea behind…

A retracing of Cebu’s journey through the years, the people and countries it interacted with, and their influences on the island’s values and beliefs will be the central idea behind the 2012 Sinulog Festival.

The theme “One Beat. One Dance. One Vision.” remains the same but the concept changes year by year and it will be “Cebu, City of Culture” in 2012, said Sinulog Foundation executive director Ricky Ballesteros.

Ballesteros explained the concept was influenced by Cebu City’s award in July 2011 as first ever ASEAN City of Culture, which was bestowed by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Ministers of Culture and the Arts.

Photo by Daniel Ybanez, Sinulog 2011 Contingent Category 6th place winner. Used with permission from Sinulog Foundation, Inc.

Photo by Daniel Ybanez, Sinulog 2011 Contingent Category 6th place winner. Used with permission from Sinulog Foundation, Inc.


At the launching parade on January 6, 2012, students from 15 participating schools in Cebu will be dancing to the beat of the Sinulog garbed in the costumes of ASEAN member nations as well as Philippine regional dresses.

During the Grand Parade finale on January 15, 2012, the stage will transform into different time settings that will end with tall skyscrapers depicting a modern and cosmopolitan Cebu.

People can also expect the ongoing nightly cultural activities at the Fuente Osmena circle to be wholesome apart from having entertainment value since these are being screened by the foundation, said Ballesteros.

“We want the children to learn more about our culture through the nightly events at Fuente. The children today are focused on computer games and other things, they know little about our heritage,” he pointed out.

Visitors

There will be visitors from different countries, including a National Geographic staff and a crew from Hawaii mainstream tv that will be covering the religious and cultural sides of the Sinulog Festival. The tv station will be creating a video documentary on the Sinulog, said Ballesteros.

The Philippine tourism secretary and organizers of popular festivals like Dinagyang and Ati-Atihan will also attend as well as other national government officials, said Ballesteros.

“Organizers of other Philippine festivals are excited to attend the Sinulog. They want to know how we do it here,” he added.

There will be a lot of balikbayan and VIP guests and there might be representatives from ASEAN member nations showing up for the Sinulog.

For the convenience of Pinoys abroad and international guests who have come to Cebu for the Sinulog, there are help desks in big malls manned by Cebu City Tourism Commission personnel.

The City Government is also hosting a party for balikbayan guests at The Terraces in Ayala Center Cebu on January 12, 2012.

Contingents

A few out-of-town contingents have signified their intention to join, among them free interpretation category grand champion Placer of Masbate. This 2012, though, Placer will send another group to compete in the Sinulog-based category. It first joined as a contingent in the Sinulog-based category and won but came back competing in the free interpretation, where it has been defending champion for the last two years.

“I’m excited to see this group perform in the Sinulog-based category,” said Ballesteros, adding it would go up against perennial Sinulog-based winner Tangub City. He added that Tangub has been finishing first in its category for the last 10 years, breaking Southwestern University’s nine-year win record.

Also to watch out for, of course, are other out-of-town as well as Cebu contingents, said Ballesteros.

Other groups who have signified their intention to join include four from Leyte and a few others from Mindanao like Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, and Cotabato.

Groups participating in either Sinulog-based or free interpretation, two categories for the grand parade, will be judged for their performances on the street and in the grandstand. There will be around eight judges’ stations along the parade route.

Security

According to Ballesteros, the City is prepared for the influx of people that will be converging in Cebu for the Sinulog Festival.

Security is a priority in meetings being held to discuss festival preparations, he pointed out. A committee tasked to handle security measures is led by the military’s Central Command in coordination with police offices in Cebu City and Central Visayas.

Reinforcements in the form of additional soldies and policement will be sent in from neighboring provinces, he said, adding that like the last Sinulog celebration, the Marines will also be utilized for security purposes.

Along the parade route, there will be eight police outposts manned by Cebu City station heads.

Finale

Some more security personnel will be assigned at the Cebu City Sports Center where the Grand Parade finale will happen.

When the dancers perform at the stage in front of the grandstand, Ballesteros said the background will be clouds and designed in a way that it won’t be competing with the performing group’s props. Then later in the finale, this will change to tall buildings to showcase a modern and vibrant Cebu.

The stage will be adorned with red and yellow Sinulog flowers and a mini-chapel of the Sto. Nino will be placed at the side. This is so guests can see that th Sto. Nino is involved even in the festive side of the celebration.

