Cebu Island

Cebu Island

Cebu Island is the 126th largest island in the world. Cebu Island itself is long and narrow, stretching 196 kilometres (122 mi) from north to south and 32 kilometres (20 mi) across at its widest point. It has narrow coastlines, limestone plateaus and coastal plains. It also has rolling hills and rugged mountain ranges traversing the northern and southern lengths of the island.

Cebu’s highest mountains are over 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) high. Flat tracts of land can be found in the city of Bogo and in the towns of San RemigioMedellin and Daanbantayan at the northern region of the province.[17]

The island’s area is 4,468 square kilometres (1,725 sq mi),[16] making it the 9th largest island in the Philippines. It supports over 3.5 million people, of which 2.3 million live in Metro Cebu.

Beaches, coral atolls, islands, and rich fishing grounds surround Cebu.

Coal was first discovered in Cebu about 1837. There were 15 localities over the whole island, on both coast; some desultory mining had been carried out Naga near Mount Uling, but most serious operations were at Licos and Camansi west of Compostela and Danao. Active work ceased about 1895 with insurrections, and no production worked for more than ten years. A topographic and geologic survey of Compostela, Danao and Carmen took place in 1906. The Compostela-Danao coalfield contained about six million workable tons. The tramroads, one from Danao to Camansi, one from Compostela to Mount Licos, were undertaken in 1895, together with a wagon road built in 1877, from Cotcot to Dapdap.

Climate

Main article: Climate of Cebu

The climate of Cebu is tropical. There are 2 seasons in Cebu − the dry and wet season. It is dry and sunny most of the year with some occasional rains during the months of June to December. The province of Cebu normally gets typhoons once a year or none.

Northern Cebu gets more rainfall and typhoons than southern Cebu because it has a different climate. Typhoon Yolanda hit Northern Cebu in 2013 killing 73 people and injuring 348 others. Though most typhoons hit only the northern part of Cebu, the urban areas in central Cebu are sometimes hit, such as when Typhoon Ruping, one of the worst to hit Cebu, lashed the central Cebu area in 1990.

Cebu’s temperatures can reach a high of 36 °C (97 °F) from March to May, and as low as 18 °C (64 °F) in the mountains during the wet season. The average temperature is around 24 to 34 °C (75 to 93 °F), and does not fluctuate much except during the month of May, which is the hottest month. Cebu averages 70–80% humidity.

5 reasons you must visit Cebu, Philippines

With its sugar-white beaches, azure waters and pristine coral gardens, the island of Cebu in the Philippines is the perfect tropical escape…

White boat on a tropical beach in Bantayan (Dreamstime)

1. The islands

Paradise beach on the Bantayan island (Dreamstime)

Paradise beach on the Bantayan island (Dreamstime)

Cebu Island is long and narrow, stretching 196 kilometres from north to south, and only 32 kilometres across its widest point. It has countless coves and beaches, but it is the tiny islands just offshore that will capture your heart. Boasting sugar-white beaches, clear azure waters and astounding coral reefs just offshore, they are holiday-brochure perfect, but without the crowds.

Bantayan Island is probably the most famous, with its dazzling white beaches, cool breezes and friendly locals. Camotes Island boasts beautiful beaches too, particularly around Mangodlong and Santiago Bay, but offers other activities for visitors as well. Danao Lake is worth a visit, as is Bukilat Cave, or trek to the Altavista view point for a breathtaking panorama of the whole island.

Finally, Nalusuan Island is perfect for divers, surrounded by a protected marine garden, with colourful fish and neon coral. Make sure you try the fresh seafood served in beach shack restaurants here too. But be warned: you may never want to leave.

2. The diving

Swimming with a whale shark in Oslob (Dreamstime)

Swimming with a whale shark in Oslob (Dreamstime)

Cebu and the islands that surround it are a diver’s paradise. Nalusuan Island, mentioned above, is surrounded by a protected marine garden. Malapascua Island is one the best places in the world to spot thresher sharks. And the Moalboal diving spot, just off the coast of the main island, features steep underwater walls that drops from 3m down to 65m. It’s a great place to encounter spectacular coral gardens, swim alongside sea turtles and get close to hammerhead and white tip sharks.

For a truly extraordinary diving experience, however, you’ll want to head to Oslob on the southern tip of Cebu. Whale sharks gather here in great numbers, lumbering through the remarkably clear waters close to shore. The site gained notoriety when photos emerged of a tourist ‘riding’ one of these gentle creatures, but the local government has introduced strict new rules to protect the sharks with underwater police ‘patrolling’ the waters to ensure divers keep a suitable distance.

3. The waterfalls

Tumalog Falls (Dreamstime)

Tumalog Falls (Dreamstime)

With a mountainous spine and abundant rainforest, Cebu is home to an incredible number of spectacular waterfalls. Kawasan Falls is arguably the most beguiling, boasting a beautiful setting and a pool of water that is an extraordinary shade of blue. It’s perfect for thrill-seekers too: the area is a popular spot for waterfall jumping, rapelling, rock climbing and canyoning.

Tumalog Falls, near Oslob, is worth a visit too. Inside the cascade you’ll find lots of convenient natural nooks and crannies, forming perfect seats for a therapeutic water massage.

4. The trekking and wildlife

A tarsier in the wild (Dreamstime)

A tarsier in the wild (Dreamstime)

Everything is within easy reach in Cebu, including a number of mountain treks. Each trail offers something for everyone – beginners, hardcore trekkers and all points between. What’s more, the mountainous interior is home to a huge variety of wildlife, including the incredibly rare tarsier. Being nocturnal, they’re best seen on a night, dawn or dusk tour. Watch for their bulbous eyes, peaking out from trees and bushes.

At 1,013m above sea level, Osmeña Peak in Dalaguete is the highest point in Cebu, but one of the easiest to conquer. Sirao Peak is one of the most challenging and scenic treks, a four hour hike past hidden waterfalls and breathtaking vistas.

The best trek, through relatively ‘untouched’ forests and hence the best place to spot a tarsier, is the hike to Mt. Babag. Winding its way through thick foliage, along occasionally muddy paths, it takes three hours to complete, finishing near the Chalet Hills, another popular destination. Here you’ll find the Temple of Leah, which locals say is Cebu’s Taj Mahal.

5. The food

Street food in the Philippines (Dreamstime)

Street food in the Philippines (Dreamstime)

A mouthwatering mix of Chinese-inspired dishes and local Filipino staples, street food in Cebu is a gastronomic delight. From steamed rice and siomai to the Cebuano staple ginabot, there is something to suit every taste. 

Feeling brave? Cebu is home to some of the islands’ most exotic dishes like bakasi (salt-water eels) and tuslob buwa (pig brains). Its lechon (roast pig) is legendary too. Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain declared that it was the best pork he’d ever tasted.

In Cebu City, head to Larsian’s, a hawker-type centre with an ever-popular barbecue. If the noise and chaos proves too much to handle, try the Abaseria Café and Deli for a more sophisticated dining experience

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