Cebu is the traveler's dream of a tropical island come true: balmy weather, pristine beaches, and luxurious resorts with all the frills of modern living. The island-province of Cebu is where the sweetest mangoes can be found and where Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan planted the Cross of Christianity in the name of Spain in 1521.
Metropolitan Cebu, the country's second biggest metropolis, is the political, economic, educational, and cultural center of the Visayas. Hotels, shopping malls, entertainment halls, casinos, and golf fairways are present in the metro to cater to every tourist's whim.
East of Cebu is Bohol, with its rolling hills and plateaus and crystal springs and beaches. The country's tenth largest island, it is a picturesque province replete with ancestral homes and centuries-old churches. Bohol is home to the world-famous Chocolate Hills and the world's smallest monkey, the Tarsier. Other equally exotic flora and fauna can be found in the province's forests.
The site of the 1565 blood compact between Rajah Sikatuna and Miguel Lopez de Legaspi, Bohol's historicity is evident in the province's relaxed, laid-back pace. Excavations in acient burial grounds reveal artifacts dating back to China's Tang Dynasty, revealing strong trading ties with the Chinese long before the Spanish set foot on Philippine shores.
On April 14, 1521, Ferdinand Magellan planted a cross to mark the spot where some 800 natives were baptized into the Catholic faith. The original cross is now encased in a hollow hardwood cross and can be found in a roofed kiosk along Magallanes Street.
The Sinulog is Cebu's biggest fiesta in honor of the Infant Jesus or Senor Santo Nino held every third Sunday of January. In a choreographed movement, tribes clad in dazzling costumes hold aloft images of their patron. The prayer-dance is synchronized to the beat of drums and shouts of "Pit Senor! Viva Santo Nino!”
Consisting of 1,268 haycock hills with heights ranging from 40-120 meters, the Chocolate Hills is one of nature's wonders. The dome-shaped, grass-covered limestone hills dry up and turn brown during the summer, transforming into rows and rows of rounded, chocolate "kisses”.
In Bilar, a 3-kilometer man-made forest is sanctuary to the province's endangered species, including the tarsier, the world's smallest monkey.
Island of Imagination
Derived from the word "Kamagong”, the name of a tree in the ebony family, Camiguin is a pear-shaped volcanic island in the Bohol Sea. Marvel at the island's wide array of flowers and taste the juiciest "lanzones” in the yearly Lanzones Festival. Explore majestic volcanoes, hot springs, magnificent waterfalls, and its famed underwater cemetery.