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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!


For Our Next Travel Destination, We Dream About Koh Samui in Thailand

Impressive views of the Gulf of Thailand welcome you at the Arrival Sala

Silent Sanctuaries

Mayenne Carmona discovers the Four Seasons Resort in Koh Samui is a quiet oasis to recharge and rejuvenate…

What does one expect from a Four Seasons Resort? Everything! Firstly, it will definitely be ranked no less than a five-star hotel or resort. Most importantly, it would not fall short of all your expectations: excellent cuisine, topnotch comfort at your fingertips in a well-appointed villa, courteous staff who offer impeccable service, and every other detail you could possibly need—down to the last cotton bud. After all, a Four Seasons Resort is always designed by a top-rated architectural team and interior designers.

The moment I stepped into the Four Seasons Resort at Koh Samui, I felt all my cares washed away by the soft waves of the bluest sea. The fresh air cleared my sinuses in no time, and the gentle breeze was a much needed caress to a tired mind and body. It was truly paradise regained for me and my friends. We were a motley group of career-oriented people who needed a much-awaited break from work, and this was the perfect choice for us.

Each Villa has a butler to cater to the guests’ every whim. The afternoon we arrived, we requested a sunset dinner by the beach, and much like a genie, our butler whipped up a romantically set candlelit dinner for six. A five-course delicious Thai dinner was prepared by their well-trained chef.

Our days were spent languishing by the beach, having daily massages, attending yoga classes, doing water sports and enjoying every bite of Thai cuisine. Golf carts transported us wherever we wanted to go within the resort. This vacation brought all my senses to another realm, and restored a weary soul to perfection. 

Four Seasons Koh Samui, I look forward to seeing you again!

Koh Samui is the third largest island of Thailand in the scenic Gulf of Siam. It is a 45 minute flight from Bangkok. Sandy beaches, coral reefs, coconut trees and abundant tourist resources make it a popular holiday destination.

For more information on Four Seasons Resort, visit their website at https://www.fourseasons.com/kohsamui/

(This article has already been published in Zee Lifestyle’s March 2016 Travel Issue, “Silent Sanctuaries” written by our columnist Mayenne Carmona for La Vie En Rose on pages 32-33.)

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Get Lost in this Not-so-distant Island Safari Paradise


Tao Philippines Crusoe-style deserted island camp paradise is perfect for those who understand the luxury of simplicity and disconnection.

by Melo E. Esguerra photography by Scott Sporleder

Just when you think Palawan is fast becoming a second Boracay, where congestion of concrete buildings and human bodies have begun to define the island experience more than the pristine beaches of white powdery sand, the Lostboys of Tao Philippines came up with a new island project that guarantees an escape to paradise. They call the island Camp Ngey Ngey.

The Lostboys have taken over the abandoned resort of Manguengey in Busuanga, a remote island in Palawan. They have kept the ruins from the typhoon and built their signature bamboo Tuka huts around the main beach of the island, which serves as the camp area. Just a short walk away you’ll find jungle trails that lead to three other wild beaches, preserved reefs and windswept cliffs encompassed by crystal blue waters. And on certain days, when the winds are strong, one side of the island becomes a good site for surfing.


Eddie Brock, one of the founders of Tao Philippines, explains how this concept of an island safari came about. “When we took over Manguengey Resort, we were stuck with the idea of how to run it. We do not know how to cater to resort guests, the individual choices and needs, and menus,” he admits. “Tao’s expertise is to show travelers something new, something more raw and adventurous. We decided that we will not worry about things we don’t understand, and stick to what we do best. One of the best aspects of a Tao trip is creating an atmosphere of connecting with other travelers, disconnected from digital clot—without the worry of planning, wallets and keeping a status. Five days out in the remoteness with the islanders in control leads to a positive attitude: guards down, inhibition is off and open to meet new friends.”

The camp is accessible through the three day/two night boat safari from Coron, with beach and reef stops en route the camp and back. Guests will be joining other travelers, staying in individual Tuka huts dotted along the beach. There are lounges, a dining and kitchen area, and open hang-out places. Currently, the big mansion from the old resort is being restored into a villa that can accommodate a family or group of friends.

The island can be reserved for big events like weddings, parties and other meaningful gatherings.

In the island, there is no room service, no menus, no WiFi. You will arrive as strangers, you will eat together, swim together, laugh together, drink together, and get to know each other offline. Become part of the magic of Tao, and see what happens!

For more information on how the trip to Camp Ngey Ngey works, log on to www.taophilippines.com


(This article has already been published in Zee Lifestyle’s June 2017 Men’s Issue, “Lost in Paradise” on pages 110-113.)

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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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