Discover Cebu on the sidelines of a summit

CEBU, 29 March 2019: Call it a great mix of business and leisure, or the chance to meet business colleagues in Cebu and enjoy time out on the island’s beaches.

Attending the Pacific Asia Travel Association’s annual summit in Cebu City, 9 to 12 May, will give delegates an opportunity to explore the Philippines’ oldest city and the country’s first capital.

The PATA summit gets underway Thursday 9 May and continues in earnest through to Friday evening when the lure of the beaches, or the fascination of the city’s long history, might kick in and tempt delegates to skip a session or two.

Cebu is not the cheapest island destination to travel to whatever the yardstick.  From Bangkok the roundtrip fare will set you back USD324 on Philippine Airlines departing at the unearthly hour of 0130 and arriving seven hours later after a stop in Manila to change planes.

Including a change of planes in Hong Kong, the Cathay Pacific flight departs Bangkok at 1330 and arrives in Cebu at 2230. Overall travelling time is six hours and 50 minutes with the roundtrip fare pegged at USD411.

AirAsia is just a few dollars cheaper on the Bangkok-Cebu route with a fare of USD406. Departing Bangkok at 2120, there’s a change of plane in Manila and the end-to-end travel time is nine hours. You arrive Cebu at 0710.

Cebu Pacific, which maintains a hub in Cebu has the highest fare out of Bangkok at USD500 return. The flight departs at 1115 with a stop in Manila and an end-to-end travel time of seven hours and 40 minutes.

PATA delegates will have a smoother transfer out of Singapore as SQ offers a nonstop flight on the return sector from Cebu. The outbound flight, departing at 1235 stops in Davao with a flight time of five hours and 25 minutes. The roundtrip fare is USD387.

From Kuala Lumpur, Cebu Pacific offers a roundtrip fare of USD327 with a late night departure at 0140 that arrives in Cebu around midday. That’s a marathon journey of 10 hours and 30 minutes.

The best option out of Kuala Lumpur is on a nonstop AirAsia flight that departs at 2340 and gets you in Cebu in time to greet the morning arrival of the fishing fleet at 0400. The fare is USD202 for the four-hour trip.

The conference venue, Radisson Blu Cebu, is located on Serging Osmena Boulevard at the corner of Juan Luna Avenue, close to beaches (500 metres from port and ferry terminal), old city attractions and 11 km from Mactan International Airport.

The hotel quotes a rate of THB3,595 including breakfast on Agoda.  There are other options in the city such as Marco Polo Plaza at THB2,294 a night and Quest Hotel and Conference Centre at THB1,157, or the budget hotel Red Planet beckons at THB1,157

Cebu’s top attractions

Scuba Diving

Scuba diving and snorkelling are two prime activities in the Cebu province. Dive centres in Cebu sell trips to Monad Shoal near Malapascua Island, Pescador Island near Moalboal, Kansantik in the Olengo Channel. 

Island Hopping

Island hopping is one of the most popular things to do in a province that counts 168 island so no matter where you stay on Cebu (Mactan, Malapascua, Bantayan), or any other island of the area, there’s always an island-hopping day trip at hand.  Pescador Island is the main day trip destination from Moalboal, while Dakit-Dakit, Biliran, and Kalanggaman islands are three great island-hopping destinations from Malapascua Island. 

Explore Waterfalls

Covering an area of over 4,000 km2, Cebu Island features rugged mountain areas and limestone plateaus to the north and south of Metro Cebu with over 90 waterfalls. A few of them have become famous: Tumalog Falls near Oslob, Kawasan Falls near Moalboal, Aguinid Falls near Samboan, and another Kawasan Falls in Badian Island, near Malapascua Island. Organised tours and guides are available.

Visit Religious Sites

The long and hectic history of the Philippines started in Cebu, which was the first European settlement in the country. The different nations that occupied or simply visited the country since the 16th century have left a lot of sacred and religious sites in the province of Cebu. They include the Basilica del Santo Nino on Osmena Boulevard, the Taoist Temple on Beverly Hills, the Monastery of the Holy Eucharist in Simala and the Chapel of San Pedro Calungsod on Cebu South Road. 

Whale Watching

Dolphin and whale shark watching are very popular attractions in Cebu. Located on the southeast coast of Cebu Island, Oslob is the prime destination to go whale shark watching, while Moalboal – on the southeast coast of Cebu Island – is famous for its dolphin watching day trips. There are strict guidelines on how tourists should interact with whale sharks at Oslob that should be strictly observed.

Visit a garden

Visit the Terrazas de Flores Botanical Garden if you’re looking for an escape from the hustle and bustle of Cebu City, then Terrazas de Flores Botanical Garden is a great place to discover over 120 species of plants and flowers. Settled on the flank of a mountain in Malubog, the gardens are a 15-minute drive from Cebu City.  Opening Hours: 0700 – 2000. Location: Along Cebu Transcentral Highway in Barangay Malubog.

(Source: Attractions list; fares Skyscanner)