Island Hopping: Cebu, Philippines

Other than the fact that I knew I was doing a half-marathon there, I knew nothing about Cebu. It’s part of Visayas, and is considered southern Philippines. Cebu is known for mangoes and having the best lechon (pork!) in the Philippines. They speak a dialect there that I don’t understand (yes I understand Tagalog but Visayan is completely different).

Cebu is about an hour long flight south of Manila. The Cebu Airport is much nicer than the Manila International Airport (which is shocking because Manila is the capital of the country).  From the sounds of it, Cebu is becoming a big tourist destination in Asia.

I spent a few days in Cebu with the family with one day trip in Bohol (check out this post on Bohol).  Similar to Bohol, we had a driver taking us around all weekend.  Unlike Tokyo or Kyoto, it’s easiest to get around the Philippines by driving (although there is lots of traffic there).

So first stop we made was at the famous 7D dried mango company to buy dried mangoes to bring back to the states (except I’ve eaten so many bags of them already).

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After 7D, we went to visit Lapu Lapu shrine who was the first hero of the Philippines (known as the native leader who defeated Ferdinand Magellan)

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After that we stopped by Ayala shopping center to pick up the “race kits” which was pretty quick.

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On the afternoon on the day we arrived we went parasailing, jet skiing and banana boating. I’ve never done any of the above ever in my life. So I was a little nervous for it all but it was so much fun.  I was screaming a lot during the banana boating part but it just went so fast. As for the jet skiing, of course someone came with me since I had no idea what I was doing.

Parasailing is a lot of fun though! I would absolutely do it again. In case you’re curious about what happens during parasailing, check out this video:


Cebu Half-Marathon
I was in Cebu for 4 days – parasailing and jetskiing the first day, a visit to Bohol on the second day, spent all day on the 3rd day doing a paper and the last day doing the Cebu Half!
On race day, my sister and I left the hotel at 3:10am for a 4am start. By 3:25am, we were in the corrals.
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The corrals are interesting here because they aren’t really corrals. No one starts by pace or estimated finish time. You just start running when the gun goes off. Despite that, I wasn’t dodging a lot of people once the half started (then again I was undertrained and hot). It was “cool” apparently but it was still humid to me (80degrees F/Celsius).

The race signs were all in kilometers not miles which made it hard to figure out where I was on the course because I was doing so much math in my head (I.e. If 10k is 6.2 miles what is 16k?)    The nice thing about the race is that there was water stations with ice every 2-3 km. Plus they handed out bananas and protein fudge bars along the way.

The post race party was fun. There was music blasting and a bunch of vendors there. Plus in addition to getting a race shirt before the race, and a medal after the race, we also got a finisher shirt after the race as well.

We even got to take photos on the stage. The nice thing about the Cebu Marathon is that there’s a half-marathon which me and my sister ran, and a 5K that my mom, aunt and uncle ran and a 10K my cousin ran.  So there’s something for everyone.  But as you can see in the photo, medals are only awarded for the half-marathon and marathon.

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Of course, after getting back to the hotel, eating breakfast and taking a nap, we went out exploring the rest of Cebu and eating lechon! There’s so much to see in Cebu and so many day trips to take (i.e. everyone but me went canyoneering the day I stayed in and did a paper…it sounded amazing and looked amazing). Definitely a great place to visit!

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