Seats at the grandstand will be divided into four colors with different categories and prices for tickets: red is for sponsors and VIPs, blue is for balikbayans and other guests and costs P700, yellow costs P600, while green costs P500.

(This article is part of a project on Cebu tourism supported by Smart Communications, Inc., the wireless leader in the Philippines.)

No Comments on Sinulog 2012 depicts Cebu as ‘City of Culture’

Sto. Nino pilgrims find a place to stay in Cebu

Cebu’s Fiesta Senyor or feast of the Sto. Nino draws devotees from all over, and thousands converge every January in Cebu City to fulfill a “panaad” (devotion). There are pilgrims,…

Cebu’s Fiesta Senyor or feast of the Sto. Nino draws devotees from all over, and thousands converge every January in Cebu City to fulfill a “panaad” (devotion).

There are pilgrims, however, who do not have relatives here and cannot afford to pay for rooms so the City Government puts up a “Devotee City” every Sinulog Festival to accommodate them.

No Comments on Sto. Nino pilgrims find a place to stay in Cebu

Affordable rooms along Cebu’s Sinulog routes

One of Cebu’s most anticipated events, the Sinulog Festival, is drawing close and there is a certain buzz in the island in anticipation of two festival main events – the…

One of Cebu’s most anticipated events, the Sinulog Festival, is drawing close and there is a certain buzz in the island in anticipation of two festival main events – the Solemn Procession and Grand Parade.

Since major Cebu City streets will be closed during these two activities and travel by vehicle difficult, a good option for visitors would be to stay in hotels or inns near the procession and street dancing routes.

No Comments on Affordable rooms along Cebu’s Sinulog routes

Magellan’s cross symbolizes conversion

This small octagonal structure in downtown Cebu City may appear unimpressive, but it houses a valuable relic and marks an important spot for Cebuanos. Enclosed in tindalo wood inside the…

This small octagonal structure in downtown Cebu City may appear unimpressive, but it houses a valuable relic and marks an important spot for Cebuanos.

Enclosed in tindalo wood inside the octagonal kiosk is what is left of the original cross that Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan planted in Sugbu (now Cebu) some 490 years ago.

The cross, or what remains of it, had to be preserved inside another wooden encasement after Catholics, believing it had miraculous powers, chipped away parts as souvenirs.

No Comments on Magellan’s cross symbolizes conversion

Colon, oldest street in the country

It may look like any ordinary street but this crowded stretch overflowing with shops, stalls, sidewalk vendors, people, and passenger jeepneys is, believe it or not, the oldest in the…

Colon Street

COLON STREET. This thoroughfare in downtown Cebu City is the oldest street in the Philippines. The undated photo of the old Colon Street above was taken from the book City Of Cebu, which was published by the Cebu City Government in 1970.

It may look like any ordinary street but this crowded stretch overflowing with shops, stalls, sidewalk vendors, people, and passenger jeepneys is, believe it or not, the oldest in the Philippines.

This thoroughfare in downtown Cebu City known as Colon Street existed way back in time, since Spanish conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legazpi commissioned its creation in 1565 as part of a settlement called “Villa de San Miguel (St. Michael’s Town)” that also had Fort San Pedro as its nucleus.

2 Comments on Colon, oldest street in the country

Parian monument depicts Cebu historic events

Cement, iron, and steel come together to form the towering Heritage of Cebu Monument built right on the original Plaza Parian in Cebu City. Conceptualized by multi-awarded sculptor Eduardo Castrillo,…

Cement, iron, and steel come together to form the towering Heritage of Cebu Monument built right on the original Plaza Parian in Cebu City.

Conceptualized by multi-awarded sculptor Eduardo Castrillo, the mammoth structure depicts significant moments in Cebu’s history beginning with that fateful fight of April 21, 1521 in the island of Mactan where native chieftain Lapu-Lapu killed Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan.

5 Comments on Parian monument depicts Cebu historic events

Kawasan Falls continue to attract visitors

Cool and refreshing is how best to describe the emerald water of the Matutinao River that forms what is commonly known as Kawasan Falls as it follows its meandering course…

Cool and refreshing is how best to describe the emerald water of the Matutinao River that forms what is commonly known as Kawasan Falls as it follows its meandering course to the sea.

The river creates no less than eight waterfalls of varying heights but it is only in five that bathing is possible.

