Cordova: Charming & Captivating (Cebu, PH)

The province of Cebu has a seemingly endless list of delightful attractions, both natural and man-made. Almost every town or city has something to offer to anyone who is visiting the island. One particular place that shouldn’t be neglected is the small, coastal municipality of Cordova. This town is located in the island of Mactan, the home of Cebu’s international airport, making it a very accessible place to reach.

So which places or what activities can one do when in Cordova, Cebu?

GO ISLAND-HOPPING.

Being a sea-side town, Cordova boasts off small islands with picture-perfect views and teeming marine life. When I visited Cebu in 2009, I got the chance to do island-hopping and was able to visit Hilutungan Island, a marine sanctuary that is one of the seven satellite islets that forms the Olango group of islands off the coast of Mactan; and the smaller Sulpa Island, a great place for beginners to dive and snorkel. These islands are low-lying coral islands with rich marine life and white sandy beaches.

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Hilutungan in particular, has a sand bar and a resort that is ideal for a weekend or overnight staycation. Although they are considered as protected areas, the local government allows snorkelers, divers and beach-lovers to experience the beauty of these islands. Besides Hilutungan, the nearby islands of Caohagan Island, Cabulan Island, Nalusuan Island, Olango Island, and Talima are also marine sanctuaries open to visitors despite some of them being private.

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There are sea patrollers (civilian volunteers) around the area who watches Philippine coastal waters from the shore. They are said to have trainings on conservation, protection, management and development of fisheries and aquatic resources; they also restrain destructive fishing practices and illegal fishing in the area.

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How to Reach the Olango Group of Islands:

From Manila, take a plane bound for Cebu. Upon arrival at Mactan International Airport, take a cab to either of the following options: You can rent an outrigger at the Hilton Pier in Mactan, or take the regular ferry at Angasil pier to Olango Island. From Sta. Rosa pier in Olongo, there are outrigger boats that ferry passengers to and from Hilutungan. There are also organized transfers when you’re booked at dive resorts. From there, one can go and see other nearby islands like Olango and Sulfa Islands. Another option is to go to Maribago area where one can take a traditional outrigger boat (called ‘pumpboat’ or bangka) that takes around 35 to 45 minutes to get there.

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After an entire day of island-hopping, make your way to the tip Lantaw Restaurant and 10,000 Roses Cafe where you can: (1) wait for the sunset, (2) have a sumptuous seafood dinner at Lantaw; and (3) marvel at the led roses at 10, 000 Roses cafe once darkness sets in.

10000 Roses Café & More has recently become a tourist attraction at this side of Cebu. The artificial, LED-powered roses are a sight to behold at nighttime or even during sundown. The café starts operation as early as 10:30AM and closes at 10:00 PM. You’d probably have the place to yourself early during daytime but you can’t deny the fact that it becomes more magical as the day comes to an end. By the way, an entrance fee of P20 per person is collected.

So there you go, a Cordova, Cebu experience that is filled with captivating moments from broad daylight til nighttime.

Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust. Take it easy.

Temple of Leah (Cebu City, PH)

Work is love made visible. And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy. – Khalil Gibran

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I have a soft spot for grand art pieces and architectural designs that is why I fancy of going to Italy and Greece someday… While I am still building my path towards achieving that dream, I satiate my love for such beauty by visiting places that offer amazing and eye-satiating art works.

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One of the newest attraction drawer of the Queen City of the South (Cebu) is the Temple of Leah — a work of art that is built as a sign of undying love. It is said that the temple was the brainchild of Mr. Teodorico Adarna, the grandfather of Philippine actress Ellen Adarna and owner of Queensland motels. The temple was constructed as a symbol of his undying love for her wife, Leah Villa Albino-Adarna.

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When it was opened to the public in February of this year (2015), the temple is still under-construction. I attempted to visit the place during my last 2 Cebu stint but my hectic schedule prevented me from doing so. My latest stay in Cebu gave me an opportunity to finally see this much talked about temple atop the mountainous side of the city, Busay.

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Upon reaching the gates of the temple, one would immediately notice the life-size sculptures, high pillars and the Roman-styled edifice. The construction is still on-going. Nonetheless, it still is a masterpiece that truly amazed me. The stairs leading inside the temple is guarded by two golden lion statues that somehow looks like roaring sentinels. Once you enter, more intricately designed sculptures will greet you and at the center is a 9-foot bronze statue of Leah. Really a feast to the sense of sight!

