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When I was a child, my family used to have a tradition of baking apple pies together every fall. We would gather the ripest apples from our backyard and spend hours peeling, slicing, and mixing the ingredients... Read more
Nature is literally Cebu’s front garden and backyard, and you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to burning off the bam-i.
Popular hiking destinations are Mt. Manunggal (1003 meters above sea level) and Osmeña Peak (1013 meters above sea level, the highest point on the island). Both are doable as day hikes or, in the case of Osmeña Peak, you can camp overnight and traverse the next day to Kawasan Falls, a three-tiered cascade that’s also a beloved swimming hole. Brace yourself for Cebu’s typical 31°C/88°F heat by bringing lots of water, comfortable loose clothing, a hat, sunblock, and reliable walking shoes. Osmeña rewards you with a “top of the world” feeling and a stunning 360-degree view of Cebu island. (It is also a good spot to test Cebu-style picnic foods such as lechon manok and puso.) Don’t forget to pick up your rubbish and pack it back down. Both peaks are minor climbs and do not require any technical equipment, but hiring a guide is recommended. Contact the seasoned outdoorsmen at Isla Adventures for guidance; you might want them to customize a kayak tour as well.
Burn more and see more of Cebu on a bicycle. Get some wheels from West Gorordo Hotel (110 Gorordo Ave., map), which rents out bikes for Php TK per day. Cycling around Metro Cebu might be a bit grimy, but a trip into the countryside will do you good. Head toward the hills of Busay and Guba to see green hillsides awash in fruits, vegetables, and flowers—just get yourself to JY Square (the junction where Salinas Drive meets Gorordo Avenue) and pedal uphill on Veterans Drive. Once you are past the Marco Polo Hotel and into the district called Busay, the road traffic eases up and you will get more of a feel for local life; keep an eye out for produce stands filled with mangga (mangoes), sweet corn, bananas, and coconuts, all freshly picked and ready to eat. You might even get offered a swig of tuba ("too-ba," a palm wine), which is a challenge to source if you don’t leave the city. If you’re not up for a hilly cycling challenge, the island of Olango is broad, mostly flat, and excellent for bird-watching. Snorkeling (and even diving) is also possible off Olango’s beaches, so pack a swimsuit with your picnic. To get to Olango, take the public ferry that runs from the pier beside Mövenpick Resort on Mactan Island (bikes are welcome onboard). Don’t want to plan your own cycling adventure? Let Bugoybikers organize everything for you. This cycling outfit rents out bikes (about Php 800 per day) and organizes tours based on your interests and fitness level. Go for one day or one week on a bicycle, immerse yourself in the local culture, and revel in the knowledge that you’re burning off all that lechon and humba you’ve consumed.
STAND-UP PADDLE YOGA
If you think you’ve perfected your sun salutations, warriors, and crows, set yourself up for a challenge by practicing yoga on a stand-up paddleboard (SUP). Yes, that’s right: yoga on a paddleboard while floating on a body of water. After you feast on sizzling pochero and all the sinugba you can dream of, there is no better way to engage your core. Most high-end resorts on Mactan Island, such as Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa, have these boards for rent, while Plantation Bay Resort & Spa now offers SUP yoga as an activity for guests, and twice monthly for “walk-in” customers (Php 350). Alternatively, contact Island Buzz Philippines SUP & Kayak Adventures, who can organize SUP yoga sessions in the sea or in your resort’s swimming pool. You might soak up Cebu’s nearly year-round ration of sunlight, or even organize a session by moonlight. This activity is not for yoga neophytes, of course, and if you’ve never tried yoga before, Cebu has three independent studios dedicated to it—Love Yoga World, YogaHub, and Surya Nanda Yoga—where beginners are definitely welcome.
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