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9 Places You Need To Visit in Cebu

This summer, immerse yourself in these lovely design, food, and heritage spots down south

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Photography: Dairy Darilag (main photos)

Many people head to the popular tourist destination Cebu for the Sinulog Festival and beach resorts. But the Queen City of the South is more than these—it is also known as the design capital of the country, with Mandaue serving as the base for furniture exporters.

With innovative styles and a respect for its culture and heritage, Cebuano design is bravely infused not only into furniture and architecture, but also into dining and leisure spots. Take a peek at these visually interesting dining and lifestyle destinations.

The Henry Hotel Cebu


If you’re tired of the usual tropical-modern hotel, then head over to The Henry in Banilad, where calling it “eclectic” is an understatement. Each room is designed with a different personality, with larger-than-life artwork, multi-colored walls, up-cycled pieces, and a lot of character. (To see their Eric Paras-designed sister hotel in Pasay City, click here.)

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One Paseo Compound, Ma. Luisa Entrance Road, Banilad, Cebu City, URL thehenryhotel.com

Bluewater Maribago Resort


What strikes each visitor upon first visiting Maribago Bluewater Beach Resort is how greatly it differs from any other establishment along its shoreline. Distinguishing itself from the pseudo-Balinese resorts and high-rise hotels beside it, Maribago stands out by fitting into its tropical environment. You’ll only see sun-drenched pavilions, open-air restaurants, and best of all—cottages with interiors and furniture designed by artist Benji Reyes. 

Maribago, Lapu-lapu City, Cebu, URL bluewatermaribago.com.ph

Holicow


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This lifestyle store—short for “Holistic Coalition of the Willing”—sells a beautifully curated selection of furniture, decorative accessories, art, fashion, and jewelry by Cebu designers (Vito Selma, Debbie Palao, Christina Gaston, and Neil Felipp among many others). The best part about the products is that these are all sustainably made, and some support small local communities. (To read more about Holicow, click here.)

Crossroads Mall, Banilad, Cebu City, tel. (032) 232-0465, URL www.HoliCOW.ph

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Cebu

Cebu isn’t Cebu without fantastic design, and even this popular coffee brand doesn’t fall short, with its amazing interiors by internationally renowned Cebuano designer Vito Selma.  Says the designer about his creation of a coffee shop that sprouts with a giant canopy of geometric wooden trees: “I wanted to recreate a forest so people can feel like they are having coffee in the middle of one.”

Light Site Parc, AS Fortuna St., Mandaue City, tel. (032) 286-9616

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Birdseed Breakfast Club+Café


Enjoy all-day breakfast at this delightfully hip café in an entertainment district within the city. Warm wood, brick, and a charming vintage-inspired menu board serve as a backdrop to the café’s third-wave coffee and delicious pastries.

Unit F19, Axis Entertainment Ave., N. Escario St., Cebu City, facebook.com/BirdseedBreakfastClub

La Maison Rose

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The name literally  translates into “The Pink House,” a French-Indochine restaurant bedecked with vintage posters, Oriental melon lanterns, and exuberantly multi-colored walls and furniture. The outdoor dining area has recently been furnished with Instagram-worthy pink electric tree lights and whimsical woven dome seating by Cebu furniture manufacturer Metamorfose.

The Pink House, 371 Gorordo Ave., Lahug, Cebu City, facebook.com/LaMaisonRoseCebu

Majestic Restaurant


Cebu-based architect Buck Richnold Sia updates this iconic Cebu Chinese restaurant into a modernist marvel with sleek furnishings, clean finishes, and geometric box forms. “When you first enter the restaurant, you’ll see a simple rectangular box…then you’ll notice the boxes are repeated on both sides,” explains the architect. “While Majestic has a huge following…we’ve learned that the design has attracted a new clientele. They really do appreciate the design, and they’re pleased to learn how good the food is.”

4/L The Terraces, Ayala Center Cebu, Cebu Business Park, Cebu City, tel. (032) 231-3534

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No. 9 Bar and Kitchen


A family’s home in Cebu City is transformed into a restaurant and bar that serves Spanish cuisine with a modern twist. Enjoy patatas bravas, 12-hour pork belly, and roasted lamb shoulder in a restaurant that maintains its cozy, mid-century-modern décor. The family-friendly vibe changes to a moody, intimate atmosphere at night, when the cocktails are served and the lights go on, casting shadows through the windows’ intricate wrought iron grilles.  

No. 9 E. Benedicto St., Cebu City, URL no9restaurant.com

Downtown Cebu


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Even if you don’t go to the trendy restaurants and malls, you can get a dose of old-school Cebuano culture by just walking the streets. Stroll along Colon Street, which is the oldest major street in the country. Marvel at the art deco buildings there and along Escaño. Shop for handicrafts and pasalubong from the streets surrounding Magellan’s Cross, or head over to the Parian where the houses of old Chinese Merchants stand until this day. To take a heritage walking tour, click here for a helpful guide.

Read the original article ("Ce-boom!") in the April 2016 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App. Log on to summitnewsstand.com.ph/real-living for more details. 

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