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Long Weekend List: Things to Do on Mactan Island

Make your long weekend worthwhile with this itinerary full of culture, fun and food.

Ah, long weekends. The perfect opportunity for some rest and relaxation. Who doesn’t love them? We sure do! And with two long weekends this month, we’re more than excited to take advantage of them.

But first, where to go? North, South — whatever direction you choose, Cebu surely has something perfect for you. For those who don’t want to travel too far, then Mactan Island is just the right place!

Mactan Island is a popular leisure destination for locals and tourists alike. The island boasts a myriad of offerings, the most popular one being their different beach resorts that cater to different crowds. Mactan also serves as the jump-off point to the surrounding islands, perfect for island hopping.

On top of these, Mactan has a rich historical background. It is widely-known to have been the place where the historical 16th-century Battle of Mactan occurred. This was where the Spanish expedition, led by Ferdinand Magellan, were defeated by the valiant chieftain Lapu-Lapu and his men. Until today, this victory is celebrated by the locals of Mactan as the “Kadaugan sa Mactan” (“Victory in Mactan” in English) every 27th of April.


In the morning, head on over to the Mactan Shrine in Punta Engaño where you can see for yourself the monuments erected to commemorate the Battle of Mactan. There you can find the Magellan Shrine, a large memorial tower built by the Spaniards in honour of Ferdinand Magellan. The spot is believed to be where the Portuguese explorer was killed.

Adjoining Magellan’s Shrine is the Statue of Lapu-Lapu, also built to honour him. The native chieftain is hailed to be the first Filipino hero who defied foreign rule.

By the time you’ve taken your fill of history, you must be hungry. Perfect, just in time for lunch! Close to the Mactan Shrine are restaurants that offer Sutukil-style food. Sutukil is a combination of the words sugba, tuwa and kilaw which mean to grill, to stew and to eat seafood raw, respectively. Ingredients are laid out on tables for the customers to choose from. You may just tell the personnel how you want your food to be cooked.

Mactan is also popular for its guitars. The island is home to the Alegre Guitar Factory, one of the biggest guitar-making businesses in Cebu. You can check out the guitar-making process right after lunch, and even get yourself a sleek guitar while you’re in the area.

After walking out of Alegre Guitar Factory (and with a brand-new guitar in hand), make your way to Cordova, where you can visit the trendy 10,000 Roses Cafe. Take your fill of selfies and #instagrammable photos of the roses to your heart’s content. You can even have an afternoon coffee at their cafe, where its interiors are just as aesthetically pleasing as its exterior. The cafe is an ideal location to watch the afternoon sun sink down the horizon.

Before you know it, night has already fallen and you’re eager to have dinner. The iconic Lantaw Floating Native Restaurant is quite literally a stone’s throw away from the 10,000 Roses Cafe. Enjoy their scrumptious native Filipino cuisine as you stare across the dark waters and appreciate the view of mainland Cebu. We recommend their: Crispy Pata, Bibingka with Ice Cream.



Spend your second day in Mactan at the JPark Island Resort and Waterpark. Formerly known as the Imperial Palace Resort, this place is popular among Cebuanos and foreign tourists.

Fun meets luxury when you take a dip in their many pools or take a ride down their exciting waterslides. The resort also has a beach if you’re up for some saltwater activities. They offer diving, snorkelling and kayaking. What’s even more exciting is that they can take you parasailing over the blue waters. Just take your pick among the many activities available for you to choose from — you have a whole day, after all.

When it’s dinnertime, head over to Scape Skydeck located at the rooftop of the Azon Residences Condominium in Pusok. This restaurant boasts delicious meals paired with a breathtaking view of the islands of Mactan and Cebu. We recommend their: Scape Skydeck Hamburger, Beef Salpicado and Truffle Pasta. Cap off your night with one of their many drinks, perfect for finishing a sumptuous meal.



On your third and final day vacationing in Mactan, go island hopping! The Philippines is an archipelagic country with 7,641 islands and Mactan Island is one of the perfect places to begin your island hopping adventure. You can easily rent a boat to go island hopping.

From Mactan Island, you can reach the neighbouring islands of Pandanon, Nalusuan, Hilutungan, Caohagan and the Olango Island Group.

Mactan sure has a lot of places to visit, don’t you think? Enjoy your long weekend in Mactan!


THROWBACK THURSDAY. Our Stylish Voyage on a Boat with Loida and Richard


With hosts Loida Montesclaros and Richard Forteau, we take entertaining to the high seas.

by Shari Quimbo photography Steffen Billhardt

The sky was decidedly gloomy on the Sunday afternoon Loida Montesclaros and Richard Forteau invited a small group of us for a sail, the clouds getting darker as I make my way to Porter’s Marina, where the Blue Planet was docked.

“Richard built the boat himself in Cebu,” Loida explains, going on to share that he was the former honorary French consul in Cebu. “It was built here, and I designed the interiors.”