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The place also offers a stunning view of Cebu cityscape and mountainside. I promise to go back once the temple is finished and take more photos. I am not certain as to when I could set foot on a real ancient city like Rome, but my visit here at the Temple of Leah, in the meantime, made up for that yearning.

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How to Reach Temple of Leah:

Temple of Leah is located in Roosevelt St., Brgy. Busay Cebu City.

If you are coming from Manila, take a plane ride to Cebu via Mactan International Airport. Get a cab going to JY Square Mall. From there, cheapest way is to take a motorcycle (habal-habal) which is much preferred over a taxi as the way to Busay is quite steep and meandering.

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Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust. Take it easy ebri’juan’…

 

Lambug Beach (Badian, Cebu, Philippines)

“Looking at beauty in the world, is the first step of purifying the mind.” – Amit Ray

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This is a somewhat unfamiliar beach tucked 98 kilometers southwest of Cebu City, in the town of Badian. This coastal town is more known for Kawasan Falls. ( https://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/04/08/kawasan-falls-cebu-philippines/ ) Moreover, it is over-shadowed by its neighboring won of Moalboal for its beaches. But, in case you want a serene and seamless beach to yourself and perhaps, with your friends or loved ones – consider the unspoiled beauty of Lambug Beach.

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The beach shows off a long stretch of white powdery sand and non-teeming resorts. This hidden gem is also a perfect spot for both the sunrise and the sunset. The place is not yet fully developed (which I like by the way). But it has many rentable cottages and a few rooms for rent from not so high-end resorts offering basic amenities. At Lambug Beach, one need not spend too much to experience a secluded beach front.

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Where To Stay:

Magic Beach Resort 09154586637 or 09261205042
Grandeur Beach Resort 09262789880; 0908992490; 09333383686
Manang Virgie’s Beach Resort 09261745671, 09359251828, 09067378068.

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How To Get There:

From South Bus Terminal, ride a bus bound for. You will pass by the towns of Barili, Dumanjug, Ronda, Alcantara and Moalboal Travel time is about  3 hours up to Badian Town proper. Inform the bus conductor to drop you off in Badian public market or right at the crossing going to Lambug Beach where you could see a signage “Cebu International Golf and Resort”. (Both drop off area have available tricycle. Then, you eventually arrive at the Lambug port area,. From there, the resorts mentioned are accessible on foot.

Fort San Pedro (Cebu, Philippines)

The home to everyone is to him his castle and fortress, as well for his defence against injury and violence, as for his repose. – Edward Coke

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FORT SAN PEDRO (Fuerte de San Pedro) – The smallest, oldest tri-bastion fort in the country. This served as the nucleus of the first Spanish settlement in the Philippines. It is located in the area now called Plaza Indepedencia, in the pier area of the city. It has a total inside area of 2,025 sq. meters. The walls are 20 feet high, 8 feet thick and the towers are 30 feet high from the ground level. Work was first started on May 8, 1565 with Miguel Lopez de Legaspi breaking the ground. After the battle of Manila Bay, Commodore George Dewey turned the fort to the local Cebuanos, then it became an American Warwick Barracks during the American Regime which was later converted into classrooms where the Cebuanos received formal education.

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During World War II, from 1941 to 1945, it served as fortification for Japanese soldiers, when the battle for liberation was fought, the fort served as an army camp . After 1950, Cebu Garden Club took over and fixed the inner court into a miniature garden. For a couple of years it also housed the Cebu City Zoo. In 1978 to August 15, 1993, it housed the offices of the Department of Tourism and the Philippine Tourism Authority. At present, it is under the care and administration of the PTA and now houses the National Museum that showcases the San Diego shipwreck & Fort San Pedro diggings. (from Cebu Central)

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Located inside the Fort San Pedro, the museum displays the artifacts taken from the old Spanish Galleon, San Diego within the deep sea of Fortune Island off the coast of Nasugbu, Batangas. Artifacts excavated within the fort premises are also on display. Other artifacts on display include Ming porcelain pieces of all sizes, coins, lockets, sword fragments, cannons and helmets. Well – kept flower beds, cannons, lush vegetation and neat pathways align its interior.

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How To Reach Fort San Pedro:

Fort San Pedro is close to the pier area of Cebu City. One may take a jeepney going to Colon St. ( since almost all Cebu City jeepneys pass by Colon St. and inform the driver to drop you off at the street itself.) And of course, the more convenient way is to take a cab.

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Entrance Fee to the museum of Fort San Pedro (as of April 2015) is Php30.00