Kawasan Falls in the village of Matutinao in the Cebu town of Badian, a three-hour bus ride from Cebu City, are popular with locals and tourists.

Kawasan Falls, Badian, Cebu

Visitors ride on a raft to underneath one of Kawasan’s waterfalls for a different kind of shower experience.

They don’t mind the long walk along a rocky and uneven trail to the falls, the first one of which is 1.5 kilometers away from the main highway where the buses make their stop.

The first waterfall travelers come across from the road is the biggest and tallest and also the most popular. Visitors usually stop here to enjoy a dip in the clean water or just enjoy the sight and sound of the falling sheet of liquid from the open cottages built along the riverside.

More adventurous tourists take a ride on a raft to under the waterfall for a shower under the gushing water. Ten people can fit in the raft and need to pay only P300 plus another P50 each for the life vests they are required to wear.

Jumping from any of the falls has been prohibited starting in 2008 when a tourist was killed and a few others injured when a jumper landed on the raft they were on.

Other falls

Visitors who intend to go up to the other waterfalls will have to climb steep steps carved on the mountainside and continue on a narrow trail that goes up or down in some areas and across dry riverbeds or makeshift bamboo bridges in others.

Dense vegetation grows by the side of the trail. The further upriver one goes, the fewer people and the more private the scene. At least two smaller waterfalls form a pool of shallow water that is safer for children.

The farthest waterfall is what locals call “the source.” Willie Lastimoso, who lives close, said beyond the source is the beginnings of the Matutinao River. The view is spectacular upriver but tourists will need a local to bring them there.

Lastimoso said he has been renting out huts at the source since 1989. Back then, overnight stay near this topmost waterfall is possible at the wooden house owned by a German national but the structure had long been demolished.

“Nabuang man to siya. Mogawas ra man to kalit maghubo, mangahadlok ang mangaligo diri,” said Lastimoso. (The German went crazy. He would go out of the house naked, scaring the bathers.)

It is a 2.3-kilometer walk to the topmost waterfall and the sight of the short and narrow gushing water that is the source could turn off visitors. Tourists who brave the slippery and difficult path to reach it though can take the comfort in the fact that water is cleanest there.

Overnight stays

Rooms are available for overnight stays at areas near three waterfalls. Regular rooms for two range from P900 to P2,500 while bigger rooms that can fit five to 10 people cost P3,500.

Open cottages are also available for day use at only P300.

At Willy’s, which is built near the first waterfall, fan rooms are priced at P1,200 and P1,500 and air-con rooms are at P2,500, with two beds, and P3,500, which is good for 10. For inquiries, call 0927-5456061.

The Kawasan Nature Park Multi-Purpose Cooperative also has accommodations nearby. Call 032-5161781 or 0926-4057141 for bookings or reservations.

Rooms are also available at the waterfalls farther upriver at more or less the same rates.

A concerted effort by the immediate community and the local government of Badian has ensured a Kawasan free of trash and pollution. They were also able to preserve the river’s forest cover and dense vegetation.

Sore thumbs that stick out during my visit are people doing laundry in shallow parts and the concrete structures built near the falls.

Getting there

A swim in the cool water or a shower under the falls is worth every second of the tedious three-hour journey to Badian.

Buses at the Cebu South Bus Terminal along N. Bacalso Avenue in Cebu City leave hourly for the town. The terminal is 20 minutes by cab from the uptown area, and drivers pass on to passengers the entry fee of P10.

Each terminal user is also charged a P5 fee.

At the terminal, ask for the Ceres bus to Badian. It is bigger and seats more comfortably than the other buses.

Tell the bus helpers to drop you at the church in Kawasan near the walkway to the waterfalls. The Badian town center is a good eight kilometres from Kawasan and you shouldn’t stop there.

2 Comments on Kawasan Falls continue to attract visitors

Suroy-Suroy Sugbo goes to 22 southern towns

Cebu southern towns prepare food, songs, and dances for guests who joined this year’s Suroy-Suroy Sugbo Southern Heritage Trail tour that kicked off today from the Provincial Capitol. The first…

Simala

Church of the miraculous Virgin Mary in Simala, Aragao

Cebu southern towns prepare food, songs, and dances for guests who joined this year’s Suroy-Suroy Sugbo Southern Heritage Trail tour that kicked off today from the Provincial Capitol.

The first stop of the three-day tour was the town of Minglanilla, where visitors had their fill of Cebuano food specialties budbud pilit paired with ripe mango as well as danggit.

