It will not all be meetings for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2015 delegates, as they also get the chance to indulge in the total Cebu experience through the special tours prepared by the Department of Tourism (DOT) in Central Visayas.
The tours will highlight Cebu’s heritage, nature, and cultural attractions — from its crafts and industry and local delicacies to island destinations, highland sites, countryside life, and beach and underwater scenes, said DOT 7 senior tourism operations officer Judilyn Quiachon.
(CEBU GUIDE. APEC delegates can get a comprehensive and free guide to Cebu on their mobile phones by downloading Cebu Guide from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store or going to apps.myguide.ph/cebu/. The guide is released as part of a Digital Tourism collaboration among the Cebu Provincial Government, SMART Communications and InnoPub Media.)
Since Cebu is a jumpoff point to Bohol, the DOT has also prepared a day visit to the neighboring island’s popular destinations.
Quiachon said they’ve created eight tours created exclusively for APEC 2015 delegates. These are:
1. Cebu Island Arts, Crafts, and Industry Tour
The tour will start with a visit to a dried mango factory for a first-hand experience in the making of this this special Cebu delicacy. This is followed by a drive to a factory in Mactan Island where guests get to observe how guitars are made by hand. A final stop will be at a bead shop where they get to create their own accessory using indigenous materials like stones, nuts, shells, wood, seeds, and other materials for a takeaway souvenir.
This tour of Cebu’s creative industries lasts from four to five hours and will have the following stops: Profoods Mango Factory, Alegre Guitar, Island Girl Shop, furniture factory of either Kenneth Cobonpue or Vito Selma or Metamorphose.
The rate per person is P6,050 for a group of two, P3,025 for a group of five, P2,580 for a group of nine, P2,130 for a group of 20. It includes transportation, accredited guide, government taxes and essential fees.
2. Island Hopping Safari
Cebu is a long and narrow island surrounded by several other small islands, many of which boast of long strips of fine sandy beaches and clear seawaters. This is why island hopping is a favorite activity of locals and tourists and alike.
The Island Hopping Safari combines sun and fun and includes visits to three small islands of Mactan, which is where the airport in Cebu is located. The tour brings guests to Mactan, which serves as the jumpoff point for the island hopping safari. They then board a motorized outrigger boat for snorkeling, fish feeding, or simply swimming along the reef off Hilutungan Island. The next stop is a visit to the shell market located on the shores of Caohagan Island. Then it’s a picnic lunch on the white sandy beach of Nalusuan Island.
This tour takes six to seven hours and will have the following stops: NJT Watersports (jumpoff point), Hilutungan Island Reef and Marine Sanctuary, Caohagan Island, Nalusuan Island. The rate per person is P8,180 for a group of two, P5,280 for a group of five, P4,480 for a group of nine, P4,260 for a group of 20. Tour inclusions include transfers, boat use, accredited guide, essential fees, mask and snorkel, lunch, bottled water, towels.
3. Cebu Highlands Tour
Intended to relax the mind and body, this nature tour is through the winding roads of Cebu’s highlands. It will take guests to vegetable farms, fruit orchards, and roadside stalls.
The tour lasts five to six hours and will bring guests to the Mystical Rose Garden, Betty’s Secret Botanical Garden and Guava Orchard, West 35, and The Tops. The tour’s rate per person is P8,736 for a group of two, P5,600 for a group of five, P5,040 for a group of nine, P4,480 for a group of 20. It already includes transportation, accredited guide, essential fees, lunch at a hilltop restaurant, bottled water, cold towel, and government taxes.
4. Cebu Countryside Tour and Village Experience
The countryside tour is an excursion down south, through centuries-old churches with their impressive facades, religious shrines, and colorful markets. The most significant will be the Church of Carcar dedicated to St. Catherine of Alexandria and the Theotokos Shrine. Carcar is the final stop of the tour. Guests will visit ancestral homes and local crafts industry, which has shoes, baskets, and food among its many products. Part of a tour will allow guests to experience authentic village life through a buffalo ride, tricycle spin, fresh coconut wine drink, and lunch of local favorites in a grill restaurant.