All that work certainly paid off—Loida and Richard would often sail the boat out to different Philippine destinations such as El Nido, Siargao, Boracay and the Gigantes Islands in Iloilo. These could mean days-long journeys that sometimes meant dealing with some rough seas. Quick day trips, much like the one we were about to embark on, were also a regular past time.

Loida gives me a quick tour of the boat then shows off her tropical spread. With its bright blue and white floral seating, the cabin’s dining area is already a pretty festive site. “I wanted to keep it simple,” she tells me, arranging her fresh fruits around on the banana leaf-covered wooden slabs she was using as serving trays. “And I wanted it to look more local, more tropical. We are on the water, after all.”

The bamboo slats of the dining table were the perfect backdrop to Loida’s spread, which featured tropical fruits alongside an entire roll of lechon belly, fresh lumpia, empanada and steamed shrimp.

The highlight of the table, though, was the chicken liver pate, a dish that Richard makes himself. “Luckily, the French love to cook,” Loida jokes conspiratorially.

Finally, it was time to take the vessel out onto the high seas, and the group makes its way above deck to enjoy the view. The cool sea breeze was a bit stronger than usual, something that had to do with the dark rain clouds looming above us—something that would have deterred any other group, but not this adventurous bunch. Armed with a glass of champagne in one hand and a biscuit smeared with pate on the other, many stand against the railing, admiring the sight of the sky turning orange above the Mactan Channel.

And then it starts to pour. No matter, though—as the rain pounds against the deck, the party finds its way down below. A bottle of wine is opened, and then another, while a second pot of pate is transferred on a plate. Our captain waits until the waves calm before he brings us back ashore.

(This story has already been published in the printed edition of Zee Lifestyle Magazine’s November 2016 issue as one of the Entertaining Features on pages 82-85.)

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Experience authentic Korean Barbeque at Da-In Restaurant

Filipinos are crazy for Korean barbecue. As such, there are a lot of places that are offering Korean barbecue. But Da-In restaurant isn’t just one of those restaurants.

Located in Salinas Drive in Lahug, Cebu, Da-in restaurant is a joint project between the Creative Cuisine Group and Da-Won restaurant. With state-of-the-art grilling stations in each table and various Korean cuisines ready to be served, Da-In would surely sate your Korean barbecue cravings without any hassle.

Visit Da-In restaurant today!

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Head Up North, Where A Relaxing Escapade is in Store at Maayo San Remigio

On your next trip out of the city, head up North to Maayo San Remigio, where a relaxing escapade awaits.

Oftentimes, when it comes to deciding the next travel destination, the Northern part
of Cebu is overlooked in favour of its Southern end. The South boasts of sunny beaches,
cascading waterfalls and the popular whale sharks who have made its waters their home.
While these are beautiful aspects that the South has to offer, the North is just as—if not
more—abundant in offerings. The North’s natural scenery is relatively untouched, and on top
of that, it’s less likely to be flocked by tourists.

This means more opportunities for a retreat away from the hustle and bustle of the
city. The roads heading North are long and winding, yet the beauty that lies at the end of the
journey proves that the trip is worth it. Knowing that, where does one go in the North?

Hidden away in the northern part of Cebu, Maayo San Remigio is a haven for those
who seek peace and serenity, making it an alluring abode for a sojourn on the island.

The resort’s guest rooms are vibrant and reminiscent of the Carribean.

Approximately a 3-hour drive from the city, the resort grants access to a tropical
retreat with a captivating beachfront setting—a charming destination away from the daily
hustle. Whether on its fine white sands and blue waters or inside the cozy rooms, Maayo
San Remigio is a delight to local and foreign tourists alike.

A newly-opened resort under Maayo Hotels flagship, Maayo San Remigio is a
destination that guarantees a refreshing, laidback experience, sure to wash away the worries
you brought with you from the city.

A clean white aesthetic is made tropical with bamboo accents and greenery.

It’s equipped with a mix of luxurious relaxation and wellness, fun and entertainment,
and enticing wining and dining options. This Caribbean-inspired resort is a serene hideaway
on a lush slice of tropical paradise with emphasis on ultimate comfort and exclusivity.

The resort’s location makes it doubly precious; scattered throughout the resort
grounds are viewing areas that grant you access to the sunset. Watch the sun sink down the
horizon by the infinity pool, on the beach’s shoreline, or atop the cliffside with the waves
crashing below. When night falls, the stars come out to dance across the clear skies, making
for an unparalleled stargazing experience.

Sunsets at Maayo San Remigio are a sight to behold.

Maayo San Remigio blends authentic Cebuano hospitality with its tranquil
atmosphere and exceptional design. Its well-appointed rooms and villas ensure a relaxing staycation, while its thoughtful amenities and facilities evoke a feeling of belonging in
paradise. The resorts brings the culinary excellence that is found in the Maayo Hotels brand,
creating palate-pleasing Filipino dishes with a modern twist. Complemented by the resort’s
wide menu of drinks—from juices to cocktails to shakes—one will truly enjoy a stay here.

So on your next trip out of the city, head up North to Maayo San Remigio, where a
relaxing escapade awaits.

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