1 Comment on Suroy-Suroy Sugbo goes to 22 southern towns

BPI museum traces history of banking in Philippines

Ever wondered how and when banking started in the Philippines? The oldest bank in the country, Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), tells the story through its newly opened museum…

Ever wondered how and when banking started in the Philippines? The oldest bank in the country, Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), tells the story through its newly opened museum in Cebu City.

Gold coins of 1861. (Click to enlarge)

On display at the museum are gold coins that started circulation in 1861, 10 years after the El Banco Español Filipino de Isabel II that we know today as BPI was established.

1 Comment on BPI museum traces history of banking in Philippines

Levi’s launches biggest fashion party in Cebu

Levi’s brings to Cebu the most rocking summer dance party with two of the hottest DJ-supermodels in the world. The Levi’s Roadwear Party featuring DJNile and Catherine McQueen is happening…

Levi’s brings to Cebu the most rocking summer dance party with two of the hottest DJ-supermodels in the world.

The Levi’s Roadwear Party featuring DJNile and Catherine McQueen is happening this April 30, 10 p.m., at the Penthouse in the Asiatown IT Park in Cebu City.

No Comments on Levi’s launches biggest fashion party in Cebu

Oven fresh pretzels at Auntie Anne’s in SM Cebu

They shape the dough right in front of your eyes into a symmetrical loop shaped like a knot and bake it in the oven while you wait. As a result,…

They shape the dough right in front of your eyes into a symmetrical loop shaped like a knot and bake it in the oven while you wait.

As a result, you get your pretzels at Auntie Anne‘s in SM City Cebu fresh and hot. They’re crispy on the outside, soft on the inside and, in my case or at least the flavors I choose, sweet.

I used to ignore this pretzel shop before, but I was tempted to buy one just recently when I saw a member of the crew cut the dough and shape it into a pretzel before putting it in the oven.

Auntie Anne's pretzel in SM City Cebu
FRESH AND HOT. Auntie Anne’s in SM City Cebu serves fresh and hot pretzels while you wait.

No Comments on Oven fresh pretzels at Auntie Anne’s in SM Cebu

CMG footwear complements runway’s feminine looks

CELINE Mix Group (CMG) takes inspiration from the Spring 2011 runway by bringing the fresh and feminine into its footwear. Wooden clogs, strappy sandals, and sky-high wedges are making their…

CELINE Mix Group (CMG) takes inspiration from the Spring 2011 runway by bringing the fresh and feminine into its footwear.

Wooden clogs, strappy sandals, and sky-high wedges are making their way back into CMG’s closets to complement this season’s biggest looks: cropped 70’s sophisticated glamour to 60’s ladylike dresses that foster femininity and accentuate women’s curves.

Hong Kong brands Staccato, Oro Nero, Matthews, and Lewre take the spotlight at CMG stores to complete Spring 2011’s loungewear motif.

No Comments on CMG footwear complements runway’s feminine looks

Wellness in a Tutti Frutti frozen yogurt cup

It has impressive health benefits, but yogurt’s natural sourness can turn off some people. If you’re like me who can stand only a few mouthfuls of the regular stuff, you…

With cherries on top, or cereal, or syrup, or all of the above and more, you get to decide what to put on your cup.

It has impressive health benefits, but yogurt’s natural sourness can turn off some people. If you’re like me who can stand only a few mouthfuls of the regular stuff, you can get your daily dose of healthy from frozen yogurt.

Aside from frozen product being smoother in texture, it also only has a little of the sourness and tanginess of regular yogurt.

One of the establishments that I regularly go to for my frozen yogurt fix is the Tutti Frutti branch in SM City Cebu.

It sells the stuff in eight flavors: original (always available) and seven others. Yesterday, Tutti Frutti also had taro, strawberry, chocolate, coffee, grape, French vanilla, and pina colada. They change flavors every 15 days, though, so you might have a different selection when you do get to visit.

Plus, the establishment allows you to decide how much of the stuff you would like to eat by letting you dispense the frozen yogurt yourself and provides you access to a variety of toppings: fruits, jelly, chocolate, candy, crackers, cereal, syrup. You can have one or five flavors of yogurt on your cup and mix and match toppings, and the charge remains the same at 20 pesos per ounce.

1 Comment on Wellness in a Tutti Frutti frozen yogurt cup

Type on the field below and hit Enter/Return to search