Eat, ramble, and swim your way through the world-famous coral island
Mactan is known today as one of the world’s best islands, and rightly so. The tropical gateway is more than just a pit stop for travelers who want to explore the nearby beaches – it is a destination all on its own, one teeming with enthralling snorkel sites, gastronomic spots, and world-heritage monuments. Experience this island the ideal way with this guide from AppleOne Mactan, developer of The Residences at Sheraton Cebu Mactan.
DAWN: Catch the sunrise by the sea
Begin the day with a brisk walk or an energizing jog along the white-sand beach fronting The Sheraton Cebu Mactan Resort and Residences. The area is cool and tranquil at this time when it is still too early for beachgoers. From a distance, fishermen can be seen mooring their vessels and unloading the day’s catch.
EARLY MORNING: Breakfast by the beach
For the day’s first meal, have nothing less than the quintessential Visayan triumvirate of steaming hot puto maya (glutinous rice cooked in coconut milk, known in other regions as suman), sikwate (traditional hot cocoa drink), and slices of golden ripe mango. The decidedly more filling but equally popular alternative involves more adventurous local fare – fried danggit (salted and sun-dried rabbitfish), sinangag (fried rice), and a salad made of itlog na maalat (salted egg), tomatoes, and red native onions. A glass of fresh limonsito (also known as calamansi, a local citrus) juice makes for a refreshingly tangy ending to this nourishing meal.
MID-MORNING: Sail, snorkel, and kayak off the Mactan coast
After breakfast, hop on a sail boat to reach the chain of breezy snorkeling spots right off the coast of Mactan, just before the neighboring beach of Olango Island. These sites, found around the Hilutungan Channel, are treasured by experienced divers and amateur swimmers alike. Right below the soft waves await a plethora of sea critters, an extraordinary array of reef colonies, and most pleasantly, the complete lack of other tourists.
LUNCH: Feast on fresh local seafood
Restaurants in the island are a big draw. At noon, each one welcomes hungry locals and tourists with their own spread of the freshest seafood and local vegetables and fruits. Tantalise your tastebuds with ensaladang lato (Caluerpa salad), ginataang kalabasa (squash stewed in coconut milk), and a banquet of the day’s catch – garlicked crabs; grilled blue marlin, shrimps, and squid; and clay pots filled with lemongrass clams. Slices of chilled watermelon, mangoes, and pineapples are usually served for a refreshingly humble finish to the sumptuous bounty from the sea.
AFTERNOON: Nostalgic discoveries remindful of a colonial past
Before Manila, Cebu served as Spain’s first seat of government in the Philippines, so no experience of the island province is complete without a trip to its heritage sites. Step into the quiet gardens of Fort San Pedro, a military defence structure made of stone, or make your way into one of Cebu’s oldest guitar factories. One particular shop has been handcrafting instruments since 1919, and their products are being exported to countries throughout the world. Filipinos had their first exposure to modern stringed instruments like the guitar and banduria when the Spanish took over in the 16th century. Today, an industry that is solely dedicated to crafting the percussions is well and alive in Mactan.
LATE AFTERNOON: Chase the sunset aboard a yacht
Take a scenic yacht ride back to Mactan beach while watching the now-calm waters quietly dance with the ebbing sun. Around this time, Cebu City’s lights can be seen slowly coming alive from a distance.
EVENING: Dinner overlooking Magellan Bay
There is no better way to cap an eventful day than with a sumptuous dinner of Cebu’s haute cuisine. Restaurants in Mactan have their own international chefs who are known to locally source ingredients for main fare. Enjoy authentic gourmet seafood while surrounded with twinkling lights and live music foregrounded with the distant sound of sea waves.
More of the island, every day
Experiencing Mactan is certainly something that even seasoned travelers would give weeks on end to do justice. It is, after all, one of the most globally preferred spots from across archipelagic Philippines’ over-7000 islands.
But getting the most out of this remarkable destination doesn’t have to be limited to a one-time excursion. The best of Mactan and its surrounding islands can be had for a lifetime at The Residences at Sheraton Cebu Mactan Resort.
Visit www.theresidencescebu.com for more information or head over to The Residences Sales Pavilion, Punta Engaño Road, Lapu-Lapu City, Mactan Island, Cebu City to experience inspired living at The Residences at Sheraton Cebu Mactan Resort. The project has recently garnered, among other awards, the title Best Condominium Development in the Philippines at the Philippines Property Awards 2018.
For direct inquiries, e-mail [email protected] or call +63 977 830 4655 to speak to an associate.