Celestial Cebu

Ujjwal Upadhyay falls in love with the beauty that defines Cebu

Being an inhabitant of a landlocked country of mountains and hills, I was overwhelmingly fascinated by the beauty of beaches, coral reefs and coastal areas. I wanted to go beyond where one could view the endless beauty of water and sky beyond horizon. Fortunately, I received a wonderful opportunity to participate in the international seminar on ‘indigenous people and their rights issue in natural resources utilisation,’ that took place in Cebu, North Eastern Island of

Philippines. I got more excited when I searched the place through Google and found some fantastic images of beaches, coral reefs and greenish blue sea.

The much awaited day finally arrived. On April 24, my journey started from Kathmandu at midnight to Cebu Island via Kuala Lumpur and Manila as transit points. I was to stay at the Marriott Hotel, located at the heart of Cebu city, the area is known as Cardinal Rosales Avenue. It was a three day stay as the objective of my visit was to present a paper and attend the seminar whole day. I couldn’t hold my enthusiasm to explore the beautiful beaches particularly during dusk and dawn. Super malls and restaurants became my subject. I captured numerous pictures on my camera. Reasonably priced shops and departmental stores apart from expensive branded stores make Cebu worth visiting as one can easily afford to shop for his/her heart content.

One can easily find good restaurants in and around super malls and also in main street of Cardinal Rosales, serving typical Philipine delicacies. Like the Marriott, many other hotels accommodate guests on B&B basis and serve excellent breakfast comprising a blend of western and local. One can find Radisson and Hyatt in Cebu and many other four, three and two star hotels aplenty.

Life became even more adventurous when I travelled to Olango Wildlife Sanctuary located in Olango Island. About half an hour of drive followed by an hour of cruise, the beautiful island is full of beautiful birds including common kingfisher, Chinese egrets, Asiatic dowitchers, eastern curlews, plovers, sandpipers, black-tailed godwit and many others. The Olango Island Group is a group of beautiful islands found in the Central Visayas region of the Philippines and is a part of Cebu Province. It comprises Olango Island and six satellite islets. Olango Island, situated off Mactan Island in Cebu, is one of the seven best-known flyways in the world for migrating birds. Its main attraction is Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary, a heaven for migratory birds from Siberia, Northern China, and Japan. These birds flock to the island seeking refuge from the winter climate of other countries. The sanctuary supports the largest concentration of migratory birds found so far in the Philippines. There are 97 species of birds in Olango, 48 of which are migratory species, while the rest are resident birds of the island. Situated in the northern tip of the island is Mabini Point.

Cebu and Olango provide excellent opportunities for travellers to indulge in adventure based activities at beautiful coral reefs with crystal clear greenish blue waters. This tempting environment attracts people to enjoy free diving, scuba diving, snorkelling et cetera. One can easily view coral fish and other aquatic species during underwater swimming. Many people think Europe is the best travel destination to have fun and enjoy nature but I came back with certainty that nothing can beat the magic of Asia Pacific.