Diving with thresher sharks in Malapascua, Cebu

We had a lot of reservations before finally taking the plunge—literally—to Monad Shoal in Malapascua, northern Cebu to see its thresher sharks.

diving with malapascua's thresher sharks
This tiny island barangay is the only place in the entire world where sightings of this shark species are regular and gratification for those who make the trip is thus fairly guaranteed. But our lack of diving experience—and confidence in taking that plunge to Monad Shoal—was something we still had to deal with. The biggest creature we’ve seen in the few dives we’ve done before this was a meter-long sea turtle in Apo Island. That was definitely a far cry from a shark encounter. Once it had become clear though that we were allowed to dive if we really wanted to, we decided to give it a go.
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CEBU!

How can we even begin to describe Cebu?

Of all the provinces we’ve been to in the Philippines, Cebu is that one place that always has something new to offer, no matter how many times we visit.

We love its food, its beaches, its underwater life, and the ease at which we can shuttle from one area to the next!

(Please click on the photos to navigate to their respective posts.)

FESTIVALS

Sinulog Festival

Cebu, Philippines | Two2Travel

Sto. Nino Procession

Cebu, Philippines | Two2Travel

FOOD

Lechon Cebu

Our favorite so far: Cebu’s Original Lechon Belly’s spicy lechon belly

Cebu, Philippines | Two2Travel

Puso

Wrapped in coconut leaves, dangling from stalls – that’s how Cebu does its rice.

Cebu, Philippines | Two2Travel
Also see: Table for Two: Cebu

CRAFTS

Mactan’s handmade guitars

Before there even was the ingenious Loudbasstard, the classic Cebu pasalubong—apart from the food—would be these handmade guitars

Cebu, Philippines | Two2Travel

ADVENTURE

River trekking within the city

ri

Cebu, Philippines | Two2Travel

Swimming with thresher sharks in Malapascua

Cebu, Philippines | Two2Travel

Swimming with whalesharks in Oslob

Cebu, Philippines | Two2Travel

Exploring Bantayan Island on a motorbike

Cebu, Philippines | Two2Travel

Places to stay in Cebu
Note: For a more comprehensive list of hotels, please check out Agoda. For some really cool alternatives (such as condos), head over and sign up at Airbnb.

This is just a summary of the places we, either together or on separate trips, have tried in Cebu. Some of the stays were paid for by us, some were made possible through travel assignments (referring to the expensive ones, which we apparently cannot afford).

MACTAN ISLAND
Abaca Resort and Restaurant – luxurious rooms and delicious food. There are only nine rooms in the whole property, so this is perfect for those who love peace and quiet. It comes with a price though, but it’s going to be well-spent for sure.
Crimson Resort and Spa – it’s a sprawling resort designed for families and big groups. Food is good too, and buffet spread is quite diverse.
Islands Stay Mactan – nice and clean, has big and comfy beds, and is right outside the airport. It’s good for any type of group since there are four kinds of rooms, from single to quadruple occupancy. Rates are quite affordable too.
Plantation Bay – stay here if you don’t want to go anywhere else. It has manmade pools (if you like that kind of thing), a dive shop, and bikes you can use throughout the property. Food is good, especially the lechon which they cook in the open, right by the poolside.

CEBU CITY
Hotel Elizabeth – good central location (just a couple of blocks from Ayala)
Quest – right across Ayala. Perfect for those in Cebu for business.
The Center Suites – good location; especially near Maxwell Hotel where we have our regular spicy lechon belly fix (because Mandaue is too damn far)
East Capitol Pensionne – very good value. Rooms are rather small but they’re very well thought out and are equipped with cabinets and corners in which to place your stuff so you maximize whatever space you have.