Right in the heart of the Visayas, nearly 600km south of Manila, the island of Cebu is the ninth largest in the Philippines and site of the second largest city, Cebu City, an important transport hub with ferry and air connections to the rest of the Philippines. Cebu is a long, narrow island – 300km from top to bottom and only 40km wide at its thickest point – with a mountainous and rugged spine. Most tourists spend little time in the towns, heading off as soon as possible to the beaches and islands of the north or west. The closest beaches to Cebu City are on Mactan Island just to the southeast, although they are by no means the best. Head north instead to the marvellous island of Malapascua, where the sand is as fine as Boracay’s, to tranquil Bantayan off the northwest coast, or to really get away from it all, to the isolated Camotes Islands. To the south of Cebu City, you can take a bus along the coast through the old Spanish town of Carcar and across the island to the diving haven of Moalboal and its nearby beaches.
Getting to Cebu is simple. There are dozens of flights daily from Manila and less frequent flights from a number of other key destinations in the Philippines and Asia. Cebu’s position in the middle of the country makes it an excellent place to journey onwards by ferry, with sailings to Luzon, Mindanao and elsewhere in the Visayas.Read More
Eight kilometres off the northern tip of Cebu, the tiny island of Malapascua is often touted as the next Boracay, largely because of Bounty Beach, a blindingly white stretch of sand on the island’s south coast. The island also has great diving, and is renowned for the chance to see thresher sharks. The nearest airport is Cebu, meaning that so far Malapascua has escaped over-development, but it’s changing fast, and many new resorts and dive shops have established themselves. The locals love to party and no matter when you visit, chances are there’ll be some kind of fiesta or pageant.
Diving is Malapascua’s main drawcard with a number of extreme dive sites that will get the adrenaline pumping more than your average gentle drift along a shallow reef, and there are several top quality outfits on the island. Divelink are both well-established, and recently opened Evolution is professional and also offers technical diving. Dives typically cost P1200-1500 including equipment. Sightings of thresher sharks at Monad Shoal have been less common in recent years, but they are still around, and given a few early mornings you should get lucky. There are also plenty of wrecks in the vicinity, including the passenger ferry Dona Marilyn, which went down in a 1984 typhoon and is now home to scorpion fish, flamefish and stingrays. Overnight trips can be arranged to the tiny volcanic island of Maripipi, where reef sharks and dolphins are common.
A quick guide to Cebuano
A quick guide to Cebuano
Filipino (Tagalog) might be the official language and English the medium of instruction, but Cebuano, the native language of Cebu, is the most widely spoken vernacular in the archipelago, not only used in Cebu but also by most of the central and southern Philippines. Cebuano and Filipino have elements in common, but also have significant differences of construction and phraseology. It’s quite possible for a native Manileño to bump into a native Cebuano and not be able to understand much he or she says. The complex web of languages and dialects that spans the Philippines is one of the reasons for its political and social fragmentation.
Cebuano is evolving as it assimilates slang and colloquialisms from other Visayan dialects, as well as from Filipino and English. Confused? You will be. Most Cebuano conversations veer apparently at random between all three languages, leaving even Filipino visitors unable to grasp the meaning.
Some Cebuano basics
Good morning Maayong buntag Good afternoon Maayong hapon Good evening Maayong gabi How are you? Kumusta? I’m fine Maayo man Very well Maayo ka’ayo What’s your name? Umsay pangalan ni mu? Where are you from? Taga din ka? Thank you Salamat You’re welcome Walay sapayan Goodbye Ari na ko Yes O-o No Dili OK Sigi How much is this? Tag-pila ni? Expensive Mahal Cheap Barat Idiot! Amaw! Go away! Layas! Who? Kinsa? What? Unsa? Why? Ngano? Near/Far Duol/Layo