Cebu is worth visiting over and over again. The last time I visited the “Queen City of the South,” I was able to swim with the gentle “giants of the sea,” the whale sharks, and experienced the “human drones,” the habal-habal drivers, in the mesmerizing Tumalog Falls in the town of Oslob.
The province really has a lot to offer. I was able to commune with nature another time, in the boom town of Liloan, home to the century-old Bagacay Point Lighthouse and the world-famous Titay’s Liloan Rosquillos.
Last February 24, Duros Hotels officially opened its flagship property, the One Tectona Hotel, the first four-star hotel in the area. It is in Duros Land’s flagship project Woodland, only 14 km from Mactan International Airport. It is the tallest structure in the area with 14 floors. It will have 102 elegantly designed rooms (deluxe rooms, one-bedroom suites, and an executive three-bedroom suite).
I stayed in one of the elegantly designed deluxe rooms, its modern yet contemporary furniture and crafted wooden panels creating a space of tranquility. The place was very serene, insulated from the noise of passing cars and traffic in the city. From my room, I could see breathtaking Liloan—the green, well-preserved, and protected highlands.
One Tectona Hotel has its Teak Modern Cuisine, the hotel’s 120-seating capacity main all-day dining restaurant that serves Filipino and continental dishes. For breakfast, it has Cebu’s famous Puto Maya (sticky rice cake wrapped in a banana leaf in a triangle shape) with mango, paired with native chocolate which I really liked; it reminded me of Thailand’s mango sticky rice, but the Puto Maya was a lot better. Another favorite was the dried danggit and the Chorizo de Cebu. The home-made pork tocino and the beef tapa did not disappoint, as well.
During the hotel’s opening dinner, we were served the most sought-after dish in the province—Cebu’s famous lechon. Well, it’s the best lechon I’ve ever tasted. I liked how soft the meat and how crunchy the skin is; it’s indisputably mouthwatering. The rib-eye steak was next on my list, and as a seafood lover, I did not miss the fresh oyster with lemon, salmon, and the shrimp pomelo salad.
There was an Instagram-worthy infinity pool a few steps down from the restaurant. It was very relaxing, as guests can enjoy the vast view of the woodland enclave. The surrounding trees in the area, according to the Duros Land’s founder and chairman of the board, Rafaelito “Lito” Barino and president Fe Mantuhac-Barino, were planted by the founder himself 31 years ago. There was another pool, an Olympic-size, in the clubhouse just across the hotel. I also learned that a fitness center, a game room, and a bike trail would open soon.
Activities that One Tectona offers do not end within the hotel. It also offers access to Liloan Golf, an 18-hole Par 72 championship course designed by Barino. Never tried the sport, and want to learn to play? Woodlands Golf Academy, located just a few steps from the hotel, has highly skilled golf instructors. They will teach you how to properly hold the clubs, the proper body position, and how to hit the ball. I learned little by little until I finally was able to hit the ball, and it was one of my proudest moments. I realized that indeed golf is not as easy as it seems; you need proper body coordination, techniques, and more training.
Cebu, known for the celebration of Sinulog Festival to honor Sto. Niño, is also a top faith tourist destination. On our second night, we stayed at Cebu Quincentennial Hotel in Cebu City’s commercial district. The hotel was built for the celebration of the 500th anniversary of Christianity in 2021. Its lobby features the baptism into the Catholic faith of Rajah Humabon, his wife Juana, and their followers, and other Quincentennial highlights. Several religious artifacts are displayed in the rooms, hallways, and open spaces of Cebu’s ﬁrst ever hotel with a faith theme.
The fastest way to get to Liloan is through Mactan International Airport. Cebu Pacific currently flies 13 times daily from Manila to Cebu. Apart from this, the airline operates direct flights to Cebu from 21 other domestic destination and two international destinations. For more information, visit www.cebupacificair.com.