After some shopping at the local shoe fair, it’s back to Cebu City in the afternoon. The tour takes six hours and includes the following stops: Theotokos Shrine, Valladolid Village, St. Catherine of Alexandria Church, Carcar Museum, Shoe fair, and Carcar public market.
The rate per person is P8,175 for a group of two, P4,880 for a group of five, P4,100 for a group of nine, P3,600 for a group of 20. It already includes transportation, accredited guide, essential fees, lunch, bottled water, cold towel, and government taxes.
5. Dive Cebu
Cebu’s underwater scene is among the best in the world and this tour involves exploring exciting drop-offs and coral gardens. The venue for the dive tour is Mactan Island but dives farther south in Moalboal or north to Malapascua can also be arranged.
The Mactan package involves two dives and talks half a day. The rate per person is P9,990 for a group of two, P8,650 for a group of five, and P8,580 for a group of nine. It already includes transportation, licensed divemaster, diving equipments, bottled water, towels, government taxes. Other possible diving venues: Kasaai Village or Club Serena in Moalboal.
6. Spa and Wellness Package
Choose from an hour of body massage performed by a traditional “hilot” or an hour of facial pampering at the Leisure Spa in Nivel Hills, Lahug or Spa at Cebu in Banilad. A body massage rejuvenates tired muscles through the application of pressure using fingers, palms, and knuckles. A trained “hilot” performs the massage.
The rate per persm is P4,600 for a group of two and P3,000 for a group of five. It includes transportation, accredited guide, a choice of body massage or a facial.
7. Cebu Food Trip
The food trip lets guests experience Cebu through its mouth-watering local dishes, from its signature lechon (roasted pork) to chocolate delights made with the locally-made tablea (bitter chocolate rounds made from cacao beans).
Stops include CNT Lechon, to see how a whole pig is roasted in open fire to create Cebu lechon with its crispy skin and juicy meat. Lechon is best paired with puso, which is rice cooked in a diamond-shaped container made of palm leaves. The trip includes an onsite demo of how the rice pouch is created. Another stop is a visit to makers of chicharon or crunchy pork skin. Lunch is served at a quaint restaurant with the lady of the house regaling guests with family stories of cooking traditions and heritage dishes. In the afternoon, it’s off to The Chocolate Chamber for some sweet delight.
The tour has the following stops: CNT Lechon in Guadalupe, The Chocolate Chamber, and Profoods Mango Factory. Rate per person is P6,200 for a group of two, P4,000 for a group of five, P3,650 for a group of nine, P3,200 for a group of 20. It already includes transportation, accredited guide, essential fees, lunch on a heritage restaurant, bottled water, cold towel, and government taxes.
8. Bohol In A Day Adventure
A whole day of scenic grandeur and adventure in an island close to Cebu, the tour starts with a two-hour ferry ride to Bohol’s capital city of Tagbilaran. Guests then go on a countryside journey with stops at Bohol’s major landmarks: Blood Compact monument, centuries-old churches, man-made forest, thousands of haycock hills named Chocolate Hills as they are uniform in shape and turn brown in summer. Lunch is served on a floating restaurant as it cruises down the Loboc River. The group then goes on to a close encounter with the tarsier, considered the world’s smallest primate. After a visit at a souvenir shop, it’s back to Cebu on the late afternoon ferry.
The tour takes 10 hours. Rate per person is P9,850 for a group of two, P7,840 for a group of five, P6,850 for a group of nine, P6,600 for a group of 20. It includes transportation in Cebu and Bohol, accredited guide, ferry tickets, lunch on a floating restaurant, essential fees, government taxes.
Those who want to visit Bohol can also download the free Bohol Guide from the Google Play Store and the Apple App store or head directly to apps.myguide.ph/bohol/. The free app is released as part of a collaboration among the Bohol Provincial Government, SMART Communications and InnoPub Media.
A free tour that gives APEC delegates a glimpse into Cebu’s historic past, present day attractions, and upcoming developments is also available.
The short trip is limited to Cebu City and covers structures that date back to the Spanish and American periods in Cebu, commercial districts, and upcoming developments in the South Road Properties (SRP), said Quiachon.
She added that the delegates will also be treated to cultural performances at some of Cebu’s heritage sites.