Mactan and Olango Islands

Make a quick escape to Mactan Island to enjoy the beach, and try out water sports like jet skiing, parasailing and windsurfing.

The surrounding waters are also full of dive sites that range from easy to advanced, including prime underwater spots like Kontiki Reef, Tambuli Reef and the Hilutungan Island Marine Sanctuary.

Or you can just park yourself at a beachfront resort in pursuit of the perfect tan.

Accomodations in Mactan range from affordable inns to the ultra-posh Shangri-La Mactan Resort & Spa, hailed as one of the top resorts in Asia by Travel + Leisure and Condé Nast Traveler.

Don’t leave without dining at a local sutukil restaurant, where fresh seafood is cooked according to your preference — sugba (grilled), tuwa (stewed) or kilaw (raw).

If you can tear yourself away from a lounge chair, Lapu-Lapu City is home to Cebu’s guitar-making heritage. Get an inside look at the local industry with factory tours of local manufacturers like Alegre Guitars. Don’t forget to take one home; Cebu-made guitars are known for their quality, durability and affordability.

For a good daytrip, there’s the nearby Olango Island, where birds of a feather flock together — literally. It’s a favorit spot for more casual bird watchers.

Like Mactan, Olango has several diving and snorkeling spots, including the shark-inhabited Mabini Point, the soft coral haven of Santa Rosa, and the deep wall dive of Baring.

But the star of the show in these parts is the Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary. Up to 60,000 migratory birds from as far as Siberia and Northern China make these 920 hectares of mangroves, sea grasses and mudflats a pit stop during their global migration. Chinese egrets, Asiatic dowitchers and Eastern curlews are just some of the species that can be found here.

The best time to go is from July to November.  See you then!