When we got back from our 11-day trip to Batanes in February, I only had literally a day to go home to Baguio, unpack and pack again for a thirteen-day trip to Cebu for a travel assignment.
I spent the first week in Cebu taking photos for resort features, and the rest of the days shuttling between the city and Mactan Island for a destination feature. Writing about Mactan was not as straightforward as I thought it would—I thought I was familiar with it but it turns out I haven’t really taken the time to really know more about it because I was always going somewhere else in the province.
I have to thank Lapu-Lapu City’s Department of Tourism for taking the time to show us around the nearby islands of Olango and Caohagan, both of which were such delightful discoveries. I would love to go back and spend more time and take more pictures, since one day is really not enough for both, because there was too much to see.
We also got to see the island’s famous guitar factories and talked with its artisans on how they make these handmade string instruments. We also visited the showrooms of Arte Cebuana and Metamorfose, which specialize in handmade decor and furniture, respectively. The craftsmanship of these two is exquisite, and both the owners are really proud to represent the Cebuano brand to the country.
Through my friend Johnn, I also met Gadie, who teaches mermaid swimming lessons in Mactan. She’s amazing! We talked a bit about why she’s into freediving—the foundation for mermaiding—and I love how passionate she is at what she does! We were pressed for time though, and she was kind enough to let me do a few shots (at dusk!) with her student at Plantation Bay. She was going abroad shortly after for some underwater performances, so it was really kind of her to squeeze me in her schedule. I think mermaiding is such an innovative way to introduce a sport that’s otherwise very difficult to do, so if you want to check out what she does, head over to Ocean Gems Academy where she teaches.
Mactan’s guitars, Olango’s shell chandelier makers, Arte Cebuana’s crafts, and mermaid Gadie. Photos by Nikka
I also got to meet the man behind Cebu’s Zubuchon, Joel Binamira of the food blog Market Manila. It’s fascinating in itself to find out about how they do their lechon, but it’s twice more to find out why they do what they do. I went out of that interview with immense respect for what the people behind Zubuchon stand for.
Zubuchon lechon. Photos by Nikka
The magazine’s publisher also asked us to write about Batanes—something Owen and I were very happy to do. We were beyond thrilled to see the final layout and photo selection. That place really is effortlessly beautiful!
Itbayat, Mahatao Lighthouse, and a lovely Ivatan woman of Mahatao. Photos by Owen
Chavayan sunrise, Morong Beach, and Itbayat Island. Left page photos by Owen; Right page photo by Nikka
And, lastly, I also get to talk briefly about my beloved Boracay in this issue, and Owen went on a trip to Guimaras. He kept all the mangoes.
The day I went home from Cebu I was so, so tired and I got sick for two weeks. I’ve seen so much though and I brought home many photos, so I think it’s all worth it. :)
Please get copies of the magazine if you can. Also in the issue are photos done by me for Abaca Resort (which has some of the most awesome food I’ve ever had to eat in Cebu!) and Crimson Resort. We’re really thankful to be doing these stories and are thrilled for you all to see them, especially the photos. :)